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Child and Family Poverty in Wales: Results from the Child and Family Survey 2016

In 2014 and 2015, Children in Wales published two reports: ”Child and Family Poverty in Wales: A snapshot of key issues raised by families” and Child and Family Poverty: results from the Child and Family Survey 2015. The 2014 report was the culmination of a research project undertaken with the engagement of surgery case workers of Welsh Members of Parliament and Assembly Members, as well as staff from local Citizen Advice offices. The purpose of the project was to help identify the most common poverty related issues which were being raised by households with children. That first report identified the following as the main issues:

- The impact of Welfare Reform and associated changes to the benefit system (including a lack of awareness about changes, concerns around sanctions and delays in payments)
- Housing (in relation to sufficiency and availability of social housing and housing quality)
- Impact of the Bedroom Tax or spare bedroom subsidy
- Food Poverty (including the increase in the use of foodbanks)
- Debt
- Energy costs
- Rising cost of living (notably families struggling with everyday essential costs)

In 2015, Children in Wales was interested to understand how much had changed and whether the issues identified in the 2014 study were still significant. If these issues remained pertinent, was there a perception amongst professionals supporting families that the situation for households with children had got worse or improved, or had there been little or no change?

For the last two years, Children in Wales has developed and circulated an annual questionnaire through our membership and contact database to help reach frontline
practitioners and to begin to understand what changes had taken place since 2014. As well as seeking responses to the main concerns previously raised, we were also interested to capture any additional issues which were impacting on households with children. We were also keen for respondents to share their thoughts and ideas in terms of solutions which could help prevent, resolve or mitigate the impact of the issues raised.

In the current survey a total of 143 individuals accessed the questionnaire between August and October 2016. Not all respondents chose to provide a response to every question, and only those responses received to specific questions have been included in this report. Although respondents had the option to remain anonymous, which many did, from those who chose to provide some level of information about themselves we were able to identify responses from a broad mix of professionals within local authorities, public sector bodies and the third sector. In addition, we also received responses from a small number of service users (where this was known).

The following report provides a summary of the responses received. We have also included the views of Year 12 young people who were engaged through a workshop we convened as part of a synopsis on poverty held in Cardiff.