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Právo: Tens of thousands of Czech children afflicted by poverty

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Prague, Aug 5 (CTK) – The Czech Republic has one of the lowest poverty levels in the EU, but still poverty affects the lives of tens of thousands of children in it, daily Pravo writes today, citing the statistical figures.

According to a uniform European methodology, 9.7 percent of all people in the Czech Republic were threatened with poverty in 2016, Pravo writes.

Roughly one-seventh of the persons under 15 or 247,000 people were jeopardised by income poverty.

In the reality, many more children are affected by distress, material insufficiency and arising limitations in their lives, Pravo writes.

There not only “the statistical poor” as in the case of the families with the parents whose income per head is under 60 percent of the medium salary or 10,691 crowns a month, it adds.

For a lone parent with a child under 13, the poverty line is 13,898, for two parents with two children, it is 22,450 crowns a month.

However, there are also children to whom parents cannot afford to pay the clothes as needed, meat every other day, leisure time clubs, sports equipment or their studies, Pravo writes.

“This is exemplified by the mothers who flee their violent partner, the children in the families of the jobless or of lone mothers as well as the children living along with their mothers in asylum centers,” social care expert Zdena Prokopova, from the ROSA group which helps the victims of domestic violence, is quoted as saying.

In the Czech Republic, there are over 178,000 children in one-parent families. According to estimates, around 30,000 children face problems because one of their parents is reluctant to pay the maintenance.

The debts arisen from this failure to pay maintenance for children in incomplete families have reached roughly ten billion crowns in total, Pravo writes.

Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova (Social Democrats, CSSD) has also confirmed that there is the problem of poor children in the Czech Republic, Pravo writes.

Without the current welfare system, it would be even worse, she said.

“Due to the material or financial insufficiency, parents are often unable to pay lunches at schools and in kindergartens,” Marksova said.

The ministry has prepared the programme “Food Aid to Children in Serious Social Distress” within the operational programme Food and Material Aid, which has been joined by eight Czech regions, Pravo writes.

In the 2017-2018 school-year, almost 10,000 children from poor families will have free food there, it adds.

The aid by means of free food in school canteens and kindergartens is for children between three and 15 whose parents are paid material distress benefits for at least three months, Pravo writes.

($1 = 21.961 crowns)

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