Social policy

Strengthening social policy and social protection is essential to breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and inequality

A father and a mother are taking their daughter around the area.
UNICEF Thailand/2017/Thuentap

The challenges


Thailand has made great progress in economic development over the past few decades. Unfortunately, economic growth has not been equally experienced by all citizens. Some regions and groups of people have been left behind. The 2015-2016 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey on the situation of children and women in Thailand found that children and young people living in rural areas, children living in families headed by a non-Thai speaker, children from poor households and children whose parents have a low level of education were generally more likely to lag behind other children of their age in health, education and overall development outcomes.

No child should live in poverty.


Poverty affects children disproportionally. While the overall poverty rate in 2014 was 10.5 per cent, the poverty rate for children aged 0–17 was 13.8 per cent. The north-eastern and southern regions have the highest child poverty rates in Thailand. Some two million children in Thailand lived in households with incomes below the poverty line in 2014. Poverty deprives children of their basic rights and makes them more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. It deprives them of proper nutrition, good health, safe water and quality education. This situation passes from generation to generation.

67% of the population lived below the poverty line in 1986

67% of the population lived below the poverty line in 1986

11% of the population lived below the poverty line in 2014

11% of the population lived below the poverty line in 2014

14% of children lived below the poverty line in 2014

14% of children lived below the poverty line in 2014

The solutions

A family of a father, a mother, and a baby who benefit from the child support grant scheme
UNICEF Thailand/2016/Thuentap
Three-month-old daughter Monluck Saesong and her parents in Samoeng district of Chiang Mai province.Baby Monluck is among 128,000 children in Thailand who benefit from the child support grant, which UNICEF Thailand played an important role in advocating for the adoption of the scheme. Under this policy, poor and near-poor families with children will receive a monthly allowance of 600 baht per child from 0 to 3 year of age.

UNICEF Thailand's work on social policy focuses on addressing key bottlenecks in the enabling environment, and in the quality and supply of services. This involves increasing capacities of key social ministry planning departments to use evidence in planning, budgeting, implementing and evaluating national policies for children in an equity-focused and results-based manner. Government capacity will be strengthened to mainstream the SDGs into national policies and plans.

The focus will be on generating disaggregated data for increased public transparency, accountability and financial management that will promote public awareness of gaps in the fulfilment of children’s rights and catalyse Government action.

For the child-sensitive social protection, UNICEF Thailand aims to strengthen the social protection system to reduce the poverty gap and address major aspects of young children’s well-being. The programme will support the costing of child-sensitive social protection models, identification of fiscal space/budget sources, and the formulation of universal child-sensitive social protection policies. Strategic partnerships will be bolstered with civil society, including academia, for evidence generation and policy advice.

UNICEF will build the capacity of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and other line ministries to effectively design, implement and monitor existing cash transfer schemes to cover all children. Other programme components will benefit from integration with social policy through data and budget analysis for key sectoral plans and policies for children in Thailand.