Policy Press

Discovering child poverty

The creation of a policy agenda from 1800 to the present

By Lucinda Platt


Jan 19, 2005

Page count

156 pages

Browse the series

Studies in Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
Discovering child poverty

Child poverty is currently regarded by many as the 'number one' issue in Britain. Yet it has not always been so high on the policy agenda. What were attitudes to poor children 200 years ago? How did child poverty emerge as both a quantifiable and urgent issue? And how did policy makers respond? These are the questions that this book tackles.

The book:

· presents a broad but sophisticated overview of 200 years of investigation into and responses to the plight of poor children;

· identifies key moments and figures of the period;

· includes chapters on children and work, education and child poverty research to provide the essential context for the story of the 'discovery' of child poverty.

Clearly and accessibly written, this book provides a concise but richly detailed account of the subject. It will appeal to policy makers, practitioners, researchers and all those with an interest in child poverty wishing to understand the antecedents of current research and policy.

Studies in poverty, inequality and social exclusion series

Series Editor: David Gordon, Director, Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research.

Poverty, inequality and social exclusion remain the most fundamental problems that humanity faces in the 21st century. This exciting series, published in association with the Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol, aims to make cutting-edge poverty related research more widely available.

For other titles in this series, please follow the series link from the main catalogue page.

"... a thorough account of British social welfare policy over the past 200 years ... useful for those attempting to understand both current British policies and the underlying moral structure of American anti-poverty policy traditions." Journal of Children & Poverty

"Platt is at her best analysing the development of social research and the nature of policy...this study will prove helpful to anyone who wants to develop their understanding of this timely subject; it offers a broad overview of the topic and provides an excellent bibliography for even further exploration." The Journal of Social History

"Platt's analysis of the interplay of various perceptions of poverty and the proposed or actual policy responses is both detailed and nuanced, and much can be learned from it." Journal of Social Policy

"... an interesting account of advances in political thinking on child poverty over the past 200 years." Children & Society.

"Accessible and scholarly, pioneering and timely, this book will be invaluable to students, researchers and professionals seeking to understand the political significance of child poverty, its evolution as a concept and policy, and its importance in contemporary debate on the restructuring of the welfare state." Harry Hendrick, Institute of History, University of Southern Denmark

Lucinda Platt is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex where she lectures on all aspects of social policy. Her research focuses on two main interests: ethnic minorities and child poverty. 

Contents: Introduction: scope and argument of the book; The conditions for child poverty: context and chronology; A fit occupation for children? Children and work; Workers of the future: the education of children; Discovering child poverty: child poverty and the family to 1945; Rediscovering child poverty: poverty and policy from 1945; Conclusion: child poverty on the agenda.