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child well being « Previous | |Next »
February 18, 2007

The Rowson cartoon refers to this UNICEF Report entitled Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries. It gives a picture of child well being through the consideration of six dimensions: material well-being, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, subjective well-being, behaviours and lifestyles informed by the Convention on the rights of the child and relevant academic literature. Britain came out rather poorly as did the US.

children.jpg
Martin Rowson

Australia was not included in the study. I have no idea where Australia sits in terms of the European Nations and the US. If the economy is booming are children reaping the benefits? What we do know is that those children who live in poverty come from families where
neither parent works,
and that there there would be a major differences in well-being between children living in different geographic areas.

That would indicate starting to adjust work to recognise the reality of parents' lives, and in particular poor parents, and unless we provide support for those poor parents to get into the workforce through skills development and training, then we are going to continue with a cycle of poverty that goes from one generation to another.

In addition, we would need focus on moving beyond income poverty to broader measures of social exclusion. These remarks by a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2013309,00.html">Libby Brooks in The Guardian on childhood poverty go become income poverty to social exclusion:

It's important not to cry "toxic childhood" immediately. This is not solely a consequence of junk food, computer games and the Pussycat Dolls. Many of Unicef's findings can be traced back to poverty, pure and simple. But not all of them. The report also points to significant cultural factors. British society does not value its children. Since the Victorian era, they have been segregated from society, corralled into classrooms and swept off the streets. In many ways, simply to be young is to meet the definition of social exclusion: no say in the political process, not contributing directly to the economy, criminalised for offences determined by your status rather than actions, vilified by the media.

It would appear that many children in living in poverty in Australia are being segregated from society, corralled into classrooms and swept off the streets.


| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:08 PM |