Life Chances – Brotherhood of St. Laurence Report
Tuesday, 2nd September 2003 at 1:09 pm
A long-term study, tracking children born into low and high-income families has revealed some families are remaining trapped in poverty despite a decade of economic growth in Australia.
Since 1991, the Brotherhood of St Laurence has been following a group of children born into low income, middle income and high income families, to explore how social, economic and environmental factors shape their lives.
The Life Chances study has reported on the progress of this group at ages six months, 18 months, three and six years. The children are now 11 and 12.
Major findings of Eleven Plus: life chances and family income include:
– 74 per cent of children living in low-income families when aged six months were still in this situation, aged 11 and 12.
– Children in low-income families were significantly less likely to spend time with friends away from school; participate in sport, school camps or activities outside school; have been holidays in the past year; or think where they live is a good place to grow up.
– Some children who had grown up in long-term low-income families spoke of feeling ‘sad’ and upset about their lack of money.
– Being unable to meet school costs, clothing, shoes and outings costs severely limited children’s school and social lives.
The report was prepared by BSL senior researchers Janet Taylor and Alex Fraser.
Taylor says the study provides yet more evidence that families on low incomes just aren’t sharing in the opportunities supposedly created in the last decade of economic growth.
She says the kids in the BSL study are becoming aware of how their families struggle financially. Access to education is crucial to help them escape poverty.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence is calling for the Federal Government to ensure low-income families have adequate incomes and to reduce educational disadvantage.
Brotherhood Executive Director Nic Francis says the life experiences of some of these kids makes us wonder how much longer we are prepared to put up with so much poverty.
If you would like an electronic version of the executive summary of the report just send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can purchase the complete report at the BSL website at www.bsl.org.au or call and ask for the BSL publications department on 03 9483 1183.