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Empowering children with disabilities and families through social protection and care in East Asia and the Pacific

We are supporting UNICEF and partners to engage in meaningful dialogue on social protection support reform for children with disabilities and families in East Asia and the Pacific. The overall objective of the assignment is to map and assess the current state of child-sensitive, disability-inclusive social protection in the region, to better understand the extent to which social protection systems across the region provide income security, ensure access to health care and cover the additional disability costs of children and adults with disabilities, in ways that enable community inclusion and participation.

Few countries in East Asia and the Pacific provide disability benefits for children. Challenges for children with disabilities also exist across other public services, including care services, early childhood development services, inclusive education, medical support, rehabilitation and access to assistive devices. Indeed, inadequate health services and the absence of early intervention are a major cause of disability among children.

Many families are unable or unaware of how best to support children experiencing disabilities, which can result in mistreatment, discrimination and greater risk of ill-health and undernutrition. Children with disabilities can even be abandoned by their families, and end up in often poor quality care centres or even experience premature mortality.

Unfortunately, the scale of the challenges faced by children with disabilities is hidden, due to the inadequacy of many household surveys. Our work is focused on identifying the trends in approaches adopted across the regions and providing recommendations for improvement. We will provide an overall snapshot of disability-inclusive social protection schemes across the region, in-depth case studies of social protection and care support to children with disabilities during COVID-19, and recommendations for a more disability-inclusive social protection system – through microsimulations – across eight countries.