2018 Highlights on Advancing Child and Youth Well-Being


(Arti Freeman) #1

In 2018 we saw some major advances to support the health and well-being of Canada’s 8 Million children and youth (0-18).

Some of these initiatives are highlighted below. Please feel free to share trends you have seen in the area of child and youth well-being.

Wellbeing Reports

How are Canadian children and youth doing in terms of their overall health and well-being?

Two initiatives that provide us with unique insights and perspectives come from Children First Canada and UNICEF Canada. These national organizations are working to make Canada the best place for children to grow up.

Raising Canada – a report released by Children First Canada paints a picture of children 0-18 living in Canada. The report provides data on population trends, the overall health and wellbeing of children and the social determinants of child wellbeing.

A follow up report titled Economic commentary on Raising Canada: A case for investing in children, discusses the economic implications of the findings in Raising Canada and connects the importance of wellbeing to the economic future of the nation.

UNICEF Report Cards - For over a decade Canada’s overall ranking has consistently been stuck in the middle with little improvement in critical areas. Canada currently ranks 25th out of 41 rich nations in child and youth well-being.

A great companion to one of the Report Cards (14) is this report which includes how Canada ranks by Sustainable Development Goals and more importantly perspectives from youth on how Canada can improve.

Advancing Social Emotional Learning

Measuring What Matters 1 (MWM): An initiative of People for Education that is has developed a framework for identifying goals for success in education and exploring new ways to measure progress toward those goals. The have defined five main domains, one of which is Social Emotional Learning. Dr. Stuart Shanker, their research lead for social-emotional learning has written this paper. For the summary document click here. See the list of social-emotional learning competencies 2.

The Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Lab of Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl is housed at the University of British Columbia Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education. The SEL Lab primarily conducts research on school-based social-emotional learning programs and mindfulness-based programs that aim to foster positive human qualities, such as empathy, optimism, happiness, gratitude, social responsibility, altruism, resiliency, and compassion. Check out their studies and evaluation of Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning Programs such as Mind UP, Roots of Empathy, Random Acts of Kindess, Maxi the Taxi Dog!

The SEL Resource Finder is a collection of social and emotional learning (SEL) resources for educators and other adults who work with children and youth. It provides a variety of resources to help you LEARN about SEL, APPLY teaching methodologies and ASSESS 1 your efforts. Online resources include games, websites, videos, books, handouts, lesson plans and much more.

Our Kids Network 1 is a Halton-wide partnership of organizations and agencies serving children and youth. The OKN mission is to promote healthy development, security and safety of all children, youth and families through collective action. Their Asset Building Toolkit 4 contains a broad variety of resources and has been designed to support all professionals, regardless of stage or level of asset-building.

2019 – Looking Ahead

2019 holds a lot of promise. **One of the major initiatives I am looking forward to is the launch of the Canadian Index of Child and Youth Well-being.

The Index was developed with youth and a variety of sector representatives across Canada. It is the first of its kind will help us better understand what life is like for children and youth in Canada and will help communities focus efforts on where they are most needed. It includes 9 dimensions of children’s lives and 25 indicators.


The index will be launched by UNICEF in 2019 along with the First Baseline Report and a portal to help you use the data.

Interested in helping improve the index? Click HERE