A new report and study has found that there are many child development challenges faced by kids in Fort McMurray, and that the quality of life in the area for children and adults both could be better. The study was used to prepare a report which included a number of common gripes for residents in the region. In 2013 an Early Development Institute report showed that one in three Fort McMurray kids who started kindergarten did not develop at a suitable rate on many levels including social, language, physical, and emotional developments. Report co-author Behnoush Ahranjani explained that “Children are in danger of not achieving their optimal full development.” There were many obstacles reported by parents and caregivers, and new parents seemed to have an especially hard time locating the resources and information that they needed.
The study and report on child development challenges in Fort McMurray showed that there were many different issues which could have an impact. Many parents and caregivers did not trust the information that they found online, and a large number had problems determining fact from fiction when they located information. Distance from friends and family, and a sense of being isolated, were also listed as reasons why the quality of life in the area could be better. A culture that favors shift work was also given as a problem, and shift work can make the difficulty of balancing a family and work even harder. Many study respondents reported that they felt that oilsands work was the only option in the region if they wanted to give their children an ideal lifestyle.