herald

Saturday 26 May 2018

Children over the age of 12 cost €50 more every week than younger kids

Dr Bernadette Mac Mahon
Dr Bernadette Mac Mahon

Children over 12 cost almost €50 more per week to look after than younger kids, according to new research.

The Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VPSJ) claims it costs an average of €122 a week to provide a minimum socially acceptable standard of living for an older child.

This compares to €75 for a child in primary school.

Urging

Following its research, the VPSJ is urging the Government to address the additional needs of disadvantaged older kids in Budget 2019.

It is calling on Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty to boost the Qualified Child Increase payments by an additional €5 for children aged 12 and over.

The research shows that the higher costs for older children are mainly due to greater food, clothing, personal care and social inclusion costs.

A total of €9.50 is due to second level education expenses.

The VPSJ says social welfare supports (Child Benefit, Qualified Child Increase and Back to School Allowance) meet 89pc of a young child's minimum needs.

However, the supports provided for older children meet just 56pc of the cost of a socially acceptable minimum standard of living, it claims.

"The social welfare system should recognise the additional needs of older children," said VPSJ director Dr Bernadette Mac Mahon.

Adequate

"The process of meeting the additional needs of older children should begin next year. Raising supports to an adequate level can be progressively realised over several budgets."

A spokesperson from the Department of Employment and Social Protection said that any changes will be made with thought given to "budgetary context and the availability of resources".

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