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14 February, 2007

UNICEF report reveals need for more youth involvement

Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation has said that the findings of today’s UNICEF report examining child well-being across 21 industrialised countries is deeply concerning.

The Report, ‘Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries’ placed the UK bottom of all 21 countries, with the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland at the top.

The report looked at 40 indicators including poverty, education, happiness, health, and peer and family relationships to assess "whether children feel loved, cherished, special and supported, within the family and community, and whether the family and community are being supported in this task by public policy and resources."

Tony Breslin said “The report reveals that however materially well off a country is, young people’s self perception and self esteem can still be poor. The report's findings underline the need to attend to matters of young people’s social wellbeing, placing learner voice at the centre of the education process.

The report also found that the UK had the lowest proportion of children who described their friends as kind and helpful - 40%, compared to 80% in Switzerland.

Tony added “At the Foundation, we are currently piloting a primary project called Go-Givers designed to promote ideas of charity, empathy and participation among 4-11 year olds. We believe that such a focus in the primary curriculum will help to cultivate children’s concern to act fairly, and to inspire compassion linked to social and moral responsibility.”

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