Social capital has been defined in numerous ways, and can refer to sociability, social networks and support, trust, reciprocity and community and civic engagement. The effect of social capital upon children's well-being is under-researched, and adults' social capital is often used as a proxy for children's social capital. This fact is only slowly being recognised, there is a need to develop research on measuring children's social capital. International comparative research, such as that being conducted by Young Lives, will be particularly important for illuminating cultural differences in the role children's social capital plays in their future development.
This paper highlights the reasons why social capital is relevant to child welfare, considers some key issues in measuring social capital, and provides direction for measuring the social capital of children. The author presents a theoretical model of the relationship between social capital and child welfare outcomes, which demonstrates the potential links between social capital, attributes and attitudes of parents/caregivers and children, and child well-being.
Keywords: social capital, well-being, measures