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Quarter of children face complex family problems

More than one in four children in the UK are growing up in families facing multiple challenges, including parental depression and financial hardship, a study by the Institute of Education has found. 

The research analysed the prevalence of 10 family problems that pose a risk to child development across more than 18,000 families taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study.

Researchers found that 28 per cent of families faced two or more of these 10 risk factors, which were living in overcrowded housing, being born to a teenage mother or having one or more parents affected by depression, a physical disability, low basic skills, substance misuse, excessive alcohol intake, financial stress, worklessness or domestic violence. 

More than four in 10 children faced no risk factors in early childhood, and a further three in 10 faced only one.


But the Millennium cohort children facing two or more risk factors were found to have lower behavioural development scores at ages three and five than those experiencing one or no challenges.

The vocabulary scores of children with multiple challenges were also lower and they fell further behind between ages three and five.

Meanwhile, children in families with multiple risk factors and a low income fared worst across most developmental outcomes.

The study's authors found that Bangladeshi children were most likely to be exposed to multiple family difficulties. Almost 48 per cent of Bangladeshi children in the study experienced two or more risk factors, compared to only 20 per cent of Indian children.

The Millennium cohort is representative of the current UK child population. Using the cohort as a baseline, the researchers estimate that approximately 192,000 children born in 2001 faced multiple challenges in early childhood.

This article has been taken from www.cypnow.co.uk – http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1071713/quarter-children-complex-family