Research in Brief

Support for Families of Persons with Disabilities: An International Comparison and Its Implications for Policy

  • Author

    Yi, Min-Gyeong

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Support for families of persons with disabilities is an area where family policy overlaps with disability policy. To put it another way, it combines ‘support for family caregiving’ and ‘support for persons with disabilities and their families’. This study defines family policy as “public support for family caregiving”, and examines what support programs are in place in several selected countries to support family caregiving in families of persons with disabilities.
For Korea, it is with the legislation of the Act on Welfare Support for Children with Disabilities (2012) and the Act on Guarantee of Rights and Support for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (2015), that “support for families of persons with disabilities” gained legal recognition. Since then services have been provided in an increasing variety for a growing population of eligible beneficiaries. However, support for families of persons with disabilities in Korea is considered as neither something to which those eligible can claim a right nor something the state is mandated to provide. Moreover, the eligibility for such support is constrained considerably by such conditions as the age of the disabled person, the type of disability he has, and the family’s income level.
Although it is characteristic of disability that it comes about throughout the life course, this brief focuses on families of children with disabilities, a population that bears relatively little relevance to the “independent living paradigm” and the “principle of self-determination.” Children with disabilities are also a population whose families bear heavy care responsibilities and a burden of high-level care costs. In Korea, an estimated 96 percent of children aged six and under with disabilities, and 82 percent of all children with disabilities, have a family member as the main caregiver.


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