Government gets 'F' grade for performance on child poverty


Measures adopted in the last budget undermine children’s rights to an adequate standard of living, according to a report published today.

The Government has received an “F” grade for its performance on child poverty in the annual report card by an alliance of more than 100 children’s organisations.

The Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2013, an annual rating of Government’s commitments to children will be published later today.

The Government received an F grade “due to the harsh measures adopted in Budget 2013 which will certainly see more families with children falling into poverty”.

It specifically criticises budget cuts to child benefit which saw the allowance cut by €10 a month for the first and second child; €18 for the third child and €20 for the fourth and subsequent children.

“The child benefit payment is the State’s income mechanism for supporting parents with their child rearing duties . . . Cuts to child benefit in four consecutive budgets have reduced monthly child income supports by almost €100 for families with three or more children.

It also finds that further cuts to the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance, which it said was the “only payment dedicated to supporting low-income parents with the cost of school”, would hinder children from fulfilling their right to an education, and was also in contravention of the UN convention.

There are some positives in this year’s report card. The Government receives an A grade for the holding of the Children’s Referendum, which passed successfully.

“This excellent grade reflects the historic achievement of successful passage of a referendum to strengthen children’s rights in the Constitution” and the establishment of the Constitutional Convention.

The Government gets a B-plus for its cessation of the detention of 16-year-olds in St Patrick’s Institution and its commitment that, by 2014, 17-year-olds will no longer be detained there.

Overall the Children’s Rights Alliance awards the Government a C grade this year, an improvement on last years C-minus and reflective of what the report card calls a “satisfactory attempt to date, though children remain wanting”.