Children in poverty a disgrace
So who’s responsibility is it to ensure that children in B.C. are not living in poverty?
Are we going to say that the kids should be pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps? Or stick to the perpetually flawed argument that it’s up to the children’s families to provide for their own, just as it was up to the parents of the parents before, and so on? Or…?
There don’t seem to be any workable solutions in B.C. to the reality of child poverty, if the information provided in the most recent B.C. Child Poverty Report Card is any indication. It gives the province a flunking grade, noting that one in five B.C. children are living in poverty according to the 2013 stats – the most recent available.
That’s 85,450 children being taught they live in a society that doesn’t care enough about them to provide a reasonable standard of living; whose chances of success in school, at a career, and as parents with families of their own are diminished from the get-go.
“Poverty robs children of their potential,” said Michael McKnight, CEO of the United Way of the Lower Mainland in response to the report card. “It not only raises social costs; it threatens our future prosperity. We need a concerted effort from all levels of government to bring the poverty rate down for families with children.”
Hardly news. So what have we done about it? Not much recently. The report states that between 2012 and 2013 the child poverty rate remains virtually unchanged: from 20.6 per cent to 20.4 per cent.
But that’s a stellar performance if you compare it to what’s happened since 1989, when the Canadian House of Commons passed an all-party resolution to eliminate child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. Since then the rate in B.C. has increased from 15.5 per cent to 20.4 per cent – or to put it another way, there are almost 30 per cent more children living in poverty today than there were 26 years ago.