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Study: Child poverty in Germany leaves millions behind

New research on child poverty in Germany claims public services do not reach far enough. It says the government's response to the issue has not focused on the needs of the youngest part of society.

Child poverty is more widespread in Germany than previously thought, according to a new study by the Bertelsmann Foundation. The data released on Sunday shows that public assistance often does not meet the needs of children growing up under and near the poverty threshold.

One out of every five children under the age of fifteen is at risk of poverty, which translates to roughly 2.1 million boys and girls whose families have less the sixty percent of the average national income available to them. A further 480,000 children are living just above this swell at the poverty line.

The study, carried out by the Institute for Labor Market and Professional Research (IAB) for Bertelsmann, found that government programs are not doing enough to alleviate "lack of material supplies and social participation" that give children an equal start in life.

Around ten percent of the children living in poverty do not have proper clothing for the German winters.

Children missing out

The study also found that large percentages of these children cannot take part in the normal childhood activities of their more well-off peers, such as going on vacations or seeing a movie or concert.

"Government support for poor families is not oriented towards the needs of the children, often not even taking them into consideration," according to the study.

Franziska Bratner, the parliamentary speaker on family policy for the Green party, said that "for years" the administration of Chancellor Angela Merkel and her predecessors allowed child poverty to rise without addressing the issues, and were therefore responsible for the long-lasting effects of not allowing part of a generation the right to full participation in society.

es/jr (dpa, KNA)

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