The recently released ACOSS report “Poverty in Australia 2014*” clearly identifies the extent of child poverty in Australia according to Karyn Walsh, coordinator of Brisbane’s Micah Projects.
“The report shows that 603,000 children under 15 in Australia are living below the poverty line (50% of median income) and we know it’s a real issue here in Brisbane, too,” said Ms Walsh.
“When we conducted our 500 Lives 500 Campaign** earlier this year to identify those people experiencing or at risk of homelessness,” she said, “our registry teams recorded 537 children living in poverty who were homeless or at risk of or homelessness, including a one month old baby straight out of the maternity ward.
“Even a brief experience of homelessness can have a devastating effect on a child,” said Ms Walsh. “The consequences include missing out on schooling, being separated from their families, health issues including an increased likelihood of hospital or ER admissions, and being denied the social or recreational activities that mean so much to children.
“That’s why the coalition of agencies involved in 500 Lives 500 make it a priority to find secure housing for young families. In the six months since the campaign began, we’ve assisted 27 families including 59 children to have a home and to start a pathway out of poverty.
“Especially during Anti Poverty Week, it’s important to realise that in a wealthy society like Australia we need to be alert to the extent of poverty in our community, and develop ways to reduce the impact of poverty on children and families.”