UNICEF says children and adolescents were the most affected by financial poverty in Brazil during the epidemic.

Brasilia, March 24, 2022 – Brazil needs to invest in perennial and long-term social protection policies to effectively and sustainably reduce child poverty. A survey published by UNICEF this Thursday on “Children in Financial Poverty in Brazil – The Impact of the Epidemic on Family Income with Children and Adolescents” reveals that children and adolescents are the most affected by financial poverty in Brazil – and will continue to be so. . During the epidemic, emergency assistance contributed to a temporary reduction in these rates, but increased again as benefits declined or were suspended. The study was conducted by UNICEF economist Daniel Duck.

The study brings together a simulation with data from 2020 and 2021 to understand the effects of financial poverty (defined by the World Bank, for upper middle income countries like Brazil, how to live less than U $ 5.50 / day) and children and adolescents before and during the epidemic. -Extreme financial poverty among adolescents (living on less than US $ 1.90 per day).

Data show that financial poverty and extreme financial poverty affect twice as many children and adolescents as adults. At the beginning of 2020, 40% of Brazil’s children and adolescents were living in financial poverty, versus about 20% of adults. For extreme financial poverty, it was about 12% and 6%, respectively.

With the advent of the epidemic, in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the economic crisis caused by it, the National Congress approved and implemented the Emergency Emergency Assistance, which was effective from 2020 to 2021, suspended for a few moments and the values ​​shifted to the population.

In the 3rd quarter of 2020, when R $ 600.00 aid was being distributed, child financial poverty dropped from about 40% to 35%. Over the next three months, with the decline in benefits, the child poverty rate rose again to 39% – returning to pre-epidemic-like levels. In the case of extreme child financial poverty, the percentage has dropped from 12% to 6%, returning to 10% at the same time.

“Emergency assistance was crucial during the crisis to temporarily reduce child financial poverty in Brazil. He did not, however, decide to address the medium- and long-term poverty issues – which need to be addressed through long-term and sustainable social protection policies,” said Florence Bauer, UNICEF Representative in Brazil. “At a time when there is no evidence to suggest a greater level of economic recovery for Brazil’s poorest people, it is important to strengthen social protection policies with a special focus on the most vulnerable children and adolescents.”

Inequality in Brazil continues
Non-white girls and boys and those living in the north and northeast were also more affected by inadequate income than whites and other parts of the country – and continue to be. Child financial poverty is almost double that of non-whites and North / Northeast residents compared to other groups.

Emergency assistance was more effective in temporarily reducing the financial poverty of non-whites, and also of people in the northern and northeastern regions, although both groups had higher rates than whites and people in other regions.

Recommendations for tackling child financial poverty
The study confirms that income transfer policies, if well-managed and focused, can have a very positive impact on the social security of children and adolescents, especially those most at risk. In this situation, UNICEF makes three recommendations:

1. Ensure sustainable and uninterrupted source of funding to enable Auxilio Brasil to replace Balsa Familia

While this is positive and necessary to increase the average values ​​predicted for the first year of Auxilio Brasil, it is necessary not only to maintain the same level in subsequent years, but also to regulate the standards to correct its values. The advantage of avoiding losses as a result of inflation. It is also necessary to ensure that those who own Auxílio Brasil, according to the criteria of the program, benefit without being queued. Periodic adjustment to the qualification line, which defines who will benefit, is also required.

There are concerns about the cost of such programs, but initiatives such as the Bolsa Familia represent an investment of only 0.5% of Brazil’s GDP and have had a positive multidimensional impact on the lives of families, especially those who have children and the economy. ..

2. Ensure arrangements to increase coverage in case of emergency or public disaster

In the event of a push for a new Axelio Brasil program, provision needs to be made for a temporary expansion of its coverage, to prevent parallel public policy responses from being experienced in emergencies such as the Covid-19 epidemic. Thus, as defined in its law, establishing it as a state priority, it is necessary to guarantee a safe and explicit source of funding for the program.

3. Expand the Unified Social Assistance System (Suas) so that social assistance monitoring, active search processes and continuous population registration are not served by Auxilio Brasil, but the risk of falling into poverty in the event of a collision is high.

For the future, there is a need to create and strengthen temporary mechanisms for the expansion of Axilio Brasil for non-poor groups – but also the tendency to fall into poverty in the event of a collision – with continuous identification, strengthening the means of recording. Include them and current income transfers, especially in Axelio Brasilia.

It is estimated that about 20% of households benefiting from emergency assistance were exposed to any kind of income transfer in October 2021, after the emergency assistance was exhausted. It added that families with children were at higher risk than families without children , Especially given the employment downturn.

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