EDI Research benefits Richmond children and families

The Richmond Children First, Chinese Development Guide. Information presented in this guide was influenced by Richmond EDI results.

As a fast growing, culturally diverse city, Richmond, BC faces a number of challenges when it comes to ensuring that families and children have the support and resources necessary to thrive.

Helen Davidson is the Implementation Manager of Richmond Children First, a British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development community development initiative. Ms. Davidson understands that community members, public services, and socio-economic conditions all collectively contribute to a child’s development. Her convictions are informed by the work of UBC's Human Early Learning Partnership, and analysis of  Early Development Instrument (EDI) data which maps children’s vulnerability across BC neighbourhoods.

As HELP’s community trainer, Ms. Davidson disseminates Richmond’s EDI results to the community, helping teachers, health professionals, community centre and social service staff (among others) to understand why some Richmond neighbourhoods have shown a higher than expected social and emotional vulnerability among children. She then works with engaged community members to develop outreach programs and services to help children and families feel secure and connected in their communities.

Analysis of the EDI data has led to a number of collaborative strategies at Richmond’s municipal level to benefit children and families.

Collaborative strategies

In 2009, Richmond Children First brought together members of the School Board, Public Library and Richmond Family Place to plan a pilot project at R.M. Grauer Elementary School in Blundell, where 22 to 27 per cent children were vulnerable. The program brought parent support and community resources to Grauer Elementary, creating community for parents and introducing 0-5 year-olds to a healthy learning environment.

Grauer Elementary eventually became one of the locations for a Strong Start BC centre, a Ministry of Education Early Learning Initiative that provides school-based early learning services for adults and their young children.

EDI data has informed decisions to locate other StrongStart BC Early Learning centres and outreach programs, including two at Mitchell Elementary School on Cambie Road, where up to 40 per cent children were vulnerable and under resourced.

Enhancing family time and resources

Helping Kids Succeed Richmond Style is another Richmond Children First community project guided by EDI results. This community project encourages ‘asset development,’ where ‘assets’ are common sense, positive experiences and qualities that influence choices children make, to help them become caring, responsible, successful adults.

Since Richmond is very diverse, with many new families as well as families who have lived there all their lives, there is the risk of children feeling unconnected or isolated. The HKS Richmond-Style project creates a web of support for children within families and the community by building and strengthening relationships. The initiative builds on the ‘Power of Five’ concept based on the idea that all children need at least 5 caring adults (anchors) in their lives, for a better chance of being successful in school and in life.

EDI data has also informed the creation of multilingual Richmond Children First awareness materials. Their keeper cards and posters convey messages like “The first five years last forever,” “It takes a community to raise a child,” and “Babies are born learning.”

Child Care Needs Assessment

Lesley Sherlock, Social Planner with the City of Richmond says that HELP's EDI data was invaluable while developing the 2009 – 2016 Richmond Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy, in which child care needs were assessed at the neighbourhood as well as City-wide level.

“The combination of HELP's Socioeconomic Status Index with the EDI results provided a rich data source, thereby assisting the City and other Richmond stakeholders to better understand community need for quality, affordable, accessible child care,” she said.

This data was also recently used by the Child Care Development Advisory Committee in preparing recommendations regarding the allocation of Child Care Development Grants.

Linked data research — informing policy-making for healthier communities

Population Data BC provides researchers with access to the data and training they need to address research questions on human health, well-being and development. Population Data BC does not have its own researchers or research program.

Page last revised: August 13, 2014