This paper sets out the key findings from Young Lives research into the ways that major social protection policies are impacting on children, their families and communities in Ethiopia, India and Peru. The research is based on information collected about children, their households and communities since 2001. Two cohorts of children in each country have been followed since the age of 1 and 8 years; three quantitative surveys and two rounds of qualitative fieldwork have taken place in each country. Sub-studies also include qualitative fieldwork and analysis.
In the conclusion the authors draw out a series of key policy relevant conclusions:
- Well designed social protection has a major role in improving children's life chances.
- There are however risks of unintended consequences within social protection, and it is important therefore that policymakers consider carefully the possible effects on children.
- Social protection and cash transfers can have important intra-household and gendered effects which should be considered within policy design.
- Despite the size of the social protection schemes in Young Lives countries, considerable numbers of poor children are not covered.
- Schemes usually contain some form of conditionality. Policymakers need to carefully consider the impacts of particular conditions.
- Social protection schemes operate in a context, and policymakers need to consider both the scheme itself and how other economic and social policies are able to help families move beyond dependence on social protection.
Young Lives, Department of International Development at the University of Oxford, UK. 34 pp.