Open Policy Debate On Child Poverty Hosted By Dr Zappone

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has hosted an Open Policy Debate on Child Poverty in association with the Children's Rights Alliance in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Keynote speakers that addressed the event included Minister Zappone, Professor Mary Daly from Oxford University and Dr. Delma Byrne from Maynooth University. The stakeholder partnership forum gathered stakeholders from government departments, government agencies, research and academic institutions, civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

The purpose of this Open Policy Debate was to identify the latest thinking and research on reducing child poverty, and to discuss innovative ways in which child poverty reduction efforts could be enhanced, particularly in the context of the next iteration of the Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People (2014 – 2020).

Minister Zappone also announced the commencement of a child-specific research programme to explore these issues. This initiative is being led and funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

The initiative was commenced earlier this year by establishing a statistical baseline analysis of children's and families' financial circumstances, using existing data. The next phase of the child-specific research programme will use child-specific Growing up in Ireland data and explore what helps to protect children in poverty or at risk of falling into poverty.

The Minister said: "I believe that in order to eradicate child specific poverty, we must broaden and deepen our understanding and measurement of it. One of my key questions is how we can make children and young people more 'visible' as part of our policy efforts. Research shows that children and young people's perspectives of experiencing poverty and disadvantage are different to those of adults. Indeed, there is strong evidence that the depth and persistence of poverty is particularly harmful to children's development, life outcomes and inter-generational transmission of poverty. That is why a specific focus on how children experience poverty is important. Understanding their lived experiences can help lead us to implement genuinely 'child-centred' policies and to measure poverty and poverty reduction efforts in a way that reflects those experiences.

"This is an innovative project that will use child-specific Growing up in Ireland data. It will explore what helps to protect children in poverty or at risk of falling into poverty. It will make the children's lives; when entering into and exiting out of poverty, visible."

The Minister noted the positive year-on-year trend in child poverty reduction and the reduction of 5% from 2014. The newly released child poverty rate for 2018 has shown a reduction from 1.1 % from 2017 to 7.7% in 2018.

The Minister also reflected: "Countries with the lowest poverty rates among children are those where investment on early years, education and health are the highest. Correspondingly these economies are also rated high on the key free-market indices. They are competitive, business-friendly and highly innovative. They are fair. This is what we need to aspire to. The development of the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) is a significant leap towards the type of economy where we are investing in our children and reaping the benefits of an inclusive, smart and innovative economy as a consequence. It is my firm belief, we will make a significant impact on child poverty through the supports available under NCS."


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