Experiences of Albertan Children and Youth over Time

The Child and Youth Data Laboratory Longitudinal Project, Experiences of Albertan Children and Youth over Time, 2005/06 to 2010/11, focuses on understanding the experiences of Albertan children and youth as they develop. This project takes a multi-year, cumulative look at the service use of Albertan children and youth. Studying experiences over several years of development adds a valuable level of richness to an already ground-breaking initiative (the first project, Experiences of Albertan Youth 2008/09, focused on experiences of Albertan youth in a single year), providing detailed insight into the factors that help to shape our children and youth as they develop.

Study Design
The project uses a longitudinal design to look at the experiences of Albertan children and youth from 2005/06 to 2010/11. The study population consists of Albertan children and youth aged 0 to 25 years, followed for six years of their development (making the oldest study participants 30 years of age in the final study year). Ministry service use is tracked during this time to determine time trends both within and across ministries. These trends are evaluated in the context of key indicators such as gender, age, socioeconomic status, region of residence, educational achievement, mental health status, and health service use. A variety of methodologies are being employed. These include time series analyses, group comparisons, clustering techniques, and regression analyses, among others. One type of cluster analysis to be used is group-based trajectory analysis, which will allow identification of the different trajectories of service use that occur over time. These trajectories will be described in terms of the key indicators and other available indicators.

Themes and Sample Research Questions
Several major research themes were developed as a result of extensive consultations with participating ministries. These include transitions, resilience, early childhood experiences, and experiences in the context of disadvantage or advantage. Below are some sample research questions to be studied in each of these themes.

How do the service usage patterns of vulnerable youth (such as those in corrections, those with high rates of health service use, or those receiving services from Family Support for Children with Disabilities) change as they become adults?

For youth involved in the justice system, is repeat offending or lack thereof associated with mental health status, educational achievement, or receipt of child intervention services?

Early childhood experiences
Are positive outcomes in later childhood (such as high educational achievement or low health service usage) associated with early childhood experiences such as receipt of special education services?

What proportion of service use is attributed to youth identified as advantaged? How does this compare to the proportion of services used by youth identified as disadvantaged?

Resources from launch of findings on January 27, 2017 – click here