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The Good Childhood Report 2015: Summary

This is The Children’s Society’s fourth Good Childhood Report – the latest in a series of reports providing insight into how children feel about their lives. The report is based on The Children’s Society and the University of York’s collaborative well-being research programme initiated a decade ago and now established as a world-leading programme of research on children’s subjective well-being.The tenth anniversary of this programme of research provides an ideal opportunity to review what we have learnt and to consider what more we can do to improve children’s lives. It is still the case that far too many children and young people experience low levels of well-being.

While this research adds a valuable contribution to our understanding of childhood, for The Children’s Society it provides us with a way to understand how we can respond to the young people most in need of care and support, who may be facing poverty, abuse or neglect. It is only by listening to children and understanding their personal experiences that we can give them the best chance of flourishing.

This report presents the latest national figures and trends, a digest of key findings from our research programme, and new findings from an international comparative study of children’s subjective wellbeing that shows how children in England are faring compared to children in other countries.

It is crucial that people from all walks of life, including policy-makers and professionals working with children, act on these latest findings and what our research over the last decade shows us about children’s lives. As we set out later, there is still much to learn but our depth of knowledge about children’s well-being, led by this ground-breaking programme of work, has now grown enormously. There can be no doubt that children’s well-being should be a central consideration in decisions affecting their immediate lives and futures.