The impact of providing home care for ventilator-dependent children was studied in a cross-sectional survey of 18 northern California families. Through the use of a confidential structured interview and the impact on Family Scale, we obtained information on family demographics; the childrens' medical conditions; financial, social, and personal impact on the family; and parental coping-mastery of the care of a ventilator-dependent child at home. Analysis of scores from the impact on Family Scale showed no differences in the perceived family impact between primary caretakers and their spouses. Primary caretakers in the sample, however, showed significantly reduced Coping subscale scores with a longer duration of home ventilatory care. This finding, if confirmed in future studies, has policy implications for physicians and other health professionals working with ventilator-dependent children and their families, especially those who care for children over long periods.