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Child Poverty

Kinderarmut in der EU - Dokumentation der AGF-Fachveranstaltung

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Nowadays, approximately 19 percent of the children and young people under the age of 18 in the European Union live on or below the poverty threshold. According to the definition of the term ‘poverty’ less than 60 percent of the respective national medium income is available to them. Thereby almost every fifth child in one of the world’s richest regions is affected by poverty.

The poverty of these children and young people is predominantly a relative poverty. Nevertheless, this does not limit the meaning of her individual poverty experiences. Particularly in basically well-to-do societies poverty has a stigma which leads to social exclusion and disadvantage. Even in Europe there are cases of existence threatening poverty, with known consequences on the physical and psychological development of children and young people. Children from poor homes seldom obtain a good graduation, they more often than others live in cramped living spaces and in difficult social spheres. They get into conflicts with the police more often, mostly obtain limited and basic social contacts and suffer more frequently from health problems. For poor children and young people it is much more difficult to gain a foothold in society and to later actively reshape this. Growing up in poverty greatly limits the personal development possibilities and the future chances of the affected children. The earlier and the longer a child grows up in poverty, the greater this fact affects his present and future prospects in life.

Hence, combating child poverty in Europe must become a political task of the utmost importance. It is not only to be understood as an expression of the recognition of the dignity and the rights of children and young people but also as an investment in the future of Europe.

 

For the AGF child poverty has been an important focus since 2007. In expert discussions and conferences the AGF works, together with experts from Germany and the EU to bring the subject further into the public eye and to develop effective strategies. This occurs last but not least against the background of the European Year against Poverty and Social Exclusion, declared as the year 2010. The purposes of the European year are the recognition of the fundamental right of poverty affected persons to a life of dignity, as well as comprehensive participation in society, the reinforced sensitization for the problem of poverty and for political countermeasures, as well as the enlargement of the political engagement of the European Union and her member states for the removal of poverty and social exclusion. The preliminary highpoint of the AGF operations on child poverty is the Position Paper on the fight against and the prevention of child poverty in the European Union which was provided together with European experts in a process of two subject specific discussions and conferences. The participants of the conference on child poverty in the EU from the 30th August - 01st September, 2009 after intensive discussion, dismissed the position paper which since then has formed a basis for further debate.