Posted: 13 July 2017

Tackling child poverty in Wales

200,000 children in Wales live in poverty – a figure that has not moved in 20 years.

At an event run by Children in Wales and End Child Poverty Network Cymru, we met with experts from local governments and charities to discuss how we can lift children and families out of this situation, exploring the different challenges and ways of tackling the issue – including Government plans, employment in communities and empowerment.

200,000 children in Wales live in poverty

Shockingly, 60% of children living in poverty in Wales have at least one parent working full time

£1 in every £5 spent on public services is linked to poverty, which equates to £3.6 billion every year

Only 1.6% of school leavers in Wales move into work-based learning or apprenticeships

More children in Wales live in the most deprived areas than in the most affluent areas of the country

For every increase of deprivation in an area, there follows an increase in the number of children added to the child protection register or taken into care

From poverty to prosperity

Poverty has a devastating effect on children, harming their immediate well-being and drastically reducing opportunities throughout their lives.

‘A new approach is needed which deals with the root causes of poverty…giving children the best start in life’ – Carl Sargeant, AM & Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

When exploring the areas in Wales which are worst-affected by child poverty, people we spoke to had lots of suggestions for how to reduce the impact it has on children’s mental health and well-being:

  • Stopping the isolation and stigma for children in poverty who can’t afford to participate in school activities or clubs
  • Offering better debt advice and support to families
  • Providing parents who experience domestic violence with relationship skills.

What do we want from welsh local government?

Our workshop at the event focused on the impact that poverty can have on children’s mental health and drew on findings from our 'Damage of debt’ report - including the fact that almost 1 in 4 children in problem debt-ridden families feel unhappy with their lives.

We recommended that Welsh local health boards and providers of mental health services should regard living in financial hardship, including problem debt, a complexity factor that is likely to impact on children’s and parent's well-being and mental health.

Improving outcomes – what next?

Tackling what the Children’s Commissioner called the ‘greatest challenge’ faced by the Welsh Government, is no simple task. Our hope, through knowledge-sharing events such as this one, is that together we can change the situation and end child poverty in Wales for good.

If you’d like to find out more about the event and tackling child poverty in Wales then you can contact our Children and Families Policy Advisor for Wales, Tom Davies.

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