Social Inclusion of Children with Disabilities

As in other countries in South East Asia, children with disabilities constitute one of the most marginalized groups of children in Viet Nam. With Viet Nam’s ratification of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2014, children with disabilities in the country have received stronger attention and continue to be a target group of many social and economic policies of Viet Nam that aim to fulfil their rights, tackle discrimination and eliminate disparities. However, limited data and evidence on the life of children with disabilities (and people with disabilities in general) has made it difficult to monitor the effectiveness of existing policies and programmes, and to understand the need for reforms.

Before 2018, the available nationally representative data on persons, including children, with disabilities collected in Viet Nam was attributed to two national surveys conducted by the National Statistics Office (called General Statistics Office – GSO). The first was the 2006 Household Living Standards Survey (VHLSS) that used the Washington Group (WG) Short-Set of six questions (on hearing, seeing, walking or climbing stairs, remembering or concentrating, self-care and communicating). The second was the 2009 Population and Housing Census that used four questions (hearing, seeing, walking, and remembering or concentrating) of the WG short set. Subsequent national surveys on household living standards and intercensus did not include questions on functioning.

Policy makers and programmers across sectors have faced difficulties in utilizing accurate data on disability at the national and provincial levels other than sectoral administrative data, in which the definition of disability is not necessarily the same. Available data on disability cannot be used for reporting on basic indicators, such as the prevalence of disability or demographic information of people with disabilities and their well-being, simply because such data are not up to date. It is also important to note that previous national surveys did not include questions specifically designed to explore child functioning, thus the available data cannot represent the situation of children with disabilities. To fill this considerable data gap, the General Statistics Office (GSO) of Viet Nam conducted the first ever national household survey on people with disabilities, the Viet Nam Disability Survey (VDS) from December 2016 to May 2017.

The project’s purpose is thus to generate new evidence on the situation of children with disabilities, focusing on gaps in access to basic services and participation between children with disabilities and those without disabilities through an in-depth analysis of the Viet Nam’s National Survey on People with Disabilities dataset. The study findings will be used to (a) strengthen evidence-based advocacy for the rights of children with disabilities; (b) inform disability law reform, policy and programming; and (c) assist Viet Nam in monitoring the implementation of relevant SDG-related outcomes, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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