Child Poverty Reduction Act

June 30, 2023 in Campaigns

The existence of child poverty in Australia is undeniable. It’s estimated that between 761,000 and 1.2 million children live in poverty and more than 200,000 experience severe poverty.

The negative impact of poverty on a child’s development and life outcomes is significant and well-documented and can last a lifetime.

Poverty affects a child’s health, mental health, and wellbeing and many children experience missing essential items like food, clothing, a safe place to sleep, and often friendships.

Cost of living, inflation, and soaring interest rates have created a tinder box for families already experiencing poverty and children have no choice in their circumstances. This is despite having parents doing absolutely everything they can their best.

But in Australia, there is no national approach to ending child poverty. And we don’t know the true extent of children living in poverty, because we don’t measure it.

It’s time to put children at the centre of ending poverty. We are calling on the Federal Government to pass a Child Poverty Reduction Act in Australia.

We must do better as a community to protect our most vulnerable citizens, our children.

Sign our petition for a Child Poverty Reduction Act.

Join the campaign.

Child Poverty in Australia can be reduced when we set targets, understand the extent of child poverty by measurements, and report to the Parliament and the community regularly. These report will feed into a Federal and State Budget process that would understand poverty for the whole family and therefore the whole community.

When we understand child poverty, we can end all poverty.

At the Valuing Children Initiative, we believe that every child deserves a happy, healthy, and safe childhood. We recognise that children have no choice about the circumstances of their birth, or their childhood, and consider the wellbeing of children to be everyone’s responsibility. We know that childhood experiences shape adulthood so we must nurture, protect, and listen to our youngest citizens.

The Valuing Children Initiative auspiced by Centrecare is organising interested parties to develop a campaign committee to pass a Child Poverty Reduction Act in Australia.

We are calling on Australian organisations who believe no child should live in poverty, to join us.

What you can do:

  • Sign and share the Petition
  • Pledge to support the campaign with your company logo


Why Child Poverty?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is a worldwide agreement to protect the rights of children. Yet often, without a concerted effort to make children a focus, those rights are not upheld. Children cannot earn money, pay taxes, vote, or join a union. They rely solely on the adults in their lives to protect them. When those adults can’t, systems need to be there to support children.

Why do we need an Act to reduce Child Poverty?

To reduce child poverty, we must learn to understand child poverty, this allows policymakers, Treasury departments, and Governments to make informed budgetary decisions. An Act keeps Governments to account through regular reporting to Parliament, three- and ten-year targets, and resourcing into measurement to ensure children are counted.

Why child poverty and not other cohorts?

Children who grow up in poverty are 3.3 times more likely to experience poverty in adulthood than those who grew up in a household that wasn’t experiencing poverty, creating intergenerational deprivation of wealth[i]. When we reduce poverty for children, we can reduce poverty for adults too. A Child Poverty Reduction Act would enable Governments and systems to support other forms of poverty, such as families and single-parent families.

[i] Breaking-Down-Barriers-Report-1-October-2020.pdf (

Child Poverty Reduction Act Webinar - International Experiences of ending child poverty around the world

VCI held a webinar recently which featured special guest speakers from the U.S and New Zealand (where similar Acts are already in place) who discussed international experiences of having the Act, how it's made and what the Act could mean for Australian children experiencing poverty.

Our guest speakers included:

Kate Breslin, President and CEO Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, New York.

Cara Baldari, Vice President, Family Economics, Housing and Homelessness, First Focus on Children, United States.

Hugh Webb, Principal Analyst, Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction Group, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, New Zealand.

Toni Wren, Executive Director, Anti-Poverty Week, Australia.

See the full recording of the webinar below:


Schuyler Center Resources on the New York State Child Poverty Reduction Act:

The Child Poverty Reduction Act is Law: What Does it Do?

Acting to Cut Child Poverty: The NYS Child Poverty Reduction Advisory Council

Data and analysis: The State of New York’s Children annual data book

Child Poverty Reduction resources on the Schuyler Center website

Child Poverty Reduction Advisory Council Directives, Jan 2023

Child Poverty Reduction Advisory Council to Convene Oct. 13; Meaningful Action Must Follow | SCAANY