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Innocenti Discussion Papers

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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports

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Children's Perspectives on Economic Adversity: A review of the literature
Children's Perspectives on Economic Adversity: A review of the literature

AUTHOR(S)
Gerry Redmond

Published: 2008 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper reviews some of the recent qualitative literature on children's perspectives on economic disadvantage. The idea of asking people who experience disadvantage about their own situations is still a relatively new one in the social sciences, and the idea of asking children about their own perceptions of economic and social disadvantage is even more recent. Nine analyses, all published since 1998, and all of them involving in-depth interviews or group work with children aged between 5 and 17, are examined in detail. Most of these studies develop frameworks based on the 'new sociology of childhood', which emphasises the social construction of childhood and children's agency in the context of child-adult relations. The nine studies cover a number of issues related to economic disadvantage, including exclusion from activities and peer groups at school and in the community; perceptions of 'poor' and 'affluent' children; participation in organized activities outside of school hours; methods of coping with financial hardship; support for parents in coping and in seeking and keeping employment, and aspirations for future careers and lives.
Independent Children, Inconsistent Adults: International child migration and the legal framework
Independent Children, Inconsistent Adults: International child migration and the legal framework

AUTHOR(S)
Jacqueline Bhabha

Published: 2008 Innocenti Discussion Papers
Like adults, children migrate across borders for different reasons and in varying circumstances; and they face legal consequences as a result of their migration. Two of these consequences are common to all child migrants and have far-reaching implications: the child migrants become non-citizens or aliens once they cross a border, and they face a new social environment once they leave home. The existing legal framework does not directly address either of these consequences. Domestic child protection law, which addresses the problems facing children without satisfactory homes, does not often cover issues of foreign citizenship, including the risk of deportation and lack of entitlement to social benefits that non-citizen children can face. And migration law, which establishes the parameters of lawful status for recognized categories of migrant, does not deal with the needs and circumstances of most children who travel independently of their families. However, international law has long recognized the distinctive needs of some groups of child migrants. In the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the League of Nations in 1924, the first ever international child rights declaration, two of the five principles articulated define rights relevant to child migrants: (1) the primacy of the child’s right to relief in times of distress (a precursor to attention to the special needs of refugee children) and (2) the imperative of protection for exploited children (prefiguring concern with child trafficking). More recent regional and domestic legislation regulating immigration has included provisions promoting family unity and by implication the migration of children with or to join their adult relatives. A broader engagement with the many other aspects of child migration however has been absent. There is no single piece of international or regional legislation that systematically and comprehensively addresses the issue. As a result the body of relevant legislation, though quite extensive and diverse, has an impact on child migrants which is inconsistent and incomplete.
The Transition Generation: Young people in school and work in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States
The Transition Generation: Young people in school and work in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States
Published: 2007 Innocenti Discussion Papers
This paper focuses on the transition from school to labour market for the generation of young people in CEE/CIS who experienced the most turbulent years of the transition in their formative years. Using administrative data on school enrolment, as well as data from labour force surveys, the paper tracks the main trends in education enrollments in primary, lower and upper secondary, showing that the impact of the economic difficulties of the early 1990s was greater in the poorest countries of the region, and was reflected in particular in falling enrollments for the non-compulsory levels of education. The post-1998 period of economic recovery brought with it a marked divergence between upper secondary education enrollments in the Central and Eastern European countries, and the rest of the region. However, data on enrollments give only a partial picture of what happened to the school system during the transition; statistics on attendance and achievements from other data sources suggest that inequality in school access and quality increased both across the region and within countries. Education trends (using indicators measuring both quantity and quality) influence outcomes in the labour market, but can also be influenced by them: labour force surveys’ results show that young people in CEE/CIS face a high risk of unemployment or underemployment. At the same time, in particular in CEE, lack of employment opportunities encourages young people to stay longer in the education system. Mismatches between the outcomes of the education systems and labour market demand, as well as the character of recent economic growth, have resulted in significant imbalances in the labour market.
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