Wednesday, August 10

The Government will allocate 880 million to far-reaching measures against child poverty


Some children from a shantytown in Seville are cared for by social services. / OSCAR CHAMORRO

The Ministry of Social Rights presents the ‘State Action Plan’, which proposes increasing aid to vulnerable families

Domenico Chiappe

Child poverty affects 2.6 million children and adolescents in Spain, according to Eurostat, and affects vital areas such as food, education, housing, the exercise of their rights or access to technology. Faced with the risk of exclusion that threatens a quarter of young people, the Ministry of Social Rights has developed a battery of measures to reduce the gaps, among which the increase in public spending on education of at least 5% of GDP to 2030; the reform of basic vocational training (FP), with flexibility of training itineraries and new modalities; oral health coverage in public health; the increase in the public stock of social rental housing with priority for families with children under 18 years of age, including “monetary transfer” if necessary; the prohibition of evictions from homes with vulnerable children, unless there is a “dignified alternative”, and the provision of technological devices to minors.

The ‘State Action Plan for Child Guarantee in Spain 2022-2030’, presented by Minister Ione Belarra yesterday to the Autonomous Communities for final review, will be paid for by the European Commission, through the European Social Fund Plus, indicates the ministry. Of the total of 11,000 million of this item until 2027, some 880 million euros (between 7% and 8%) will be dedicated. “The goal is to fight across all the conditions that trigger inequality and that start with access to basic rights,” said Belarra. “We cannot say that we have ended inequality if there are boys and girls who do not have access to healthy food, if the digital divide continues to hit the poorest students or if the concern that their parents cannot pay the rent it doesn’t let them concentrate on their homework.”

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In a country where more than half a million children have “serious deprivation in terms of housing”, according to European statistics, the ‘plan’ proposes expanding the coverage of the Minimum Vital Income, the Child Aid supplement, tax benefits to families and create new “targeted” aid for access to employment and “enabling services”. In terms of education, the aim is to open more public places in the first cycle of Early Childhood Education, especially in rural areas, with full financing for families with incomes below the poverty line and priority access to vulnerable groups. It also pursues the eradication of “slums”, although they will be provided with basic services while they exist.

IN FIGURES:

  • 2.6
    Millions of children and adolescents live at risk of exclusion and poverty in Spain.

  • 8%
    of the European Social Fund Plus will be used to meet objectives. The mandatory was 5%.

“The action plan is a roadmap for the fight against child poverty, which until now had not been given enough attention,” says Alexander Elu, spokesman for the NGO Save The Children. «It contemplates dedicating more resources to it than what is stipulated in the commitments made by Spain, but European funds are not enough to reverse the situation. They can have an initial effect that leads to other initiatives with national resources and legislative changes.

regional competences

In addition, the Social Rights project suggests making schedules and attendance in early childhood education more flexible, to “promote conciliation”; apply a program for the consumption of fruits, vegetables and milk; increase the school canteen service, with more scholarships from infant to secondary school, and provide breakfast to vulnerable children. It points out the need to eliminate pharmaceutical co-payments for vulnerable children, the excessive bureaucracy to access public aid and a “reform of minimum income and other economic aid”.

The basic document that will arrive at the European Commission on the 15th of this month proposes expanding the mental health and psychopedagogical services, the sports offer from a gender perspective, the amounts of study scholarships with revision of the academic conditions, and the policies that prevent child abuse.

“We are talking about guaranteeing access to key services for children in vulnerable situations, such as access to education, housing, health and nutrition, which are regional powers,” warns Elu. “The next step is for the rest of the authorities to follow this same line.” Social Rights assures that “it has been working for months with ministries, autonomous communities, local entities, third sector organizations, academics, experts and children and adolescents.” The measures are far-reaching, and there is less than a week left to close the ‘plan’.


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