The Forum for Early Child Development Monitoring emerges from a decade of conversations and collaborations among researchers, practitioners and policy makers who aim to establish a comprehensive early child development monitoring system in Canada.
THE EARLY DAYS
In September 2000, First Ministers reached an agreement on early childhood development to foster the well-being of Canada’s young children. Under this agreement, provincial/territorial governments agreed to invest the funding transferred to them by the Government of Canada into any or all of four areas for action:
Provincial/territorial governments agreed to report regularly on how young children are doing on 11 common indicators of young children’s well-being and their investment in programs and services.
For more information, see provincial/territorial websites.
In March 2003, federal/provincial/territorial governments reached an agreement on early learning and child care programs and services. Governments agreed to report annually on their progress in improving access to affordable, quality early learning and child care programs and services.
For more information, consult the Early Learning and Child Care website.
In May 2003, the Hincks-Dellcrest Institute, with funding from the Lawson Foundation, convened a gathering for a "Conversation on the Evaluation of Community Initiatives". Participants discussed the current status of early child development initiatives across Canada and how these initiatives were being monitored and measured to improve outcomes. A small group of people from academic, community, foundation and government sectors agreed to explore the viability of developing a national network on early child development evaluation.
Based on the development of these two agreements and the on-going discussion about a national network, a number of committed organizations started to gather to discuss solutions to the fragmented approach to monitoring in Canada. These early conversations involved the Founders' Network, the Council for Early Child Development (CECD), the Centre of Excellence for Early Child Development (CEECD), the Offord Centre for Child Studies (OCCS), Healthy Child Manitoba (HCMO), the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet), and the Hincks-Dellcrest Institute.
THE MONITORING COMMITTEE/NETWORK
In 2006, under the auspices of the Council for Early Child Development (CECD), with the support of the Lawson Foundation, the CEECD, HCMO, CCLRNet, HELP, Early Childhood Learning Knowledge Centre of the Canadian Council on Learning (ECLKC) and the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) agreed to create an alliance to promote a comprehensive monitoring system. In the same year the ECLKC financially supported this group, which became known as the Monitoring Committee. Discussions continued to focus on the potential ways to move towards a more integrated and comprehensive pan-Canadian approach to monitoring.
The Committee’s deliberations led to the publication of two reports. The first was called “Bringing it Together: Merging Community-Based, Life-Course, Linked Data, and Social Indicator Approaches to Monitoring Child Development, published in September 2006.
In November 2008, “The World’s Best Infrastructure of Child Development Statistics” was published. It outlines the five monitoring approaches and a series of strategies necessary to realize a pan-Canadian system:
In 2009, the work of the Monitoring Committee was continued as a network under the umbrella of the CECD, with sustaining leadership from a Management Committee comprising the original organizations: the Centre of Excellence for Early Child Development, the Offord Centre for Child Studies, Healthy Child Manitoba , the Human Early Learning Partnership and the Strategic Knowledge Cluster on Early Child Development.
Since 2010 and the closure of the Council for Early Child Development, the Forum has emerged as a stand-alone initiative, guided by the above-mentioned consortium of organizations. The purpose of the Forum remains constant with a focus on promoting progress towards a comprehensive early child development monitoring system across Canada.
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