Deprivation, Exclusion and Vulnerability (DEV) Framework

The DEV framework was developed by our ChildFund Alliance partner ChildFund International, and is based on the findings of pioneering research into child poverty conducted in 2002-2003 (The Poverty Study) [1].

The study, which involved extensive consultation with children, found that poverty is a deeply relational, dynamic, and multi-dimensional experience.  Poor children are deprived of essential material conditions and services; they are excluded on the basis of their age, ethnicity, religion, gender, physical and intellectual ability, etc; and they are vulnerable to the increasing array of threats in their social and physical environments [2].  The DEV framework thus attempts to understand child poverty by analysing it through these three inter-related dimensions of poverty [3].

  • Deprivation: the severity, intensity and contextualised nature of children’s experiences of poverty with regard to their material conditions and access to basic services.
  • Exclusion: the processes through which individuals or groups of children are wholly or partially marginalised from full participation in the society in which they live.
  • Vulnerability: the dynamic nature of children’s experience of poverty in terms of how they are affected by, or resilient to, the array of changing threats in their environment.

ChildFund Australia adopted the DEV framework in 2006 as a key tool for understanding children’s experience, analysing child poverty and informing program design and evaluation. The DEV framework is a tool that promotes analysis of what it is that children are deprived of, excluded from, or vulnerable to; and then attempts to understand why, how, where, and by whom?  

ChildFund Australia is committed to undertaking a DEV analysis as an essential step in the design and evaluation of our programs. This will include facilitating meaningful participation of children and young people in order to understand how they themselves experience deprivation, exclusion and vulnerability; jointly identify with them appropriate responses to address these issues; and involve them in the evaluation of the effectiveness of any program. 

DEV factors will be considered when undertaking needs analyses and baseline surveys.  Benchmarks will be set in order to measure progress toward achieving desired outcomes, in line with ChildFund Australia’s overall program focus.  Appendix 1.8 of the ChildFund Australia Program Handbook provides examples of DEV indicators for measuring impact when addressing child poverty.

Specific program and project level indicators will be defined at the local level based on the local context and identified local priorities. A DEV analysis is one tool that will be used for program and project planning, design, implementation and evaluation.


[1] Children and Poverty, Christian Children’s Fund Inc., 2003.
[2] The DEV Framework, Christian Children’s Fund Inc., 2007.
[3] The use of the phrase ‘dimensions of poverty’ recognises the multiple factors that contribute to child poverty and the interrelationships between the three dimensions.