Child abuse, youth suicide rates rose significantly during pandemic: report

The National Post, Denette Wilford, Sep 01, 2021

The rates of child abuse and youth suicide attempts soared over the course of the last 17 months, according to a new report published Wednesday.

The health of kids across Canada has declined as they endure – and continue to endure – deteriorating mental health, food insecurity, child abuse, system racism, bullying, discrimination, and poverty, says Children First Canada. School closures and lockdowns played a huge role, as kids spent less time outdoors. Specifically, children in Ontario have experienced the greatest decline in outdoor play and time spent outside. The non-profit declared that children are in crisis, especially as more than six million children across Canada remain unvaccinated as they return to school this month, with no plans in place to protect them.

“Children made enormous sacrifices throughout the pandemic to protect their elders and keep our country safe, but as a society we have failed them,” said Sara Austin, founder and CEO of Children First Canada, in a news release. “Their rights to an education, survival and development have been largely ignored, and the cost of social and political inaction is too high.”

Suicide remains a leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 19, according to Statistic Canada. In fact, several children’s hospitals saw significant spikes in admissions for suicide attempts during the pandemic.

Additionally, admissions for eating disorders skyrocketed by at least 223 per cent above capacity in June 2021.

Almost one in five children live in poverty, according to the report, adding that there has been a 39 per cent increase in food insecurity in Canada during the pandemic. Experts believe the numbers will remain high due to higher unemployment rates, lack of child care and children staying home and doing school remotely. Also troubling is the rising – and undetected – rates of child abuse of child abuse that has gone on during the pandemic. Some areas have seen twice as many infants for maltreatment-related concerns, specifically fractures and head trauma, according to Children First Canada.

Child advocates say the most shocking part is that despite “overwhelming evidence about the threats to children’s survival and development,” little has been done by governments at all levels.

Article content With the exception of child care, children’s issues have gone largely ignored by political parties. The organization is demanding immediate action from political leaders in the lead-up to the federal election, asking for children’s issues are prioritized, to come up with a plan to improve the lives of young Canadians, and invest in solutions for children to survive and thrive.

“It is time for Canada to take a stand,” said Austin. “As the country rebuilds from the pandemic, we must put children at the heart of pandemic recovery plans, and invest in the short-, medium- and long-term solutions needed for children to survive and thrive. The future of Canada depends on it.”

The Butterbox Babies Story

The Ideal Maternity Home is infamous for the Butterbox Babies.

The Ideal Maternity Home operated in East Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada from the late 1920s through at least the late 1940s. William and Lila Young operated it. William was a chiropractor and Lila was a midwife, although she advertised herself as an obstetrician.

While they were tried for various crimes involving the home, including manslaughter, the entire truth of the horrors perpetrated there was not widely known until much later.