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Changing the Odds for Vulnerable Children

Building Opportunities and Resilience

image of Changing the Odds for Vulnerable Children

Child vulnerability is the outcome of a range of complex factors that compound over time. Across the OECD, millions of children from diverse backgrounds face daily hardships ranging from poor housing and inadequate diets to maltreatment and unsafe neighbourhoods. Vulnerability locks disadvantaged children into disadvantaged adulthood, putting the brakes on social mobility. Investing in vulnerable children is not only an investment in disadvantaged individuals, families and communities, it is an investment in more resilient societies and inclusive economies.

This report analyses the individual and environmental factors that contribute to child vulnerability. It calls on OECD countries to develop and implement cross-cutting well-being strategies that focus on empowering vulnerable families; strengthening children’s emotional and social skills; strengthening child protection; improving children’s health and educational outcomes; and reducing child poverty and material deprivation. Such policies reduce the barriers to healthy child development and well-being and increase opportunities and resources, thereby helping vulnerable children build resilience.

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Environmental factors that contribute to child vulnerability

This chapter analyses the environmental factors contributing to child vulnerability. These factors operate at both the family and community level. Family factors include material deprivation, parents’ health and health behaviours, parents’ level of education, intimate partner violence and family stress. Community factors include schools and neighbourhoods. The analysis shows the strong inter-generational aspect of vulnerability and the concentration of vulnerable children within certain families and communities.

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