Index measures children's well-being

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A groundbreaking way of measuring the well-being and quality of life of children in the UK has been devised by the Children's Society.

The Good Childhood Index, launched on Tuesday, aims to give professionals and practitioners a way of monitoring children's well-being over time by asking children and young people themselves about the quality of their lives.

The new tool will enable a way of monitoring subjective well-being - that is, how happy children are with life as a whole and different aspects of it. The society aims to use the index quarterly to measure any changes in the well-being of children generally.

The Children's Society has developed the index with the University of York, following surveys with 17,000 children in 2005, 2008 and 2010. Through their research, ten areas were identified as the most important aspects of children's well-being, including: family, friends, health, appearance, time use, the future, home, money and possessions, school and amount of choice.

A survey of 2,000 eightto 15-year-olds using the new index found that children viewed choice, family, appearance, money/possessions, time use and health as most important to their well-being.

The charity says the new tool, which is free for other organisations to use, is a more concise and precise way of monitoring well-being because it pinpoints the key factors that have the most impact on children themselves.

Professionals will be able to use the index to benchmark their school or any large group of children against a national average.

Gwyther Rees, research director at the Children's Society, said, 'There has been considerable concern about children's well-being, especially in relation to all the cuts currently being discussed. Investigating well-being is crucial, as there is evidence that suggests negative well-being leads to issues such as poor mental health. The Good Childhood Index means that we won't simply look at social indicators like income or educational attainment to assess well-being.'


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