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Last Updated: Monday, 14 March, 2005, 07:38 GMT
Call for action on child poverty
Child on a bench (generic)
There are signs that youth crime is beginning to fall
A quarter of Welsh children are living in households at or below the poverty threshold, a report has revealed.

Charity Save the Children published the survey on Monday, which has given an insight into the lives of children.

It also looks at indicators measuring the well-being of children, such as health, lifestyle, education, housing, care and crime.

The charity has called on the Welsh Assembly Government to take action to tackle problems facing young people.

Richard Powell, director of Save the Children's Wales programme, said: "Tackling child poverty is an ongoing challenge, this study shows that much work remains to be done in Wales.

"Whilst we acknowledge the Assembly Government's Child Poverty Strategy, this report emphasises the need for urgent action."

'Scandal'

The assembly's Child Poverty Strategy was published in February, and the charity wants to see sufficient funding to implement the strategy, with clear targets and a timetable for action set out.

"The purpose of this report is to show that although some things have improved for children in Wales, things have actually got worse in some sectors," Mr Powell added.

"It's a national scandal that a quarter of children are still living in poverty in Wales when our country is one of the richest in the world.

"We know where the vulnerable children are, we have a framework to do something about it, but we need more resources to make sure that we get results."

Obesity

He said the most vulnerable children were travellers, asylum seekers, those with mental health problems and those in care.

The report, written by Jonathan Bradshaw from the University of York, does note some encouraging trends in Wales.

It has the lowest infant mortality rates in the UK and there are signs youth crime is beginning to fall.

Child protection registrations in Wales decreased from 4.0 per 1000 to 3.4 per 1000 between 1999 and 2003, but are higher than elsewhere in Britain.

More children are also are being looked after by local authorities in Wales year on year.

The region has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the UK and childhood obesity levels are on the rise, particularly in boys.

While the percentage of children in Wales leaving school without any qualifications has fallen, the rate for both boys and girls is still the highest in Britain.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said: "The Child Poverty Strategy takes a broad view of the impact of poverty on children's lives, including poverty of experience and opportunity.

"The assembly government budget for the next three years includes a substantial injection of new money into early years services and this budget will be used to support implementation of the strategy."


SEE ALSO:
Wales on child poverty map
13 Dec 04 |  Wales


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