United Nations (EFE).- The Caixa Proinfancia programme, promoted by the “la Caixa” Foundation together with the High Commissioner against Child Poverty of the Spanish Government and Save the Children, has been presented at the United Nations and set as an example as an effective tool against child poverty, whose eradication is among the priorities of the UN, the EU and the Government of Spain.
Although Spain is a high-income country, the incidence of child poverty is very high (28.9% of children, or 2.4 million according to the latest available figures, from 2020), only surpassed within the EU by Romania, and this mainly affects single-parent families, those with one or both migrant parents and households with three or more children; In addition, in all of them there is a “low intensity of employment”.
To enter the category of “child poverty” the following criteria are used: income of less than 100 euros/month per family member, diet that cannot meet the minimum healthy standards established by the World Health Organization (WHO), lack of access to early childhood education and homes without insulation against cold or heat.
The “la Caixa” Foundation promoted the program in 2007
The “la Caixa” Foundation launched the Proinfancia program in 2007 to alleviate all these phenomena, and last year the initiative had 61,500 beneficiaries, according to figures from the Foundation’s director, Antonio Vila, who traveled to New York to present the program within the framework of the “forum of alliances” of ECOSOC, the main economic and social body of the UN.
The person in charge of the entity’s social area, Marc Simó, explained that the program has a great territorial implantation (it is present in 128 towns in Spain and has 420 entities associated, many of them municipal or neighborhood-based) and invested last year a average of 1,091 euros per person, but it has highlighted above all the results: 81% of the beneficiary children pass secondary education, a percentage similar to that of the general population.
The director of Save the Children in Spain, Andrés Conde, has highlighted the “devastating effect” that child poverty has, as it translates into less access to education and health, which entails a lower level of citizen participation, in a perverse cycle that means that “the majority of those who are born poor die poor.”
Conde praised the achievements of the Proinfancia program, for its unprecedented duration of more than 15 years, for the involvement of the public sector (which allows, for example, access to socioeconomic data to better choose the beneficiaries) and for the involvement of associations, which often translates into the availability of premises for an activity.
The High Commissioner for Child Poverty of the Spanish Government, Ernesto Gasco, also spoke at the event. To illustrate the importance that the executive gives to this problem, he gave a figure: if two years ago 350 million euros were dedicated to the fight against child poverty, this number increased tenfold in 2022.
Sources from his office have explained to EFE that the latest absolute figures for child poverty (2.4 million children) date from 2020 and it is certain that they will have improved in the next measurement, thanks to measures such as employment growth, the increase in minimum wage and labor market protection measures.
They have also detailed that the most up-to-date figure currently available amounts to 576,800 households without income, of which 121,400 include children.