Child Opportunities Research Group (CORG)

Funding: Human Resources Development Operational Programme (EFOP)
Duration: April 1, 2016 – September 30, 2023 (90 months)

Child Opportunities Research Group (CORG) is the research pillar of a consortium comprised of a government organization (DG of Social Affairs and Child Protection) and an NGO (Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta). It conducts basic and applied, policy-oriented research to create, strengthen, and monitor programs that exist to reduce and ultimately eradicate child poverty. Researchers in sociology, economics, anthropology, and social policy are working together in the team. By approaching poverty in an interdisciplinary way—addressing persistent issues within education, healthcare, economics, and social welfare—this research program aims to provide strategic, long-term, and sustainable solutions for thousands of children and their families nationwide.

An advantage of CORG’s research is its immediate impact on the implementation of poverty reduction programs. One of its ongoing projects includes the creation of a repository containing survey data from almost 4,000 children and 2,000 families living in deep poverty—people that are usually missed by national surveys. The new repository offers comparable data with already existing CORG datasets including over 12,000 children and 6,000 families. This, paired with hundreds of in-depth interviews of numerous in-group research projects, allows not only academics, but also professionals, government officials, students, and the general public the opportunity to better understand the many issues facing children and families struggling with poverty. The project uses this data to conduct needs-based assessments of families with children and to create regional development strategies and programs.

CORG’s research is driven by the strong belief that no child should ever have to experience poverty. In working with affected communities directly, and providing research and methodological support to government agencies and NGOs, the team strives to better the lives of children in need.


Ildikó Husz is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Social Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and is the head of the Child Opportunities Research Group, founded by her in 2011. She has led several research projects, including two programs on child poverty (co-funded by the EU Commission within the framework of Social Renewal Operational Programme), four projects on fertility (financed by OTKA and the Andorka Rudolf Society of Social Sciences), and three projects on the financial culture of Hungarian households that was supported by Inter-Europa Bank, the National Research and Development Fund (NKFP) and the Central Bank of Hungary. Ildikó is currently the principal investigator of an EFOP-financed project that is implemented in consortium with a government agency and an NGO, which provides professional methodological assistance to regional and local programs aiming at reducing child poverty, enhancing children’s opportunities, and preventing the reproduction of disadvantages in the most deprived areas of Hungary. Ildikó’s main research interests are social and ethnic inequalities, child poverty, demographic processes, and the sociology of families and households.

Zsuzsanna Réka Elek is a part-time junior research fellow at the Child Opportunities Research Group. She mentors the implementation of local programs, collects and organizes national and international publications, and participates in research regarding early motherhood and early school leaving, and the role of community houses in segregation. As a PhD student in social policy, Zsuzsanna’s primary research interest covers participatory action research in disadvantaged rural areas.

Marta Kiss is a research fellow, and has been with the Child Opportunities Research Group since 2015. Regarding CORG, she leads researches focusing on the sustainability of local program implementation and the educational disadvantage compensation. She leads also the evaluation of local economic development programs and takes part in research on community settlement houses. Additionally, she has participated in researches aimed at local development and social integration (led by HAS IE, Corvinus University of Budapest, the PHARE grant scheme, and TÁMOP projects). She has been involved also in Italian-Hungarian joint-research of HAS for three years. Marta’s main research interests lie within the fields of local economic development, social integration, social innovation and sustainability, and cultural heritage in disadvantaged areas.

Márton Medgyesi is a part-time senior research fellow at the Child Opportunities Research Group. He is involved in the project “Integrált gyermekprogramok szakmai támogatása” (Professional Support for Integrated Child Programmes, EFOP-1.4.1-17) where he is conducting research on the short term and longer term impacts of Sure Start houses in disadvantaged areas. Marton’s main research areas are income inequality in Hungary and the EU and intergenerational relations in the family and the welfare state. Marton holds a PhD in Sociology from Corvinus University Budapest.

Éva Perpék is a part-time research fellow at the Child Opportunities Research Group. She started working in the research group in 2012. She coordinates needs assessment surveys on children and their families in tandem with project partner universities. Currently Éva coordinates the monitoring and evaluation of a district-level cohesion pilot program (EFOP-1.5.1) as well as delivers an organizational analysis within it. She also participates in the research on local program sustainability, community houses and spaces, extracurricular disadvantage compensation at schools and human resources of the social sector. Éva’s research focuses on local development, child poverty, parenting, school performance, youth networks, volunteering and community development. In addition to CORG research, she has been involved in projects related to local development, local social and cultural resources, social inclusion and job market integration with TÁMOP, HEFOP, EFOP and EQUAL.

Zoltán Vastagh is a full time research fellow, and has been with the Child Opportunities Research Group since 2015. His main research at CORG covers the operation of community settlement houses in poor and deprived communities, and the functions of community development. He has formerly examined social exclusion, income poverty, and material deprivation at the Hungarian Central Statistical Office in the framework of EU-SILC for ten years, where he also took part in research projects regarding social stratification, occupation prestige, and well-being. Zoltán is a PhD candidate at Corvinus University of Budapest, where he studies social structure and state redistribution.

Eszter Zeller is a research assistant, and has been with the Child Opportunities Research Group since 2015. She is responsible for operating the online monitoring system developed by CORG that collects data on local child poverty- reduction programs, as well as for processing and evaluating the results regularly. She also performs the group’s administrative tasks and website-related duties.

Current Stage:

The team is currently engaged in six main tasks:

  • Providing methodological support for local child poverty-reduction programs (i.e. giving aid and support to/for this work).
  • Conducting needs-based assessments of families with children. The team is currently collecting data from 7 new regions that are integrated into this project—this collection is in partnership with university and colleges; students are trained and supervised in the field to administer surveys for future data analysis.
  • Operating an online monitoring system. The main aim is to provide open-access project data on children, parents, and services for government and regional officials, and CORG program partners.
  • Monitoring and evaluating regional programs dealing with economic development.
  • Conducting basic research (see below), focusing on efficiency, effects, and sustainability of projects.
  • Maintaining and expanding an open-access knowledge repository (containing relevant books and articles)

General research themes:

  • Social services, particularly those that aim at improving the situation of impoverished families with children.
  • The socialization and integration of these families (topic connected with Sure Start houses).
  • The relationship between, and potential ways to reduce, drop-out rates and early motherhood.

  • Sustainability requirements and perspectives of local Child Opportunities programs

  • Settlement houses and local community integration.
  • Secondary analysis of the EU-SILC database.
  • Monitoring and evaluation of EFOP 1.5.1 co-program

  • Impact analysis of family allowance as a conditional cash transfer

Principal investigator (PI):

Ildikó Husz

Senior Research Fellow   
Researcher profile page     

Contact the PI