Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018) Children’s Headline Indicators, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 02 February 2023.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Children’s Headline Indicators. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/childrens-headline-indicators
Children’s Headline Indicators. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 18 September 2018, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/childrens-headline-indicators
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Children’s Headline Indicators [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018 [cited 2023 Feb. 2]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/childrens-headline-indicators
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2018, Children’s Headline Indicators, viewed 2 February 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/childrens-headline-indicators
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A child’s access to stable, adequate shelter is recognised as a basic human need. Having adequate housing enables people and children to engage with the wider community—socially, recreationally, and economically, and can influence both their physical and mental health (Wise 2003).
Shelter broadly refers to about having a safe place of one’s own in which the routines of daily life can be established, privacy can be negotiated, and where there is a secure base from which to engage in social interactions based on trust which enable self-esteem to be enhanced and self-identity to be maintained (Hulse & Saugeres 2008).
For children, the home environment, including both physical and social dimensions, provides a sense of identity and security that is fundamental to their development. Shelter is closely linked to the social and emotional aspects of a child’s health and wellbeing, and not merely to the structural features of the built environment. This approach to shelter is consistent with the view that children’s interactions with their immediate environment, and the relationship between children’s immediate environments and larger social contexts, are critical to their development (Ziol-Guest & McKenna 2014).
There are a number of components of shelter that affect child development and wellbeing, including home ownership, affordability, mobility, homelessness, overcrowding and characteristics of the dwelling.
Housing costs are usually the largest and least flexible item in a family budget. High housing costs can adversely affect child wellbeing through the experience of financial or material hardships (Herbers et al. 2012); impact on parental wellbeing and family stress and the quality, size and type of housing a family can afford (Leventhal & Newman 2010).
Housing mobility, overcrowding and homelessness are associated with an increase in social, emotional and behavioural problems, and a decrease in children’s short-term academic achievement, in particular school age children and adolescents (Cole et al 2013; Herbers et al. 2012). Frequent family moves are linked with increased grade repetitions, school suspensions and expulsions and other psychological issues. The magnitude of the effect of frequent moves increases with additional risk factors such as poverty, minority race, single-parent family structure, low levels of parental education and young maternal age (Cooper 2001). In addition, the adverse effects of overcrowding and homelessness on children can persist throughout life, ultimately affecting future socioeconomic status and adult wellbeing; children are also at a greater risk of finding themselves in similar situations as their parents, leading to the intergenerational transmission of social inequality (Solari & Mare 2007).
This indicator has been developed to incorporate three mutually exclusive measures from ABS Census: homeless, overcrowding and housing stress.
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