Overview of Project One: Experiences of Albertan Youth in 2008/09 from ACCFCR Annual General Meeting

Through the use of linked, anonymized data from all Alberta child-serving ministries, we are now able to understand the experiences of our children and youth. The sharing of data amongst ministries provides us with ground- breaking opportunities to understand relationships between many of the factors critical to lives of children and youth. The linkage process used by The Centre’s data lab enables this exciting opportunity and to use evidence to better understand the diverse facets of our children’s lives. The data lab’s first project, Experiences of Youth in Alberta in 2008/09, describes the characteristics and ministry service use patterns of the population with a focus on age, gender, socio-economic status, region of residence, educational achievement, mental health and service use. The results were the focus of the lecture that followed The Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research Annual General Meeting held September 21, 2012. The findings confirmed some assumptions and challenged others. Below is a small sample of the findings: Socio-Economic Status • Youth facing challenges, such as receiving maltreatment-related intervention services, receiving Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) services, being charged with an offence, being involved with corrections, or receiving income support were more likely to be living in low socio-economic neighbourhoods than youth not facing these challenges. Health • Youth receiving income support were most likely to make multiple emergency room visits and those enrolled in post-secondary education were least likely to do so. • Single emergency room visits were most common among youth with offence charges or involved in corrections and least common among post-secondary students. Education • Poor educational performance was associated with receiving maltreatment-related intervention services, receiving FSCD services, being charged with an offence (particularly multiple charges), being involved in corrections (particularly custody), or receiving income support at some point during the year 2008/09. • Despite the challenges they faced, such as being involved in corrections or receiving maltreatment-related services, some youth performed well in school. Better educational outcomes were associated with being female, living in a higher socio-economic status neighbourhood, not having a mental health condition and lower rates of health service use. Mental Health • Youth who received maltreatment-related intervention services, were charged with an offence, were involved with corrections, were enrolled in a part-time post secondary program or received income support were more likely to have received services for a mental health condition than youth who did not have these ministry service involvements.

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