By addressing the 10 recommendations made by the Child and Youth Well-being Report, this plan includes supports available now and new steps Alberta’s government is taking to support both the short-term and long-term well-being of children and youth.
New actions include:
- Expanding of mental health and behavioural supports in schools to prevent health challenges before they happen.
- Working across ministries to expand prevention and early intervention supports for youth, including expanding youth mental health hubs, expanding phone and virtual supports, and expanding access to mental health supports in schools.
- Targeted funding of more than $110 million over three years to enable schools to support students for pandemic-related issues such as learning loss, school nutrition and mental health supports.
- The Ministry of Education is looking to improve school nutrition in Alberta and will issue a call for proposals from non-profit organizations to collaborate with schools to pilot innovative ways to support vulnerable youth.
- Early childhood educators will receive more training on mental health needs in children from birth to age six.
Ongoing actions include:
- A $1-million expansion to provincewide in-person and virtual mental health counselling services through Alberta’s Family Resource Network.
- A $7.3-million expansion of youth mental health hubs, providing young Albertans with a one-stop shop for services that improve their mental health and overall wellness.
- $390 million for Alberta’s Broadband Strategy to improve internet connectivity for children, youth and families living in rural, remote and Indigenous communities across the province, supported by a matching dollar-for-dollar investment from the Government of Canada for a total of $780 million.
- More initiatives will be announced in the coming months.
“The pandemic has been difficult for most, but it has been especially challenging for vulnerable children, youth and families. This action plan lays out the next steps to help those most affected through programs and resources focusing on well-being and resiliency.”
“The pandemic has had an impact on many students, in different ways. From learning disruption to school nutrition and mental health supports, we’re taking action to help ensure affected students can get back on track to be successful in school and in life.”
“Supporting children and youth to improve their mental health is a top priority of our government. Coming out of this review, we’re taking action to provide prevention and early intervention supports as part of a recovery-oriented system of care. Our goal is to ensure that every child has the support they need to improve their mental wellness and lead a full, healthy life.”
“COVID-19 has affected all aspects of life for young people from every culture and community. The panel learned from experts on ways to ensure children and youth have the tools they need to process and cope in healthy ways. We are working together to ensure young people across this province can live healthy lives and have access to tools and supports that will help them reach their full potential.”
Indigenous and newcomer children, youth and families were also greatly affected by the pandemic. Alberta’s government is committed to providing accessible, culturally appropriate services and supports for Indigenous people and newcomers.
The review and recommendations are the result of feedback and input from experts, researchers, educators, professionals and, most importantly, parents and youth themselves. The panel worked to identify where services can be improved and new supports implemented.
- The Child and Youth Well-being Review was established to better understand the full scope of the psychological, social, educational and physical effects related to the COVID-19 pandemic on children and youth.
- The panel engaged with a wide range of Albertans, including researchers, educators, health-care professionals and mental health experts, as well as parents, children and youth.
- Between May and August 2021, the panel engagement included two public surveys, 16 roundtable discussions, six telephone town halls, 15 MLA-led roundtable discussions with Albertans across the province and 96 email submissions.