Children participate in daycare at Little Ferns Early Learning Centre. The province should improve access to child care and other social services

Children participate in daycare at Little Ferns Early Learning Centre. The province should improve access to child care and other social services

Social policy changes would alleviate poverty

NANAIMO – Raising rates of income assistance would bring immediate improvements to poor families, says letter writer.

To the Editor,

Re: Poverty affects thousands of city’s children, Jan. 20.

I challenge the perspective of those who do not think raising the rates of income assistance would bring immediate improvements in the lives of poor families.

As a social worker in B.C. for well over a decade, it is my analysis that it is the B.C. government that is the biggest driver of child and family poverty in the province. I wonder how many people can afford to house and raise their children on monthly income assistance of $877, which is the rate for one parent and one child? Or $1,061, the monthly rate for one parent and two children?

There are many other things the B.C. government could easily do to improve the lives of poor children and families. Access to affordable housing, high-quality child care and early-learning opportunities, as well as family support, mental health and addiction services are ways to keep vulnerable families intact and improve the psycho-social and economic status of those at the bottom of the ladder of the economy.

B.C. is the only province in Canada that doesn’t have a provincial strategy to reduce child and family poverty. This speaks volumes.

It is difficult for me to think of anything more cruel, abusive or negligent than a government that has the ability to make concrete, evidence-based social policy changes and investments in improving the lives of children, but sits on its hands instead.

All of this is occurring while B.C.’s most vulnerable children starve, increasingly becoming at risk of housing insecurity and homelessness, and the next generation of victims of foster care system are churned out to lives of tragedy, despair and suffering.

Tracey YoungVancouver

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