Online Program

Family Benefits to Promote Children's Health and Well-being: Findings from 128 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 10:43 a.m. - 10:56 a.m.

Willetta Waisath, MPH, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Isabel Latz, M.Phil., Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Amy Raub, M.S., Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Jody Heymann, M.D., Ph.D., Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Children who grow up in poverty are at greater risk of malnutrition, disease, and premature mortality. Social protection policies, such as family cash benefits, are an important way to address this critical social determinant of health and reduce the prevalence and intensity of the extreme poverty experienced by 400 million children today. Using a quantitatively comparable database of laws and policies in 193 United Nations member states from the WORLD Policy Analysis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, this paper will examine the quality of legal commitments to family cash benefits among 128 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Using WORLD data, this analysis will explore the extent to which LMICs guarantee families access to cash benefits, generosity of benefits, and availability of specific benefits for children with disabilities. Provision of family benefits results in marked improvements in children’s nutrition, development, and school attendance. Yet just over half of middle-income countries and about one-third of low-income countries provide some form of family benefits. A global body of evidence attests to the additional economic costs of caring for children with disabilities, but just 25 middle-income countries and 1 low-income country provide benefits or supplements specifically for families supporting children with disabilities. To date, there has been little readily accessible, easily comparable information on national policies and laws; this study addresses this gap and examines variations in legislation and policy by income-level and region to demonstrate that provision of adequate family benefits is feasible for all LMICs.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the mechanisms through which family cash benefits impact children’s health and well-being. Identify the extent to which provision of cash family benefits among low- and middle-income countries is aligned with existing evidence and international agreements. Describe a comprehensive global database on cash family benefits. Explain how this data can be accessed, utilized for research purposes, used to advance children’s well-being.

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a Policy Analyst at the WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD), I have been involved in collecting, coding, and disseminating WORLD policy data. I have contributed to the analysis on prevalence of family benefits featured in this paper with the co-authors listed. My MPH training in Community Health Sciences and my previous community-based work in underserved communities has featured a strong focus on social and economic determinants of health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.