Impact of in-work poverty on children’s human rights

Date: 17th May 2024
Category: General measures of implementation, Child poverty

family holding hands with no poverty inscription

Poverty remains a significant barrier to children's access to their rights. It is now more common to be in working poverty in Scotland than it is to be in poverty and out-of-work – in fact, 170,000 children living in relative poverty live in households where at least one person works. The most recent figures show relative child poverty is on the rise, with one in four Scottish children living in poverty.

This briefing shares the experiences of families experiencing in-work poverty and how this has impacted on their children, highlighting issues such as childcare, education, health, welfare, cost-of-living crisis and food poverty.

The entry into force of the UNCRC Incorporation Act will offer important opportunities to ignite and accelerate progress to eradicate child poverty and more fully realise children’s rights. To support this, the briefing also makes recommendations to policymakers to address in-work poverty, taking a child rights-based approach. Recommendations include:

  • Ensure a sustained, long-term focus on investing in children, in addition to short- and medium-term solutions to child poverty.
  • Utilise all available resources and guidance to align children's human rights and child poverty policy initiatives and goals.
  • Increase and up-scale community services, training and capacity for providers, and understanding of how to actively support families experiencing in-work poverty.
  • Take shorter-term measures to offer urgent support to mitigate worsening conditions and the cost-of-living crises facing children and families experiencing poverty.

This briefing was developed as part of the Serving the Future project, a three-year change project funded by The Robertson Trust and undertaken in partnership with The Poverty Alliance and the Fraser of Allander Institute. It forms part of their work at the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures to reveal and help resolve the structural barriers to children fulfilling their potential.