Vulnerable children experience worse health outcomes and have poorer life chances than other children. 1 This section describes known risk factors for vulnerability in children, including young person-specific factors (such as special educational needs) and parent-related issues (such as substance misuse).

Disability as a source of vulnerability is not covered specifically in this chapter. This will be covered in a forthcoming disabled children’s needs assessment.


  1. F. Field, “The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults,” Cabinet Office, 2010