This introductory chapter sets out the three main aims of the book. The first is to identify the defining characteristics of the five concepts of child well-being — need, rights, poverty, quality of life, and social exclusion — and to explore the relationships between them. The second aim is to measure the prevalence of the conditions to which the concepts refer for a population of children representative of a particular community, and to compare the overlap between them. The third aim is to consider the implications of the findings for policy and practice in children's services, defined here as those interventions organised and provided on behalf of children by agencies such as social services, health, education, youth justice, the benefits agency, housing, leisure providers and the voluntary sector. This is followed by discussions of child well-being in policy and practice, studies of childhood, and research on the five concepts. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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