Defining Child Well-Being Across the Continuum of Children’s Services

Keywords Child Welfare, Land-Based, Culturally Responsive, Ceremony, Talking Circle, Storytelling


ALIGN Association of Community Services contracted PolicyWise for Children & Families to co-develop a definition of child and youth well-being for child welfare practice in Alberta. Our goal was to create a shared definition that prioritizes Indigenous peoples’ perspectives and resonates with diverse cultural communities across the province.

Government and non-governmental agencies working to support children, youth, and families rely on definitions of well-being to direct and assess services and programs. To ensure equitable and culturally responsive service delivery, it is vital to understand well-being in a holistic and inclusive way.

In collaboration with ALIGN agencies, Indigenous knowledge keepers and Elders, and youth,?we identified four foundational principles and seven domains of child and youth well-being for living in a good way across the continuum of care.

Readers of the Report and Executive Summary will learn about an intercultural definition of child and youth well-being and how it can support individuals and communities along their unique pathways to being well and thriving. The Visual Representation is a model that shows the interconnected principles and domains.

This research will be further developed in year 2, with close collaboration with partners.

Practice & Policy Implications

  • Defining and understanding child and youth well-being based on the perspectives and values of culturally diverse communities can ensure that programs and services are equitable and culturally responsive.
  • The active and nuanced definition of well-being offers an approach and framework for creating shared vocabulary for working across diverse communities that is equity-informed and culturally responsive.

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