The Cost of caring: Public and private costs of childhood disabilities in poor families

Document Type



Children in poor families are at heightened risk for disabilities and chronic health problems, and care for these children can impose substantial costs on families and public programs. Although the prevalence and costs of disabilities among poor children have important policy implications, they have been largely overlooked in research on poverty and welfare and on the costs of childhood disabilities. This article analyzes the prevalence of childhood disabilities and chronic illness among welfare recipient families in California and the probability families caring for these children experience higher out‐of‐pocket costs and material hardship than do other similar families.


California; Children with disabilities; Chronically ill children; Medical care; Cost of; Poor families; Public welfare


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


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