2010. 9 p.
Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, Vol. 5
While it does not cost a great deal to make a difference in the life of a child living in poverty, that does not mean that they are cheap to care for. To avoid confusion there is a need to distinguish between expenditures on care, marginal costs of care and total cost of care. Expenditures on children are the amounts of money spent on their care. The marginal cost of care is the cost of achieving a specific increase in the level of care. The total cost of care is the cost of providing a given level of care. While much can be said about differences in expenditures and marginal costs, little can be said about differences in total costs. Clearly, expenditures are far greater among the rich, while the marginal impact of additional spending is far greater among the poor. Total costs of care, however, cannot be compared easily because the care itself is not comparable. To compare care requires a definition of care. This article focuses upon this issue and points to the limitations inherent in conceptualizing aspects of care as cumulative rather than interactive. The focus on the interactive nature of care highlights the importance of the care environment. As most children live in families and communities, the strengths, resources and capacities of these care environments and their interactive nature is similarly highlighted.
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