The five objectives which the Welsh Government consulted on were:
- To reduce costs and maximise the incomes of families.
- To create pathways out of poverty.
- To support child and family wellbeing, including those with protected characteristics.
- To ensure children, young people and their families are treated with dignity and respect by support services.
- To ensure effective cross-government working.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Wales welcomed the opportunity to respond to the draft child poverty strategy. However, the College would welcome a greater emphasis on health outcomes, with a specific objective for reducing health inequalities.
It is well known poverty disproportionately impacts children, driving health, social and economic inequalities which have a lasting negative effect on children’s future outcome. The RCPCH position statement on Child health inequalities driven by child poverty in the UK details the link between health and poverty as seen by paediatricians.
In 2021, 50 organisations endorsed Mind the Gap which called on the Welsh Government to address health inequalities, and the link between poverty, health and the cost of living, with a cross-governmental strategy.
The child poverty strategy has an opportunity to consider the prevention of ill-health across all areas of government and truly make a long-term difference to child poverty in Wales.
Child poverty rates in Wales have grown at a pace far greater than the rest of the UK. The Welsh Government recognise that this rate is too high and must commit to ensuring this is the highest peak.
Last year (2022), RCPCH Wales called on the Welsh Government to produce a revised strategy to reduce child poverty and asked for this to include national targets with clear accountability across Government, and specific targets and actions to reduce child health inequalities. Therefore, while RCPCH Wales does welcome the child poverty strategy it could be strengthened with the inclusion of national targets and an objective and priority focusing on addressing child health inequalities.
You can download our full consultation response at the bottom of this page.
RCPCH would welcome:
- An improved emphasis on the connection between poverty and health inequalities.
- An objective and priority focused on reducing health inequalities.
- Clear milestones, timelines and targets detailing how every Ministerial department is working to address child poverty in Wales.
- The inclusion of an action to support children and young people and their families to reduce the number of persistent school absences, with a particular focus on children living in poverty.
- Outline the link between the Children and Young People’s Plan and Child Poverty Strategy, and whether the Children and Young People’s Plan will be updated for 2024-2025.