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The Good Childhood Report 2017

For over 130 years, The Children’s Society has been committed to understanding the complexity of children’s lives and working hard to make their lives better. We know that it’s only possible to make the biggest difference we can by listening to children and helping them to have a say in shaping the services there to support them.

Over more than a decade, we’ve asked over 60,000 children how their lives are going. Every year, our Good Childhood Report provides a unique annual update on children’s subjective well-being. It tells us, from children’s own perspectives, how happy they are across many different aspects of their lives.

Our 2017 report, the sixth in-depth study so far, analyses the latest data on trends in children’s well-being over time. Worryingly, children and young people’s happiness is in decline.

We investigate, for the first time, how a range of serious problems are affecting children’s well-being up and down the country.

Living in fear of crime in their neighbourhood. Families struggling to pay the bills. Going without the right emotional support at home. These are just some of the many pressures children told us they are struggling with.

Just under a million have none of the serious problems we asked about in their lives. But this is the minority of children. A more widespread experience, affecting more than half of children, is having three or more serious problems to grapple with.

One million children and young people have seven or more serious problems to deal with. These young people are ten times more likely to feel unhappy than those with no problems.

It’s clear that some children in this country are under tremendous pressure, dealing with difficulties in many aspects of their lives. The evidence clearly points to a damaging impact on their well-being.

At a time when the Government is cutting funding for children’s services, this gives us deep cause for concern.

We’re extremely proud that our groundbreaking research into children’s well-being, in partnership with the University of York, continues to shine a light on children’s well-being and the complexity of their lives. What remains unchanged is that when children share their opinions with us, this will not be ignored.

The findings in this year’s report are of great significance for those responsible for resourcing the services that exist across the country to support children. Together, it’s our job to make sure they listen to children and act without delay.