Schools minister David Laws told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that to get policy right, "you have to measure child poverty in a sensible way".
Mr Laws said the aim needed to be about taking people out of poverty in the long term and "not just maintaining them on means-tested benefits".
We think, and this is a crucial policy difference, we think the last Labour government's strategy of putting more and more money into means-tested benefits just to move people slightly above the poverty line is defunct now, not only because we have run out of money, but because in the long term you've got to give people opportunity.
More top news
Food prices will rise across the UK unless EU workers are allowed to remain as part of the Brexit negotiations, industry bosses have warned.
A north / south split in conditions tomorrow. Remaining mild
Polluting cars and vans could be permanently blocked from the French metropolis if it keeps to its mayor's recent clean-air commitments.