One-parent youths ‘face struggle’

Sydney Morning Herald 11 July 2013
Children growing up in single-parent families are among the groups most likely to face ongoing and entrenched disadvantage, a new report warns.

Almost 9 per cent of children aged under 10 who had lived with a single parent experienced poverty for between six and 10 years, the Productivity Commission report, to be released on Thursday, says.

Only 2 per cent of children who had lived in two-parent households over a decade experienced sustained poverty. ”A child’s earliest years fundamentally shape their life chances,” the report’s authors write.

”Gaps in capabilities between children from socio-economically disadvantaged families and their more advantaged peers appear early in life. Starting school behind the eight-ball can begin a cycle of disadvantage that sets a trajectory for poorer outcomes later in life.”

The report looked at the experiences of people facing poverty between 2001 and 2010.

Although some who experience disadvantage move out of it relatively quickly, the report found, others struggle for years.

Those people are most likely to be single parents and their children, indigenous Australians, and people with low educational qualifications and persistent health conditions or disabilities.

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