December 17, 2021
Alberta, December 17, 2021 – Today’s release of the Alberta Child and Youth Well-being Review panel report is a step in the right direction towards much needed action for kids in Alberta. Now it’s time to act: we know the problems that children are facing and have recommended short-, medium- and long-term solutions that require follow through.
We applaud the province for conducting this review following the declaration of #codePINK by Children First Canada and other child advocates in May. Alberta was the first province to meaningfully assess the impact of the pandemic on children and we commend the leadership of co-chairs Matt Jones, MLA for Calgary-South East and Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services for undertaking this effort.
At Children First Canada we have been calling for urgent action to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on children. Today’s report stated that “the panel clearly heard that there were notable impacts on children and youth due to the many changes in their daily lives as a result of the public health measures. It was also clear that the experience and effects of the pandemic were different for children and youth than adults. Because children and youth are still developing, they need to be supported in a way that addresses their unique risk factors and meets their developmental needs.”
Children First Canada welcomes the recommendations and we were pleased to participate directly in the consultations. Many of the report’s recommendations respond directly to the concerns raised in our recent Raising Canada report and the #codePINK campaign, along with the concerns raised directly by members of the Young Canadians’ Parliament.
As we enter the holiday season and anticipate the return to school in January, Children First Canada calls for immediate action to ensure the health and safety of children. We urge the government to implement data driven, evidence-based measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Children below the age of 12 are not yet fully vaccinated, thus at higher risk of infection, and every measure must be taken to protect the health of kids and ensure that all children can safely return to school. Moreover, we call for investments in frontline organizations seeking to meet the immediate needs of children, including protecting them from violence, proving mental health supports and ensuring food security and adequate housing.
Children First Canada looks forward to reviewing the recommendations in detail and we eagerly anticipate the province’s committed action plan in the New Year. We urge the Government of Alberta to act quickly and invest the financial resources to properly support children and youth through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
We look forward to working with the government and all Albertas to support today’s recommendations with action, and make Alberta and Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up!
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Director, NATIONAL Public Relations
About Children First Canada:
Children First Canada (CFC) is a national charitable organization with a bold and ambitious vision that together we can make Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up. We are a strong, effective and independent voice for all 8 million children in Canada. CFC is harnessing the strength of many organizations that are committed to improving the lives of children in Canada, including children’s charities and hospitals, research centres, government, corporations, community leaders, and children themselves. Visit childrenfirstcanada.com for more information.