On 2009 figures, it was officially estimated that there are 16,165 children in poverty in Leicestershire, 11.66% of all the county’s children. A rising figure and proportion, having stood at 14,495 and 10.5% in 2008, and likely to rise further given the reforms and reductions to benefits.

Our Child Poverty Needs Assessment has looked  beyond this narrow definition - analysing datasets, interviewing practitioners and young people and establishing a greater understanding of what child poverty is and how it affects families. The strong vision for our assessment, which feeds through into the strategy, was to produce something which incorporates the views of staff and communities using the most relevant data -  including the insight which has fed into the Community Budget Programme - alongside new, qualitative research into the views of some key practitioners and a youth-led research project on child poverty.

This needs assessment  led us to the conclusion that to seek a definition and solution to child poverty neglects one obvious, yet essential fact a child’s poverty is an outcome of a family’s poverty. It is neither created nor best eradicated in isolation.

This is why we have produced  Leicestershire’s Family Poverty Strategy and not its Child Poverty Strategy.

Our strategy seeks to address the many factors which cause and reinforce poverty and proposes means of helping families tackle these factors, building their capacity to achieve a lasting exit from poverty enabled by a better co-ordinated support from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

This strategy has not been developed in isolation and nor will it be implemented in isolation. The Strategy outlines how the combined efforts of the county's local authorities, businesses, health service, voluntary sector and other partners can come together to provide this support. For example, the work Leicestershire is leading on developing a new model for working with troubled families provides the strategy's first recommendation and underpinning principle.

Lead contact: Danny Myers, Policy and Partnerships Manager, Leicestershire County Council