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The easing of pandemic restrictions has many  of us ready to invite direct caregivers back into our homes. Direct caregivers can help ease the stress we’ve been experiencing over the last year, and they are welcome new faces in our kids’ lives. However, the struggle to find caregivers is harder than ever, which has led some agencies  to require that families find their own caregivers.

While there are no easy solutions to the shortage of direct caregivers, Family Voices has put together some guidelines and tips to help you find the best caregiver for your family.

1st Think about the qualities you need in your child’s direct caregiver. Do you need someone to  be a friend and companion? Someone who has a lot of flexibility to work on short notice? Or, are you looking for someone competent with complex medical needs? You may need to prioritize and decide what is most important right now.

2nd Know your expectations. Be as realistic as possible about the responsibilities of the position. This will save you time and energy when you’re  interviewing. This will also give candidates a better understanding of what’s expected, which will likely lead them to stick with the position longer.

3rd Look at your family’s schedules to decide when having a direct caregiver works best for your family. Be ready with other times and dates that also work because your child’s direct caregiver may not be able to exactly match your first-choice schedule.

Finding a Direct Caregiver

Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a direct caregiver for your child. Let your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors know about the position.

Contact the people in your child’s life like aides and student teachers at your child current and former schools as well as daycare. Workers at your child’s sports programs, after-school or summer camps may also be interested.

High school and college students who are interested in health care, education and social work make great caregivers and may want some “real world” experience working with your family. Contact tech schools or colleges in your area to learn how to post on job boards for programs related to caregiving.

The Respite Care Association of Wisconsin manages the new Wisconsin Respite Care Registry. This is a database of potential respite care providers throughout the state, organized by county.

For more ideas on finding caregivers and information on interviewing  and paying direct caregivers, see our new Fact Sheet,  Finding and Hiring Direct Caregivers.

Resource for Families

Respite Care Association of Wisconsin


  • Free training courses
  • Grants to pay respite providers
  • Registry of available providers

A special thanks to Val Madsen of Respite Care Association of Wisconsin, for her help on the content of this article!







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