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Proportion of “vulnerable” children in Outaouais remains comparably high to rest of Quebec

Connor Lalande
Outaouais Oct. 12, 2023
The number of children considered “vulnerable” in at least one area of their development remains high in the Outaouais by comparison to the Quebec average.
According to the Quebec Survey on Child Development in Kindergarten (EQDEM), held by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, the proportion of five-year old kindergarten children considered vulnerable in the five developmental categories measured has increased throughout the province since 2012.
The five development categories that make up the study are physical health and well-being, social skills, emotional maturity, cognitive and language development, and communication skills and general knowledge.
28.7 per cent of children are considered vulnerable in at least one area of development.
“Vulnerable children are more likely than others to experience academic, motor, emotional or social difficulties. For example, they may find it difficult to work independently, wait their turn, or use their imagination during a game,” the EQDEM report reads.
“It is important to mention that vulnerable children at age 5 will not necessarily have vulnerabilities throughout their school career.”
According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec, the study’s findings stem from data collected on more the 78,000 children who attended kindergarten for five years old during the 2021-2022 school year. Over 5,300 teachers participated in the survey by completing a questionnaire for each of their applicable kindergarten students.
In the context of Quebec, the Outaouais region has among the highest proportion of kindergarten children who are vulnerable in at least one area of their development at 33.2 per cent. Other regions with high proportions in relation to the province include Laval (33.9 per cent), North Shore (32.8 per cent) and Eastern Townships (30.2 per cent).
According to the EQDEM, there is no significant difference between 2022 and 2017 - the last time the survey was held – in the proportion of vulnerable kindergarten five-year-olds for the indicators used.
“All things considered, children in this region would be neither more nor less vulnerable in 2022 than those who were in kindergarten in 2017,” the EQDEM reads.

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