Government study shows Alberta children are falling behind

EDMONTON – Alberta is in the middle of a baby boom and by neglecting the developmental needs of thousands of kids today, this government is failing Alberta families as well as our future generations, NDP Education critic Deron Bilous said today.

The final report of the Early Child Development Mapping Project says Alberta children should be doing much better. The report shows less than 50% of young children in our province are developing appropriately by the time they reach Kindergarten.
The report also says Alberta children are not getting the crucial support they need during their developmental years.
“These kids are our future and the support and nurturing they receive in their formative years has a proven impact on their success. This government has an obligation to make that healthy development a priority,” said Bilous.
The report makes six recommendations including, continuing to monitor childhood development in Alberta, establishing a provincial task force and ensuring that a child’s socio-economic status does not dictate their access to a healthy, supportive, nurturing environment.
“Alberta needs a universal childcare program. Too many families are breaking the bank to afford to give their kids the start in life they deserve and for other families, the cost is simply out of their reach. Every child deserves the same chance at success, no matter how much money their parents make,” said Bilous.
The ECmap program officially ended in August and the team will wrap up its work by the end of the year. The PCs have yet to make any further commitment to collecting future data on early child development.
“Albertans want tangible evidence that progress is being made. By disbanding the mapping program, this government is refusing to be accountable for its deliberate neglect of Alberta families,” said Bilous. 
The New Democrats are calling on the Minister Dirks to implement all 6 of the recommendations put forward by the Early Child Development Mapping Project.