In researching an article for ilovekiddeals.ca I came across a 2013 Fraser Institute study that pegged the cost of raising a child at $3,000 to $4,000 a year (seriosuly?). Assuming as parents we raise kids only until the age of 18 (again, seriously?) means each child costs parents $72,000. This figure excludes housing and excludes child care costs, which tells me that the Fraser Institute doesn’t have a clue. You can’t raise kids without housing and child care.
In 2011, however, an analysis by MoneySense in 2011 estimated it would cost considerably more: $243,660. Which in my limited professional experience but very thorough chattering with friends and looking at my own sad state of affairs lately seems more in line with actual expenses.
This post was inspired by this article which I encourage you to read. It’ll blow your mind.
In our case, as parents of a just turned three-year-old little girl on the Autism Spectrum, the costs look more like this – and I’m only sharing with you (much to my husband’s chagrin) the costs PER MONTH FOR ONE CHILD.
$2,600 = 20 HRS ABA
$350 = Afternoon pre-school/developmental program
$1,000-1,200 = ABM specialized therapy available only in Toronto (6 x per year)
This excludes feeding Tutu, clothing Tutu, housing Tutu, basic needs care, gas to get to all the doctor appointments, therapies, classes, specialists….you know, the basic things we do as parents in the developed world to actually take care of our kids.
Do you know how many families have MULTIPLE children on the spectrum? Imagine. Now consider making a donation to a foundation that supports a child directly rather than a foundation/organization/center. It’s the parents that need the fundraising, honestly.
Happily, we have THREE children; two of the these three lovely sassy ladies do gymnastics, one take piano and both enjoy soccer in the summer. Relative to most families we know who ski, vacation, eat out, and take part in multiple extra-curricular activities, we’re pretty light on the extra spending front.
And still, we’re at a whopping $3000 per month PLUS $1000 every six to eight weeks for a therapy you can only get in Toronto – for therapies that give our special needs child merely the education she needs to advance through her life; understand me, the ABA is necessary for her development. Her attendance at the afternoon program for kids with developmental delays is necessary.
And there are thousands and thousands and thousands of families LIKE OURS in Canada.
So, why is the government in Canada and one of the countries leading analysis institutes missing every clue about what it actually takes to raise a child (1 in 67 now who are on the spectrum) and not responding accordingly?
I care about foreign aid, I’m big on helping the most needy. What I’m keenly aware of though, is that most needy includes Canadian Families with children with special needs.
What’s it going to take? A law-suit like in Vancouver or Calgary? If so, whose in?
Here’s a link again to that article, Million Dollar Babies, if anything, costs facing Canadian families is more damning now than it was in 2011.