Austerity and families with disabled children: a European survey
Published online 9th June 2018.
AIM To describe the impact austerity measures have had on families with disabled children across Europe and on professionals providing services for them.
METHOD Cross-sectional surveys were disseminated via professional and family networks in 32 European countries for 3 months from December 2016.
RESULTS Families (n=731), of whom 45% met UNICEF criteria for severe poverty, and professionals (n=959) responded from 23 and 32 countries respectively. Respondents were grouped into those from countries with and without austerity. The direct and indirect impact of austerity cuts and worse working conditions were reported more often by professionals from countries with austerity, compared to those without. Most families reported services to be worse in quality than 3 years ago. Families with completely dependent disabled children said the needs of their disabled children are significantly less well met now, compared to 10 years ago.
INTERPRETATION A decline in quality of services for disabled children was reported by most family and many professional respondents across Europe, regardless of austerity. Where implemented, austerity measures were reported to have impacted significantly on families with disabled children.