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Australia the unlucky country for 1 in 6 kids

In 2013, across Australia, 70,000 children faced the prospect of sleeping rough. One in six struggled with daily existence, living below the poverty line.

These are just two conclusions from a new report, released to commemorate 25 years since Australia’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Australian Child Rights Taskforce, comprising more than 100 organisations and led by UNICEF Australia and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre, published the CRC25: Australian Child Rights Progress Report, which also included findings across family life, education and care, justice and health measures.

Using data collected since the taskforce’s last reporting cycle, in 2011, the report revealed children who are Indigenous or LGBTQI, or from rural or migrant backgrounds, as well as those with disabilities, experienced greater rates of poverty and discrimination than others.

Poverty is a catalyst for further disadvantage. “Children living in poverty have less access to both primary and specialist health services than the general population, higher levels of contact with the criminal justice system and greater exposure to domestic violence,” UNICEF Australia chief executive Adrian Graham explained. Children living in poverty are also more likely to be removed from their families and placed into care arrangements.”

The taskforce is now urging the government to create a national policy agenda for children, to ensure their needs are met. This echoes a similar call for a children’s minister by the Valuing Children Initiative.

In 1990, three out of 1000 children were removed from their families by social services. By 2014, this number had increased to more than eight per 1000 children.

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