Why is it an issue?

Poverty plays a critical role in shaping the life chances of children and will have an impact throughout people’s lives and contributes to variations in ill health and the gap in life expectancy across Devon. Whilst addressing the immediate financial concerns for many families it is also important to build the life chances of children by increasing opportunity, supporting families and raising aspiration.

What is the position in Devon?

The 2010 Indices of Deprivation shows a 20 fold difference in levels of income deprivation affecting children between the 10 highest areas in Devon (40% plus in parts of Exeter, Ilfracombe, Teignmouth and Barnstaple) and the 10 lowest areas (2% in affluent areas). One in 10 children in Devon are living in poverty.

What is the evidence of effective interventions?

Strong evidence of effective interventions to reduce child and family poverty have been hard to establish as reducing poverty requires a long term approach to have an impact on health and wellbeing. There is an unequal distribution of resources across families in terms of wealth, living conditions, levels of education, supportive family and community networks, social capital and parenting skills with poor associated health outcomes. A number of approaches have been developed in Devon based on the available evidence including; supporting families to achieve financial independence, supporting family life and children’s life chances, the role of place and transforming lives and improving educational outcomes.  The place based ‘Quids for Kids’ project raised an average increase in benefits for each family of £5,000 since 2005.