Child poverty in The Netherlands will rise again in 2023

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Rising energy prices and the post-Covid fall out are just two of the reasons why nearly 10 per cent of children in The Netherlands will be living in poverty in 2023.

Yet in the face of these gloomy predictions from the national Central Planning Bureau (CPB), it is vital, say youth leaders, to engage with families to tackle problems as early as possible.

This is the first year that the CPB’s predictions include poverty, adding that it is increasing because inflation means people need more money to meet their basic needs, yet income levels are only rising slightly. As a result, it adds, the percentage of people suffering poverty will increase from 7.1 to 7.6 per cent in 2023 – and for children it could be as high as 9.5 per cent.

But it could get worse than, with the CPB also acknowledging that the figures are ‘an underestimation of the problem’.

Ellen Donkers, of the Netherlands Youth Institute (Nederlands Jeugdinstituut), said: “Parents get a lot of stress because of money worries. As a youth professional you can’t do anything about (their) finances but you can talk to parents. This makes them feel less alone.”

‘You need to know what help is available’

And it’s precisely these professionals, adds Donkers, who have regular contact with many parents who can identify problems as they emerge, and respond with the support that is needed. She points to the examples of pedagogical staff in childcare and professionals in youth health care, saying: “You do need to know what help is available in the municipality and what funds are available. At primary school and in healthcare you can talk about it calmly in one-on-one contact with parents.” School parent evenings and even newsletters are also a source of communication.

“A short period of money worries in a family does not immediately cause major problems for children, but the longer a family lives in poverty, the more there are consequences. If prices remain, more families will be in trouble for a longer period of time. That requires structural solutions.”

Click here for more on the CPB’s projections.

Author: Simon Weedy

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