BANGKOK, 29 March 2019 – “UNICEF congratulates the Royal Thai Government on the Cabinet’s approval of the expansion of the Child Support Grant scheme for children under 6 from poor families with an annual income below 100,000 Baht. This landmark decision demonstrates the commitment of the government to progressively realize the universal right of all children to have the best start in life, by providing income security to their families.
This decision to expand the scheme will have a tangible impact on many more families and their children. Initially introduced in early 2015 for children under 1, the Child Support Grant witnessed its first expansion in 2016 to cover children under 3, before the recent decision to expand to children under 6. While currently nearly 700,000 children benefit from the grant, once fully implemented, the scheme will cover almost 1.8 million children.
More mothers and fathers will receive the support they need to give better care to their young children, including better nutrition and health care. The first six years of a child’s life are the most critical period for brain and physical development. This means that investing in children during this period builds the foundation for all their future development and learning- with long-term returns in the areas of health, nutrition, education, and future employment, benefiting not only the children themselves but the whole society.
This is all evidenced in the recent national impact evaluation of the scheme, which showed that the Child Support Grant has helped improve infant nutrition status, as well as expanded access to vital social services, and helped improve maternal care practices and empower women, with potential for longer-term productivity gains. Moreover, evidence shows that investments made in early childhood development are one of the most cost-effective ways to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality.
The cabinet’s decision takes Thailand closer to a fully universal Child Support Grant and shows the government’s commitment to ensure that more children are covered and benefit from the positive impact of the grant. This is crucial for the Child Support Grant to work as a conduit for developing the future human capital and to bring economic prosperity for Thailand. The recent decision also shows the government’s effort to align targeting mechanisms and the policy poverty line between the Child Support Grant and the National Welfare Card scheme.
UNICEF strongly hopes that the government will build on this progressive expansion of the scheme, to ultimately adopt a universal approach for all children under 6 to ensure that no child is left behind. UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting national partners for the smooth implementation of the expanded policy.”
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 its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.