Bid to give kids a better start
COUNCIL chiefs are mobilising agencies across the city to give children a better start in life, Keith Rossiter writes..
In the first year of the global economic crash – 2008 to 2009 – the poverty trap claimed an extra 600 children.
In 2009, the latest figures available, there were a total of 11,700 children under 19 living in families whose weekly income was less than £214. More than 10,000 of them were aged under 16.
A series of reports going to the city council Cabinet on September 11 will set out a new model of partnership working between the city's agencies to tackle child poverty and domestic abuse.
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The measures build on the council's innovative Family Intervention Project, which focuses on troubled families.
Cllr Nicky Williams, the Cabinet member for children and young people, said: "There are some factors beyond our control, but what we can do is to work with partners to identify the bits where we can make a difference.
"These could be things like fuel poverty, poor insulation and safe and secure housing. We are also giving parents support to learn cooking skills and provide their children with a better diet."
City Cabinet member Chris Penberthy accepted that the main drivers of child poverty were the economic downturn and Government welfare cuts.
But he said: "There are a number of things we can do.
"We have a concerted effort to create more jobs. We need jobs that give people salary levels above poverty.
"In the long run the only way is to make Plymouth a richer and better city."
He said poverty could be linked to domestic abuse, when lack of money led to arguments.