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Northern Light Health Foundation Gratitude Campaign

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It Starts With Our Children

When four-year-old Sam attends his first day of school in the fall, he will be at a disadvantage compared to other children his age across the country.

He will have greater difficulty with communication skills, socializing and language and many other developmental skills. In fact, a large percentage of children who attend school in Wood Buffalo will experience difficulty in these areas. Through the Early Investments Project, we can help health care professionals understand and respond to the causes behind these delays and foster healthier, stronger families across our region.

The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical and can set their course for either a promising or difficult life. Through research and practice, we know there are many socio-economic and demographic factors that contribute to a child’s development. With more than 120 births per month and a significant portion of the population in their child-raising years, Wood Buffalo needs to invest in the wellbeing and future of our youth.

According to a recent provincial mapping project, a greater percentage of children in Fort McMurray and the surrounding region experience difficulty in physical health and wellbeing, social competence, maturity, language and communication. Even more alarming is that almost two-thirds of our children are not developing appropriately across all key developmental areas.

The innovative Early Investments Project will identify children and families during the prenatal period, until family goals are achieved or until the child is ready to go to school. A multidisciplinary team with expertise in public health, mental health and early intervention will introduce children and families to key interventions and supports that enhance child development and build positive relationships.

This project will help us build family support systems to foster better outcomes for our children. We will create networks and provide resources for families so they have the opportunity to thrive.

Public Health is about promoting better health outcomes. This innovative project will help to build resiliency and improve childhood outcomes - creating healthy families, healthy children, and a stronger Wood Buffalo community.”


— Jordanna Lambert, Director, Population and Public Health 

(North Zone)


It starts with understanding

It starts with knowledge

It starts with our children


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