More than one in five people in Australia live in low-income households and half of them are households with dependent children. Poverty is known to negatively affect children’s health, development, achievement and behaviour. The case for early intervention and a way forward are well presented in the Benevolent Society’s 2013 paper Acting Early, Changing Lives: How prevention and early action saves money and improves wellbeing.
A good companion read to this is Catherine McDonald’s paper Children and Poverty: Why their experience of their lives matter for policy. She argues that prime consideration in developing social policy be given to children rather than to adult researchers and policy makers. She demonstrates how research is revealing children as active and competent agents whose lived experience of poverty must be integral to the development of social policy. Although her paper was published in 2009, perhaps this Anti-Poverty Week will signal a renewed appreciation of the voice of children in the quest for a solution.