This brief report provides a broad context for the Young Lives research being done in Peru by reviewing the academic literature, research findings, statistics and official documents available. It was carried out by the Young Lives qualitative researchers, and thus privileges the main areas to be explored by qualitative research in its first two rounds of data collection (2007 and 2008). The document identifies gaps which the Young Lives research could fill and areas of further investigation which the project could focus on. By examining the available literature, it shows which areas have been covered thoroughly and which have not been the specific focus of much research. It also briefly examines the extent to which this research has influenced government policy, and whether this policy is effectively implemented.
The main themes the review focuses on are children’s key transitions, their access to services and their well-being. Transitions are defined as ‘key events and/or processes occurring at specific periods or turning points during the life course’ (Vogler et al. 2008). These include educational transitions, such as going from home or a pre-school setting to primary school, and from primary to secondary school, experiences that Young Lives children were undergoing at the time of survey and case study data collection (2006/7–2007/8 respectively). As the review makes clear, ‘transitions’ as such is not a topic which has been studied much, and the information gathered on these transitions comes from a variety of sources. The topic of ‘socialisation’, for example as well as related concepts such as life cycle or life course, yielded interesting information about a variety of transitions, including baptisms, indigenous traditions and integration into the wider community, as well as the home–school transitions mentioned above. The availability, access and quality of services for children and their families are examined in a variety of studies considered here, especially those evaluating the functioning and results of such services. Finally, child well-being is addressed, looking at general welfare indicators and some specific topics such as violence, work, resilience and development.