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Children in care, poverty and Parliament

An update on the campaign to retain the £20 Universal Credit uplift

Children who are in poverty are significantly more likely to be in the care of the state. The huge majority of parents in poverty parent well but for those parents who are struggling, poverty makes the task of parenting much, much harder. 

This simple reality has influenced BASW to campaign among other things to Keep the Lifeline - the £20 weekly uplift for universal credit.

Many social workers have known instinctively about the link between care and poverty for decades. Poverty is, after all, part of the ‘wallpaper’ of practice. 

However, for those outside social work such as politicians and journalists - who often set the tone for the key decisions that shape social work - the evidence of personal testimony isn’t enough, more quantitative evidence is needed. 

For many years this quantitative evidence wasn’t available. But in the last few years, a team led by Paul Bywaters and others has produced a range of statistical evidence about the over-representation of the parents of poor children in the child protection and care systems across the four nations of the UK.

Paul will be giving evidence and making recommendations to the Select Committee in the UK Parliament on 14 April at 9:30 am. You can watch the broadcast here.

The way Select Committees operate is perhaps the opposite of ‘passion politics’ but they do have considerable influence in Parliament. Once Select Committees have heard all the evidence they make recommendations - and since they are cross-party, they have the opportunity to influence the Government of the day. 

The 14 April provides an important opportunity for the case to be made that reducing the levels of poverty isn’t just a good thing in itself, it is an effective means of supporting families.