Building Collective Capabilities with Children and Young People: a Place-based Approach to Child Poverty in Scotland

McBride, M. and Ward, S. (2019) Building Collective Capabilities with Children and Young People: a Place-based Approach to Child Poverty in Scotland. 2019 Human Development and Capabilities Association Conference (HDCA 2019), London, UK, 09-11 Sep 2019.

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Almost one in four Scottish children are living in poverty . This has a profound effect on the life chances of children and young people, including educational attainment, and health and wellbeing. Two in five children report disability and ill health in their families, with no adults working, while two-thirds of children in poverty live in working households . The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 aims to reduce the effects of poverty on children with a focus on increasing parental income and mitigating against the effects on attainment, housing, childcare and health . Whilst a key governmental focus is on income (work and earnings, costs of living and social security), The Poverty and Inequality Commission has also highlighted the need to focus more broadly on quality of life, including the need to ensure that children are growing up in safe and nurturing homes and communities , in order that they can achieve their potential. To further this aim, The Scottish Government’s Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-22 has funded an innovative Children’s Neighbourhoods approach in key sites across Scotland, using a place-based approach to stimulate collective action, with children, young people and communities at its core. This paper draws on research currently being developed alongside the Children’s Neighbourhood programme, to present a unique methodology that both practises and produces the centrality of children and young people’s voices within the evaluation framework. Using a Capabilities Approach (Sen, 1985; Nussbaum, 2011), the project evaluation is developing a multidimensional framework of goals, or freedoms, which will form the basis of work for the Children’s Neighbourhood, drawing on data co-produced with children, families and stakeholders. The framework aims to locate policy within a social justice context and allows for a complex examination of the personal, social and environmental conversion factors which work for or against the successful achievement of domain freedoms and functionings. Further, the research explores the unique character of children’s capabilities (Biggeri, 2007), which are linked to adult capabilities and capacities, differ across age and life cycle, are inter-related (for example, education is a pre-requisite to the achievement of other capabilities), and cluster together, creating ‘fertile functionings’ and ‘corrosive disadvantage’ (Wolff and de-Shalit, 2007). We argue that a process of democratic deliberation is central to the generation of data, demonstrating research tools adapted for use with children and young people and their parents/carers in a variety of settings. These include dialogical tools to explore the key capabilities domains, as well as participative strategies such as participant voting, co-presenting and appreciate enquiry techniques. Further to this, we explore application of a Capabilities definition of empowerment (Drydyk, 2008), exploring the measurement of the key concepts of ‘consciencisation, conciliation and collaboration’ (Ibrahim, 2017), central to collective work in a community setting.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Keywords:Children and young people, child poverty, collective action, empowerment.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ward, Dr Sarah and Mcbride, Dr Maureen
Authors: McBride, M., and Ward, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the Author
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