The Child and Youth Well-Being Review panel, co-chaired by MLA for Calgary-South East Matt Jones and Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz, will work to understand the full scope of the psychological, social, educational and physical impacts resulting from and related to the COVID-19 pandemic on children and youth.
The panel will learn from researchers, educators, health-care professionals and mental health experts, as well as Alberta parents and kids. It will then provide recommendations to government in the fall of 2021, to help support young people both now and into the future.
“Parents across Alberta have expressed deep concern over the impacts the pandemic has had on their children’s social, mental, physical and educational well-being. As a father of four, I have seen these impacts in my own children. This review is an acknowledgement of those concerns, a commitment to assess these impacts, and the first step in a plan to address them.”
“The pandemic has deeply affected all of our lives, and we know this is true for children and youth as well. Preliminary research has shown increased anxiety, mental health concerns and young kids not meeting developmental milestones. We want to know what that looks like and what we can do about it.”
“This has been a year like no other, and understanding the long-term impacts that COVID has had on our physical, mental and emotional health is especially important for our children and youth who are in the fundamental development stages of life. The expert panel’s summary will help us move forward to help ensure our kids have a healthy and promising future while they grow and develop.”
“For over a year, children and youth have experienced significant disruption to their relationships with friends, families, teachers and mentors. We know that the pandemic will not last forever, but how we help our children understand and cope with adversity will last a lifetime. I’m very pleased to be part of this opportunity to learn more about how our children are processing their experiences of COVID-19 and contribute to developing a plan that will help Alberta children and youth thrive in the coming months and years.”
Albertans are invited to share their thoughts and ideas with the panel through a survey at alberta.ca/child-and-youth-well-being-review.aspx until July 31.
Panel members are:
- Kelly Schwartz, associate professor, School and Applied Child Psychology program, University of Calgary
- Marcie Perdue, associate superintendent, Student Services, Chinook's Edge School Division
- Jennifer Turner, superintendent of schools, Fort McMurray Public School Division
- Carole Carifelle-Brzezicki, director, Indigenous Health, North, AHS
- Dana Fulwiler, educator and well-being consultant
- Nancy Mannix, chair, Palix Foundation.
- Preliminary research, including from the Hospital for Sick Kids, shows a majority of children and youth experienced harm to their mental health during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Some members of the expert panel have been compiling data in this field since the pandemic began and will contribute to research and recommendations.