Identifying Disadvantaged Children: Comparing Alternative Approaches Melissa Wong

Identifying Disadvantaged Children: Comparing Alternative Approaches Melissa Wong

Identifying Disadvantaged Children: Comparing Alternative Approaches Melissa Wong and Peter Saunders Social Policy Research Centre University of New South Wales Presented to the 2nd International Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators University of Western Sydney, 4-5 November 2009 Dimensions of Social Disadvantage Poverty people are living in poverty if their incomes are so inadequate as to preclude them from having an acceptable standard of living (Irish Combat Poverty Agency) Deprivation people are deprived when they face an enforced lack of socially perceived necessities (Mack and Lansley, Poor Britain)

Social exclusion An individual is socially excluded if he or she does not [have the opportunity to] participate in key activities in the society in which he or she lives (Burchardt, Le Grand and Piachaud, Understanding Social Exclusion) Consistent poverty income below 60% of the median and also experiencing enforced deprivation (Irish Combat Poverty Agency) The UNICEF Child Well-being Framework Dimensions of well-being: 1. Material well-being (poverty, deprivation, work) 2.

Health and safety (mortality and morbidity) 3. Educational well-being (literacy, numeracy and enrolments) 4. Family and peer relationships (sole parent and step families) 5. Behaviours and risks (smoking, violence and physical activity) 6. Subjective well-being (perceptions of belonging and loneliness) The ARACY Report Card of Wellbeing for Australian Children and Youth Dimensions of well-being:

1. Material well-being (poverty, deprivation and joblessness) 2. Health and safety (health, immunisation, accidents/injury) 3. Educational well-being (school achievement and work transition) 4. Relationships (social capital, family relationships, belonging) 5. Behaviours and risks (obesity, smoking, alcohol, drug use, crime) 6. Subjective well-being (self-reported health, personal wellbeing)

7. Participation (community participation, political interest) 8. Environment (climate change, resource use and biodiversity) Comparing the Three Approaches (Income) poverty focuses on what people do not have (in terms of income) Deprivation focuses on what people cannot afford (in terms of acquiring the essentials of life)

Social exclusion focuses on what people do not do (among customary or common activities) Deprivation and exclusion focus more directly on the absence of items regarded as essential (necessities) Identifying Deprivation and Exclusion Is it essential for everyone? Yes No Do you have it? Yes No SOCIAL EXCLUSION Is it because you cannot afford it?

THE ESSENTIALS OF LIFE Yes DEPRIVATION No Community Understanding of Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey (CUPSE) 2006 (n=2,704) Benchmark 61 essential items; 47 considered to be essential by 50% of sample 26 Deprivation items 27 Social exclusion items Child-related items: Hobby/leisure activities for children Children able to participate in

school activities Annual dental check-up for children New school books/clothes Separate bed per child Separate bedroom per child >10 years Disengagement Service exclusion Economic Exclusion -lack of community participation -lack of adequate access to key services -restricted access to

economic resources and low economic capacity Essential items (without child-related items) 100 90 80 70 60 No child present % 50 40 30 20 10 0 0

10 20 30 40 50 % Child present 60 70 80 90 100

Essential items (with 6 child-related items) 100 Hobby for children 90 Bed per child 80 70 Bedroom per child >10 years 60 No child present % 50

New school books/clothes School activities Annual dental check-up for children 40 30 20 10 0 0 10 20

30 40 50 % Child present 60 70 80 90 100 Comparing Disadvantage by Family Types

3 family types: couples without children, couples with dependent children and sole parent with dependent children Age of dependent child <18 years and age of parent restricted to 50 years 3 indicators of disadvantage poverty, deprivation and social exclusion Subjective wellbeing indicators Income Poverty Rates by Family Type % Deprivation of 25 essential items

by Family Type % Deprivation of 6 child-related items by Family Type % Social Exclusion by Family Type % Disengagement Service exclusion Economic exclusion Consistent Poverty (60% median disposable income & dep 2) %

Subjective Wellbeing by Family Type % Conclusions Examine nature of disadvantaged couple and sole parent families in Australia using poverty, deprivation and social exclusion indicators as well as subjective well-being indicators Sole parent families are most disadvantaged in terms of all the indicators as well as subjective well-being Couples with dependent children are worse off than couples with no children

Indicators are based on information provided by parents and not children themselves There is a need for more research on children's experiences and attitudes [SPRCs Making a Difference Project] Dr Melissa Wong | Social Policy Research Centre | [email protected] Professor Peter Saunders | Social Policy Research Centre | [email protected]

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