More needed to address poverty for disabled children says Commissioner

More needed to address poverty for disabled children says Commissioner

May 13, 2021

The Disability Rights Commissioner welcomes an increasing recognition of how systemically disadvantaged disabled children and young people are, but says recognition is just the first step.  

“I look forward to seeing these gaps being addressed,” said Paula Tesoriero. 

Her comments follow the release of the annual Child Poverty related Indicators Report, and the Annual Report of its Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. 

The reports echo the recent release of child poverty statistics for households with disabled people. 

 “Those statistics show “disabled children and children living in households where someone is disabled are more likely to be in poverty according to the nine child poverty measures,” quoted Ms Tesoriero. 

“One in five disabled children lives in material hardship according to these statistics – this is double the rate for non- disabled children”. 

Paula Tesoriero says while a guiding principle of the strategy that children and young people are taonga is an honourable one, the child poverty statistics simply don’t bear this out in reality.

“Now is the time for action. We need to see more targeted and wholistic approaches to even up the playing field for disabled children and young people”, she said.

Ms Tesoriero says the report confirms disabled children experienced lower material wellbeing and housing quality than non-disabled children. 

 “I am hoping to see investments in next week’s Budget that address inequity for disabled children”. 

One meaningful way to assist disabled children in poverty is to significantly increase the child disability allowance which disabled people and their families have been calling for, she said.