Background Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), a rare autoimmune disease, accounts for more than 80% of idiopathic inflammatory myopathy childhood cases, making it the most common idiopathic inflammatory myopathy among children. The average age of onset is approximately 7 years and commonly leads a chronic course. Symptoms of JDM include cutaneous features (Gottron's rash, heliotrope rash, or nail fold capillary changes), musculoskeletal features, calcinosis and lipodystrophy (a symmetrical deficit of subcutaneous fatty tissue), and acanthosis (thickening of the skin). Despite improvement in treatment regimens and the lowering of mortality rates, some children still lose their lives to JDM. This study assessed the effects of caring for a child diagnosed with JDM on the family system. Methods Participants included 36 mothers and 3 fathers of a child diagnosed with JDM. Parents were administered self-report measures, which assessed the overall family functioning (PedsQL-Family Impact Module), and the parents' mood and level of distress (profile of mood states). Additionally, parents were administered a semi-structured interview that included background information, psychosocial information, and sources of support. Results and conclusion Families of children with JDM reported difficulties in family functioning, communication problems, and an increased number of conflicts. Parents appeared to be experiencing higher than average levels of worry, worse physical functioning, and family relationships when compared to normative populations. Parents would benefit from psychosocial support due to the many challenges associated with caring for a child with JDM.