Child Poverty

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Essay on Child Poverty:

“Examine the characteristics and circumstances of children living in poverty, and assess the main responses of social policy towards improving their lives”

Poverty is the greatest threat to the well being of children, it can affect every area of a child's development social, educational and personal. There are currently 3.8 million children living in poverty in the UK according to (Barnardos 2011). The UK has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the industrialised world. For this essay I am going to examine the characteristics of children who live in poverty and discuss how living in poverty circumstances can affect a child’s life in health and education. I will also discuss what actions are being taken by social policy to resolve child poverty. Within my essay I will explore what is influencing child poverty, the affects of child poverty on the children and their families, the government’s responses and finally what has to be done to minimise child poverty. Since the 1990’s the UK government have identified people in poverty as being those living in households whose disposable income fell below a certain percentage of average household incomes. There are various social, economic and demographic factors that affect the likelihood of children experiencing poverty. Families with children make up 53 per cent of those in income poverty. Some children such as those in the lone parent households, from workless families and many from ethic minority families, are more at a risk of income poverty than others. According to Gabrielle Preston (2005), a child has only a 3% risk of poverty if living in a two parent family where both parents work. However, where neither parent works, this risk of being in poverty rises sharply to 74%. According to the HBAI (2001) children are more likely to live in households in receipt of means tested benefits, such as income support. Disabled children or those children with a disable parent were much more likely to experience poverty, live in unsuitable housing and suffer exclusion from public and community services. Children growing up in low income households are more likely than others to have poor health, to do badly at school, become teenage mothers and fathers or come into early contact with the police, to be unemployed as adults or to earn lower wages quoted by the HM Treasury (2002). Poverty can have many affects on children such as poor health, child development and education disadvantage. Inability to afford essentials like food means a poor diet which can lead to a poor diet. Children living in households receiving income support are at a risk of a poor diet and hunger. According to the National statistics office (2002), one in five non-working families on low or moderate incomes reported being unable to afford some basic food items on most days in 2001. Children and young people living in poverty can have their mental well being affected. It is more likely to occur when their parents are unemployed, divorced or heading to lone parents. This can lead to self harm and attempted suicide. Furthermore some children may be at a risk of abuse or neglect as there is a link between poverty and the physical abuse and neglect of children. It may be that poor families are more easily detected by social welfare agencies. Poor physical environment also effects children’s well being. Children living in deprived areas are five times more likely to be killed in road accidents. This is because they are more likely to be pedestrians and less likely to have access to a safe play area or garden. Child development can also affected for children living in poverty, they can experience low birth weight and shorter height are both more commonly found in deprived areas. According to the End Child Poverty Organization Poor children are born too small; birth weight is on average 130 grams lower in children from social. Low birth weight is closely associated with infant death and...
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