The research project «Budget» addresses the costs aspects of caring for a child with a disability. Having a child with a disability may leave families with significant additional costs. These implies expenditures for medicines, different types of equipment, transportation, housing, and outside help in the home. These may also include indirect costs due to loss of income, as it is relatively common for parents in this situation to work less than full time to be able to care for the child. In addition, to have a child with a disability seems to influence the parents? health.
The project makes use of register, survey and qualitative data. Based on such a mixed method approach, "Budget" takes into account both the income and the expenditure side. No other project has calculated the costs related to child disabilities in Norway. Thus, the results will provide useful insights relevant for policies to that aim reduce social inequality and that aim to develop a more inclusive working life.
The researchers involved in «Budget» come from different disciplines such as economics, human geography, nursing, product design, social policy and sociology. The research group from OsloMet and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health collaborate with researcher from Syracuse University in the US, the National Institute of Research and Training on Disabilities and Adapted Teachings in France, the University of Antwerp in Belgium, and the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland. Moreover, the project relies on user expertise by actively involving representatives from the Norwegian Association of Disabled (NAD) and the Parents Association of Disabled Children.
Disability in children involves a variety of immediate and long-term economic costs that have significant consequences for the well-being of the child, the parents and the society. Caring for a disabled child involves both direct and indirect economic costs, which in turn creates a financial burden for the family. Out-of-pocket expenditures, such as costs related to health care, transport, housing, clothing and outside help in the home are higher among families with children with disability. Even more important, having a child with disabilities increases the likelihood that the parents (particularly the mother) will either decrease hours of work or withdraw from the labour market. Likewise, caring for a child with disability impair parental health, which in turn may impact employment participation. The proposed project consist of three work packages (WPs). In WP 1 we examine indirect costs of caring for a child with extra care needs such as reduced parental labor supply and health consequences. WP 1 also include a comparison with the US. In WP 2 we examine direct costs (i.e. medication, support arrangement, housing, clothes, transport etc.) of disability in children. In WP 3 we will examine the total economic situation, where we take into account both direct and indirect costs as well as all incomes and transfers. WP1, WP2 and WP 3 will be interlinked and inform one another throughout the project period. One of the greatest advantages of this multimethod project will be the ability to develop new and more complete knowledge on the total economic cost of caring for a child with a disability. This is the first attempt in Norway to calculate total costs of disability in children.