The government commission has said “radical new approaches” will be needed to tackle the deficit of support for child poverty, with charities playing an instrumental part. The call has been spurred on by recent fears that the government will be unable to meet its target to half the amount of child poverty by 2020.
The commission set out the role of employers, schools, parents and charities in its State of the Nation Report for 2014, in which it urged the third sector to work together to reframe the case for reducing child poverty and improving social mobility.
Concern for a deficit in support has also been heightened by claims that poverty and inequality is at its highest level ever recorded, and austerity cuts have made it impossible to keep up with a growing demand. The commission said it now considers child poverty to be a “top five issue” amongst voters.
“Framing poverty and inequality as a benefits issue does not speak to the substance of public concerns and risks alienating people otherwise sympathetic to the aim of reducing poverty. Charities need to do more to break out of this trap to build a consensus that child poverty and social mobility really do matter for all.
“Both small and large charities can provide employment programmes to help parents build skills and confidence to enable them to re-engage with the workplace.”
The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said charities should provide advice, guidance and support for childcare and early education in order to fulfil an intermediary role to families that need provision.
It also recommends charities and voluntary organisations share the lessons learnt on the front line through the government.
The report said: “If the next government is to make social progress in the face of the challenges it will inherit, it will need to be more focused than at any time in the last 100 years.
“The fiscal constraints facing any incoming government will require a relentless focus of resources and efforts on the policies that make the biggest difference to improving social mobility and reducing child poverty.”
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