Social policy analysis
Social policy analysis seeks to understand and highlight the structural causes behind the violation of children’s rights to health, development and protection, particularly those linked to household poverty.
Thailand’s development path has been a widely acknowledged success, and the country has reached upper middle income status. Major achievements in reducing child mortality and disease, and increased access to education are due to sustained political commitment to ensure that the benefits of economic progress are shared with children. At the same time, significant numbers of children in Thailand remain trapped in cycles of poverty, suffering from poor nutrition, lacking access to good quality education, and vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse. Often it is the same children suffer multiple deprivations. 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 is carried out through engaging 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 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.
These studies on child poverty in Thailand supported by UNICEF have led to research activities examining the role that social transfers, such as cash grants paid to poor families with children, could have in breaking cycles of deprivation. The research has examined how other countries have used child support grants to reduce child poverty, and to what extent they are an appropriate model for Thailand.
UNICEF supported research in 2012 that has shown how a modest child support grant paid to poor families is now an affordable option for Thailand and would have a significant impact in reducing child poverty.