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KidsCan says worsening child poverty shows urgent government action needed

The latest child poverty statistics – showing 36,000 more children living below the poverty line – are hugely concerning, but not surprising, KidsCan says. The figures mirror the demand the charity is facing, with more than 200 schools and early childhood centres waiting for support – the biggest waitlist since 2018. KidsCan is calling on government to invest much more in tackling child poverty.

“We’re deeply concerned, but sadly not surprised by these figures. The cost-of-living crisis is having a devastating impact on children’s lives. Every day, we hear harrowing stories of kids going without the very basics. We are facing record demand, and we need the government to put child poverty at the forefront of its agenda. Investing in our most vulnerable children is crucial,” KidsCan’s CEO Julie Chapman says.

In a recent survey of its partner schools, KidsCan asked if poverty was improving or worsening in their communities. 65 per cent of the 347 schools who responded said it was getting worse. 15 per cent said it was static. Just six per cent thought it was improving.

Hundreds of teachers shared stories of worsening poverty, reporting students surviving on instant noodles, siblings sharing uniforms and shoes, and petrol costs affecting attendance. Unaffordable housing was a major factor, with schools reporting children growing up in motels, tents, and overcrowded homes, including 14 people in one two-bedroom house.

“Housing costs are consuming far too much of people’s meagre incomes, forcing families to work multiple jobs to put food on the table. And it’s not just parents working – it’s their children too. It comes at the expense of their education, and that’s not something we should accept,” Chapman says.

47 KidsCan partner schools reported students who had taken on part-time jobs to help their families survive, or left school altogether to work. Some students were forced to turn down university places to take on low paying jobs instead.

“We want to see housing become much more affordable, and we must wrap support around children so they can stay in school. Education is their pathway out of poverty,” Chapman says.

 

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