The picture of economic growth and success painted by Government is in stark contrast to the shameful number of children growing up in poverty. Too many children go to school hungry, live in cold, damp homes or hotel rooms, lack toys and suitable clothing and are excluded from participating in everyday activities that other children and families take for granted.
While access to quality services is essential, income supports play an important role in keeping people out of poverty and enable a better standard of living. In Budget 2018, SVP wants to see an improvement in income supports for those experiencing the greatest levels of deprivation.
SVP remains concerned at the high rate of poverty among children growing up in one parent families. The reforms of income supports to lone parents have not been delivered in ways that help parents reach their full potential; instead they have created poverty traps. SVP are asking that income supports for one parent families are improved so they can better balance their caring, employment and/or education roles more effectively.
Members engaged in home visitation see first-hand the difference in outgoings on food, clothes and education costs for a household with an eight-year-old compared to a household with a sixteen-year-old. However, our current social welfare system does not take account of these differences. SVP are therefore recommending that social welfare supports for children are structured in a way that reflects the higher costs faced by families with older children.
Children living in Direct Provision are one of the most vulnerable groups in Ireland today. They experience high rates of poverty and lack basics such as clothes, basic households good, and toys. SVP members assist where possible to allow these children to have the same educational and social experiences as their peers. Although the announcement to increase income supports early this month was welcomed, they are just small steps and SVP are seeking further improvements in financial supports for children and families living in Direct Provision under Budget 2018.