It (Still) Takes a Village for Special Needs Children

Back in 1996 Hillary Rodham Clinton’s book, “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us,” was published. No political figure can write anything without it stirring up partisan controversy, but this post isn’t being written for political purposes, so we’re going to set aside any conversation of her overt agenda in writing the book as well as any hidden agendas which might be imputed to her.

Suffice it to say for our purposes here that most people, when faced with a long-term, difficult task, would prefer not to face that task alone, but to do so with others, preferably well known and well trusted others. Call that a village or just call it a team, having others to rely upon can help make difficult tasks far less so.

Thinking of how special needs children will be taken care of after their parents are gone can be a frightening prospect. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where the old adage, “Failure to plan is planning to fail,” is very true. The problems faced by special needs individuals are very real and they won’t go away when ignored. A properly drafted and properly maintained special needs trust is a great vehicle to meet the needs of special needs individuals, but one of the key points of a March 14, 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal by Veronica Dagher is that you need a team, she calls it a network, including a guardian, a trustee, a financial planner, an attorney, an accountant, advocacy groups, friends and family in order to make sure the special needs individual is properly cared for and public benefits are preserved.