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What Works in Supporting Children and Young People to Overcome Persistent Poverty? A Review of UK and International Literature

This review was undertaken by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of the Office for the First Minister/Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland (OFMDFM) between February and September 2012. The review was undertaken as part of OFMDFM’s Research Strategy, which is designed to enhance the information and research base upon which equality, social need and good relations policies are developed and evaluated in Northern Ireland. Although the Research Strategy seeks to inform policy development in Northern Ireland specifically, this review was commissioned to consider literature relating to persistent poverty more broadly – at an international level.

The NFER review was initially commissioned, as part of the Research Strategy, to explore the question: What works in supporting children and young people to break the intergenerational poverty cycle? On the basis of scrutiny of the literature, and in agreement with OFMDFM and the review’s expert panel, the title of the review has been adapted to: What works in supporting children and young people to overcome persistent poverty? Sub questions addressed throughout the review are:

  • What factors and interventions might work to help poor children achieve a positive outcome in adulthood?
  • What factors enable some children born into poverty to ‘buck the trend’ in terms of their predicted life trajectories?
  • What strategies and practices can support the development of resilience among poor children and young people?