Healthy child and youth development begins long before birth and is one of the key determinants for health and well-being throughout life. A healthy child is one who thrives through each developmental stage and is positioned to reach his or her potential in adulthood. The capacity for a child to develop in a healthy manner depends greatly on the environment in which he or she is raised. There is an extensive body of research evidence confirming the profound influence of early experiences on brain development, school readiness, subsequent learning and future adult health. The child's early experiences have the most important influence of any other time frame in the life cycle. Additional information is available on the Public Health Authority of Canada (PHAC) website.
Among other things, the following facts are known about child and youth development:
There are a number of provincial programs and initiatives that support healthy child development. These programs are designed to promote healthy pregnancy, infancy, and birth, improve parenting and family supports and strengthen early childhood development.
Please visit the Child, Youth and Families section on the Department of Health and Community Services website for related information.