Korea’s institutionalization of disabled people during the COVID-19 era (Part 1)


During the COVID-19 pandemic, life in residential facilities for people with disabilities in South Korea has become even more precarious, if not deadly, said Lee Jung-ha, who heads the advocacy group Padosan, in an interview for this article from Hankyoreh. The article describes the conditions of these facilities, noting that "some people with physical and developmental disabilities also spend their entire lives in institutions, researcher Seo Won-sun says, adding that up until a few decades ago, it was not uncommon for parents to 'abandon' their disabled children in large care facilities."

Seo highlights the need for supports for families of children with disabilities, explaining how an individual could need full-time care at home but the government might only subsidize a fraction of the cost, meaning that a family member may have to quit their job to stay home and provide that care for the child, which "can cause emotional or psychological stress for the parents.”