Special Interest Group on Disability, Work, Family, and Care

Disability, Employment, and Care was established in 2015 as a Special Interest Group of the Work and Family Researchers Network. This Special Interest Group built upon the work done by Tina Skinner and members of the Disability, Work, and Parenting study group that was organized in 2013. At the 2016 WFRN Conference, a joint meeting of the two groups was held, and resulted in a unanimous vote supporting the merger of the two groups with the revised title of Disability, Work, Family, and Care.  Historical information about the Disability, Work and Parenting group is available here.


The aim of this special interest group is to bring together researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, people with disabilities, and those caring for family members with disabilities to share their expertise and experiences with disability, work, and care.


  • To share research findings and the experience of combining paid work with family responsibilities when one has a disability.
  • To share research findings and the experience of combining paid work with caring for a related child or adult with a disability.
  • To produce robust research that accurately reflects, and is targeted at improving, the work-life experiences of people with disabilities or their caregivers in fulfilling their work, family, and community roles.
  • To encourage and enhance interest in, and commitment to, work-family issues as they relate to people with disabilities and their families.
  • To facilitate inter-disciplinary research, policy, and practice collaborations as they relate to disability, paid employment, and care.
  • To foster connections between disability researchers, and practitioners working with people with disabilities or people caring for a related child or adult with a disability.
  • To work together to influence governments, service providers, and employers to improve policy and practice in supporting families in which there is a member with a disability.

Organizational Structure

  • The group meets at the biennial Work and Family Researchers Network conference.
  • Leadership consists of two co-chairs (one Chair and one Chair-Elect), one secretary, and one membership coordinator.
  • The Co-Chairs are responsible for providing overall leadership, facilitating and maintaining communication within the group and between the SIG and the larger WFRN leadership, encouraging membership among disability researchers and practitioners, and ensuring overall functioning of the group.
  • The secretary is responsible for posting group information to the WFRN website and hosting the group listserv (or other means of communicating with group members). The Secretary will coordinate with the relevant WFRN officer.
  • The membership coordinator is responsible for maintaining a database of members and their areas of interest, supporting the co-chairs in encouraging new membership, and taking meeting attendance.
  • All officers will serve for a term of 2 years.


Membership is open to all WFRN members who identify as disability and/or care researchers, work-life professionals, and/or as someone with a disability, or as someone who is a family member of a person with a disability. Any restrictions set forth by WFRN apply.


  • Elections for all offices will take place every two years.
  • Nominations will be solicited for all offices.
  • Members can self-nominate.
  • Only members in good standing have voting privileges.


Co-Chair: Susan L. Parish, Brandeis University; slp@brandeis.edu

Co-Chair: Lisa Stewart, California State University Monterey Bay; listewart@csumb.edu

Secretary: Shirley Porterfield, University of Missouri St. Louis; porterfields@umsl.edu

Membership Coordinator: Claudia Sellmaier, University of Washington Tacoma; sellmaic@uw.edu