Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

Rethinking Child Poverty and Social Exclusion

Research Staff

Prof. Sheila Greene, Ms. Liz Kerrins

About the Project

Our understanding to date of child poverty and social exclusion in Ireland has mainly focused on the economic bases of poverty and social exclusion at the household level. Measurement has been quantitative in approach measuring current household income and using adult-centric material deprivation indicators. Daly and Leonard's (2002) qualitative account of family life on a low income Against All Odds is unique in the Irish context, giving us children's and their parents' own accounts of their experiences of poverty and social exclusion and its effects on their lives. Yet much remains unexplored about the dimensions and experiences of poverty and social exclusion for children: further empirical, qualitative research with children, and their families, is required.

The literature review, and the later phase 2 empirical research, could contribute to:

  • Operationalising for children the concept of social exclusion underpinning our National Anti-Poverty Strategy (NAPS). The definition of poverty in the NAPS proposes that exclusion and marginalization from activities considered the norm in society are the result of inadequate income and resources. What is the child centred perspective on this proposed link, the components of and processes involved in the social exclusion of children and the effects of exclusion on child well-being?
  • The analysis of child poverty and social exclusion within the context of its effects on child well-being. Supporting positive child well-being outcomes is increasingly a focus of Irish and international policy and scholarship, and undertaking the proposed research and analysis would give us a child-centered understanding of the effects of poverty and social exclusion across a series of domains.

The project should widen the analysis of child poverty in Ireland as it is based on existing quantitative and qualitative research, is multi-disciplinary in scope, and so will include the psychological impact of poverty and exclusion on children, and will engage key stakeholders and children and young people themselves in the process of thinking about the nature of child poverty and social exclusion.

The aim of the project is to develop a conceptual framework (phase 1) for the development of a later empirical, qualitative study exploring the nature of poverty and social exclusion for children and young people (phase 2). The framework can also be utilised as an analytical tool for the analysis of child poverty and social exclusion.

The methodology for developing the framework involves:

  • A multi-disciplinary review of Irish and international qualitative and quantitative research and theoretical and conceptual analyses on child poverty and social exclusion;
  • Interviews with a small number of children and young people (9 to 18 years from varying socio-economic backgrounds) to discuss their perspectives on the nature of poverty and social exclusion for children;
  • Dialogue with policymakers and child and family service providers to discuss the findings and analysis of the literature review and interviews, and the draft conceptual framework.

Project objectives are, through the literature review and dialogue, to:

  • Interrogate for children and young people the definition of poverty underpinning the Irish National Anti-Poverty Strategy;
  • Explore the components of social exclusion for children and young people experiencing poverty;
  • Explore the processes of social exclusion for children experiencing poverty;
  • Explore the outcomes and effects of poverty and social exclusion for children;
  • Explore the link between family income poverty and social exclusion for children that is inherent in Irish anti-poverty and children's policy

The main output from this project will be a CPA Working Paper containing a framework that is a stand-alone analytical tool for the analysis of child poverty and social exclusion, and a framework for the later development of an empirical, qualitative study exploring the nature of poverty and social exclusion for children and young people.


Last updated 15 March 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).