• How severe, ongoing stress can affect a child’s brain

    … researchers are discovering… that ongoing stress during early childhood — from grinding poverty, neglect, parents’ substance abuse and other adversity — can smolder beneath the skin, harming kids’ brains and other body systems. And research suggests that can lead to some of the major causes of death and disease in adulthood, including heart attacks and diabetes… pediatricians, mental health specialists, educators and community leaders are increasingly adopting what is called “trauma-informed” care.

  • Canada’s crime rate is falling — but drug charges are rising

    The police-reported crime rate peaked in 1991 and had been declining ever since. Not so the police-reported rate of drug-related offences. They grew by 52 per cent from 1991 to 2013, according to a Statistics Canada report into drug-related offences… In roughly half of completed cases in youth and adult courts involving marijuana, the marijuana charge was the only charge. Marijuana cases across the country were “more commonly stayed or withdrawn (55 per cent) than cases involving other types of drugs (38 per cent),”

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    How the Toronto police have kept unfounded rates low

    The problem with decisions being guided by instinct is that instinct can be influenced by subconscious beliefs that have been affected by long-held societal opinions about sexual assault. Instead, when it comes to sexual-assault investigations, officers must have tangible evidence or an admission from the victim before marking a case as unfounded.

  • We must do better for sexual assault survivors. The answer isn’t rocket science

    Really addressing sexual violence means education on the meaning of consent. And that’s where it starts to become complicated: Sure it’s serious training for all the actors in the criminal justice system: police officers, prosecutors, and judges. But it also means transformational sex education. It means changing society’s understanding of the meaning of consent, sex and sexuality.

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    Abolish solitary confinement for Ontario’s children and youth

    “… whatever the name, solitary confinement should be banned by States as a punishment or extortion technique,” UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E. Méndez told the UN General Assembly in 2011… It doesn’t matter if you call it solitary confinement, administrative segregation, secure de-escalation, or anything else. Let’s just call it something we used to do, that we don’t do anymore.

  • Kids’ poverty

    … the Canada Children’s Benefit is important in significantly reducing child poverty and in helping middle-class families to invest in raising their children. If these goals are important, is it not also important for the benefit to maintain its effectiveness? … why let it erode until 2020? … isn’t it worth $300-million (the estimated cost of indexing to inflation) to protect an investment of $22-billion?

  • Build a national child care system

    Federal, provincial and municipal governments across the country must work together to establish an affordable, universal childcare system. If they don’t, some parents may even be forced to quit working… three-quarters of mothers of young children are in the workforce, but there are licensed spots available for less than a quarter of children under 5… The lack of space is even tougher on the poor, who need subsidized day care spaces to afford to go to work or even look for it.

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    New charity wants Canada to put children first

    … statistics show one in five children are living in poverty, one in three Canadians have experienced some form of child abuse and one in five kids have considered suicide… The charity is calling on Ottawa to appoint an independent children’s commissioner to champion kids at the federal level and to publish an annual children’s budget to track federal funding.

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    Give kids in child welfare system a voice

    The proposed legislation would put children at the centre of the decision-making process about their own welfare. It would require that children be consulted about decisions affecting their well-being, “listened to and respected.” … Taylor’s bill reminds authorities not only to listen to the child, but to be an advocate for them.

  • Want to address gun crime? Tackle root causes

    Bigger police budgets won’t solve the alarming rise in shooting deaths in Toronto… The people who carry guns do so, almost invariably, as part of the illegal drug trade… the vast majority of the participants in the illegal drug trade at its most violent street level come from desperately impoverished backgrounds. These, then, are the two causes of gun violence: illegal drugs and poverty.