Poverty Reduction

In 2001, CUP began exploring poverty in the Edmonton area, and its effect on families and children. Those early discussions led to Families First Edmonton (FFE), a major study reflecting the experiences of 1,200 families with children, all of them living at or below the poverty line. By the time it was completed in 2012, FFE had built a legacy of trusted relationships with partners, stakeholders, researchers and funders. It had generated a wealth of data at the individual, family, community, and system levels, while at the same time improving scientific literacy and interest among those who make decisions about programs and policy.

Given our long-term commitment to understanding poverty, CUP is pleased to lend its support to the Mayor’s Task Force for the Elimination of Poverty in Edmonton, and to the United Way of Alberta Capital Region’s Pathways Out of Poverty.

Our multifaceted support brings together the efforts of researchers, students, and the wider community and its leaders. By providing evidence-based insights into family poverty, CUP is helping to shape future policies and programs. We hope our contributions will help produce stronger families, healthier communities, and more effective systems and services.


Our Research Related to Poverty

  • All In For Youth: Evaluating a Collaborative Model of Support for Children, Youth and Families in Inner-City Edmonton Schools
    CUP and the Faculty of Extension are supporting the evaluation plan for the AIFY initiative. The All in For Youth (AIFY) initiative is a school-based, collaborative model of services and programs for children, youth, and families that support the overall wellbeing of students to help them achieve success in their schooling. These collaborative and wraparound supports include student mentoring, mental health supports, family supports, nutrition support, school supports, and out of school care. AIFY is currently running in 5 inner-city schools in Edmonton spanning elementary to high school age children and will carry through this pilot until 2019.  Read More
  • Grocery Run Program

    Did you know some children in the City of Edmonton do not eat for a whole day because their families do not have enough money to buy food? This is known as food insecurity. In 2016, we surveyed migrant women served by the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative. Of the 213 women surveyed, 94% (n=199) were food insecure (did not have enough food due to lack of money) and 53% (n=112) were severely food insecure (had disrupted eating and reduced food intake). In the previous year, 85% (n=182) of families did not have enough money to eat balanced meals (living off food bank staples such as pasta and sauce), and 39% (n= 79) cut meal sizes or skipped meals (mothers usually go without so their family can eat). And, thirty-one percent (31%) reported that their children were “not eating for a whole day because there wasn’t enough money for food”. Read More
  • Evidence for Better Systems

    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. Read More

  • 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

  • Recruiting Vulnerable Populations
    Engaging and recruiting low-income families and individuals is a fundamental challenge among community program planners, policy makers, and researchers. The project provides a better understanding on the part of the ‘recruiter’ about the countermeasures needed to recruit 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. - See more at: https://uofa3.sitecore.ualberta.ca/faculties-and-programs/centresinstitutes/community-university-partnership/research/poverty?sc_mode=edit&sc_debug=0&sc_trace=0&sc_prof=0&sc_ri=0&sc_rb=0#sthash.NjGRPfy5.dpuf
    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
  • 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

    To learn more about the research project and to access their resources, visit their website at www.familiesfirstedmonton.ualberta.ca

    - See more at: https://uofa3.sitecore.ualberta.ca/faculties-and-programs/centresinstitutes/community-university-partnership/research/poverty?sc_mode=edit&sc_debug=0&sc_trace=0&sc_prof=0&sc_ri=0&sc_rb=0#sthash.NjGRPfy5.dpuf
    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

    To learn more about the research project and to access their resources, visit their website at www.familiesfirstedmonton.ualberta.ca
  • 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
    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