Unravelling the poverty risk of children with a disability: an empirical inquiry into the role of measurement, mechanisms and policies
Prior studies showed that children with a disability are more likely to grow up poor. This is related to the fact that these families 1) face extra out-of-pocket costs, 2) need to provide more care which impedes parental employment and 3) often have a disadvantaged social background. However, surprisingly little research has been conducted in the social policy literature on the link between childhood disability and child poverty, its underlying mechanisms and the impact of social policies. This project aims to further our understanding on this link in three ways: 1) improving the measurement of childhood disability and the accuracy of poverty estimates, 2) empirically testing the underlying mechanisms with a focus on improving causal inference and 3) assessing the role of welfare state policies in terms of cash and care support in reducing the poverty risk of disabled children. In doing so, cross-national analyses will be combined with a case study of Flanders. I will draw on the EU-SILC 2017 ad-hoc module on children’s health and activity limitations as well as on an administrative panel dataset covering a period of 15 years. I will develop reference budgets to 1) measure the out-of-pocket costs from a needs-based approach, 2) contextualise income-based poverty measurement and 3) assess the adequacy of welfare state cash support. The generated insights will inform us on how vulnerable families with disabled children can be better protected against the risk of poverty.