Family Minister Lisa Paus demands: “More emergency aid, more money for poor children”

combat child poverty
Family Minister Lisa Paus demands: “More emergency aid, more money for poor children”

Family Minister Lisa Paus

© Frederic Kern/Geisler-Fotopress/ / Picture Alliance

Family Minister Lisa Paus (The Greens) will introduce basic child protection. All benefits for families should be collected and paid out unbureaucratically. There should also be more money. But when will this reform come?

Mrs Paus, one in five children in Germany is considered poor – is that figure exaggerated?

No, it is calculated statistically. I have lived in areas of Berlin where one in three children grow up in poverty. When my son, now 13, started school, I imagined it: every third child in his class! What does it mean for the children, what does it mean for the team spirit in the class?

There are around 150 government benefits for families in total. Why don’t they help against child poverty?

Tax and social legislation is still aimed at the traditional family: father, mother, two children – although the reality of life is different today than it was 40 years ago. Families that do not fit this pattern are at high risk of poverty. Not so long ago, during a debate on single parents in the Bundestag, I heard comments from MPs saying: “You shouldn’t support something like that too!”

On the 20th of the month, some parents no longer know how to feed their children. What do you do to help the children?

It is a disgrace for a country as rich as Germany. We need structural relief for families, for example through child benefit and higher standard rates.

They want to introduce basic child safety. What will it look like?

It brings together child allowance and child allowance, daily allowance II and parts of the Education and Participation Act. There should be a guaranteed amount for everyone and an additional amount, graduated according to the parents’ income level, for low-income families.

The Greens’ concept mentions a guaranteed amount of 290 euros and a maximum additional amount of 547 euros.

We will negotiate the specific amount over the next few months, it is needs based and depends on the level of existence. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for the calculation.

Will poor parents get more money in the future?

They will definitely get more money. So far, only a third of the parents who are entitled to it because their income is insufficient have applied for the child allowance. It’s a scandal because we’ve covered up hidden child poverty for years with this system alone. I want to make sure everyone gets the money they deserve.

Together against child poverty

When will the basic child insurance arrive?

The law must be in place before the end of 2023, then we will decide in which phases we will introduce the benefits. We want to pay out the money in 2025.

More than two years. Why is it taking so long? This is a complex and complicated task. Seven ministries work with basic child safety: home policy, justice, labor and social affairs, education, construction, finance and family.

How is basic child protection financed?

From tax money. We will summarize previous results and there is more to come. Every euro is well invested so that poor children do not become poor adults. Studies show that the resources we as a society invest in children reduce future costs. Justice is important to me, but you can also look at it very soberly from an economic point of view: we will need every child in the future, because we are heading for a huge shortage of skilled workers.

For decades, the Star has reported on the topic of child poverty, and readers have been committed to helping children in need. Since 2005, the Stern Foundation has supported the children’s charity “Die Arche”. Now we are asking for your help again! Because inflation affects especially the youngest and most vulnerable in our society: children and young people. The strict fund collects money for families affected by poverty – so that organizations like “Die Arche” can provide the needy in Germany with food and the children can get through this winter well. This link will take you directly to our donation form.

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