Expensive children in poor families: Out-of-pocket expenditures for the care of disabled and chronically ill children in welfare families

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A significant minority of poor families care for children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. This study is among the first to explore private costs resulting from children's disabilities among low-income families. We find that almost half of the sample of California AFDC families with special-needs children incurred some direct, out-of-pocket expenses in the preceding month, and about 20% incurred total costs exceeding $100. We also estimate lost employment income among low-income mothers caring for children with disabilities. We conclude that both out-of-pocket expenses and foregone earnings represent a substantial burden for many low-income families with special-needs children, and we discuss the policy implications of these findings.


Children with disabilities; Medical care; Cost of; Poor families; Public welfare


Family, Life Course, and Society | Health Policy | Medicine and Health Sciences | Social Welfare


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