Greece Losing Child Poverty Fight

The government has not been doing enough to combat child poverty, Deputy Ombudsman Giorgos Moschos told a Greek parliamentary committee.

ATHENS – While Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is getting ready to have 500 euro social dividends sent to some victims of austerity, the government has not been doing enough to combat child poverty, Deputy Ombudsman Giorgos Moschos told a parliamentary committee.

He told MPs on the equality and human rights committee that a panel of experts at the National Center for Social Research had come to that conclusion after studying a range of figures.

“The team of experts found that children at risk of poverty had risen from 23 percent in 2008 to 30.4 percent in 2011 and that the percentage of children experiencing severe material deprivation rose from 18.7 percent to 29.2 percent,” he said, adding that the proportion of children living in a household where neither parent works tripled to 9.2 percent.

“So far there has been no strong political commitment to fighting child poverty in Greece,” Moschos said.

In a report last month, UNICEF stated that one in three children in Greece was at risk of poverty or social expulsion, or some 686,000. The agency blamed rising unemployment and cuts in welfare benefits. 292,000 children live in households with no working adults and have no access to health care system.

“Conditions for children have deteriorated in Greece in recent years, as a result of a reduction in welfare benefits, rising parental unemployment, poverty and insufficient access to healthcare, according to UNICEF’s report State of Children in Greece 2014 – The Repercussions of the Economic Crisis on Children.