This panel will draw on papers exploring lasting effects of early disadvantage. The panel will pose - and seek to answer - the fundamental policy relevant questions of 'what matters most in the early life course?' The panel will draw on the rich Young Lives research study and from other relevant research that addresses this question.
Childhood is the crucible through which inequalities in education, skills or health are formed. Childhood, adolescence and youth are critical phases of human development and child poverty has potentially lifelong consequences. Tackling inequalities means addressing the differences in childhood circumstances such as child malnutrition, early learning, school leaving, early marriage and fertility. The papers in this panel will consider evidence from a broad range of relevant research, including the Young Lives cohort study of children growing up in Ethiopia, India (in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Vietnam. The Young Lives study was set up to trace the outcomes of the children of the Millennium. The study has collected qualitative and quantitative information on 12,000 children as they have grown up over 15 years. Young Lives now represents a unique and powerful database following children from infancy to early adulthood, reporting on changing experiences and circumstances. The panel aim is to examine core messages illuminating how and when in the life course key factors shape children's development, influencing later opportunities. Key questions will include: why did some children do better than others despite early disadvantages?; What was the role of gender alongside poverty and other exclusions?; What was similar and different across the four diverse study countries?; And what are key take away implications for policy and programming?