ECOSOC Forum 202
Save the Children
Government of Spain’s High Commissioner for the Fight against Child Poverty
”la Caixa” Foundation presents its CaixaProinfancia programme, a pioneer in the fight against child poverty in Spain, before the UN
New York, 1 February 2023
As an organisation with consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council, ”la Caixa” Foundation presented the CaixaProinfancia programme, a pioneering model of social intervention launched in response to the situation of child poverty in Spain. The Spanish Government’s High Commissioner for the Fight against Child Poverty and Save the Children Spain, the Foundation’s partners in developing the programme, also participated in the presentation, highlighting the effectiveness and importance of public-private partnerships, involving both public administrations and organisations engaged in the field of childhood.
Antonio Vila Bertrán and Marc Simón, Chief Executive Officer and Assistant Chief Executive Officer of ”la Caixa” Foundation respectively, presented the CaixaProinfancia programme at the forum. The programme has been operational in the main Spanish cities since 2007, providing assistance to more than 61,500 children and adolescents from 0 to 18 years of age and over 38,000 families every year. Applying an innovative intervention model based on networking, consolidated over more than 15 years’ experience in vulnerable environments, ”la Caixa” Foundation works with more than 400 social organisations which provide direct assistance to families, prioritising aid and monitoring each case. The programme operates in 128 cities and towns and is present in all the provinces of Spain.
CaixaProinfancia seeks to break the line of transmission of poverty from parents to children and to promote equal opportunities. The programme is aimed at children and adolescents in situations of economic poverty and social vulnerability, promoting and assisting their integral development in a personalised way, favouring and supporting policies aimed at increasing social equality and cohesion.
Based on a methodology and with proven results, the programme shows that 81.4% of participants complete compulsory secondary school at similar levels to the rest of the population. Within the same social strata of CaixaProinfancia children, the percentage of children successfully completing secondary education is 48.8% of the total. Among low socio-economic contexts, the Spanish average of early school leaving is close to 30%, while only 4% of the programme participants leave school at the compulsory secondary education stage.
Moreover, 76% of participants improve their school performance and 65.6% make progress in the acquisition and development of communication and language, logical-mathematical and social skills. Families also show improvement: 78% increase their attention to homework, attendance, involvement and participation of parents at school. It should be noted that 49% of the families are single-parent households, 71.1% of parents received no education or have at most attended primary school, and 59.6 % are unemployed.
Poverty affects 28.9% of children in Spain
At the forum, Ernesto Gasco, the Spanish Government’s High Commissioner for the Fight against Child Poverty, and, Andrés Conde, CEO of the NGO Save the Children Spain, also described the situation regarding child poverty in Spain. They reported that 28.9% of children in our country are at risk of poverty and exclusion. A total of more than 2.4 million children are in situations of poverty.
Moreover, in its recent report, La Garantía Infantil a Examen (“The Child Guarantee, Put to the Test”), Save the Children Spain notes that a third of the families the NGO assists live on 100 euros per month per person and that almost 5% have no income at all. Around 64% of minors live in families that survive on monthly inform of less than 1,000 euros and nearly half of all parents are unemployed.
According to Antonio Vila Bertrán, Chief Executive Officer of ”la Caixa” Foundation, “Public-private partnerships and networking have proven to be very effective in improving inclusion and breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty, which is a major challenge for Spanish society. When schools, social services and social organisations work together, the impact of socio-educational action is multiplied”.
Along the same lines, Marc Simón, la Caixa” Foundation’s Assistant Chief Executive Officer, added that: “the CaixaProinfancia programme promotes great social innovation through its community focus. This strengthens the territory thanks to the common methodology, which is shared and evaluated, as well as promoting empowerment for inclusion and the elimination of stigmas and connecting families with their environment”.
Taking the floor, Ernesto Gasco, the Spanish Government’s High Commissioner for the Fight against Child Poverty, noted that “”la Caixa” Foundation is a strategic ally in the Zero Child Poverty Country Alliance, launched by the High Commission. It is a pleasure to play a part in achieving recognition of CaixaProinfancia before the UN, as the programme is a benchmark in the fight against child poverty in Spain”.
“Children living in poverty today in a country like Spain have a deficient diet and does their homework with their coat on at home because his family cannot afford to keep it at the right temperature. They can’t go to the dentist or the psychologist, or wear glasses, even if they need them. This is a domestic reality, one that we do not always see, but that places a burden on the future of a country. And we cannot allow more than two million children to live in poverty in our country”, said Andrés Conde, CEO of Save the Children Spain.
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