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PPG2016H: Public Policy for Children

Course Description

This multidisciplinary course introduces students to some of the research that underlies government polices and initiatives, which will have substantial impacts on the way children grow up. The course objective is for students to gain an appreciation of the connection between research and policy.

Governments across Canada have recently implemented or are contemplating new polices that will have substantial impacts on the way children grow up. Examples include extended and better compensated maternity leaves, universal childcare, full day junior and senior kindergarten, class sizes limits, new vaccinations. This multidisciplinary course introduces students to some of the research that underlies these initiatives. Each week a faculty member drawn from various disciplines within the social sciences, public health and education at the University will present their current research in this area. In selected weeks guest speakers from other institutions will make presentations. The topics covered will follow the current research of these participants. The course will highlight the following two themes across these diverse lectures: 1) universal vs. targeted interventions and 2) strategies for weighing the quality of evidence that exists in the different areas students will cover.

For students the objective is to gain an appreciation of the connection between research and policy. Most public policies for children draw on a research base. However, research in a given area is sometimes inconclusive and seldom unanimous in recommendation. Furthermore, policies typically integrate any results of research with the claims of various stakeholders in the policy and political processes. A policy maker, therefore, must be able to understand the sometimes conflicting claims of researchers and be able to translate them into coherent policy recommendations. A final goal of this course is to provide students with a basis for considering children’s policies from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Term
Spring (2nd year)

Instructors
Michal Perlman