Spain is already the ‘fourth world’ and does not cover the essential needs of minors

The First Vice President and Minister of Economy and Digital Transformation of the Government of Spain, Nadia Calvino, claims that “the cost of child poverty is devastating” and that “a rich country like Spain cannot have poor children, for reasons of social justice, but also of economic rationality.” For his part, the Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchezundertakes to promote more measures to combat child poverty, which he qualifies as “infamy” because it supposes “a morally unacceptable gapsocially unsustainable and economically suicidal”. But the truth is that since 2015, Spain has gone from 21st to 26th place, out of 27 in the European Union, in child poverty.

It is not necessary to go to the most impoverished countries to identify indicators of social exclusion of childhood. In Spain there is a “fourth world” that is reflected in the alarming child poverty rate27.5%, derived from the neglect of the most basic needs, which have an impact on food, health and education, in homes mired in precariousness, highlighting the residential vulnerability due to the lack of social housing.

It seems that this budget 63,079 million euros per year that was destined to end child povertywhich represents 5.1% of GDP or about 1,300 euros per inhabitant, according to a recent Study of the High Commissioner against Child Poverty of the Spanish Government, it has not been enough so that we go down to the lowest threshold of extreme child poverty in Europe, second only to Romania.

It also highlights the increase in child poverty over the past decade analyzed in the autonomous communities considered most buoyant, as Madrid (from 13% to 17%) and Catalonia (from 10% to 19%).

In 2014, UNICEF already warned of this situation, claiming a State pact to reduce poverty and generate a stable quality education systemsomething that still pending. The current data reflects that it is urgent. And it’s not just a matter of numbers.

An underworld in front of ours

Certainly, there is an underworld. and is before us, around us, in our cities, so invisible as is the hidden face of children and adolescents who do not see their most essential vital needs covered. It is the profile of Spanish children who live in a situation of chronic poverty (in households that are below 40% of the average income), one in four. A sector of the population that has grown by 70% in the first two decades of this century.

Applications for dining room scholarships or summer activities that also cover food needs are a clear indicator and have grown 40% in five years (3 out of 4 families that apply for a scholarship).

Children’s rights are built on the Children’s rights convention on a basic premise: the eradication of child poverty. Because dignity is the beginning of the healthy development of the personality, and integral health is the foundation of survival.

along with the violencethat is the greater concern of the children and adolescents themselvesas stated in the last World Congress for the Rights of Children and Adolescentsin Cordoba, Argentina.

It’s not just one present alarmRather, it reflects the ineffectiveness of the recent past in raising, rather than lowering, those child poverty rates. Also for the future, because we are sowing more inequality of opportunities, more physical and mental health problems, greater social inequality and vulnerability.

Worse salary expectations and chronic diseases

A poor child has lower salary expectations and a higher probability of suffering from chronic diseases in their adulthood because malnutrition in childhood generates irreversible deficiencies in maturity and chronic sequelae, highlighted by the report on The cost of child poverty in Spain.

The child poverty predicts health problems (30 of obesity (36%) y depression (12%), which affects public health costs by 0.5% of GDP (6,079 million euros); and affects the school dropout (28%), which is decisive for access to employment by the lack of higher education (12%).

Those who have better training emigrate and those who do not have professional expectations remainwhich means less tax collection due to loss of productivity and higher social costs to curb exclusion (calculated at around 57,000 million euros per year).

We are not breaking the cycle of child poverty. it is expanding its social and economic impactbecause individual costs have an impact on those that society as a whole must bear with our taxes.

In addition to the need to analyze child poverty rates, directly, on each minor person, it is necessary to determine its incidence in each residential unit, due to their situation of dependency. The resources, including retirement pensions, can have an impact on the provision of the needs of children and adolescents, and for this reason the emphasis is placed on employment situations, labor income and economic returns in the family group.

prevention has failed

But the expectations of eradicating child poverty must go beyond aid or peremptory financial resources; one has to provide fishing rods, as well as fish. Prevention has failed us, and that is where we must influence: parenting skills, family reconciliation, cultural activities and early attention to disorders, paying special attention to early childhood and adolescence as key stages in personality development that have been especially neglected.

The quality of life is the solution to child poverty and it must be faced on the three pillars of the social and democratic system, in terms of governance and human rights of children and adolescents: health, education and justice. and must calibrate and measure based on the independent and empirical evaluation of the real effects of policies on overcoming child poverty. Calculating child poverty rates should show us the face of that childhood so that the measures to combat it are effective in their economic and social return.

Definitively breaking the cycle of child poverty It’s not just a matter of co-responsibility with human rights and social justice, is a challenge that suits us for economic sustainability.

Carlos Villagrasa WardenProfessor of Civil Law, Barcelona University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. read the original.

The Conversation

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