Do more to fight poverty among Dutch children: child rights organizations

(Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons). ((Photo: Ranveig/Dodo / Wikimedia Commons))

Children's rights organizations Save the Children and Defense for Children are calling on the Dutch government to do more to fight poverty among hundreds of thousands of kids in the Netherlands, ANP reports. 

According to recent figures from Statistics Netherlands, 421 thousand children in the Netherlands are growing up in low income families. That is an eighth of all kids in the Netherlands. 131 thousand of them live in long-term poverty. They run the risk of having too little to eat, not enough clothing and being socially excluded because they can not participate in extra activities at school. Children who grow up in poverty are also more likely to end up in poverty as adults.

The two children's rights organizations want children to be better heard. They therefore sent a number recommendations to State Secretary Jetta Klijnsma of Social Affairs and a European Commission representative to help lift children out of poverty.

Municipalities should involve children more in making policy that affect them. In the Netherlands municipalities are responsible for the poverty policy and they are required to involve children in the formation of that policy. But in practice not even 5 percent of the municipalities involve children. And those that do often don't ask children from poor circumstances.

The organizations also want to change the policy that children have no independent access to social security. They are currently dependent on their parents for that.

Vulnerable children, such as child refugees, young people in child welfare or children with a disability, need to be offered extra protection. The organizations feel particular attention should be paid to children on the Antillean islands, where poverty is more common on average than in the rest of the Netherlands.