This report is part of a larger project, which has been ongoing since approximately 2010, the goal of which is to develop and monitor indicators to measure the status of child and youth health and well-being in BC. The indicators and related summary report were developed by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the Office of the PHO, with the support of many stakeholders and experts from multiple provincial government ministries and non-government organizations.
Project partners selected specific indicators that were grouped into the five key headings: physical health and well-being; mental and emotional health and well-being; social relationships; economic and material well-being; and cognitive development. Within these five dimensions of health and well-being, the partners established a suite of 51 health indicators, and identified 17 “gap indicators” or indicators with a lack of data availability.
Indicators were selected based on the following criteria:
- Significance to the well-being of children and youth.
- Relevance to policy.
- Based on rigorous research methods.
- Capable of producing estimates for key subgroups.
- Easily understood by multiple stakeholders.
- Amenable to common interpretation and comparability.
For each of the indicators, high-quality, reliable, and valid data were obtained from a variety of provincial and national sources. Sources of data used to examine the indicators include administrative databases from BC ministries of Health, Education, Justice, and Children and Family Development; the McCreary Centre Society’s Adolescent Health Survey; the Human Early Learning Partnership’s Early Development Instrument; Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey; and more. Since multiple sources of data were used, there is variation in the years available, and the ages of children and youth for which data were available. In addition, the sources use a variety of collection methods, such as administrative government data, self-reported responses on provincial and national surveys, and parent-reported responses. Much of the data in this report is self-reported.
Due to the comprehensive nature of the indicators and the variety of sources used to explore them, there were a few challenges in data availability and analyses. First, data were not consistently available across all of the dimensions. For example, data on some aspects of physical health and well-being were readily available in multiple forms, while data on the dimensions of mental and emotional health and well-being, and social relationships were not typically as available. Second, there were some challenges in data consistency across time periods. Consistency across time contributes to meaningful monitoring of performance measures. There have been changes to many major data sets in the last few years, most notably the Canadian long-form census. The federal government’s decision to discontinue the mandatory long-form census in 2011 resulted in serious gaps in both demographic data and information on families living on low incomes. Data available from the voluntary National Household Survey, which replaced the long-form census, are not comparable over time and are generally much less reliable than previous census data. Overall, where high quality data were not available, the data were not included. Recommendations in this report identify some topic areas where more high-quality data is needed.
For more information about data sources please see Data Sources.