Health & Wellbeing
JM | Mar 3, 2023

Lack of social protection for the nation’s children a cause for concern-ILO report

/ Our Today

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The issue of a lack of social protection for children living in Latin America and the Caribbean has increased over the years which places the region’s children at a greater risk of poverty.

A joint report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed that an additional 50 million children between the ages of 0 to 15 missed out on a critical social protection provision. These include child benefits (paid in cash or tax credits) between 2016 and 2020, driving up the total to 1.46 billion children under 15 globally.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, coverage fell significantly from approximately 51 per cent to 42 per cent.

(From left) Bellefield Primary students Lorrisah Ingram, Daniel Onfroy and Doneilla Carter share a happy moment together at the Flow-hosted children’s treat at Bellefield Primary School.

In Jamaica, UNICEF statistics revealed that 15.7 per cent of children live in poverty which is higher than the general population of persons living in poverty. The prevalence of children living in extreme poverty is 4.3 per cent which is higher than the national rate of 3.5 per cent.

The rate of child and family coverage benefits fell significantly across the world between 2016 and 2020 which poses a further threat to the country’s achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for 2030.

The SDGs were established by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal to encourage countries globally to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity

Jamaica similar to its Caribbean neighbours still needs to address the gaps in meeting the needs of children.

ILO recommendations for countries to achieve social protection for children:

  • Investing in child benefits which offers a proven and cost-effective way to combat child poverty and ensure children thrive.
  • Providing a comprehensive range of child benefits through national social protection systems that also connect families to crucial health and social services, such as free or affordable high-quality childcare.
  • Building social protection systems that are rights-based, gender-responsive, inclusive, and shock responsive to address inequities and deliver better results for girls and women, migrant children, and children in child labour for example.
  • Securing sustainable financing for social protection systems by mobilizing domestic resources and increasing budget allocation for children.
  • Strengthening social protection for parents and caregivers by guaranteeing access to decent work and adequate benefits, including unemployment, sickness, maternity, disability, and pensions.


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