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Charity's Back to School appeal

Riverside High School

A new survey is highlighting the scale of poverty in Australia.

The Smith Family surveyed more than 1000 people, fining 55 per cent have seen children and families in their area affected by poverty.

The survey of more than 1,000 Australians also found that despite more than two thirds of people (68%) underestimating the level of child poverty in Australia, an overwhelming majority (90%) believe tackling child poverty should be a top priority for the nation.

As families prepare for a new school year The Smith Family CEO, Dr Lisa O’Brien, said the impact of poverty on a child’s educational outcomes can be devastating.

“One in six children are living in poverty in Australia. Sadly, the poverty these children are experiencing at home can negatively impact their school lives as well," she said.

The survey found a majority of Australians are very concerned about the educational impacts of poverty for young people.

90% of respondents say that children affected by poverty should be given extra support to help them realise their potential – for example, mentoring, after-school learning assistance, or financial support.

The charity's launching its 2020 Back to School appeal and is also after volunteers for its Tasmanian operations, including an admin position at Rocherlea. 

Dr O'Brien says the appeal will fund essentials.

"Things like books, stationary, and access to technology; on top of that, we know that disadvantaged children start school behind, and without extra support, they often stay behind and never catch up."