Social protection is essential in preventing and reducing poverty for children and families, in addressing inequalities and in realizing children’s rights. Despite recent progress in many parts of the world, too many children live in poverty and are deprived of their most elementary rights. In, fact, in most parts of the world, children and families with children are at greater risk of poverty than other groups of the population, with respect to both monetary and other forms of poverty.
The consequences of poverty are very significant for children. Children experience poverty differently from adults; they have specific and different needs. While an adult may fall into poverty temporarily, a child who falls into poverty may be poor for a lifetime – rarely does a child get a second chance at an education or a healthy start in life. Even short periods of food deprivation can be detrimental to children’s long-term development. If children do not receive adequate nutrition, they lag behind their peers in size and intellectual capacity, are more vulnerable to life-threatening diseases, perform less well in school, and ultimately are less likely to be productive adults. Child poverty threatens not only the individual child, but is likely to be passed on to future generations, entrenching and even exacerbating inequality in society. Many of the 18,000 children under the age of five who die every day, mainly from preventable causes, could be saved through adequate social protection. Where children are deprived of a decent standard of living, access to quality health care, education and care, and where they suffer from social exclusion, their future is compromised. Where children are forced to engage in child labour, such exploitation takes a heavy toll on their physical and cognitive development, and on their future life chances. Child poverty affects not only the well-being and aspirations of individual children, but also the wider communities, societies and economies in which they live.
Photo credit: “The Human Side of the Nepal Crisis | Le côté humain de la crise au Népal” by DFTAD|MAECD (CC BY 2.0 via Flickr).
Challenging Assumptions: From child-focused to child-sensitive social protection
Few people would disagree that children need protection and support, and that they should receive priority in policy interventions, including social protection. These beliefs are underpinned by the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which has been ratified by 192 of 195 of the world’s countries. In the past decade, social protection […]
Using Human Rights in the Courts to Broaden Social Protection—The South African Example
Human rights have an important role to play in supporting the objectives of social protection which include the prevention of poverty and inequality, ensuring solidarity and inclusion, and creating economically and socially fairer societies. They offer a normative basis and a legal imperative for requiring that states realize the right to social security for their […]
Children’s welfare in Senegal
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Women and children’s social and economic rights (including health) in Uganda
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Equal access to health and family planning information for all women in Hungary
The communication was filed with regards to the alleged forced sterilization of an ethnic Roma woman by medical staff pursuant to an emergency caesarian section that was required to remove a deceased fetus. The Committee found that previous medical care, the poor medical condition of the victim, A.S., upon arrival at the hospital, short time […]
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The Political Economy of Mineral Resource Governance and Children’s Rights in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea has had a diverse history of contestation over resource revenues during its past forty years since independence. The major actors have been the national and provincial level governments and politicians, international development agencies, resources companies and local landowners in project development areas. This paper explores the debates over decentralization and the distribution […]
The State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance for every child
Every child has the right to health, education and protection, and every society has a stake in expanding children’s opportunities in life. Yet, around the world, millions of children are denied a fair chance for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. The State of the World’s Children […]
Case Study On The St. Lucia National Eligibility Test
Establishing gender and child responsive social protection schemes that ensure universal access to health care including maternity care, and basic income security, will protect women and their families from the effects of economic shocks and crises that may result in job and wage losses. UN Women and UNICEF through the UN Joint Programme on Social […]
Extending Social Protection to Children (South Africa)
Of the 23 million children under the age of 18 in South Africa, about 60 per cent lives in poverty. The Child Support Grant (CSG), introduced in 1998, initially covered only 10 per cent of poor children. Incremental changes in the eligibility criteria and successful awareness-raising campaigns increased the coverage to 11.7 million poor children […]