Poor children should get vouchers for clothes, sport, says ombudsman

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Local councils are being urged to develop vouchers for the country’s poorest children which will help them with buying clothes, learning to swim, visit the library and take part in a weekly sport or cultural activity.

One in nine children in the Netherlands is growing up in poverty, children's ombudsman Marc Dullaert said in a new report. A year ago, one in 10 children lived below the poverty line.

The report is based on the results of a hotline opened in February to which almost 700 children contributed.

‘More than half the children who reacted go to the food or clothing banks or have experienced having gas or water cut off,' the report stated. ‘They don't have holidays, can't join a sports club and celebrating birthdays or taking part in school trips is not automatic.'


Although most councils run schemes to help the poorest families, help for children is often not targeted directly at them and there is often a lack of coordination between different organisations, the report says.

To ensure all children get dirct help, Dullaert says the vouchers should be given to every family where the income is less than 120% of the social minimum. This is €1595 net for a single mother with two children, and €1811 net for two adults and two children

By offering help in the form of vouchers, parents will be prevented from spending money for their children on other things, the ombudsman said.


Last year, the government's socio-cultural think-tank SCP attempted to define poverty in a tangible way, RTL news reported.

For example, someone is considered poor if they do not have four pairs of trousers, a shirt, four jumpers, a summer and a winter coat, six t-shirts, two pairs of pajamas, two pairs of shows and a pair of gym shoes, the broadcaster said.

© DutchNews.nl

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