Social policy analysis
Social policy analysis seeks to understand and highlight the fundamental structural causes behind the deprivation and inequality in children’s rights.
Thailand’s development path has been a widely acknowledged success, and the country is on track to reach upper middle income status in the near future. Political commitment to ensure that economic success benefited children resulted in remarkable achievements in reducing child mortality and disease, improved nutrition, and increased access to education. At the same time, significant numbers of children in Thailand remain trapped in poverty, suffering from malnutrition, lacking access to good quality health and development services, and struggling to complete their educations. Social policy analysis drills down to the roots causes of child poverty, inequity and deprivation, and identifies potential ways to overcome them.
UNICEF’s social policy analysis engages with senior decision makers and researchers to explore the causes and consequences of child poverty and deprivation. For example, a major study with the Thailand Development Research Institute over the last three years has resulted in the creation of a Child Deprivation Index. This index measures the multi-dimensional nature of child poverty in Thailand and shows that a significant number of children suffer multiple deprivations in health, nutrition and education. This analysis has important implications for policy development and greater efforts towards ensuring services reach these children more effectively. As part of an international research programme examining child poverty, UNICEF also supported Child Wellbeing in Thailand, a study that looked at the causes of the persistent inequality in children’s rights in Thailand, and potential policy responses through strengthening service delivery and quality.
The studies on child poverty supported by UNICEF have led to a new project to examine the role that social transfers, such as allowances paid to poor families with children, could have in breaking the cycle of poverty and deprivation. This study aims to examine the successful international experience in using cash transfers to reduce child poverty, and to what extent they are appropriate for Thailand. In addition to these projects, other social policy studies and analyses have looked at the impact of Thailand’s Decentralization Act on provision of services for children; the situation of children affected by migration; and an assessment of national capacity for the realization of children’s rights.