Children’s rights organisations have called for a national policy on poverty to protect vulnerable families from bureaucratic failures.
The government has devolved responsibility for a range of social provisions such as youth care services in recent years, but Defence for Children and Save the Children said the practice has led to more arbitrary and inconsistent decision-making.
In a report published on Tuesday, researchers said that ‘a child’s postcode determines their opportunities’ and found ‘significant differences’ in municipalities’ anti-poverty strategies, services for children and the way they defined the low income threshold.
They also said that measures to tackle poverty focused too heavily on compensating the consequences of poverty, such as offering free school and sports equipment, while neglecting the root causes.
Researchers said the government needed to be pro-active in tackling the problem at national level, for instance by setting targets to reduce the number of children living in poverty and providing more universal public services.