Child Poverty

Home Department written question – answered on 4th March 2005.

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Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Labour, Redcar

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to achieve the Government's targets of (a) ending child poverty by 2020 and (b) halving it by 2010; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office

holding answer 2 March 2005

The Home Office is supporting the Treasury in meeting the ambitious targets this Government have set on child poverty. Children born into poverty are more likely to be victims of crime and more likely to offend. The Child Poverty Review highlighted the strong associations between youth crime, parental crime and child poverty.

In order to tackle the poor outcomes associated with child poverty, and to improve the life chances of poor children, the Home Office has invested in a number of prevention programmes for children at risk of involvement in crime or substance misuse.

To break the cycle of youth offending and deprivation, the Home Office Strategic Plan includes a commitment to increase youth crime prevention programmes. This includes multi-agency Youth Inclusion and Support Panels, targeting high-risk, children and their families, providing them with support and improving their access to mainstream services. It also includes the Youth Inclusion Programme, which targets the 13 to 16-year-olds most at risk of crime in 72 of the most deprived neighbourhoods. The numbers of both will be increased by 50 per cent. by 2008. We have also increased the coverage of the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSPs).

Children living in poverty are a key risk group for substance misuse. We are targeting young people in the most deprived neighbourhoods at risk of substance misuse through "Positive Futures", a national sports-based social inclusion programme aimed at marginalised 10 to 19-year-olds. Positive Futures aims to "have a positive influence on participants' substance misuse, physical activity and offending behaviour". The Positive Futures projects have proved successful in building relationships, engaging and providing developmental opportunities for young people living in deprived areas.

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