Children's aspirations to overcome poverty

Children as young as six feel that money is among the most important things needed to fulfil their aspirations in life, according to a survey carried out for the children's rights watchdog for England.

The online survey was developed by Amplify, the Children's Commissioner's advisory group made up of children and young people. It was aimed at helping to identify the effect of living in a low-income household on children's aspirations, and considered both the material items and opportunities they think are important. It gathered over 1,300 responses from children and young people ranging in age from six to 23.

Key findings

  • Nearly 90 per cent of respondents thought money was needed to help them achieve their goals – though it ranked behind 'love, support and help from my family, loved ones (including pets) or carer' (96.8 per cent), 'a good school/education' (91.2 per cent), 'good advice, support and training' (91 per cent) and 'good friends' (90.8 per cent).
  • Access to education and healthcare were ranked as the most important opportunities. A high value was also placed on children's relationships with their families.
  • Disabled children and young people placed a greater emphasis than other children on sport, holidays and ability to travel. Having a good social worker and good transport were felt important to helping them achieve their hopes and dreams.
  • Children in care and care leavers tended to highlight the importance of basic practical items such as cookers and clothes, as well as the need to feel safe.

The report recommends that the official measure of child poverty should be refined to reflect what is important to children and young people: while recognising the primary importance of money in defining poverty, it should also measure access to certain items, services and opportunities as key in determining outcomes.

: Amplify with Lisa Davis, Sandra Gulyurtlu and Tom Green, 'What We Say We Need': A Report on the Important Items, Opportunities and Aspirations for Children and Young People, Office of the Children's Commissioner
LinksReport | OCC press release

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