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"Family 500+" programme

14-09-2017

The “500+ Family” (“Rodzina 500+”) programme was launched on 1 April 2016. By the end of July 2017, more than 3.99 million children under the age of 18 had received support from the government's "Family 500+" programme, and over 2.6 million families had been provided with benefits totalling over PLN 31.2 billion.

 

Throughout Poland, almost 58% of all children under the age of 18 are covered by the "Family 500+" programme. Support is provided to over 2.6 million families, including 381,000 large families. In rural communes this share is as high as 64%, in municipalities it stands at 51%, and in urban and rural communes at 60%.

 

Benefits are paid to over 726,000 one-child families (with the child aged under 18), more than 1.5 million families with two children, 306,000 families with three, 56,000 families with four, over 13,000 families with five and 6,000 families with six children.

 

According to the results of CBOS survey published in March 2017, the majority of Poles - 77% - approve of the "500+ Family" programme. More than half (52%) of respondents assess Poland’s family policy as good (one in ten as very good). This is a significant change compared to previous surveys, in which the state’s policies aimed at families were rated adequate, or even inadequate.

 

The majority of respondents point to the positive impact of the "Family 500+" programme on the budgets of household with children. Among the observed effects of programme implementation, respondents have noted improved family relations (15%) and spending more time with children (14%). Nearly one in ten respondents declares that he or she personally knows someone who, thanks to the programme, has decided to have a child or claims that the programme has encouraged his/her to precipitate this decision.

 

The programme also brought about a marked improvement in the material conditions of families. Fewer Poles seek social assistance or nutrition assistance: there has been a 10% decrease compared to previous year in terms of temporary and targeted benefits, as well as the provisions of food to children. Thanks to the programme, the percentage of people living in poverty has decreased by 48%, and of those living in extreme poverty by 98%.

 

The number of babies born in 2016 was approximately 13,000 higher than in 2015. This year's increase in the number of births is expected to be even greater and reach 25,000-35,000. This increase in the number of births can be – at least in part – ascribed to the "Family 500+" programme. Concerns expressed by the critics of the programme have proven unjustified – money received as benefits is not wasted and it has not deterred beneficiaries from working or seeking employment.

 

An increase in consumption has been observed and it can be attributed to the more comfortable financial situation of families. Their standard of living has improved and the programme has provided them with a sense of greater financial security.

 

An allowance of PLN 500 per month is also paid out to children in foster families; support is provided to over 46,000 children. Child benefits are paid, regardless of the family’s income, for each child up to the age of 18 in a foster family, a family-type children’s home and a family-type educational care facility. In total, within the first year of programme implementation, families and guardians received nearly PLN 355 million.

 

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