Policy Development

Supporting evidence informed policy development is a fundamental aspect of CUP's mission. But as we reflect critically on a number of recently completed projects, we have begun to consider more closely CUP's impact on public policy development. We wondered if there were ways to develop community-based research (CBR) projects that would produce relevant and timely evidence to better inform changes in public policy. Over the past year, our Steering Committee made public policy a key area of consideration for our research. We have begun studying the ways in which our research projects could provide fruitful evidence useful to policymakers.



Our Research that Could Shape Public Policy

  • Evidence for a Better System

    Using rich case worker notes that were collected while caseworkers worked with Families First Edmonton (FFE) families, CUP researchers developed a suite of family stories that help illustrate the range of experiences of low-income families. These stories helped ground the work of the Mayor's Task Force to Eliminate Poverty. These stories are woven throughout the strategic plan that is being presented to Edmonton City Council as End Poverty Edmonton. The stories of real people illuminate how the recommendations have the potential to improve the quality of life and financial well-being of low-income families living in Edmonton.

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  • Intimate Partner Violence

    Domestic violence continues to be a troubling social problem that disproportionately impacts women and their children across space, race, age, culture and economic class. It is complicated and a multi-faceted issue. In order to begin to unpack and address these complicated social processes to improve the quality of life for low-income women and children experiencing domestic violence in Edmonton, information around the nuances of the experiences of these families is crucial, but also limited. This project aims to address the gap in knowledge by drawing upon a rich source of data. Findings from this project will be available to better enable evidence-based policy and practice decisions around the issue of domestic violence for low-income families in Edmonton. Read More

  • Early Child Development Mapping (ECMap) Project

    The Early Child Development Mapping Project (ECMap) is a five-year (2009-2015) initiative funded by Alberta Education, that aims to strengthen Alberta's ability to make positive early childhood development a reality for every child in the province. The project helps communities better understand how young children are doing and work together to support their healthy development.

    During the course of the project, ECMap analyzed Early Development Instrument (EDI) data on more than 70,200 kindergarten-aged children, creating the first baseline early development results for Alberta. ECMap community development coordinators mobilized community coalitions across the province to work with the data and support positive outcomes. One hundred coalitions are now active throughout Alberta, raising public awareness about the importance of the early years and making a positive, informed contribution to discussions of how policies, programs and other supports can be improved to promote the well-being of young children and families. Several Research reports were produced during this research project. Read those reports here.

  • Families First Edmonton (FFE)

    Optimizing healthy child development is an enduring and critically important goal of Canadian society. Rapid changes in health care cultural diversity, the economy, education, public administration, and health and social policy are critical influences on the Canadian family, the main environment for children. A guiding assumption in this research project is that what happens in families, in communities and at the systems' level cannot be detached from healthy childhood development. The challenge is to join research, practice, and policy efforts in the development of new knowledge about healthy child and family outcomes, and to use the knowledge to improve practices and policies. Families First Edmonton (FFE) is focused on child developmental trajectories within the context of the mediating and moderating processes operating in low income families. FEE was designed to (a) advance fundamental knowledge about interventions likely to improve health outcomes for children, parents, and families with low incomes; (b) optimize cost-effectiveness for public systems; (c) build on previous research and on local community-based initiatives; (d) provide evidence for health and social policy decision-making; and (e) promote knowledge transfer.

    Findings from this project will provide management and policymakers with detailed descriptions of the skills, processes, technology, and structures necessary for collaboration, especially around delivery of service to low-income families. Read More

  • Putting Research to Work: Understanding and improving knowledge translation in population health
    Promoting positive health outcomes for low-income families is a critical challenge for communities and governments across the country. The project will assist partner organizations in working through the knowledge application process, from identifying their problem, to applying the knowledge within and across their sectors. Read More
  • Conducting CBR with Vulnerable Populations

    The purpose of this research is to develop a project that documents the "how" of the CBR process when working with vulnerable populations. This project will focus on the needs of vulnerable populations and the considerations and best practices that should be undertaken to create collaborative, respectful, and positive environments in which to conduct research. Considerations across all stages of the research process will be examined (planning, recruitment, data collection and analysis, results, knowledge mobilization, after care). Read More

  • A School-Based Services Approach for Wrapping Services Around Vulnerable Children
    The Wraparound Research Project was initiated, in part, to provide current data (as no data exist) on the use of wraparound approaches in Alberta schools. Alberta Education was interested in identifying the key principles of wraparound being implemented within provincial schools, and in utilizing these data to develop support resources for school authorities. Read More
  • Photovoice - Documenting the Experiences of Low-Income Families
    Families First Edmonton (FFE) researchers worked with ten women from families participating in the comprehensive group on a photovoice project. Photovoice is a qualitative, community-based research method in which the experiences of participants are explored through words and photographs produced by them in regard to some aspect of their experience. In this particular instance, participants were asked to articulate, through words and photographs the challenges they have faced as low-income families. A short training film for front-line staff and students in the health and social services fields was produced. This gave peoples voice to their struggles with childcare, housing, and accessing assistance. Participants also described the systemic discrimination they face and the perceptions many people have about families with low incomes. Read More
  • BureaucraZy - Navigating Health and Social Services in Alberta
    BureaucraZy is a film documentary profiling four single mothers with low income who volunteered to share their experiences in accessing health and social services in Alberta. It's about parents and children in our community who face real structural and systemic obstacles. Read More
  • Increasing Capacity for Research on Aboriginal Children and Youth
    This project aimed to address how best to support providers of assessment and programming for Aboriginal children and youth. Read More
  • Choice and Accountability in Canadian Education

    What do the words 'choice' and 'accountability' mean when it comes to schooling? How are choices and accountability supported in different provinces and cities across Canada? This research project challenges common assumptions, and recasts many issues in a new light. Read More