EDMONTON - The Alberta College of Social Workers, the Edmonton Social Planning Council, and Public Interest Alberta have jointly released a report on the state of child poverty in Alberta. The report finds that over 160,000 children in Alberta are living in poverty.
“Child poverty is a crisis in Alberta,” said Bradley Lafortune, Executive DIrector of Public Interest Alberta. “These numbers are more than statistics. Every single one represents a child whose basic needs are not being met. For these children, this means the pain of hunger, limited access to education and educational resources, lack of weather-appropriate clothing, inadequate housing, and social and economic barriers—all of which have lasting impacts on quality of life.”
“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has a right to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development,” said Sydney Sheloff, the Strategic Research Coordinator at the Edmonton Social Planning Council. “The federal and provincial governments, despite their prosperity, are not meeting the standards of this basic human right. This is simply inexcusable.”
The report examines common sense policy solutions to the crisis of child poverty, including robust investment into affordable and non-market housing, barrier-free access to mental health care, and a robust and accessible network of high-quality and affordable child care options to foster healthy childhood development and allow for greater workforce participation.
“As a society, we have the means to end child poverty,” said Lafortune. “Allowing it to persist over decades is a choice. It’s a choice by decision-makers who have not prioritized the eradication of child poverty. Child poverty is not an inevitability. We know what will work and we know what we need to do. We need to do it now. Tens of thousands of kids can’t wait.”