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Family Matters No. 57 - September 2000

Multiple risk exposure and likelihood of welfare receipt

Implications for social policy and human capital
Robyn Seth-Purdie

Abstract

New data from a longitudinal study (the Christchurch Health and Development Study, which commenced in 1977 with a sample size of 1000) show that the risk of welfare receipt in early adulthood rises sharply as the extent of exposure to childhood 'adversity' increases. This paper argues that long-term social welfare receipt amongst people of working age should be addressed through cross-sectoral cooperation in strategies which promote human capital formation. Such a strategy would increase the capacity of individuals to assume greater responsibility for the wellbeing of themselves and their families and would produce a wide range of social and economic benefits. 

New data from a longitudinal study (the Christchurch Health and Development Study, which commenced in 1977 with a sample size of 1000) show that the risk of welfare receipt in early adulthood rises sharply as the extent of exposure to childhood 'adversity' increases. This paper argues that long-term social welfare receipt amongst people of working age should be addressed through cross-sectoral cooperation in strategies which promote human capital formation. Such a strategy would increase the capacity of individuals to assume greater responsibility for the wellbeing of themselves and their families and would produce a wide range of social and economic benefits.

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