What are you doing for Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts?

Way back at the CAPHC Annual Conference in Winnipeg in 2010 we had a session that looked at the role of hospitals and health centres in building ‘Healthy Communities’, with many examples of partnerships and networks with service providers outside of their organizations that facilitated a health promotion and prevention message.

Since that time, CAPHC has participated in a number national initiatives where our role is to bring the expertise and knowledge of our membership to community focussed projects.  One more recent community focussed initiative that we’ve been invited to be a part of is the Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts (CYCC) Network.

From their website,
“The Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts (CYCC) Network is a knowledge mobilization initiative that is funded by the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada. The CYCC Network was created to identify and promote the use of existing research, lessons learned, and best and promising practices. It shares knowledge among a diverse community of Network Partners who work with children and youth in challenging contexts.

The unique feature of this initiative lies in its facilitation of dialogue between youth service providers that do not typically overlap, (for instance urban-rural, refugee-indigenous, north-south) bringing to light tensions and contrasts which exist in approaches, with the aim of strengthening broad knowledge of evidence-based practices, as well as innovative site-specific programs and approaches.”

I had an opportunity to attend a meeting as a member of the Governing Board of this network which was a great opportunity to meet the other members, many of whom are not from within the traditional health care community, but are from the social work, social services and other communities.

It was an interesting meeting all around, but there was one point that I found particularly interesting.  It was a discussion, or more of a question, of what is the role of a community/association of ‘hospitals’ in this network.  The group welcomed us, but seemed to view us as the institutions that might have researchers or medical experts that could bring clinical knowledge to the table, but didn’t see as directly involved with this population.  It was a great opportunity for me to reflect on that 2010 conference where we really dissected what the role of the children’s hospital could and should be in the community.  

The discussion was too short for me to go through many examples, but given the time, I would have been able to bring examples of initiatives such as the Ottawa Child/ Youth Housing Advocacy Initiative (OCHAI), which , with CAPHC’s support and through our network, grew to a national initiative on the impact of housing on children’s health. 

I could have described the various ways in which the children's hospitals, and other health centres support networks of service providers that all deal with many of the children that are the focus of this network.  One example is the Child and Youth Health Network for Eastern Ontario which is supported by CHEO, and I’m sure there are many examples across the country.

I look forward to continuing our work with the CYCC and bringing many more examples of how our members are treating and supporting children and youth in challenging contexts, so if you would like to share with us something interesting your organization might be doing with this population of children please leave a comment!

In the meantime, check out some the great work the CYCC already has underway.  They have some great resources, document, video’s on YouTube, and a webinar program, and if you have any other suggestions, I am happy to bring it to their next meeting.

Ann WatkinsComment