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Child poverty -article in guardian weekend magazine

(25 Posts)
rhinobaby Sun 05-Jun-11 15:13:10

Any one read this?
I found it so sad - despite being aware of the terrible amount of children living in poverty in this country, something about hearing it from these kids' points of view made it so much worse. Not sure what I can do... am going to set up donation to barnados.

soverylucky Sun 05-Jun-11 18:50:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

coastgirl Sun 05-Jun-11 18:52:18

It was very sad reading, but I'm not sure that we can really do anything - obviously support the charities that work in these areas but the problems aren't really caused by a lack of money on the whole. It goes very deep in some places and it's about job opportunities, education, aspirations, housing stock etc etc.

NanaNina Sun 05-Jun-11 23:49:44

rhino baby - I too found the article very sad and thought provoking. I have spent 30 years of my working life in children's services as a social worker and manager, and have been involved in countless similar cases, but somehow the words of these children just jumped off the page and made me think again that we are not born equal (as politicians would have it) as in "we are all in this together" bullshit. We live in a society where the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" is widening by the day with this government, although it has always been there, regardless of which govt is in power. It is a cycle of deprivation that no-one knows how to break into and those poor kids are right, they will in all probability live the same kind of lives as adults as they are as kids.

I remember many years ago doing sociology and a book called "Born to Fail" which as far as I recall addesses the issue of children born into families who have no hope of employment, decent housing, good health, sufficient money, interest in their children's development and educational attainment etc etc etc.

I don't think the answer is to donate to Barnardoes to be honest but then I am particularly opposed to the voluntary organisations who are able to pick and choose what involvement they will have with children and their families. They don't have any statutory responsibility as social services depts do, and they get a large grant from the govt as well as donations. They do run some good projects but have the time and the luxury to decide what they will do, which is not the case for social workers.

Those NSPCC ads drive me mad, because all that they do when they fet a referral of child abuse is to pass it on the social services, and they do not make this clear in the adverts and many people think that they actually do resuce children from abuse and this is not the case. Again they run projects and some of them are successful but it is not the same as having statutory responsibility for child protection.

Sorry I'm having a rant. I don't know what the answer is either after 30 years of social work. I think the Scandinavian countries have better social care policies which prevent such dire poverty and all that goes with it, but I don't have any details.

All we can be certain of is that with this govt we can expect the gap between the "haves" and the "have not" to be wider than every before in our lifetimes.

crispyambulance Sun 05-Jun-11 23:51:12

marking to read tomorrow

weetabixkid Mon 06-Jun-11 02:44:13

I agree with coastgirl that it's not just a matter of money. I grew up on a council estate and I am raising my child on a council estate in London. We have lived on benefits in the past and yet I would say our family situation has not been as bad as those in the article. For example, we can always afford properly fitting uniform, even if it's from Asda, and we've gone on cheap holidays.

My neighbours here are all poor, but value education quite strongly and there's not a big drug problem here, although there are a lot of recent immigrants. I think that helps define what kind of aspirations they have: although most of the children here go to the 'worst' school in the area, the fact that they're able to get a good free education at all is considered a privilege by the parents, and most of them are expected to continue to college.

I think this type of community, which is common in London, is quite different from those described in the article (which are in the north or in more provincial cities). On the surface they are quite similar, in terms of housing and finances, but the attitudes are very different.

Riveninside Mon 06-Jun-11 20:41:19

So sad its still like this. I grew up like this decades ago. Ouldy walls, broken things, meter always running out and going without food. And nothing hasbreally changed sad
I thought CTC was meant to help people out of the poverty that existed when i was little?

wikolite Mon 06-Jun-11 21:03:06

Its not a surprise the number of workless households has been on the rise for some years. Add to that single parent households where the mother only works part time then they're always going to struggle.

Mellowfruitfulness Wed 08-Jun-11 17:32:18

Interesting post, Nananina.

Did anyone see a BBC prog last night called Poor Kids? It was very harrowing. They gave us a link at the end: and search for Poor Kids.

I think what we can do is challenge the attitudes - all over the media, and on MN too - that everyone on benefits is a lazy ne'er-do-well, which makes me so angry. And every time some rich person says, 'I worked hard for what I've got', you can reply that although that might be perfectly true, there are lots of people who work extremely hard but simply cannot break out of poverty, no matter what they do. We live in a society tha is terribly unjust. sad

RobF Wed 08-Jun-11 19:12:23

Having children while out of work should be made to be completely socially unacceptable. These kids are not being brought up properly, and throwing money at the situation isn't going to help matters.

Riveninside Wed 08-Jun-11 20:09:54

Not being bought up properly? They seemed lovely.

rhinobaby Thu 09-Jun-11 12:06:45

NanaNina, appreciate your views on giving to charity but as you point out the cycle of deprivation gets worse no matter who is in power, and current government cuts can only make things worse. Given that I can't donate to my local social services, at least Barnados seem to operate projects that help some of the children in need (and give examples of area specific projects eg in bristol and manchester.) Agree NSPCC seems to be more about raising awareness (as if this will magically stop an abuser?) than offering specific help although I haven't checked their website.
I have recorded Poor Kids but as I'm sure will be depressing, will wait for the right moment...
Agree will Mellowfruitfulness about challenging attitudes - but you can't stop people reading/ believing the Daily Mail.
But saying people out of work should not have kids -??? What if you lose your job/ become ill when you have already had them? Poverty of aspiration is what causes people to choose young parenthood over work, need to improve education/ support for all. (plus some teenages parents then try really hard to improve their life chances once they realised their babies deserve better.)

DooinMeCleanin Thu 09-Jun-11 12:19:14

RobF I agree lets sterilise anyone who doesn't earn more than 50k eh? We all know that abuse and neglect doesn't happen in the middle classes don't we hmm

niceguy2 Thu 09-Jun-11 12:22:33

It's sad to see any child live in poverty but personally I think often it's not the amount of money we give people which is the problem but how they spend it.

For example, I know many single mum's on benefits. By & large they all manage fine. There is one however who seems to be continually in debt. Over winter, she had a massive rant about how her & the kids had to huddle on in blankets Thurs - Sun as she can only afford to have heating on Mon - Wed.

Funny thing is though that I have a friend with the same number of kids, also on full benefits. She can afford to heat her house whilst at the same time run a modest car. The main difference i can see is that my friend doesn't have a 30 a day ciggie habit whilst the other lady does!

My point is that it often comes down to priorities. I find it bizarre that any mother would prioritise her fags over heating for her & her kids. In that context I dont see why we should give her more state money and secondly how it will help her kids.

DooinMeCleanin Thu 09-Jun-11 12:28:31

Yes it is often down to budgeting. But it's a viscous circle. Children grow up like this with parents who have poor budgeting skills and a limited education. It's all they know. They then go onto have children of their own and the pattern repeats itself.

More money does need to go into the system, but not neccessarily directly to the parents. There should more help available to help parents with budgeting, shopping around, cooking from scratch etc.

They are not being taught this by their parents, how are they meant to teach their own children?

Gooseberrybushes Thu 09-Jun-11 12:33:03

I think there is very little to be done, apart from intervention, which is often resented, and improvements to the National Curriculum, which I think are being effected.

If there is no aspiration there is no social mobility. "Social mobility" is a cliche phrase but it encompasses hope as well as ambition. If either is missing then it takes an unusual person to fight their way out.

Social mobility is not a product of increased income but improved education.

niceguy2 Thu 09-Jun-11 16:22:23

There should more help available to help parents with budgeting, shopping around, cooking from scratch etc.

There is! It's called Google!

I taught myself the art of moneysaving using Before that I didn't have a clue what APR's were. Now I shop around for everything and eek every penny I can on bills etc.

Cooking from scratch. I couldn't do anything. Taught myself using simple recipes found on the Internet and worked my way up.

If we are to pump more money into the system then I agree that this should be targeted towards schemes which help people to help themselves. As the old saying goes "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"

Hopefully the whole "Throw money at the problem" ideology of Labour is long gone.

freerangeeggs Thu 09-Jun-11 17:40:28

niceguy2, when I worked in a poor area the vast majority of the kids didn't have internet access, except in school.

Even those who managed to get access outside the home had very poor IT skills.

What a bloody ignorant thing to say

MumblingRagDoll Thu 09-Jun-11 17:45:53

Niceguy you sound lile a self congratulatory twat.

Riveninside Thu 09-Jun-11 17:46:21

30% of brits do not have a computer or internet access i read. I bet thats concentrated among elderly and poor.
Would you be making the same suggestions to the struggling elderly poor? Patronising them too or agreeing the basic pention tax credit is inadequate?

Mellowfruitfulness Thu 09-Jun-11 18:35:14

I think it's great that Niceguy managed to do those things him/herself - but that doesn't mean that everyone can!

Everyone's circumstances, abilities, opportunities are different. Just because family A managed to make a difficult situation better doesn't mean that family B will be able to. There are so many factors involved, and those of us on the outside looking in cannot possibly know what it's like to live with the combination of problems these families are struggling with.

We've got to stop judging them and start helping them! A good place to start would be by trying to even out social injustices. Clearly it's impossible to eradicate poverty, but the day we stop trying is the day we stop having any faith in the human race. Imo.

Mellowfruitfulness Thu 09-Jun-11 19:05:53

And the way I see it, no-one would actually choose to live like the families in the programme. So the fact that they do probably shows that they really don't know how to get out of it or their problems are simply too hard for them to overcome on their own.

Meglet Thu 09-Jun-11 21:55:24

niceguy I did a maths refresher course last Autumn. None of the other students had home internet access.

Yes, a library has access but that means you can only use it at certain times. Not very practical if you need to check paperwork, read energy bills etc.

EldonAve Thu 09-Jun-11 22:02:36

Hundreds of thousands of mothers and fathers in London are only "functionally literate", meaning they have the reading age of an 11-year-old.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 10-Jun-11 17:24:29

It's a vicious circle when the parents are relied upon by the National Curriculum to do the reading and teach times tables with their children.

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