Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Poverty is Child Abuse

The Child Poverty Action Group calculates that 220,000 children live in poverty in Scotland. That’s one in five children, but we know that in some areas, that figure is one in three. We know that in some areas out of a class of 30 children, ten of them can be living in poverty.

Living in poverty puts health, wellness and the ability to do well at school at risk. It’s not just a case of not having nice clothes and not being able to go on holidays. We are dealing with families who rely on food banks and emergency grants, not to get over a difficult time, but to survive. We are living in a society now where GPs routinely ask people, when they can find no other cause for their pain or illness, if they have enough to eat.

Living in poverty creates long-term difficulties for these children, who grow up at greater risk of mental ill health, chronic illness, unemployment and homelessness; and so the cycle continues.

 The Institute of Fiscals studies acknowledges that poverty increased quickly between 2011-12 and 2014-15 and further states that it will continue to increase with the introduction of Universal Credit, the latest iteration of the welfare reforms. It’s a well-acknowledged fact that only around 40 per cent of the cuts have so far impacted and that 2015-16 is to be the harshest year to date. And literally, we haven’t see the half of it yet. Many of the people are fearful for what the future holds, some are looking at a further reduction in benefit of £70 per child. Can you imagine the despair of parents who are fully aware of being unable to meet the basic needs of their children? Can you imagine the impact of the indignity of living in long-term poverty? And most importantly, can you imagine the impact on children’s confidence and self-worth?

Most people think that child protection is about abuse. The common perception is that if an issue is deemed to be a child protection matter, then the child is being physically or sexually abused or neglected. The image that the public often come up with is a child whose parents are drug addicts or alcoholics. A single mother with a violent partner. When you mention child protection, one thing people are unlikely to think of is poverty. Poverty is a child protection issue and with the increase in the numbers of families living in poverty it is becoming more and more of a problem in Scotland. If you don’t have enough money to buy food, your child goes hungry. If you don’t have enough money to heat your home and buy clothes, your child will be cold. If you don’t have enough money to pay your rent, your child will be homeless. This is child abuse committed by capitalism. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Learning to organise

Shining shoes, mining and herding animals among the many jobs done by an estimated 750,000 children between five and 17 in Bolivia. Rodrigo Medrano Calle is a Bolivian labour leader who meets and lobbies top government officials. That's not surprising in a country where pay is often low, working conditions harsh and unions play a powerful role in society. Rodrigo is just 14 years old, and his union's members are all children, the Bolivian Union of Child and Adolescent Workers (Unatsbo), which represents thousands of under-18s.  In Bolivia, its successes include organising pay rises for children who sell newspapers on the city streets of Potosí from 6 cents (½p) to 12 cents a paper, using negotiations and the threat of strikes. And it's not just a Bolivian phenomenon: there are similar organisations in Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia.

Bolivia's informal economy includes everyone from bricklayers to farmers to shoeshiners, who work without contracts and set schedules. Many adults are part of this market, as are the great majority of child and adolescent workers. Child workers are in a legal blindspot: their work is prohibited and so they have very little defence if employers exploit them through long hours, physical or verbal abuse or refusing to pay a decent wage. "If you have to work, then you have to work exploited,"  Luz Rivera Daza, an adult counsellor for Unatsbo, said . "This just makes you more vulnerable."

In a country where poverty is widespread and the minimum wage is $150 a month, living expenses can overwhelm a family. Young workers seem to be everywhere. In the countryside they help their parents in the fields, herd sheep and llamas, or do the brutal work of mining or the sugar cane harvest.

Rodrigo believes that instead of attempting to end many forms of child and adolescent work, the goal should be ending exploitation by creating part-time, safe and better paying jobs for young people who want them. "Why should there be a minimum age if the work is voluntary?" he asked. "The work of a child or adolescent is not bad – it helps society, it helps a family, and it helps us grow as people."

In Marx's time, working class children spent the greater part of each day slaving in factories. Clearly, this had to cease immediately. However, Marx did not believe that all this time was better devoted to classroom learning. This, too, would stunt the child's development. Instead he favoured an education that "will in the case of every child over a given age, combine productive labor with instruction and gymnastics, not only as one of the methods of adding to the efficiency of production but as the only method of producing fully developed human beings." In capitalism, parents have considerable control over their children's health, education, work but, given the parents' own problems and limitations, this power is seldom used as well as it should. In Capital Marx quotes approvingly John Bellers a 17th century English writer, on this subject: "An idle learning is being little better than the learning of idleness... Labor being as proper for the body's health as eating is for its living; A childish silly employ... leaves the children's minds silly." In the Gotha Programme Marx writes that "technical instruction, both theoretical and practical, will take its proper place in working class schools." (our emphasis)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Fact for Today

Every day in Scotland 60 children become homeless – that is nearly 22,000 a year.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

the price of kids

The cost of raising a child in Scotland until their 21st birthday has risen to £203,000 – or £26.50 a day – a report has revealed. The study shows the cost of bringing up a child has risen by 50% since the firms’s first Cost of A Child Report in 2003. It has gone up by an inflation-busting 4.5%, from £194,337, in the last year alone.

Childcare and education – excluding private school fees – account for the biggest costs to parents. Childcare is estimated cost £67,430 over the course of a child’s upbringing. Other regular expenses that have risen in cost at a rate higher than inflation include clothing, which is up 11.7% compared to last year, holidays (up 6.4%), food (up 5.9%) and personal care items, such as toiletries, which have risen by 5.1%. Overall childcare costs are £84 for 25 hours a week – more than half the gross average part-time weekly earnings of £160. In addition, Government support to parents to fund childcare is going down – from 80% to 70%.

"Three-quarters of parents said they were having to economise because of the financial pressures they were under, with nearly half making savings on holidays.” Satwat Rehman, director of One Parent Families Scotland, said those on lower incomes were particularly vulnerable to rising costs. "The cost of basics are going up and the greatest impact is on parents who are at the greatest risk of poverty.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

scottish child poverty

The number of children living in poverty has risen for the first time in more than a decade, figures have revealed.

Official statistics showed there were 210,000 youngsters in Scotland who were classed as being in relative poverty in 2008-09.

That is a rise of 10,000 on the previous year and means 21% of children are now affected by the problem.

Another success for the reformers !!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Children at risk ?

A series of studies published reveals child poverty may be more serious for many families than had been previously believed.the Scottish government's latest estimate is that 20% of children live below the low-income threshold ( calculated at £17,000 a year for two adults living with two children or £13,000 for a lone parent with two children.)

But researchers on the Growing Up in Scotland programme, which has been tracking children of 8,000 families since 2005, said the figure was actually higher-they calculate it at 24%.It showed that children growing up in poverty are more likely to be obese, suffer more accidents and injuries, and are more than twice as likely to suffer behavioural, emotional and social problems.Also found was that a third of Scottish mothers suffered mental health problems in the last four years.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Poverty makes you thick

A Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience study was described as a "wake-up call" about the impact of social deprivation.
Normal nine and 10-year-olds from rich and poor backgrounds had differing electrical activity in a part of the brain linked to problem solving. The brains of children from low-income families process information differently to those of their wealthier counterparts.
Since the children were, in health terms, normal in every way, the researchers suspected that "stressful environments" created by low socioeconomic status might be to blame.
Dr Mark Kishiyama, one of the researchers, said: "The low socioeconomic kids were not detecting or processing the visual stimuli as well - they were not getting that extra boost from the prefrontal cortex."
Previous studies have suggested that children in low-income families are spoken to far less - on average hearing 30 million fewer words by the age of four.
Professor Robert Knight, added: "This is a wake-up call - it's not just that these kids are poor and more likely to have health problems, but they might actually not be getting full brain development from the stressful and relatively impoverished environment associated with low socioeconomic status."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A caring society ??

THE number of Scottish children in care is at its highest in two decades and youngsters are being pushed on to the streets at just 16, leaving them vulnerable to addiction, violence and homelessness a new report from Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People .

The report highlights the gulf between children brought up with their families – who are increasingly staying at home until well into their twenties – and those who are in care.Although Scottish Government policy dictates that children should leave at 18, six times as many are leaving at 16, often coerced by social services.The report found that children with "challenging behaviour" are those under most pressure to leave. More than one in 10 reported episodes of homelessness. Some were sent to bed-and-breakfasts - at least one youngster had to share accommodation with a convicted murderer. Senior social work sources said 16-year-olds were being squeezed out to make way for an army of needy children

Author of the report ,Ms Marshall, said: "In many cases children and young people in care are seen as a troublesome burden rather than a vulnerable person to be nurtured. At 16 - the time they need help to cope - many are all but completely abandoned with little, if any aftercare."

The report states that the level of 15- to 18-year-olds who are homeless "represents a shocking failure in corporate parenting".It claims authorities are either failing to keep under-18s within the care system, or not supporting them afterwards in accordance with the legal duty that extends to the age of 19. Although the laws and the policy in place supported the children and prioritised their interests, there was a gulf between that and practice.

Tam Baillie, the assistant director of Policy and Influencing at Barnardo's Scotland, said: "Nowadays, most young people stay at home well into their twenties, yet most looked-after young people leave care aged 16 or 17. We need to ask ourselves why our most vulnerable young people are expected to be fully independent at such a young age, often in very difficult circumstances..."

Elsewhere , we read more than a quarter of drug addicts due to receive treatment have been waiting for more than a year .

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Most adults in the UK believe that children's well-being is being damaged because childhood has become too commercial, a lifestyle poll has found. The children's market is worth an estimated £30 billion a year.

The Children's Society said adults had to "take responsibility for the current level of marketing to children...To accuse children of being materialistic in such a culture is a cop-out," said the chief executive of the society. "Unless we question our own behaviour as a society we risk creating a generation who are left unfulfilled through chasing unattainable lifestyles."

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is patron of the inquiry, said: "Children should be encouraged to value themselves for who they are as people rather than what they own. The selling of lifestyles to children creates a culture of material competitiveness and promotes acquisitive individualism at the expense of the principles of community and co-operation." [ The capitalist press certainly aren't making this remark by the Archbishop front page headline news as they did with his Sharia law comment , are they ?]

One member of the childhood inquiry panel has warned that the commercial pressures on youngsters may have damaging psychological effects. Professor Philip Graham, Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Institute of Child Health in London, said:
"One factor that may be leading to rising mental health problems is the increasing degree to which children and young people are preoccupied with possessions; the latest in fashionable clothes and electronic equipment. Evidence both from from the United States and from the UK suggests that those most influenced by commercial pressures also show higher rates of mental health problems," .

The Good Childhood report found:
"Advertising to children was ruthless and exploitative and they should not be viewed as small consumers, particularly for younger children with impressionable minds."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The usual Xmas story

A shortage of affordable housing has left 130,000 children homeless in England this Christmas – an increase of 128 per cent in the past decade, according to research by the shadow housing minister Grant Shapps.

The Tories claim the impact of homelessness on children goes beyond the misery of not having a permanent roof above their heads, making them far more likely to suffer from medical and social problems. The "social failure" of child homelessness is often followed by mental, physical and educational disadvantage. A homeless child is twice as likely to be admitted to an Accident & Emergency department, four times as likely to have respiratory infections and six times as likely to suffer speech impediments, as a child with a fixed address.

Director of the homeless charity the Simon Community, welcomed the report and its conclusions, saying: "What children need is a stable, healthy environment with people who love them, but also where they aren't constantly moving from one piece of low-quality housing to another, or have the threat of that hanging over them, because the housing stock in the UK is so desperately limited."

Mr Shapps said: "For 130,000 homeless children in England, this Christmas is unlikely to be much fun... "

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The unfairness of schooling

England's grammar schools are "ghettos for the advantaged", doing little to alleviate poverty.

Research showed just 2% of pupils in grammars received free school meals, compared with 13% nationally. And in some grammars more than one third of pupils had come from fee-paying schools .

Professor Jesson said: "Far from providing 'ladders of opportunity' for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, grammar schools are more like 'ghettos of the advantaged'.
Grammar schools do not offer a ladder of opportunity to any but a very small number of disadvantaged pupils. In fact, their recruitment policies tend to favour pupils from more prosperous communities where eligibility for free school meals and other measures of deprivation are at very low levels. Parents who can afford to send their children to private fee-paying schools have a distinct advantage in securing places at local grammar schools over pupils from state junior schools who are similarly able."

Other research on grammar schools from Northern Ireland concluded "that the effect of attending grammar school is similar for those from higher and lower income groups". But access to grammar schools was very unequal .

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fear of the Future

Primary school children are suffering from "deep anxiety" about modern life, according to a study of education in England.

Many expressed concern about climate change, global warming and pollution, the gulf between rich and poor, and terrorism.

The report concluded that prospects for the society and world that young children would inherit looked "increasingly perilous".

The research team had found "unease about the present and pessimism about the future".

What a society we are bequeathing our next generation .