The Poverty Project 

What is it? 

In 2018 the South Australian Council of Social Services (SACOSS) reported that 60,660 households in South Australia are living below the poverty line.  This represents 9% of all South Australian households, which is 131,945 people.  This includes 22,350 children.

The report considers definitions and measures of poverty.  It is clear that poverty is about more than just income and looks at the importance of housing, energy, water, telecommunications and Justice.  The report looks at the impact that poverty has on access to health, housing, education, employment and social participation. 

It is evident that poverty is a serious problem facing South Australian families.  Research tells us that children growing up in poverty can experience developmental delays, reduced academic success, and impaired lifelong physical and mental health outcomes.

Poverty is described in terms of wealth inequality, living below the poverty line and ‘being poor’. 

The Commissioner is keen to learn more about what children and young people in South Australia understand poverty to mean, how they would describe the impact and what they believe the contributing factors are.  The Commissioner would like to ask young people what they would suggest can be done in SA to ‘help poor kids’. 


The Commissioner for Children and Young people was established under the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016.  The Commissioner promotes and advocates for the rights, best interests and well-being of all children and young people in South Australia.  The Commissioner is committed to advocating for children and young people’s involvement in decision-making that affects them, giving particular consideration to the needs of the vulnerable and at-risk children and young people.

Since her appointment the Commissioner, Helen Connolly has met with more than 2,500 of South Australia’s children and young people in various settings and in different contexts for many purposes.  During this time the Commissioner has also heard from many agencies, families, community members and stakeholder groups regarding their concerns or hopes for South Australia’s children. 


During the Listening Tour children and young people told the Commissioner that ‘Helping Poor Kids’ should be one of her top five priorities.  Children and Young people talked about wanting cheaper bills to make it easier for families, wanting all children to get a good education and access to activities, sports and fun things to do to be possible for everyone.

The Project

  1. Conversations with Young People
  • Exploring what ‘Helping Poor Kids’ means.
  • ‘Helping poor kids’ and Poverty: are they the same?
  1. Stakeholder Engagement – Discussions with key stakeholders
  2. Survey – Develop and distribute survey to selected groups – online
  3. Focus groups with Young People
  • A crucial aspect of the project is developing an understanding of what children and young people think poverty looks like, what they think the impacts are and what factors might contribute to poverty.
  1. UN Youth Day Forum
  • Day Forum – Co-hosted with UN Youth
  • Exploring the impact of poverty on children and young people from a rights perspective?
  • Considering what are the current responses to addressing poverty?
  • Considering what more should be done, and by who, to address issues associated with poverty?

Find Out More about the Poverty Project