Children are among the most vulnerable members of our communities. Their ability to not only survive but to thrive depends on the circumstances they are born into and the resources that are available to them through their families. The environment within which children grow, and the support they receive, help to determine their trajectory into adulthood. Assisting early in life helps to ensure that trajectory is a successful life as an adult. Frankly, without assistance, a number of children will likely experience reduced success and quality of life in childhood and ongoing difficulties in adulthood.
There are many services for children that are experiencing physical illness. The community efforts to help these children is essential and The Children's Foundation encourages all to support this work. We are not here to duplicate these efforts but to address the needs of children who often suffer in silence, who without a voice cannot advocate for themselves, whose ailments and challenges are not readily apparent but when left untreated can be debilitating throughout their lives.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada reports that fully 70% of mental health issues in adulthood have their onset in childhood and early adolescence and that 20% of Canadians suffer from a mental illness. This translates to 1 in 7 children needing our help now. The symptoms for these children are not physically visible, they manifest in behaviour and become apparent more slowly. Difficulties getting along with peers, adults, teachers, poor performance in school, difficulties with emotional self-regulation are often exacerbated by reduced opportunities due to family financial and spousal relationship pressures. These children are most at risk as they grow to adulthood and are over-represented in our courts and the unemployed. These are the children that benefit from our services. Helping them today has positive benefits that will last a lifetime. This is the reason The Children's Foundation carries on its work.
Our primary effort when supporting children is to also support their parents and benefit their families. Families are the primary place that children grow and develop. In order to help children we work closely with families. Our efforts to support families are considerable and far-reaching. We visit families in their homes, assessing their needs and bringing hope and help to them. We bring them together in groups to teach, coach and support them so that they can be the very best resource for their children's development. We encourage the development of financial means. We help to create safe environments in the home so that the children will have the security and appropriate role models to support their development.
Families are at the core of what we do. We work to keep them together and answer when there is a need. Our goal is to help them be strong and resilient.
Communities are safer and have a higher quality of life for its citizens when children, particularly those most vulnerable to developing mental health and anti-social lifestyles as adults, receive support for their development early in life. It has been shown that children who display antisocial and emotional regulation issues in childhood are most likely to commit crimes against the community in adulthood.
Left unattended, these children's issues become greater and more costly to our communities and neighbourhoods. In fact, the World Health Organization has published that for every dollar spent on helping young children seventeen dollars are saved on services for these same children in adulthood. In addition to the economic benefits, our homes and streets are safer and the quality of life in our communities increases.