2019 BC EDI Wave 7 Provincial Report

At HELP, we consider it a privilege to be able to gather and share important insights into the state of children’s development and well-being in BC. The foundation of HELP’s child development monitoring system are data gathered using the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The EDI questionnaire has been used in BC since 2004 to collect information about children as they enter kindergarten on five domains of development: physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication skills. In British Columbia, we now have one of the most extensive databases about children’s development and well-being, globally. EDI data continue to be a critical indicator of how the province is doing with regard to children’s early development and well-being.

This year we completed our seventh wave of EDI data collection and, today, we are making our most recent 2019 BC EDI Wave 7 Provincial Report public. This report provides a review of the trends and patterns in children’s development across the province from 2004-2019.

Overall, the latest EDI data show that more children are vulnerable both on the summary measure “Vulnerable on One or More Scales,” and on each of the five scales of the EDI, than recorded in our Wave 6 data (2013-2016). The number of children categorized as vulnerable on one or more of the EDI scales in BC has increased from 32.2% (from our Wave 6 data three years ago) to 33.4%, and over the long-term, from 29.9% in Wave 2 (2004-2007). This represents about 1,500 additional children who are vulnerable on the EDI across the province from 2016 to 2019.

What these EDI data reveal is that approximately 67% of BC children arrive at Kindergarten meeting all of the developmental benchmarks that they need to thrive and succeed both now and across their school years. However, particularly noteworthy is that approximately one-third of children in BC are entering school behind where they should be on at least one aspect of their development.

It is clear to us that the sustained rise in early childhood vulnerability in BC over 18 years is concerning. This report offers some broader context and observations about possible factors that may be contributing to higher vulnerability rates in BC. It also outlines a number of areas HELP researchers are interested in pursuing that might provide some insight into the factors associated with these increasing trends in vulnerability. We are cautiously optimistic about the path forward given more recent evidence-driven investments in children and families and are committed to monitoring the impact of these investments.

Please share this provincial report with your networks. HELP’s intention is to work with our partners to use the data as an opportunity for multi-sectoral engagement and systemic and enhanced dialogue. We remain committed to working in partnership with communities, schools, public health organizations, governments, and other groups to maximize application and use of HELP’s research and data.

                                                                                           

We look forward to working with you in support of BC’s children and families. 

Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl, Ph.D.                                                                    Pippa Rowcliffe
Director, HELP                                                                                                       Deputy Director, HELP