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Care & Protection Allowance reaches 5,000 children

© Humans of Fiji

SUVA, 5 August, 2015 – A new report has found that Fiji is at forefront in the Pacific with social protection programmes, in particular the Care and Protection allowance that reaches at least 5,000 vulnerable children throughout Fiji.

The Child Sensitive Social Protection in Fiji: Assessment of the Care and Protection Allowance Report was launched today by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar. 

Minister Akbar reiterated that child protection and welfare are at the core of the Ministry’s service deliverables. 

“The Care and Protection Allowance is relatively new compared to our other social protection programmes. So far the Allowance has reached 5,000 children nation-wide. This number is still modest compared to the number of children in need, so we are hoping to continuously extend the programme to cover more children.” 

“We continuously work towards better social protection provisions for the people, particularly children. Children and other vulnerable groups are our priority. The Ministry also has policies and programmes in place to ensure the welfare of children living in residential care homes,” Minister Akbar elaborated. 

While thanking the Ministry for their long-standing partnership and commitment to children, UNICEF Pacific Representative Dr. Karen Allen said “The Care and Protection allowance is a way to lessen poverty as it provides a monthly cash allowance and food vouchers to poor and vulnerable children. The cash allowance and food voucher help poor families in providing a minimum level of nutrition, health, education and care that the children need.”

“Children living in poverty tend to have poor nutrition, poor health and weak brain development leading to low education accomplishment, which affects them for life. In the long term, the nation also bears the loss of potential human resource and economic development,” she said.

Although the Assessment highlighted the many achievements of the Care and Protection Allowance, it also made several recommendations, including the need to increase the current coverage from 5,000 to 18,000 children, and the need to ensure a clear focus on the most vulnerable groups, such as single parent families, children and caregivers with disabilities.

The Assessment reported that children are more likely to be living in poverty compared to adults; while the national poverty rate is 30.6 per cent, the poverty rate among children is 35.3 per cent. 

“As the beneficiaries are among the poorest and most vulnerable children, the allowance really makes a difference in their lives. Most of these families do not have a regular income, so the regular monthly allowances help them with their daily expenditure such as food, transport, clothes, school projects and so on. The consolidated approach taken by the Fijian Government through free education, free bus fares and text books initiative along with the social welfare allowances is to promote quality child care and development, ensuring that children are given all the support to help them reach to their highest potential as the future leaders of this nation,” Minister Akbar said. 

“The Fijian Government recognises that social protection is a fundamental human right and the Care and Protection allowances shows our commitment to ensure the welfare and development of children in Fiji,” Minister Akbar added.  

-End- 

About Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation

The Ministry's services cuts across all the socio economic sectors in Fiji, which includes supporting families without income support, children at risk, the ultimate need to empower women for greater value adding to mankind; and to improve services to both disabled and older persons. The Ministry is a culmination of two Departments namely the Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Women and Poverty Monitoring Unit.  Visit http://www.welfare-women.gov.fj/  or Department of Women-Team Women Fiji on Facebook for more information about our work.

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and our work in the Pacific visit: unicefpacific.org

For more information please contact: 

Donna Hoerder, UNICEF on 679 3236 100 or dhoerder@unicef.org

Anshoo Chandra, Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation on 679 9490516 or anshoo.chandra@govnet.gov.fj

 

 

 

 

The Child Sensitive Social Protection in Fiji: Assessment of the Care and Protection Allowance Report

     


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