EDMONTON - The Alberta College of Social Workers, Edmonton Social Planning Council, and Public Interest Alberta have jointly released a report on the state of child and family poverty in Alberta called “Invest in Families: Ending Child Poverty is Good for All.”
In Alberta, 1 in 6 children live below the poverty line. The report focuses on the impacts of poverty on the development of children, and its wide-ranging detrimental effects, including issues affecting mental health, educational attainment, employment, and housing throughout their lives up to adulthood.
The report demonstrates that investment into Alberta’s families, including child benefits, nutrition programs, affordable housing, and subsidized, quality child care, are the key to ending the cycles of poverty that end up blocking children from living lives of dignity where they’re able to thrive.
“Child care for a family is one of the biggest household expenses, which can be as high as 67% of their monthly income,” Sandra Ngo, the Research Coordinator at the Edmonton Social Planning Council said, “This makes it extremely difficult for a family to afford nutritious food, housing, education, and other essentials. Creating a universal and affordable, quality child care program would be a game changer for children and their parents."
The report clearly demonstrates that ending child poverty is a moral imperative for Alberta. Investing now in Alberta’s families means a better province for everyone.
“The need to address child poverty continues to be a topic for all Albertans to care about,” said Ajay Hartenfeld Pandhi, President of the Alberta College of Social Workers. “Among all the economic discussions underway, let this topic be one that stands out as a priority in our decision making.”
The report comes at a critical time when the provincial government is making sweeping cuts to social programs, and freezing the minimum wage.
“The provincial government is headed in the wrong direction with many of their cuts to social programs and by, for the first time since 2010, freezing the minimum wage,” said Joel French, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta, “These cuts and freezes directly impact the most vulnerable people and families in the province. We owe it to the children of this province to take immediate action. Investments into social programs and public services including subsidized quality child care, a universal pharmacare program, and indexing of financial supports for those earning low incomes will go a long way to achieving that.”