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Report · October 2000

Expensive Children in Poor Families: The Intersection of Childhood Disabilities and Welfare

Marcia K. Meyers, Henry E. Brady, and Eva Y. Seto

Although disabilities affect children of all income groups, poor children are far more likely to suffer from them.  In this study, Marcia K. Meyers, Henry E. Brady, and Eva Y. Seto provide important new estimates of the private costs and public effects of childhood disabilities among welfare recipients.  Based on over 2,000 interviews with household heads in Los Angeles, Alameda, San Joaquin, and San Bernardino Counties, their estimates cover direct expenditures by families and indirect costs due to employment reductions.  They also examine participation rates in public assistance programs and estimate the likelihood that families with disabled children will exit these programs to independence.  They conclude that public assistance may be an essential part of an income-packaging strategy for many of these families.


Health & Safety Net