More than half of children in poverty in Norway have an immigrant background

Kjell Ingolf RopstadPhoto: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB
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With a new strategy, the Norwegian government hopes to give children in low-income families a better everyday life and prevent poverty from being inherited.

Today, around 111,000 children grow up in families with persistently low incomes in Norway. 

The government hopes to lift children from poverty with a new strategy.

“The goal is two-sided. The long-term goal is to prevent the social legacy. Even if you grow up in a family with a persistently low income, you should be able to complete upper secondary school and get a job. The short-term goal is to create a better everyday life for these children today,” Minister for Children and Families Kjell Ingolf Ropstad (KrF) told news bureau NTB.

He pointed to increased child benefits and various benefit schemes such as free leisure cards as important steps.

“These are schemes that allow children to participate in leisure activities, go on holiday, or perhaps celebrate a birthday party for the first time,” he added.

Well-known initiatives

The strategy covers a number of areas such as the children’s living situation, integration, increased participation, early intervention in kindergarten, and connection to working life for young people and parents.

Many of the strategy’s action points have already been revealed, such as an increase in child benefits, increased one-time benefits, free leisure cards, cheaper daycare, and pre- and after-school programs for low-income families.

The government is now also opening up for the municipalities to be able to obtain funds through the National Grant Scheme to coordinate an expanded collaboration between volunteering, business, and social entrepreneurs.

“The collaboration between the public sector, the business community, and volunteering is incredibly important in order to achieve the maximum potential of the strategy,” Ropstad emphasized.

Many immigrant families

Ropstad said that integration and education are an essential part of the strategy because much of the increase in child poverty in recent years is linked to immigration. 

More than half of the children in this group have an immigrant background.

“Completing upper secondary school and getting a job are among the most important things to do to get out of poverty,” he stated.

Getting the children’s parents into the workforce is another important investment. 

He pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic has made parents with low incomes and low levels of education even more exposed to job losses and redundancies, which has exacerbated these families’ challenges.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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