The Child and Youth Data Laboratory

Experiences of Albertan Children and Youth Over Time, 2005-06 to 2010-11

The Child and Youth Longitudinal Project linked administrative data across six ministries from over 20 programs for Albertans 0-30 years old over a 6-year period. All analyses and reports were generated in collaboration with, and benefitted from, the insights of our ministry partners. The data were linked across ministries at the level of the individual child or youth for over two million Albertans. Ministry involvement at all stages ensured policy relevance.

View an Introduction to the project and study design.

Explore the Deliverables that were generated:

  • Program Overlap Rates (showing how program/service use overlapped)
  • Population Profiles
  • Journal Articles
  • Topic Reports
  • Data Bytes

PolicyWise conducts policy-relevant linkage and analyses to support decision-making for government, community organizations, and other stakeholders.

In a unique and cutting edge initiative over the last decade, PolicyWise partnered with the Government of Alberta to form the Child and Youth Data Laboratory (CYDL) to better understand the services used by children and youth in Alberta.  All of the youth-serving ministries in the Government of Alberta contributed data to the project. From that partnership emerged two related projects: the first was on the experiences of Albertan youth in 2008/09 and the second, a continuation of the first, was on the experiences of Albertan Children and Youth over time from 2005/6 to 2010/11.

One of only a few such initiatives in the world, the CYDL’s research projects provided ground breaking opportunities to understand relationships between many of the services children and youth may access, such as health and education, as well as more specialized services such as contact with the justice system contact or receipt of specialized support services. The results of this work have led to insights that inform policy and practice for specific populations and programs.


  • Many ministries such as Children’s Services, Community and Social Services, Advanced Education, Health, Justice and Solicitor General, and Education, contributed data from over 20 programs.
  • More than two hundred ministry partners including data analysts, policy analysts, and directors participated in regular cross-ministerial discussions with PolicyWise over the course of the projects.
  • 40+ reports and publications were generated to help contextualize services used by children and youth in Alberta.
  • To explore which programs had high rates of overlap for children and youth across programs and time, visit the Program Overlap Matrix.
  • Over a hundred presentations, discussions, and workshops were used to engage ministry partners in the Government of Alberta, stakeholders in Alberta and across Canada, and at international conferences such as the International Population Data Linkage Network.