The Impact of the Crisis on Child Well-Being and Poverty: A Challenge for Social Economy?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: 512
Oral Presentation
Dionysis BALOURDOS , National Centre for Social Research, Athens, Greece
In Europe, around one in three children will experience poverty during childhood. For most, poverty will be transitory; however, for those growing in countries affected mostly by the crisis, poverty persists for many years. Children experiencing such a persistent poverty are more likely to be born into single-parent families, have mothers with low education level and to be unemployed or even in a low paid work not guaranteeing a path out of poverty; Theories suggest that experiencing poverty during childhood may affect one’s life social and economic opportunities. Empirical studies confirm that deep and persistent childhood poverty is likely to be passed on to future generations, consolidated, hard to eradicate and aggravating even more inequality in society.

In periods of recession, the social sector of economy can be the driving force for the social integration of children and poor families. Numerous initiatives at local level show that the involvement of actors, workers, stakeholders and beneficiaries in the “social enterprise”, can enhance their societal success and contribute to employment creation and to a fairer income distribution.

This paper is based on recent research on social enterprise and partnership initiatives to promote local development, regeneration and combat child poverty and social exclusion in the countries most affected by the financial crisis. The paper analyses the respective impacts of these new ‘business-community partnerships’, including their legal framework, financial resources and governance schemes on communities and ecosystems on relative poverty and social exclusion. Although this attempt is yet to be completed and the quantitative data are not enough to be able to draw any definitive conclusions, the key finding confirms that social economy enterprises can play an important role in improving equal access to numerous services for families and children, thereby preventing and providing solutions to the increasing poverty problem in society.