There are no social services supporting care-givers of persons with developmental disabilities (DD) in Georgia. The study explored the most urgent and unmet needs of families and care-givers of adolescents with DD in Georgia.
The research data were collected via qualitative and quantitative research methods: Seven focus group sessions were carried out with the main care-givers of adolescents with developmental disabilities in the capital city and east & west regions of the country. 28 in-depth interviews were conducted with the key informants (field experts, representatives of international organizations, state agencies and local NGOs) throughout the country. 100 main care-givers of adolescents with disabilities were surveyed on different topics related to their everyday problems and challenges.
The research results showed that economic and emotional burden of families with children and adolescents with DD is high. The main care-givers (mostly mothers) have no possibility to be employed as they have to take care over their children with disabilities during the whole day. This situation causes strong emotional burnout of care-givers; their emotional distress is aggravated with social isolation – families with a member with DD experience stigma from society. Family members and close relatives are the main social network of care givers of adolescents with DD. The situation is more severe for single parents of children with DD.
There is an urgent need to develop social services supporting the main care-givers of adolescents with DD in Georgia. Among the most required services are psychological consultations, respite care and parents’ clubs.