Volume 3 Issue 14 - July 15, 2005

Huge costs for parents of disabled children: U.K. Study

DNIS News Network - The costs of looking after a disabled child can leave parents in debt and living in poverty, says a recent Research Study based in the United Kingdom (U.K.).

The Study that has generated intense media interest is in fact an empirical confirmation of a claim made by parents and stakeholders arguing for greater state and community support.

According to the Study, “It costs three times as much to raise a disabled child compared to a youngster without a disability.”

The Report authored by New Philanthropy Capital (N.P.C.) estimated that five per cent of all children in the U.K. - around 700,000 – have one disability or the other. The combination of inability to go out to work and the higher cost of bringing a disabled child resulted in a disproportionate level of poverty and debt in these families, claims the Study.

The Research showed that 55 per cent of families with disabled children lived on the margin of poverty - more than four times the proportion of other households. It also found that 84 per cent of these families were in debt, compared to only 47 per cent of all households.

Figures show that it costs an average of £8,300 a year to bring up a severely disabled child. The Study said that the minimum essential budget from birth to the age of 17 was approximately £143,000 - with the largest proportion being spent on transport. This is at least three times more than the amount required to raise a child without a disability, the N.P.C. said.

“This is a huge social problem and there are some relatively simple changes the Government could make to the tax and benefits system to alleviate the problem. But money is only part of the problem. Many of these families also suffer from stress and social isolation and this is where charities can play a valuable part,” Martin Brookes, head of research at N.P.C., was quoted as saying by the British media.

As per one estimate there 28 million disabled children in India , and with the Government  playing hardly any role in directly supporting parents of children with disabilities, the situation can be expected to be much worse.

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