Government Commitments on Child Poverty

By: End Child Poverty  05/12/2011
Keywords: Social Welfare, Child Poverty, Adult Social

Towards 2016 aims to create an Ireland where every child will grow up in a family with access to sufficient resources, supports and services to nurture and care for the child, and foster the child’s development and full and equal participation in society.

The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 commits to reducing the number of those experiencing consistent poverty to between 2% and 4% by 2012, with the aim of eliminating consistent poverty by 2016.

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 commits to achieving the targets in the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 to reduce the number of people experiencing poverty.

Income

The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 pledges to maintain the combined value of child income support measures at 33%-35% of the minimum adult social welfare payment rate up to 2016.

The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion2007-2016commits to reviewing child income supports aimed at assisting children in families on low incomes. The Programme for Government 2007–2012 commits to amalgamating Qualified Child Allowances and Family Income Supplements in order to develop a second tier of income support targeted at the poorest families.

Towards 2016 undertakes to review the re-focusing of the Family Income Supplement (FIS) in favour of larger families with lower earnings. It also commits to focusing on children in lone parent families, informed by the Government’s discussion paper on supports for lone parents.

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 commits to maintaining social welfare rates and reversing the cut to the national minimum wage, introduced in 2010.

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 also commits to amend the 30 hour rule for Rent Supplement and Mortgage Interest Supplement which will reduce the barriers for those trying to move from social welfare to low paid employment.

Early Childhood and Education

Towards 2016 undertakes to target the early childhood and education needs of children from areas of acute economic and social disadvantage through a series of measures outlined in DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools: the action plan for educational inclusion). This commitment is repeated in the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 and in the Programme for Government 2007-2012.

Towards 2016 pledges to create 50,000 new childcare places, including 10,000 pre-school places and 5,000 after-school places, as part of the €2.65billion National Childcare Strategy 2006-2010.

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 commits to maintaining the free pre-school year and to improving the quality of the year by implementing standards and reviewing training options.  As resources allow, the Government will invest in a targeted ECCE programme for disadvantaged children.

Educational Disadvantage

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 makes literacy a national cause and commits to develop and implement a new national literacy strategy.  It commits to examining ways to make current spending on educational disadvantage more effective, and to considering recommendations from the review of the DEIS programme as a platform for new initiatives to deliver better outcomes for children in disadvantaged areas.

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 also promises to prioritise access for children with special needs to an individual education plan and move to a system where necessary supports follow a child from primary to second level and to achieve greater integration of special needs-related services. This will help to ensure continuity of support for children.

Health

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 commits to introducing Universal Primary Care and removing fees for GP care within this Government's term of office.

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 commits to provide ring-fenced funding to recruit additional psychologists and counsellors to community mental health teams, working closely with primary care teams to ensure early intervention, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and detect and treat people who are at risk of suicide.

Housing

The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 pledges to accommodate the housing needs of 60,000 new households over the period 2007-09. This includes meeting the special housing needs of Travellers, homeless people and people with disabilities.

The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 also undertakes to ensure that 32,000 households who have been in receipt of Rent Supplement will have been moved on to the Rental Accommodation Scheme by the end of 2009.

Towards Recovery: Programme for a National Government 2011-2016 commits to increase the stock of social housing and to reduce reliance on Rent Supplement and move eligible recipients to the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS).

The information in this article was current at 02 Dec 2011

Keywords: Adult Social, Child Poverty, Income Support, Social Welfare,

Other products and services from End Child Poverty

05/12/2011

End Child Poverty Coalition: Action Required by Government

Recognise that 87% of families have 1-3 children and realign the increases in Family Income Supplement thresholds towards these families to ensure an effective financial return from work. Relax the minimum weekly working hours requirement for eligibility for FIS for a set period of time, in light of the reduction in working hours for many low paid workers.