posted on Jan. 29: McMaster a partner in unique network studying child and youth development


McMaster's new Centre for the Study of Disadvantage has joined with three other universities to set up the Canadian Child and Youth Development Research Network.

The centre, along with centres at the University of British Columbia, University of Montreal and the University of New Brunswick, will receive $2 million over a five-year period from Human Resources Development Canada, minister Jane Stewart announced recently in Vancouver.

Each centre will focus on one specific area of child development under the direction of a senior scholar working with two full-time child and youth development scholars. A main thrust of the research is determining how children can be better prepared for learning by overcoming the challenges and obstacles they face from a young age.

The McMaster centre, led by Dan Offord, director of the Centre for Studies of Children at Risk, will focus on the study of child outcomes and how they are affected by the factors of disadvantage such as socioeconomic, individual, family and the neighbourhood setting.

Child outcomes to be studied are physical and mental health along with school performance. The goal of the research includes determining the strength of types of disadvantage and how they affect child outcomes.

In the short-term, the project will focus on three aspects of disadvantage: low income, lone parent and parental depression and poor physical health. The network will also aid the centre in investigating other types of disadvantage such as neighbourhood, child maltreatment, residential suitability and multiple risk factors.