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Canadian Research in Brief: 32nd Edition (November 2012)

Date Published:
11/13/2012

Ens, C. D., A. Hanlon-Dearman, et al. (2010). “Using telehealth for assessment of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: the experience of two Canadian rural and remote communities.” Telemedicine journal and e-health : the official journal of the American Telemedicine Association, 16(8): 872-877.

Telehealth provides a wide range of medical services for rural and remote communities.  Since 1999, telehealth has been utilized for the assessment of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).  This study evaluates the FASD telehealth program with The Pas/Flin Flon and Norway House, rural and remote Northern communities in Manitoba.  Between 2005 and 2009 a total of 41 FASD sessions have been held with the two communities.  Semi-structured interviews (n=26) were conducted with professionals from the two communities.  Two primary themes that emerged during analysis illustrate the participants’ experiences of using telehealth for a FASD assessment.  The first theme suggests the benefits of a FASD assessment via telehealth (i.e., assessment in the child’s community, low cost, and reduced stress) outweigh the drawbacks (i.e., frustration with technology, medicalized language, and difficulty accessing translation services if needed).  The second theme presents suggestions for development (i.e., dedicated child friendly space, welcoming environment, technology improvements, improvement in methods for the physical examination portion of the assessment).  Findings propose FASD assessment via telehealth in the identified communities are beneficial; yet require further development for full use.

Flynn, R., & Tessier, N.  (2011).  Promotive and risk factors as concurrent predictors of educational outcomes in supported transitional living: Extended care and maintenance in Ontario, Canada.  Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 2498-2503.

Extended care and maintenance (ECM) is a transitional living program that provides financial, instrumental, and emotional support to former youth in out-of-home care in the province of Ontario.  Youth who have been discharged from out-of-home care are often ill prepared for the transition, and are more likely than the general population to exhibit behaviours associated with poorer outcomes (e.g., homelessness, unemployment).  This study examines promotive and risk factors associated with educational outcomes of youth participating in ECM.  Promotive is a broad term including assets, resources, adaptive factors and protective factors.  Three variables of interest were included in the data analysis: 1) The highest level of education attained; 2) The highest level of education aspired to; and 3) Whether or not the youth was participating in education, employment or training.  Secondary data from the Assessment and Action Record from the Ontario Looking After Children project (OnLAC) were analyzed.  Promotive factors: 1) Gender, age, developmental assets, and self-care skills were predictive of educational attainment and aspirations; development assets was presented as the strongest and only variable that was predictive of all three educational variables of interest.  Risk factors that were predictive of educational variables were soft-drug use and the number of cognitive impairments.

Ivanova, V. & Brown, J.  (2011).  Strengths of Aboriginal Foster Parents Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20(3), 279-285.

Aboriginal children are overrepresented in out-of-home care and underrepresented as foster parents.  There are dramatic differences between Aboriginal and western cultures and the promotion of wellness and values.  These overrepresentations and differences have resulted in a lack of formal supports for Aboriginal foster families.  This study sought to examine the strengths of Aboriginal foster parents from their own perspectives in an effort to improve awareness of issues that build upon the influence to foster, as well as promote supports, satisfaction and success as a foster parent.  Authors used the concept mapping approach to illustrate the themes that emerged during data collection.  Participants were contacted through a randomized list of telephone numbers of licensed foster parents in a central Canadian province.  A total of 83 interviews with Aboriginal foster parents were conducted.  Findings suggest that the primary concepts that illustrate the participants’ strengths as an Aboriginal foster parent are: 1) Awareness, abilities, and skills to make connections with children, persevere, be organized, let things go, and advocate; 2) Fostering of cultural experiences for children; 3) Personal qualities such as strong, flexible, accepting, and sincere; and 4) The child as part of the family and devoting time and energy to the child.

Lévesque, M., Bigras, M., & Pauze, R.  (2010). Externalizing Problems and Problematic Sexual Behaviors: Same Etiology?  Aggressive Behavior 36(6), 358-370.

A broad range of sexual behaviours exhibited by children is common in the normal course of human sexual development.  However, these behaviours may be problematic when they become developmentally inappropriate or potentially harmful to them or others.  The authors hypothesized that sexual abuse and family sexuality are better predictors of problematic sexual behaviour (PSB), whereas other forms of maltreatment (e.g., physical abuse) are more strongly associated with externalizing problems (EP).  Secondary data from a study initially undertaken in 2004 was utilized.  A total of 756 families who were referred to a child welfare agency in Quebec participated in the original research.  This current study focuses on children between six to 11 years and their families (n=188).  The study measures child internalizing and externalizing behaviour, child sexual behaviours, family sexuality, neglect, child sexual abuse, and child experiences of verbal and physical maltreatment.  Findings suggest PSB is more strongly associated with family sexuality (e.g., cosleeping, cobathing, witnessing intercourse), whereas EP is more strongly associated with neglect (e.g., lack of parental supervision).  The presence of verbal abuse is the only significant predictor common to PSB and EP.   Surprisingly, physical abuse did not surface as a significant predictor of EP.

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