Child and parental wellbeing: measuring outcomes and understanding their relation with poverty

Enhancing wellbeing is a crucial element of supporting the lives of children, young people and families living in poverty. This report represents a first step in assessing wellbeing outcomes and understanding their relation with poverty for low income families.


The Children, Young People and Families Outcomes Framework, and the associated 21 core wellbeing indicators, permits for baseline findings from which we can measure progress – with a particular focus on child wellbeing in relation to poverty. The indicators considered under parental wellbeing can also be used to measure progress, but also allow open a dialogue in order for us to better understand the connections between wellbeing and poverty for families living in poverty.

We know that whole family wellbeing is crucial to creating the conditions for families to be able to navigate their way out of poverty and to enable families to thrive. However, overall, there are lower levels of health and wellbeing amongst children, young people and families living in higher areas of deprivation.

Moreover, many families on low income have been living under a constant financial strain due to the cumulative and compounding impact of the past 15 years. From the 2008 financial crises, to a decade of austerity measures, to the COVID-19 pandemic. While recent crises have impacted upon all households, those on the lowest incomes have been hit the hardest. In the current societal, political and economic context, focusing on supporting low income families in their health and wellbeing, as well as boosting their income such as through the Scottish Child Payment, is crucial in reducing inequalities.

This reiterates the need for actions, such as those outlined in Best Start, Bright Futures, which seek to strengthen and enhance wellbeing for families living in poverty. By doing so, this can help to support children and young people to achieve their potential.

Further exploratory work will be needed to embed learning from individual policy evaluations and the impact they can have on families' health and wellbeing.



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