One in four children in lone-parent households in Australia lives in poverty. Welfare-to-work policies designed to ‘activate’ lone-parents into the labour market is one approach that successive governments have employed to address this issue. This article argues that activation policies that target parents risk overlooking the implications for the children in these families. It concludes that more understanding about how poor children employ agency within the constraints and conditions of their lives could inform policy that better supports their well-being, values their contributions, and is more sensitive to the diverse and changing needs of families. It draws on child-centred participatory research with twenty-six children in Australia that found they were active agents across a range of areas that included strategies for getting by, aspiration for the future, and acts of resistance.
SOURCE: Podesta, Jennifer. “Children’s Agency: ‘Getting By, Getting Back, Getting Out and Getting Organised’ Under Welfare-to-Work in Australia.” Children & Society, [
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