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Vulnerable children and youth in Alberta severely impacted by COVID-19, study finds


The results of a study looking into the health and well-being of children and youth during the pandemic have identified a number of issues that must be addressed, the Alberta government said Friday.

The Child and Youth Well-being Review Panel gathered data from researchers, educators, health care professionals and mental health experts throughout the summer and fall to help understand the impacts of COVID-19 on Alberta parents and children.

It found that while most have been resilient when it comes to the pandemic's challenges, those in vulnerable situations were affected the most.

"We were really surprised by some of the food security issues of some of the kids and families in the province were experiencing," said Kelly Schwartz, a registered psychologist and member of the panel. "When you have that base level human need, that puts in priority very quickly how you address your school, how you address your family functioning."

The government adds the panel also helped understand the unique impacts of the pandemic and lays the framework, based on its recommendations, for "a cross-government action plan."

"Childhood and adolescence are critical developmental periods that can profoundly affect future health and well-being. I am extremely grateful to everyone involved in this review and look forward to the next steps in supporting our children and youth as we continue to navigate the pandemic," said Health Minister Jason Copping in a statement.

More than 10,000 Albertans submitted feedback via online surveys and virtual town halls, the province says, adding that since the pandemic began, more than $165 million has been allocated for childcare supports. Top Stories

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