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National Children's Alliance
Regional Forum Responses

Input into the Principles and Essential Services
of a National Children’s Agenda

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. BACKGROUND TO THE NATIONAL CHILDREN’S ALLIANCE REGIONAL FORUMS *

B. THE AGENDA FOR THE REGIONAL FORUMS *

C. RESULTS OF THE REGIONAL FORUMS DISCUSSIONS *

C.1. Responses to Proposed Principles of Community Service Delivery as They Relate to Supporting Essential Services at The Community Level. *

C.1.a. Alberta Discussion *

C.1.b. British Columbia Discussion *

C.1.c. Manitoba Discussion *

C.1.d. New Brunswick Discussion *

C.1.e. Newfoundland Discussion *

C1.f. Northwest Territories Discussion *

C.1.g. Nova Scotia Discussion *

C.1.h. Nunavut Discussion *

C.1.i. Ontario Discussion *

C.1.j. Prince Edward Island Discussion *

C.1.k. Saskatchewan Discussion *

C.1.l. Yukon Discussion *

C.2.Responses to: What Needs To Be Included in a National Children’s Agenda as Essential Services and Programs? *

C.2.a. Alberta Discussion *

C.2.b. British Columbia Discussion *

C.2.c. Manitoba Discussion *

C.2.d. New Brunswick Discussion *

C.2.e. Newfoundland Discussion *

C.2.f. Northwest Territories Discussion *

C.2.g. Nova Scotia Discussion *

C.2.h. Nunavut Discussion *

CF.2.i. Ontario Discussion *

C.2.j. Prince Edward Island Discussion *

C.2 k. Saskatchewan Discussion *

C.2.l. Yukon Discussion *

A. BACKGROUND

The National Children’s Alliance (the Alliance) recognized that there is a need for content and process to develop a National Children’s Agenda (NCA). On the content side, which will be addressed in the Regional Forums, the Agenda needs to include community-based services for children, youth and their families as well as income support programs. On the process side, there is a need to have agreements and principles for implementation.

The concept of an Agenda is not simple but it has the potential to make a positive difference in public policy. As service delivery is primarily within provincial jurisdiction, and income support programs are the responsibility of both levels of governments, coordination is critical. Thus a National Children’s Agenda at the political level is a policy framework that would allow governments to work collaboratively with each other and with the voluntary sector in the following areas:

  • Overall policy direction
  • Funding mechanisms
  • Service coordination and management
  • Evaluation and public accountability
  • Community capacity.
A policy framework is much broader than a single program. The principles that could be a starting point include:

Accessibility

Canadian children, youth and their families should have access to programs and services of comparable quality

Portability

There should be no residency-based barriers.

Congruency

The range of services and programs should be comprehensive and coordinated.

Respect for Diversity

The diverse needs of communities and sub-populations need to be accommodated.
Public, Community-based Administration The decision-making about the delivery of services and programs needs to be within the public domain and include citizen participation at the community level.
Evidence-based Monitoring The research and monitoring of program outcomes need to be included to stimulate learning, innovation, and investment.

 

B. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REGIONAL FORUMS

During the spring of 2000, the Alliance sponsored meetings in the provinces and territories. These forums provided an opportunity to get together and share information, to provide invaluable input, and to plan tangible action towards a NCA.

There were two critical items input: the principles to guide the NCA, and the essential services that should be accessible in Canadian communities to meet the needs of children, youth and families. In addition, time was scheduled to allow the development of provincial and territorial strategies and action plans for the purpose of urging governments to move forward on an agreement for early childhood services by December 2000. The regional forums served as an opportunity to give the provinces and territories a ‘leg up’ by the sharing of tools, ideas and knowledge that will support a ‘burst of action’.

The results of these discussions will form the basis of a national strategy. The two core questions for discussion were:

  1. What principles and essential services for children, youth and their families need to be delivered at the community level to form the foundation of a National Children’s Agenda?
  2. What are your collective plans to work with your provincial/territorial governments towards an agreement for early childhood services by December 2000?

To stimulate discussion, three questions were posted:

  1. Are we in general agreement about the principles of a National Children’s Agenda?
  2. Is it necessary that we have a core of essential services available to all children, youth and families across Canada?
  3. Is there enough detail in the description of the essential services to be clear but also to be broad enough to allow for the diversity of community needs?

The discussions that related to the two questions concerning the principles and essential services have been edited and formatted, as much as possible, to be consistent with the pre-meeting package provided. The intention of the editing and formatting was not to change the content of the responses, but to allow for easier reading for anyone who had an interest in the responses form those participating across the country. The responses are listed in provincial/territorial alphabetical order. The Quebec consultation is in the planning process and is not included in this document at this time.

C. RESPONSES OF THE REGIONAL FORUMS DISCUSSIONS

C.1. Responses to Proposed Principles of Community Service Delivery as They Relate to Supporting Essential Services at The Community Level.

 

C.1.a. Alberta Discussion

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Add quantity.
  • Change "Canadian" children to "all" children.
  • There should be national access to information about all programs, services, and organizations. For example, families have to try twelve different phone numbers to find help.
  • Add equity defined as what every child needs.
  • There should be needs-based allocation so that services go where they are needed.

PORTABILITY

  • Core services should be available across the country regardless of location.
  • There should be reasonable comparability within and between provinces and territories.

CONGRUENCY

  • Core services need to be driven by a common value.
  • Coordination is extremely important among government and non-profits. Services and programs need to be inclusive of everyone.
  • Start the sentence with "the range and delivery of services".

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • There must be respect for all children and families. Remove the phrase sub-populations and accommodation. Be inclusive of all children and families.
  • Change the word accommodate because it sounds patronizing.
  • Change to reflect community-based decision-making so family users who receive service are involved.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • Add "for families who use services".
  • Change "citizen" to "family participation" at all levels.
  • The public needs to have input into all areas including funding, creation, and evaluation of services/programs, in addition to delivery. There is a link between quality programs, quality service, and quality pay.
  • Because children live in families, we need to support the families and define families broadly.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

  • Include individually focussed outcomes.
  • Change words to: ‘evidence-based program development and monitoring’.

NEW PRINCIPLE: PARTNERSHIP

  • Partnerships need to be generated from the public, non-profit, and corporate sectors, and with consumers.

C.1.b. British Columbia Discussion

COMMENTS:

  • The participants of the British Columbia forum were in agreement with the principles posed for discussion for a National Children’s Agenda.
  • Add the term "families" throughout the principles.
  • Consider changing the term "National Children’s Agenda" to "Children’s Entitlements in Canada".
  • Add a preamble that describes the need for a children/youth/family focus, and that points out that when we talk about all children, we include those who need special services.
  • There is a need for another principle on "Capacity Enhancement: Building on the strengths of individuals, families and community (an asset-based model)".
  • Add an "entitlement" point, perhaps in a preamble, or as a principle. "All Canadian children are entitled to an environment that promotes their health and development." OR "Children, youth and families are entitled to programs and services that support and optimize the growth and development of each child."
  • There is a need to add something about participation of youth and others, e.g.: "Children, youth and families should be recognized for playing a primary role in services affecting their lives."
  • There should be an "equity" piece, e.g.: "that we work towards increasing economic equality in Canada".
  • We need to state strongly that cultural and ethnic diversity in our country is reflected in the framework.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • There were concerns about the term accessibility. This means non-fragmented, available, continuity of, and integration of services.
  • This principle should take into account the barriers identified by the community, e.g.: geography, community mix, and sensitivity to diversity.
  • This sounds a bit vague, perhaps add: "supported access"; and use a stronger word, e.g.: "entitlement".
  • We feel this should be the "entitlement piece" and could start by saying "Canadian children, youth and their families are entitled to have these services to meet their needs".

PORTABILITY

  • Change this to, or add, "Universality", which includes portability. This is closely related to the universality standards of health and education. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are all free.

CONGRUENCY

  • Could congruency be "universality"?
  • "The range of services and programs should be inclusive, comprehensive and collaborative, building on the existing service system."
  • Change "congruency" to another word, perhaps "comprehensive".

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • Diversity principles should come first, if they are going to be listed by priority.
  • We don’t like the term "sub-population"! Change it to read ‘The diverse needs of communities and the people who live in them need to be accommodated.’

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • Add "families who use services".
  • Add the phrase "and be supported to be community-driven".
  • What does public administration mean? Is it the governance and delivery of programs?
  • We need clarity about what ‘the level of public domain’ means. Does it mean community based?
  • Accountability is implied but not stated. Add it to this principle.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

  • We need common standards for measurement.
  • Evaluation is a critical component but we need to consider its use, and how much it will cost. Is the evaluation to be used for monitoring, to determine the skill base required, for capacity building? Is it meaningful?
  • Perhaps focus this principle on capacity building rather than monitoring.
  • Remove the term ‘evidence-based’ as it may be misleading and end up not valuing qualitative data.
  • This principle as written is too "jargonish". Change it to state that there needs to be more of a sense of ‘reflection and evaluation to support learning, innovation and investment’.

C.1.c. Manitoba Discussion

COMMENTS:

  • Overall we accept the principles.
  • There seem to be three general groups. There are services and programs for: the family; children; and systems.
  • We need more communication and coordination among all the groups doing these consultations: The NCA; the Alliance; teachers, etc.
  • We need commitment to funding by government.
  • Is the December 2000 guideline related to a possible federal election and will this "die" after an election?
  • How do we work together at the implementation level with Health, Education, Social, Justice and Recreation?
  • We need to get results!
  • Where are the kids? Consultations about kids need kids voices.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • One must know it exists in order to access it.
  • They must be culturally accessible.
  • Cost is a factor, as is the access to transportation.
  • There must be regional and community availability and sensitivity.
  • Comparable quality: what does this mean?
  • We need to be flexible but within standards.
  • Literacy information must be accessible by education level.
  • There are urban/rural/northern concerns.
  • Children with disabilities need to be served.
  • There are affordability, and fee for services issues. Families should be able to shoulder costs within their economic means through a sliding scale.
  • This is an opportunity for public participation, i.e. community driven, self reliance, universal comfort level.
  • Add: "availability".
  • Programs and services need to be appropriate to the community; "quality" needs to be defined.
  • Accessibility: Use the term "universal access".

PORTABILITY

  • One should be able to get all services no matter where you live, what you need, or where you go among or within a community.
  • If a child has services in one province, these should be available if he/she moves, whether it be rural to urban, or community to community.
  • Universality; there should be equity in the range of services.
  • Portability may be collapsed under accessibility as one principle.
  • Use the term "entitlement" rather than "portability".
  • Move "accessibility" definition into this area.

CONGRUENCY

  • Standards of service should be on a continuum regardless of the age of the child.
  • We need more communication among sectors to continue services (e.g. childcare support and school support).
  • We need planning and delivery. These need to be seamless, coordinated, and monitored for the child, family, and community.
  • A system of checks and balances is needed to ensure continuity of service and to monitor levels of service.
  • Who coordinates this?
  • Change to "Comprehensive & Coordinated Services".
  • The term "Congruency" is less accepted. Should this be "comprehensive"? "Comprehensive" is much broader.
  • The range of services and programs should be "understandable" and coordinated.

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • This needs more on disability. Change the title to "Diversity & Inclusiveness" " to convey the message that NCA is for all children and families (e.g. cultural minorities, children with disabilities, aboriginal children).
  • Individuals are key, not just communities, and/or populations.
  • Not all family needs are the same.
  • Take out "sub" and "accommodated" needs, and ad celebrated and nurtured.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • There must be open communication with the provincial/territorial and federal governments.
  • We need to see and know what’s going on in order to move forward as a result of the release of Manitoba government document.
  • We need to find effective ways of sharing decision-making power within groups.
  • This needs to be community directed, with community involvement.
  • There needs to be accountability at multiple levels.
  • Community ownership and capacity building is key.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

  • We know what’s wrong! Get an ACTION plan! Stop talking and start doing. Stop reinventing the wheel.
  • Share information in a way community groups can actually use it.
  • Move towards evidence-based "program planning".
  • There is a need for investment (funding) in systems, and on-going funding to monitor the system.
  • There is a need for investment in research.
  • We need to be committed to using evidence to initiate change.
  • Monitor best practices, build on evidence, disseminate information and develop common language.
  • There needs to be concrete support for evaluation. It needs to be resourced, not an after-thought. A provincial Clearinghouse is needed, as is expertise and consultation (so we each don’t reinvent the wheel many times), and timing is important. Don’t evaluate too soon.

NEW PRINCIPLES FOR CONSIDERATION

OPPORTUNITY FOR OWNERSHIP

- Build community capacity

- Jobs etc. for people: results in a transfer skills; and work back to communities.

SUSTAINABILITY

EQUITY

INCLUSIVITY

 

C.1.d. New Brunswick Discussion

ACCESSIBILITY

  • We need inclusive integration: rural/urban economics and community resources.
  • We need to remove barriers, e.g.: fewer steps to access services, transparency, and awareness of services.
  • We need to better understand children’s rights, as should children.
  • Services should match the needs.
  • We need consistency within and between provinces and territories.
  • We need minimum standards for services.
  • We need to evaluate services. This could be a ‘watch-dog’ role for the NCA.
  • We need to look at every aspect of a child’s basic needs.
  • Consider that affordability dictates accessibility.
  • Provide national, equal opportunities for children to develop.
  • We need universality – services available to all children.
  • Add the word "all" to Canadian children.

PORTABILITY

  • Comparability must be achieved to reach portability.
  • There are no "cookie cutter" solutions for communities.
  • Basic needs are portable, but diverse.

CONGRUENCY

  • We need a seamless safety net.
  • We need continuity of developmentally appropriate programs.
  • Programs need to be child & family centred, not system centred.
  • We need comprehensive, coordinated, and affordable programs.
  • We need an integrated, intersectoral model, involving community, government, and the voluntary sector.
  • This word is poorly understood. We need a clearer definition.

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • Programs need to be determined by individual needs, not by categories.
  • Remove ‘subpopulation’
  • Diversity needs to be associated with ‘culture’ rather than ‘individuality’.
  • A clearer definition is needed; ability may be a better word.
  • We need a family centered and asset based approach.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • Consider a name change to: ‘Public Participation’. Look at existing models.
  • Transparency is important.
  • Please: no more bureaucracy! The Alliance denotes joint venture of existing stakeholders.
  • Use community-based needs assessment and bring in appropriate partners to fill any gaps.
  • We need a better definition of community to create a workable model.
  • We need flexibility to meet community needs.
  • Look at a ‘shared responsibility’ governance model.
  • "Citizen community-based administration" would be a better title since public is often associated with service clubs.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

  • Add the word independent.
  • Monitor the community not the child.
  • We need a long-term vision and commitment (funding) through an evaluatory process to determine new services, etc., rather than programs and services based on changes in government We need to move beyond the "Agenda" to legislation. Budgets and political changes should not effect what is being provided as services.
  • We need the flexibility to change what is not working well.
  • Evidence-based is positive term.

NEW PRINCIPLES

UNIVERSALITY

  • Everyone should be entitled to an assessment (stage 1).

AWARENESS, COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION

  • To whom do these principles apply? Individuals? Government? Communities? Agencies? Organizations?

RESPONSIBILITY WITHIN SOCIETY

  • Society as a whole need to accept responsibility.
  • There is a need for an independent secretariat (watchdog and advocate) to be the liaison among providers, and to oversee the Agenda.
  • We need provincial/territorial based direction from community-based alliances.
  • We need accountability and governance: an independent body ensuring that services provided are meeting the needs and protecting the rights of children and parents.

ASSET-BASED APPROACH

SUSTAINABILITY

PREVENTION/WELLNESS

FAMILY-CENTERED

PARTNERSHIP

INTERSECTORAL

 

C.1.e. Newfoundland Discussion

COMMENTS:

There was a great deal of agreement and consensus on the priorities identified for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

These points included:

  • Universal programs and services are essential in meeting the needs of children and youth in Canada today.
  • We need to refocus our approach in addressing children's issues.
  • Issues such as food, shelter, education and recreation are not needs but rights that have positive effects on children in their early years.
  • There has been much discussion and consultation on children's issues. Now is the time for action.
  • Community development initiatives need to be strengthened and sustained through long term funding vs. short term project based funding.

There were also some common concerns:

  • Duplication of services means more expenses and less effectiveness.
  • There is not enough coordination among like groups, which means children and their families lose access to important programs and services.
  • Targeting programs to specific populations erodes principle of universality.
  • Care needs to be taken in the language we use from the community perspective, and how language is used by others (e.g. politicians, legislators, funders, program designers) to describe children's issues and needs.

OTHER ISSUES THAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN DEVELOPING AND ADVOCATING A CHILDREN'S AGENDA:

  • Volunteers are being used to provide essential services.
  • Child tax credits defeat universal access and benefit only certain segments of the population.
  • Perhaps it is time to create a federal ministry responsible for education issues since Canada is possibly the only English speaking country which has no national office of education.
  • Childcare services are dealt with differently at provincial/territorial level; it is difficult to make progress when not all players are present to discuss program development and implementation.
  • There is still no national childcare program.

 

C1.f. Northwest Territories Discussion

The group discussed the following principles to guide a National Children’s Agenda, and how they relate to the Northern experience.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • It was agreed that accessibility means that individuals should not have to come to Yellowknife to access service, that that they should be regionally and community based, and the service must be available without delay. The programs that are available should also be of comparable quality. It was stressed that due to a small and widespread population that achieving this principle will continue to be a challenge.

PORTABILITY

  • Two issues around portability were important to consider. The first is the current ‘bill-back’ situation between the governments of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. At the time of division, April 1, 1999, it was decided that until Nunavut was able to develop comparable programs and services that the NWT government would provide these services, but bill back.

  • The second issue is that a small, dispersed population base makes the provision of service much more complicated. There needs to be a process for travel for people outside of service areas. However, giving people the ability to seek service in alternative locations can create an unhealthy competition between service providers. Couple this with the existence of a diverse culture and language base where it is difficult to have programs in many different languages and it is easy to realize that language, and culture are a barrier to portability.

CONGRUENCY

  • Congruency involves ensuring that the service provision is comprehensive, integrated, connected, coordinated and looks at the whole individual, family and community. It is key to ensure that there are no gaps in service. One way to ensure congruency is to have a community development plan.

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • Services should be available in an individual’s primary language wherever possible; programs should be culturally appropriate, reflecting all components of a person and their community; the decision making bodies should reflect the demographics of the group served; and that there should be flexibility in applying the principles of the program in its delivery.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • This issue is of vital importance to northern communities. Community based development is not well understood, and certainly under appreciated in the North. It is very important that all levels of government appreciate how non-profits invest in building public capacity in the community, thereby allowing for a community response to issues that might arise and innovative problem solving in providing solutions. This means that governments do not tender to the private sector for programs and that they realize that publicly appointed boards are not representative.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

  • It is important that all programs have a feedback loop where evaluation on program provision can be done. In order to provide outcome based monitoring the community must be involved in deciding which outcomes to measure. Also, in the reporting context must be provided for the statistics provided. One of the real values of program evaluation is that it can stimulate learning and understanding, leading to program improvement.

NEW PRINCIPLES TO CONSIDER:

ASSET BASED MODELS

  • Building on capacity rather than deficiencies.

VALUE CHILDREARING

Society must recognize the true value of childrearing to individuals, families, and communities. This means more than provision of tax breaks. It is an acceptance that single parents need more support and that they often make choices that favour their children and contribute to poorer health for the parent. It is important that it be publicly recognized that raising a family is a very complex and difficult thing, and that even families who are seen to ‘have it together’ have issues and needs of their own. Compound this reality with the fact that families in the North do not have the same opportunities to rely on extended family due to issues of isolation and the fact maintaining an extended family is difficult because of the transient nature of the population.

 

C.1.g. Nova Scotia Discussion

COMMENTS
:

  • This group included a diagram that showed how a National Children’s Agenda would have four pillars. The group agreed that this was their most important contribution. These were:
  1. Healthy child development
  2. Support for parental employment
  3. Support for healthy family development (family and parent resourcing)
  4. Social cohesion (universal access).
  • The National Children’s Agenda should not be lost as it has been in the past; it should stay a high priority.
  • It’s all or none of us. We need to focus on people not merely children.
  • There are up to 70,000 youth in the Youth in Care program. Services aren’t adequately in place. Most Canadians aren’t even familiar with Youth in Care.
  • Any National Children’s Agenda must take into account the differing capacities of provinces to help fund services. Otherwise "portability" between provinces will not exist.
  • Be careful not to erode the social responsibility of government. For example, funding for programs need to incorporate principles of responsible employment and employers.
  • Accountability is critical but who gets to decide what accountability is? Accountability needs to be community-based. This gets back to portability.
  • There needs to be a federal family policy. The Social Union contract needs as its center point a National Family Policy that becomes a reference for all subsequent decisions.
  • Unmet early childhood services include:
    • Accessibility
    • Affordability
    • In-elusiveness – lack of support for needs
    • Funding for responsible employment fragmentation.
  • The question is: How do we work together to tell the story to government? We’re actually playing by the rules, which change when/as soon as we start to get somewhere. The government has forgotten to whom it reports. How do we remind it?
  • Essential services are designed to be responsive, which implies flexibility.
    • Nova Scotia has noted the need for social indicators (pg. 9 of "The National Children’s Agenda; Nova Scotians Respond; A Report on the 1999 Consultation Process). There is a need to monitor social indicators. There are concerns that outcome-based measures will miss the importance of social indicators that often have more consequence.
    • We need to recognize childcare as a part of economic security as well as for healthy child development.
  • We need to move to action, e.g. child poverty. We need to include the input of parents, and to emphasize the nurturing of parents.
  • How do we include communities – how do we include spiritual/religious sectors?
  • We need ‘How to Govern’ services.
  • We need service integration. Move beyond the rhetoric. Use parents in planning and evaluation.
  • If we focus on 0-5, we fear that we will overlook needs of other populations of youth.
  • Family and children’s earmarked money is what we should be lobbying for. That should be our focus!!!!! We want to see money earmarked for children and families. We should be lobbying for this, and then provinces decide what the programs will be. When budgets are developed, money should at this point be earmarked for families and children’s agenda.
  • People on social assistance have more rules on how dollars have to be spent. One controls an issue depending on your cheque at the end of the month.
  • Special needs have to be articulated and recognized.
  • Children are considered citizens, therefore actions and policies must be for all children and families. "At risk" will not be addressed adequately until it is a matter of rights for all children. The result of targets is fragmentation and squabbling over the fund pot, and what group is "deserving". When children are considered as citizens, with rights as a citizen, and we only focus on "at risk", will we continue to bicker over what group is most deserving of economic and social support?
  • What roles do institutions/organizations play? How do we empower? How are we empowered?
  • We need education in schools on resource assessing, leadership, and advocacy.
  • We need extra curricular activities, so more children and youth can benefit from something outside of academic pursuits.
  • There are health issues because recreation activities have been dropped. Music, art, etc., benefit children beyond academic pursuits.
  • We need dollars earmarked for children and families, and programs.
  • Use "equity" instead of diversity; celebrate differences. When there is need, fill the need from one’s own community.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • We need equitable access to programs that are comparable.
  • Include all children in Canada. We need clarity around all children in Canada, not Canadian children.
  • We need to include new Canadians (pg. 8 of 1999 NCA Report does not include this). Language should clearly state "children in Canada" rather than "Canadian children" so that children without legal status are not left out.
  • The notion of equity needs to be explicit in the principles.
  • Language clarity is important. We need to recognize the deep political implications of language. Use business language.

PORTABILITY

  • We need definitions, (e.g.: residency based equity). Provinces no not have equal access. Have-not provinces require enriched funding if they are to participate equitably in services for families.
  • This description assumes equity, which this group does not feel we have in Canada.
  • Portability should include not just notions of programs but also recognition that lack of permanent residence cuts people off from programs and services (homelessness, temporary shelters, and transience)

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • "Accommodate" is too soft a word. We need stronger word/language.
  • The wording of ‘sub-populations’ has negative connotations.
  • The group prefers "EQUITY", which is more of a community based development approach, when there is a need the own community fills the need and assigns priorities. Include in this the celebration of differences.
  • Diversity needs to articulate culture, language, and disabilities.
  • There needs to be a celebration for difference while providing equity.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • Do not use this as a means for government to abdicate responsibility. We want to be clear that government has a major leadership, monitoring, standards-setting role to play.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

  • We worry about what is meant by ‘evidence-based’, in that it doesn’t exclude qualitative evidence.
  • What do we mean by "evidence-based monitoring"? Whose evidence? What assessment tools? What time period? If there is community based administration, then community also needs to determine what counts as evidence.

C.1.h. Nunavut Discussion

ACCESSIBILITY

  • The principal of accessibility is a good principal, but it is not being met in Nunavut. There is simply not enough funding. Rural areas need more money than urban areas, because of access problems and high costs of living. The geographical set-up of Nunavut is one of the reasons why this problem exists. The capital funding is not available to allow for adequate childcare services. As well, the infrastructure is not available to facilitate a lot of the required services.

PORTABILITY

  • Again, because of the geographical set-up of Nunavut, this condition is not being met.

CONGRUENCY

  • There are often language barriers in Nunavut. Services need to be multilingual (Inuktitut, French, English, etc.). As well, some of the child development tests are culturally biased.

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • It was agreed that this principal is necessary and needed.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • This is not happening yet in Nunavut. People are still making many decisions from the south of the country.

NB: It was agreed at the forum, by everyone present that these principals are all necessary principals. However, it was also agreed that these principals are not being met in Nunavut!

C.1.i. Ontario Discussion

COMMENTS:

  • We need something that is hard edged and clear from this process. ‘Now or never’. It is a broad area and there are some ‘wedge’ issues, one being early childhood development. This is an opportunity to move forward in a national framework.
  • We need to find and rally political champions. We must collectively make it urgent. Focus on the one-liners from Prime Minister and Finance Minister about having this by December 2000. Convince them that children and health are not mutually exclusive.
  • We need to mobilize constituencies rather than organizational leaders. The fact that the federal government gave the Alliance money to do this speaks to the lack of inter-governmental process.
  • There is no content talk about youth development, and this is a gregarious error. This is partly why this process is happening.
  • Use economic security to encompass a broad definition.
  • Housing must be clear because without shelter nothing else really matters.
  • Include workplace family-friendly policies especially if you are seeking support from the labour movement.
  • Government targeted in on early childhood development services. Emphasize publicly funded and accountability. Programs and services should be not for profit.
  • We recommend that we move forward with two broad points: 1) early childhood development services as they have talked it and, 2) broad economic security and housing.
  • Sustain investment in this issue as a system not a program.
  • Find provincial/territorial champions to show that SUFA can work.
  • There is a difference between what we see essential in a NCA and what we target as the next sign. We need to see some signs and the only commitment is that we will see a deal December, 2000. Our target first is ‘Where is the deal?’ and two, we want it to look like this: we want universally accessible services and support for parents to balance work and family and have real and sustainable dollars.
  • We need clear messages, such as: Kids Count, and Children are our Future. People do not understand the issues about children as they do about health care and police issues.
  • The task around the principles prompted a great deal of discussion about the meaning, intent, and wording of many of the principles. While most participants believe that defining a statement of guiding principles is critical to the success of any major initiative, many struggled to really understand what was intended by some of the existing statements. In some instances it was the wording and language used to describe the various principles that was unclear and/or ambiguous; in other instances there were points of principle that were not reflected in the list at all. The following notes reflect a summary of the small group discussion around the guiding principles.
  • Principles should be similar to the Canada Health Act: Portability, Universality, Accountability, Non-profit public administration.
  • Government must adopt as core concepts: Health Care, Social Assistance, Childcare, and Education.
  • Add to Principles:
    • Community capacity building
    • Adopt a population health approach
    • Be respectful
    • Sustainability
    • Funding for all children including those at risk
    • Special needs
    • Universality (every child a funded child)
    • System building on current capacity.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Costs should not be a barrier.

PORTABILITY

  • Add geographic equity to portability.

CONGRUENCY

  • There is a need for continuity of services among communities i.e. childcare with opportunity for local services.
  • Add quality to congruency.

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • Respect diversity of family life.
  • Recognize the specific needs of families.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

    • Change to read: "public administration, local community based delivery prevention and wellness promotion".
  • We need adequate sustainable public funding for services and infrastructure and monitoring to PCBA.
  • Need flexibility and choice.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

    • Change "evidence based monitoring" to public accountability.
  • We need a core of childcare services and an acknowledgement that and good health begins in pre-natal from conception onwards.

 

C.1.j. Prince Edward Island Discussion

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Does this principle include the principle/issue of universality? Any child/youth related service should be publicly funded. The provision of essential services to children and families is a social responsibility, not a private sector responsibility.
  • What does the phrase comparable quality mean? Comparable to what?
  • Would accessibility also include affordability?

PORTABILITY

  • The "no residency-based" barriers should be more defined. Is it "Canadian children" vs. a child who is a resident in Canada? Does this mean that Canadian children are only those children who are Canadian citizens? What about immigrant children and families?

CONGRUENCY

  • This word seems awkward, and unclear. Would the word "holistic" be more descriptive than the word "comprehensive"?

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • The phrase sub-populations needs to be defined, or a better phrase needs to be used - it is unclear about what is meant by sub-populations.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • Public, community based administration must be led and driven by citizen participation.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

  • Evaluation is important but must it not re-direct too many resources from the provision of programs and services to families.
  • Evidence based monitoring must have short and long term success indicators, and community participation/involvement must be a key element in the evaluation process.

UNDERSTATED POINTS AND ADDITIONS TO PRINCIPLES:

CHILD CENTRED: Programs and services are "child centered". The child’s needs and rights are paramount. Ensure that the child’s needs and rights are protected. Any programs and services developed will be "child centered".

UNIVERSALITY: When did universality become a dirty word? We shouldn’t be afraid to use it. Any National Children’s Agenda program must be universal in its scope and implementation.

HEALTHY CHILDREN: Healthy people/citizens must be the heart of all programs and services. Children and families are the heart of the vision.

SUSTAINABILITY: Any national system of programs and services would need to be sustainable. A policy initiative without the committed resources (e.g. funding and human resources) to achieve the desired results is not going to be sustainable. Adequate funding is critical.

COLLABORATION AND PARTNERING: It takes a whole community to raise a child. Everyone and every sector has a role in ensuring that there are services that contribute to, and support, the well being of a child and his/her family. Specifically, there is a growing need to bring together all the key sectors, the government, the community, and business to identify how collectively they can work together to "re-start" the discussion toward a National Children’s Agenda.

COMMUNITY CAPACITY BUILDING: The community has a wide range of resources that could become allies in creating a more supportive environment for children and families. There is a need to place some focus on the principles and practice of community capacity building. If we want parents to be empowered and resourceful to their children, we must find ways to build their capacity to do so. The problem with the process is not the inability of the participant, but the inability of the "professionals" to let go of the process.

 

QUESTIONS RAISED DURING DISCUSSION ON PRINCIPLES:

  • How would quality (best practices) be ensured within these principles? Would there be a national set of guidelines around practice to ensure quality?
  • How do you ensure that the necessary supports are in place to allow all children/youth to access/participate in services and programs (e.g. transportation).
  • Do we believe our parents are the fundamental resources for our children? If so, how can this be reflected in both principle and practice?
  • Affordability: How do we ensure that the elements required to allow access at the program level are in place?
  • How do we ensure that new program initiatives for children/youth do not "stigmatize" children and their families? A child/family should have access no matter what the need or circumstances. Children and families should not be labeled just to get access to services.
  • How is the importance of the first 3 years (including prenatal) reflected in the existing principles?
The principles are useful in that they help describe what the desired outcomes should look like. However, how do you ensure that adequate funding "principles" are in place to ensure that there is fairness, equity, and access?

 

C.1.k. Saskatchewan Discussion

COMMENTS:

Generally speaking, Forum participants were in agreement with the principles suggested by the National Children’s Alliance regarding the National Children’s Agenda. Participants also made several broad statements with respect to "what’s missing" from the suggested principles.

Participants said the principles must include:

  • a commitment on the part of the federal and provincial/territorial governments to properly fund the programs and compensate the people who are delivering the programs;
  • a commitment to ensure that children remain the focus of the national children’s agenda and that the voice of children and youth forms a central part of the discussions. While it was noted that many adult representatives understand the needs of children and youth and do a good job of speaking for their client groups, the alliance needs to ensure that children and youth play a direct role in helping to shape the national children’s agenda;
  • an acknowledgement of the need for support, financial, long term - working with children/youth has to become a well paid profession;
  • developing policy and economy that support parents;
  • recognition of the inter-relatedness of all social programs and their effects on families;
  • a recognition of realities of rural Canada, reserves, etc. – equality for all Canadians
  • being prepared to meet costs.
  • an acknowledgement that the National Children’s Agenda cannot be off-loaded to volunteers;
  • a need to provide supports to volunteers: financial, transportation, day care, tax credits, etc.;
  • the recognition that there are demands on families now and there are limits;
  • that governments need to learn how to work better with communities while providing the research;
  • the need for communities to speak with one voice.

ACCESSIBILITY

  • Participants observed that all families and children require services, but in different ways and with differing levels of urgency. Some programs and services need to be universal in nature while others are best delivered in a targeted manner.
  • As well, participants questioned whether client groups are aware of the services/supports which exist, and, whether they know how to find/access available programs. Participants also wondered whether the client groups, even if they knew such programs/services existed, would feel comfortable accessing them. Access to these supports, they said, must be made "user friendly" for the client group.
  • We questioned whether this us a stand-alone principle or whether it would be better placed as a subset of the "accessibility" principle.
  • Accessibility has to include supports to help people.
  • In having access must take into consideration: 1.) Communication: Do community members know it is there to access? 2.) Are programs and services available at the appropriate hours to meet community needs? 3.) Access (distance to) is different from community to community. 4.) Both rural and urban needs must be addressed.
  • The community itself should decide what their needs are, and they should decide what comparable quality is.
  • Portability is a subset of accessibility.
  • There should not be service boundaries.
  • Funding must break down service barriers as apposed to creating barriers ( e.g. funding by need vs. funding by jurisdiction).
  • The language used creates barrier to understanding.
  • Accessibility and portability should be combined
  • Portability is an awkward word, consider using "equal access/opportunity".
  • Include affordability and universality as principles.

PORTABILITY

  • Participants agreed with this principle, but many didn’t like the word "portability". They also asked whether "portability" should serve as a stand alone principle or whether it would be better placed as a subset of the "accessibility" principle.
  • Families should be able to expect that standard resources will be available to their family no matter where they live nationally (with some differences in order for community to meet specific needs).

CONGRUENCY

  • Participants agreed overwhelmingly that most people wouldn’t understand what the word "congruency" means. They suggested the Alliance find a more easily understood word to describe this important principle.
  • We do not need to recreate everything.
  • Identify what already exists and then coordinate the existing resources in a community.
  • Make sure recommendations are doable and that resources are in place for success (i.e., you can’t increase employment of young adults without addressing childcare).
  • We need multi-agency cooperation.
  • We need a collective definition of range of services (coordination).
  • Avoid duplication, be service smarter (collaboration).
  • There are two ideas in one: 1.) What is needed? (comprehensive) and 2.) How do we respond together?
  • Check for "user friendly" vocabulary/wording.
  • Suggest: continuum of services, seamless/comprehensive and coordinated.

RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY

  • Participants agreed with this principle and offered no major suggestions for change.
  • Include "culture" – differences not just "accommodated", but "affirmed".
  • Diverse needs of subpopulation needs to be better defined.

PUBLIC, COMMUNITY-BASED ADMINISTRATION

  • Participants noted that research abounds which tells us what works in program and service development and delivery. What is needed, they said, is the commitment to provide ongoing funding for program and service delivery and research. As well, participants were unanimous in the view that the NCA is a matter for public administration, but with continuous grassroots input. The nature of the Agenda development and implementation should be bottom-up, not top-down.
  • We agree. How it is to be delivered needs to be decided by the community.
  • Underline the word "community".
  • This has two different messages.
  • What does "public domain" mean?
  • Use: community-based participation/decision making.
  • We need youth involvement.
  • Try: Grassroots input to develop public policy.
  • Youth must be given opportunities to be heard.
  • Delivery need to be the not for profit sector.
  • At the community level we need to be part of policy decisions.

EVIDENCE-BASED MONITORING

  • All aspects of the National Children’s Agenda, that is, the principles as well as the resulting programs and services, need to be subject to continuous monitoring and evaluation to ensure the desired results are being achieved. It was also noted that evaluation should not be solely "statistically-driven" or "quantitative" in nature but must also be "qualitative" in nature.
  • We agree with the need for evidence-based monitoring but financial support is needed to develop it. It is the responsibility of the funders to provide the dollars and to do the social research.
  • Evaluation must include/emphasize qualitative data.
  • Evaluation will do fine.
  • Resources and flexibility are important.
  • Who is to assume leadership on this?
  • Be able to demonstrate that we are meeting the principles.
  • We need program outcomes.

ADDITIONAL IDEA/PRINCIPLE:

ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Responsible management of funds.
  • Responsible for delivery.
  • Responsible to clients, not only funders.

 

C.1.l. Yukon Discussion

COMMENTS:

  • It is wise to invest in services, programs, and resources for pre school children in order to insure a good start to life. Attention should be given as well to the prenatal development of the child and the preparation of the parents to child rearing.
  • All services and programs for children and their families should be easily accessible and affordable.
  • All Yukon services and programs must be sensitive to First Nations traditions and culture. The identity of the child, as it develops, is very much strengthened by the richness of the child and family’s culture.
  • There must be much stronger family life preparation by schools, churches, and other community organizations for children and teens.
  • There is a need for central coordination of children and youth services.

NATIONAL PRINCIPLES AND ISSUES

  • The mandatory reporting of child abuse and serious child neglect must be made a federal requirement. The rights of children, under the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child must be applied to all Canadian children and youth.
  • All programming, which has at its objective the improvement of child health and well being, must be universally accessible.
  • Education of children and youth must be culturally sensitive and show respect for the specific cultures of all children.
  • When programs and services have shown their worth, the funding of these programs should be made for medium term periods, such as three to five years. Year to year funding does not allow for proper planning and investment in programs.
  • It is critical to involve local citizens in the design and implementation of services and programs in their communities. While a program may be designed nationally, it requires a certain level of customization for specific communities.
  • All Federal, Provincial/territorial, and Territorial laws, procedures, and policies should be carefully assessed as meeting specific "Family Friendly Criteria" before being enacted.
  • Professionals working with children should receive adequate training, supervision, and support for their important work. They should be compensated on the basis that their work is of critical importance to the development of the nation’s most important resource.
  • All work places in Canada should have human resource policies, which are family friendly and flexible.
  • Develop policies and supports which will enable parents of special needs youngsters to parent and care for their children in their own homes.

 

C.2.Responses to: What Needs To Be Included in a National Children’s Agenda as Essential Services and Programs?

A National Children’s Agenda must have sound content for successful implementation. The National Children’s Alliance, in their submission to Finance Committee last year, recommended four key content components:

  • Income Security Measures
  • Social and Community Support Services and Programs
  • Research and Monitoring
  • Capacity-building.

The regional Forums proposed the following content components be discussed in terms of what needs to be included in the National Children’s Agenda as essential services and programs?

 

  • Income support for parents, particularly those with inadequate earnings and/or with children with extraordinary needs, including children with disabilities or chronic or acute health problems.
  • Employment support including parental leave, that allow parents to better balance the demands of work and family over the course of the work day and year.
  • Preventative, community-based health services, including disease prevention and wellness promotion.
  • Childhood development services for both pre- and school-aged children that augments their physical, emotional and social well-being and that includes high quality affordable child care.
  • Resources and supports to families to assist parents in their child rearing role
  • Public education system that promotes early and continuous learning.
  • At-risk programs for children, youth and their families who need them.
  • Community-based recreation programs.
  • Child welfare system that promotes the well-being and development of children and youth.
  • Programs for children and youth in trouble with the law that are coordinated and integrated.

 

C.2.a. Alberta Discussion

INCOME SUPPORT

  • There needs to be a statement saying that economic well-being is necessary but not sufficient for child health’. Funding needs to be put towards economic well-being as it is the big problem.

EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

  • End the sentence at family, and add "and flexible childcare option".
  • Employment standards should ensure workplace flexibility for families.
  • We need ‘family friendly’ workplaces.
  • Encourage employers to be family friendly and offer flex time to care for children, parents, etc.

PREVENTATIVE, COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH SERVICES

  • Consider renaming this component to: community-based health and wellness services.
  • We need to define health services and how it is defined by the United Nations.

CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

  • It is early to acknowledge that early childhood development starts at the pre-natal stage of growth.

RESOURCES AND SUPPORTS TO FAMILIES

  • Our group liked it.

PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

  • This needs to be inclusive and accessible to all, and directed by parental choice.

AT-RISK PROGRAMS

  • Remove identification of who needs them.

COMMUNITY-BASED RECREATION PROGRAMS

  • Include all families.

PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

  • Change the language to ‘encounter with the justice system’.

COMMENTS

  • Link services and programs to determinants of health.
  • There should be a statement saying that economic well-being is necessary but not sufficient for child health. Need to put dollars towards economic well-being because it’s the big problem
  • Disability does not equal illness.
  • Use the approach of asset-based principles of what contributes to healthy youth and healthy communities. Rather than making up for deficiencies, capitalize on strengths. However, don’t take dollars away from prevention strategies for this aspect.
  • Define family broadly. Use the term citizen instead of family.

 

C.2.b. British Columbia Discussion

The participants of the British Columbia regional forum unanimously agreed that it is necessary to have a core of essential services available for all children, youth and families across Canada.

INCOME SUPPORT

  • This could be simply stated as ‘adequate income to families’.
  • Take out "inadequate earnings".
  • Change/add ‘need to build on the capacity of people moving out of unemployment.’

EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

  • Call this "family friendly policies".

PREVENTATIVE, COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH SERVICES

  • This needs to include nutrition.
  • This is missing mental health services and early intervention services.
  • The pre-natal, pre-conception piece needs to be explored.

CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

  • Childcare, early intervention and supports to families that don’t use childcare are all essential services.
  • Don’t define family resource programs or drop-ins.
  • Add "cognitive" (well-being).
  • This should be changed to read ‘a range of childcare and development services’ and add a specific notation re ‘accessible, affordable, universal childcare.’
  • What does "high quality" childcare mean?
  • Childcare should be clarified as being available for employed and not employed parents.

RESOURCES AND SUPPORTS TO FAMILIES

  • Add the phrase "appropriate to the child’s needs, including their mental health".
  • Add "behavioural support".
  • Support for childcare providers is also needed, as well as for the families.

PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

  • Add literacy.
  • Consider the change to "public education resources that promote early and continuous learning and literacy".

AT-RISK PROGRAMS

  • Change wording to read "programs for at-risk children, youth and their families who need them".

COMMUNITY-BASED RECREATION PROGRAMS

  • This should read "community based leisure opportunities".

CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

  • Change to read "Child welfare system that keeps children safe, and promotes...".

PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

  • Change to "programs for children and youth involved in the law/legal system."

C.2.c. Manitoba Discussion

COMMENTS:

  • We need a list of core services for each province available to the public. We also need consistency among the provinces and territories about available core services.
  • We need to create supportive, safe and violence-free communities.
  • Funding to all areas is not the same; e.g. at-risk programs – tends to be short term.
  • Targeting does not work for "political" reasons
  • We need funds for "core" funding vs. "categorical" funding.
  • Re-categorize like areas, and provide more detail under categories identified.
  • We require definitions to clarify who "fits" where - Help the identification of where you fit at the community services level.
  • Essential services need to be integrated – we don’t want 10 separate services happening in a community independent of one another. Need to build integration or won’t happen.
 

EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT.

  • The 14 t0 17 year old is left out in terms of funding.
  • The "Rule" book needs to be written and employment support needs to include literacy, job training for the 14 – 17 year old "drop out" at school.

PREVENTATIVE, COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH SERVICES

  • Include disease prevention and wellness promotion.
  • Add "access to acute care when needed"
CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

  • We need to define school aged kids ( 12 years – 18 years?).
  • Child development services are too broad; and are split in early, middle, youth categories.
  • Middle years need a more direct focus.
  • We need an affordable national childcare system. Model on the education system.
  • Delete: both pre and school aged children, add: pre-conception – adulthood
    • Children are children until they reach self-sufficiency. The current guidelines address specific ages, categories

  • Baby First
  • Stops at age 3
  • Gap age 3 – 6
  • Youth
  • Ends at age 14
  • Adult
  • Picks up at age 18
    • Where is the continuum of services

    CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

    • Revise to read: Child Welfare System that promotes the well-being and development of children, " youth, families, and communities".
    RESOURCES AND SUPPORTS TO FAMILIES

    • Use broader titles, e.g. "Support to Families","Family Employment", or "Resource & Support to Families"
    • Consider the Hub model for families to find services (all essential services). How do you find out about them? Community programs and service organizations need to communicate.
    • Not all essential services listed are easily accessible , and or available.
    • Information needs to be available to families in their immediate area.
    • We need resources and supports to families to assist in parenting.
    • Resources & supports play a critical role. The family is key player. We need more for kids in care and the families who take them.
    • Foster families need information and more preparation before receiving a child in care. Training is needed for special need children. Foster families need more. Foster children need more stability through moving them less.
     

    PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

    • All children should come out of education system with literacy and language skills at a level appropriate for employment.

    AT-RISK PROGRAMS

    • Rephrase to, "Programs for" at-risk programs for children, youth and their families who need them
    • We need prevention services, e.g. gang prevention and community based policing.
    • Delete: ‘who needs them’.
    We need services for transient children & youth. We also need legislation and a data-base.

     

    COMMUNITY-BASED RECREATION PROGRAMS

    • Community-based recreation programs (cultural/social/physical/spiritual) must be all inclusive.
    • We need a description of community base recreation.
    • There is a link between employment support and community based recreation. Together they enhance and develop more flexibility in the system to better serve both working families and employers; i.e. before and after school programs.
    • Community recreation programs provide many opportunities to service families; i.e. parenting literacy.

    CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

    • Change to: Child Welfare System that promotes the well-being and development of children, " youth, families, and communities".

    PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

    • We need programs for children and youth that promote their positive connection with the community, and respect for people and property.

    NEW PRINCIPLES TO CONSIDER:

    SPECIAL NEEDS

    • Defined as disability (FAS, phys, autism, etc.).
    • Includes respite and access to therapy.
    • This needs planning & delivery.

    COMMUNITY CAPACITY BUILDING

    • Promotes residents developing their own voice and capacity to respond to common issues and make a meaningful contribution to their community.

    C.2.d. New Brunswick Discussion

    PREVENTATIVE, COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH SERVICES

    • Access to nutrition and hygiene is needed.
    • Community based health services to include dental care and prescription drugs are needed.
    CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

    • We need integration of early childhood with education services.
    • We need better qualifications and better pay for childcare staff.
    • We need 24-hour childcare.

    RESOURCES AND SUPPORTS TO FAMILIES

    • Access to reproductive education and birth control for both males and females is needed.
    • Parenting courses need to be made available for both parents.
    • Mental health services are needed for addictions, anger management, and suicide prevention.

    PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

    • We need literacy training, tutoring and mentoring programs made available, and access to education in health related areas.
    • We need a more holistic approach to education: arts, music, and physical education.

    AT-RISK PROGRAMS

    • We need to take a proactive approach and focus on asset development rather than "at-risk".
    • We need ‘resiliency building’.
    • We need to value the innocence of children and protect them from media, and internet violence.

    COMMUNITY-BASED RECREATION PROGRAMS

    • We need more recreational opportunities.

    CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

    • We need to focus on anti-violence for young children.
    • We need a clean safe environment in homes, schools, and the community.
    • We need to prioritize our "At-Risk" population.

    PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

    • Research shows that children, youth and the law must be integrated and programs and services must be community based.

    GENERAL COMMENTS

    • We need affordable housing that is safe, clean, and other environmental issues must be considered; population needs to be dispersed, rather than creating low income communities.
    • Basic needs need to be defined.
    • It is essential to have a list of core services; but we need flexibility at provincial/territorial level.
    • Screening and assessment should be available to all persons.
    • Children should not be cut off because of age. Continuity of services is needed.

    C.2.e. Newfoundland Discussion

    INCOME SUPPORT

    • It was thought that this item uses judgmental terminology in ‘inadequate earning’. Does this mean "guaranteed income"? It's too broad.
    • Child tax credit does not ensure that "freed-up" dollars are spent on children. Tax benefits are viewed by politicians as strengthening families when that is not necessarily the case.
    • Volunteer incentives should be included under income tax.
    • Access to assessments have to be available universally, and not be based on family income. They cost dollars.
    • Child support has to be income for the child above and beyond basic government income support.

    EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

    • It was thought that this item needed to be broader, perhaps "universal childcare:.

    PREVENTATIVE COMMUNITY BASED HEALTH SERVICES

    • Preventative health services should focus on injury prevention, as well as youth (e.g. adolescence, suicide, and sexuality).

    CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

    • National day care programs are needed.
    • Literacy should be an explicit goal under child development programs.
    • Pre-literacy skills could be addressed in a universal child-care program.
    • Work site childcare makes for more productive employees.
    • The community must engage in the development of a range of services to meet community needs.

    RESOURCES AND SUPPORTS TO FAMILIES

    • There is a need for community services to support children and their parents.
    • Core funding for an integrated model of services is critical.
    • Ensure there are parenting supports to educate parents.
    • Pre-natal support is important, through to youth education (family life programs).
    • It is hard to strengthen families when "family" is not fully understood or appreciated.
    • "Resources" generally means dollars, where "supports" are seen as services.
    • The family needs to work in concert with society decisions and share the responsibilities.
    • There is a need to educate and promote cultural and family acceptance.

    PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

    • The public education system should integrate adequate support for special needs as well as for "normal" children.
    • Support outside the school system for special needs should be comprehensive.
    • The curriculum needs to be broadened to pay attention to music, art, and drama, to compensate for the fact that these are no longer available at home. Grandparents do not live in the home, and parents and family are leading busy lives. In Iceland, every community has a music teacher, art teacher. Iceland also has formal pre-school program (focus on history, language, music, art). This enhances self esteem, diffuses violence through music and art.
    • Compulsory physical participation is needed within the public education system.
    • Life long learning is essential and must be supported. The die is cast long before age 5.
    • Children come to school continuing to learn, not "ready" to learn.
    • Development of "whole child" in a developmentally appropriate environment is key.
    • Social readiness is as important as academic "readiness".
    • We must ensure children aren't "pushed".
    • Educational support to children with needs must be a right and automatic. The parents should not have to fight for their children's supports every September. It is a right not a privilege.
    • Focus on children as they are the future.
    • We need a universal school food program.

    AT RISK PROGRAMS

    • There is a good program for youth at risk used in the United States (work co-op).
    • Sending some youth to detention turns them into hardened criminals.

    CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

    • Services to support adoptive families throughout the life process are required.
    • Education of those in society without children is needed. In that it takes a community to raise a child, and that this is important to all.

    PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

    • We need early prevention strategies, as bored or gifted youth may become troublemakers. We need programs to integrate them back into society.

    OTHER KEY DISCUSSION POINTS

    • What about school age child up to 13 - 15?
    • Coordination of all these services is essential to avoid duplication and gaps.
    • Services to youth should include career counselling and job experience.
    • Treatment programs such as mental health, autism, asthma, or leukemia need to fit in somewhere. We need a new category, not preventative nor at risk, but for those diagnosed with a specific problem.
    • Students need to be involved in the process.
    • We need a new category for youth.
    • We need a new category to deal with "creating supportive, safe and violence free communities", also for public education, women's shelters, etc..
    • Should it be a "National Agenda for Children and Youth" as today's youth suffer from stress coping with more choices, more stress, and peer pressure?
    • Childcare needs to be seen as an essential service under all the categories, not "just" developmental or employment support. Childcare services are the corner stone.
    • If the community is not engaged in the process, we will always be reacting, not being proactive and supportive.
    • Inclusion of all people increases tolerance and respect.
    • Inclusion and integration in education and community is the key. We have to ensure that funding for programs is not cut. Segregation by need is not acceptable.
    • Peer support is important as it builds understanding.
    • There are language barriers. The education system should promote diversity. There needs to be flexibility in the education system to access courses in their culture and/or language without having detrimental consequences ad compromising academic potential.

    C.2.f. Northwest Territories Discussion

    INCOME SUPPORT

    • It was felt that "financial" support would be a more appropriate title, and needs to include individuals between 16 and 19 years of age.
    • The group felt that there needs to be a guaranteed annual income, a safety net below which no one will fall. That consideration must be given to parents and children around the issue of disability.
    • There are regional economic disparities in that the cost of raising a family varies from one location to another. Also, there is the issue of mothers in need of assistance for childcare to make the transition to employment.

    EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

    • Employment support is really workplace support, and touches on the issues of job flexibility, job sharing, workplace childcare, parental leave, special leave to care for sick children, and access to ‘sick-kids’ childcare. A shorter work week could also be considered.

    PREVENTATIVE, COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH SERVICES

    • Following a wellness model is important. It must be appreciated that the whole person must be considered, and that this could include services such as prenatal support, dental care, home care, immunization programs, education and support for pregnant mothers on health issues that can have an impact on the developing fetus and baby, and education and support for parents. Don’t assume that everyone knows how to parent.

    CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

    • It is important that culturally specific testing, evaluation tools and resources be developed and implemented. These tools need to focus not only on children, but on evaluation of the family and community as well.
    • It was felt that more work must be done with younger children, especially in the outlying communities, before school begins.
    • It was further felt that there must be resources devoted to developing a multi-jurisdictional, multi-discipline approach.

    RESOURCES AND SUPPORT TO FAMILIES

    • This must include in-home supports and respite care.

    PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

    • An evaluation and consideration of how the legacy of residential schooling has resulted in a fear and distrust of schools and education in general is necessary.
    • The group was quite clear on the fact that more financial resources MUST be injected into the system, and that there are some items that are currently outside the educational system that should be included (e.g. reading and play programs). Early childhood programs (childcare) must be connected to the current K – 12 curriculum, and family violence (both within the family and within the community) must be considered and counteracted.

    AT RISK PROGRAMS

    • It must be recognized that life in a community has a direct impact on what is happening for children, inside the classroom and outside as well. Programs do exist, or should be developed for at-risk children and families. However access must be made easy, as disconnected programs difficult to access will not benefit the individual or community. Community coordination is vital to success.

    COMMUNITY BASED RECREATION PROGRAMS

    • It was acknowledged that these programs are very important, but that financial accessibility must be a consideration at all times.

    CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

    • The system needs to take a community approach to child welfare, focusing on the needs of the child, but also considering community capacity. It must also be recognized that there is a real need for more case workers to be added to the current system.

    PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

    • A holistic approach must be taken when considering the reasons why children are in the justice system, not just because they have done something wrong.
    • The existence of a child advocate would also be of great benefit to children and their interactions with the justice system.

    SOCIAL HOUSING

    • There MUST be affordable, safe, and clean housing available to families. The models for the provision of this housing should be diverse and appropriate to the community. Examples include cooperative and communal housing.

    C.2.g. Nova Scotia Discussion

    COMMENTS:

    • More support for volunteers from the employers is needed.
    • Parental involvement should be allowed as part of employment.
    • Schools should welcome parents to provide input.
    • Family studies for Junior High students are needed.
    • Multi service programs in the school are needed, e.g. health, social, justice, etc.
    • Children need to be empowered to know how to use the resources.
    • Money is needed for hands-on programs and services that will make a difference.
    • Training in leadership skills and empowerment is key.
    • Community based development is important.

    INCOME SUPPORT

    • Income support is not social support. It is not enhancing communities.

    EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

    • Strategies of wage subsidies is employment focused, not societal focused.

    CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

    • We need to value our children.
    • Childcare provides an access to families and children. We need to develop a social consciousness and improve support to families.
    • Call it "Childcare", call it "Employment-Sensitive Early Childhood Services", call it "Early Childhood Care and Education", but be sure that it, and its four pillars: 1) healthy early childhood development, 2) support for parental employment, 3) support for the parental/family role, 4) and social cohesion, are taken as basic principles.

    AT-RISK PROGRAMS

    • "At Risk" – What is really at risk? We need to be careful how to use this term to respect dignity, the nature and source of "being at risk".

    C.2.h. Nunavut Discussion

    COMMENTS:

    • During the forum, a list of essential services was brainstormed prior to examining the list that was offered in the regional forum meeting. We concluded that the three most important services are the basic necessities of food, shelter, and health care. These three essential services should be considered first.

    The following is a list of other services that should be considered after these three have been addressed.

    NUTRITION

    HOUSING:

    • Housing that is accessible and not over-crowded.

    HEALTH CARE

    • There should be affordable and accessible health care, including: dental care, physiotherapy, speech therapy, and licensed psychological treatment.

    INCOME SUPPORT FOR PARENTS

    • There should be more support for young parents and single mothers.

    LICENSED CHILDCARE

    • We need childcare that is affordable and accessible.

    EDUCATION

    Schools should be able to meet the needs of children and youth. They should have access to libraries and books that are written in their first language. People should be able to access educational services within their own communities.

    FAMILY LITERACY PROGRAMS

    There should be more support for family literacy programs.

    RECREATION

    • Children and youth should have access to recreational facilities, playgrounds, and organized leisure activities.

    SUPPORT FOR YOUTH EMPLOYMENT

    Students should have access to programs that will train them to become entrepreneurs.

    SPORTS AND SERVICES FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

    CF.2.i. Ontario Discussion

    COMMENTS:

    • We need food security.
    • We need integrate, seamless services.
    • Avoid pathology, emphasize asset based approach, as any child is at risk.
    • We need explicit commitments by government and specific account mechanisms.
    • We need to support positive transition to youth/adulthood.
    • We need to have key messages:
      • income/housing support ( economic security)
      • childhood development services
      • employment support and family friendly policies (workplace)

    INCOME SUPPORT

    • Take out the phrase ‘those with inadequate earnings and replace with additional support for families with kids with extraordinary needs.

    C.2.j. Prince Edward Island Discussion

    CHILD CENTRED SERVICES

    1. Prenatal services
    2. Universal quality childcare
    3. Early language development
    4. Early remediation programs
    5. Kindergarten
    6. Comprehensive childcare system with extended hours
    7. Children’s mental health services
    8. Child advocate ( PEI does not currently have such a position )
    9. Access to specialty services; i.e. Speech therapy, occupational therapy.
    10. More special needs instructors in the schools in the early years.

    FAMILY CENTRED SERVICES

    1. Literacy development programs for children and parents at the community level
    2. Family support education
    3. Employment enhancement and support services for parents
    4. Opportunities for life long learning
    5. Family resource centers for all age levels within the family (young people don’t always have a space to call there own)
    6. More "family centred" services; support services that are available during evenings and week-ends
    7. Community support systems for parents
    8. Income support to ensure basic needs are met
    9. Parenting skill development programs and courses

    COMMUNITY CENTRED SERVICES

    1. Legal/Judicial - family law support services
    2. Sufficient income - guaranteed adequate income
    3. Low income housing - affordable housing for families
    4. Universal community recreation programs, including such things as arts, drama, music, and other creative activities (not just sports).
    5. Transportation subsidy -support to allow children and families to access programs
    6. Programs that fund and support community capacity building
    7. Self esteem programs and personal skill building activities for adolescent and youth (school based, recreation, etc.)
    8. Programs designed to foster cultural awareness and multi-culturalism; i.e. aboriginal
    9. Service coordination - essential services to children and families need to be better integrated at the community level.

    COMMENTS

    • Is cognitive and spiritual development included in social well-being? With all the focus on motor and recreational skills, where does the development of one’s spiritual side come in?
    • There is need to identify whom you are going to try and serve and develop the services around that. Design the service around the specific needs.
    • The will be a high need for a coordinated approach, collaboration, and shared leadership in setting up service delivery structures and approaches.
    • A prevention focus must be in place as well. The risk factors that can cause many of the difficulties that families and children encounter are now well known. We can put prevention programs in place if we have the will to do so.
    • In order to be able to provide services to families, service providers at the community level need to be supported with adequate funding, training, specialized equipment, and other supports. In particular, service providers (e.g. early childhood development staff, childcare workers, family support workers) need to be valued and supported with appropriate financial compensation. "Put our money where our mouth is".
    • Material and/or physical supports need to be in place for children and their families before it is possible for them to deal other social and/or emotional needs.
    • Services need to be coordinated and to allow for a single access point to a range of services for children and families.
    • Collaborative partnerships must be established among and between all the key service providers and players involved; parents must be supported to assume a vital role in these partnerships.
    • Create a community-based model to systematically identify and share existing community resources. This model should provide parents with a primary role in the model, and this role would be supported by collaborative partnerships with key service provider groups.

    INCOME SUPPORT

    • There is a growing gap between poor and well to do families. Any serious effort to address child/family needs will have to deal with this disparity. There needs to be some clarification with respect to "income support". There must be a way to ensure/provide adequate income for all children and families.

    PREVENTATIVE, COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH SERVICES

    • The range of services available should allow for a holistic approach to health, and access to alternate health options.

    CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

    • Those services that are targeted toward pre-school children should include provision for in-home and center based supports.

    PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

    • The educational system/process needs to build in more flexibility to provide enhanced educational opportunities and support for children (e.g. more resources that allow for smaller class sizes, more educational equipment, and more flexible approaches that respond to the developmental and learning pace of the child). Class sizes in the current environment do not accommodate learning disabilities and differences very easily.
    • There is a need to continue and preserve the focus on continuing education with families. Key supports must be in place to allow parents to continue with, or pursue, educational and training opportunities (e.g. childcare).

    COMMUNITY-BASED RECREATION PROGRAMS

    • Community based recreation programs should be included in the educational system, and further enhanced at the community level.

    PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

    • Crime prevention programs, and service providers involved with youth in trouble with the law need to be more creative, flexible and pro-active. Special efforts directed at helping youth develop and build the personal and social skills necessary for their successful return to the community must be undertaken.

    C.2 k. Saskatchewan Discussion

    INCOME SUPPORT

    • We need realistic dollars to meet the needs of families to feed, house and clothe their children.
    • We need policy changes to the child tax benefit.
    • Stop provincial/territorial cutbacks.
    • Expand the benefit to all low-income families.
    • This includes affordable quality housing. We need standards for housing, perhaps we need more than bylaws. We need rent geared to income.
    • Ensure child’s needs are met, that money flows to the child.
    • Ensure that income support is used for the benefit of the household.

    EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

    • An employment policy is needed and government departments need to be coordinated.

    PREVENTATIVE, COMMUNITY-BASED HEALTH SERVICES

    • This should include dental care and have flexibility to meet family’s needs.
    • Expand public health visits to home.
    • Preventative life skills education (e.g. parenting skills, how to become independent) are important.
    • Nutrition is key.
    • It must include respite care.
    • We need residential services for those who are differently-abled.

    CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SERVICES

    • Every child needs basic services to reach their potential. We need universally accessible quality affordable childcare. Consider the Quebec model.
    • We need quality, affordable, regulated child/infant care: extended parental benefits, shared inter-government responsibility for early childhood education.
    • We need non-judgmental, 24 hours/7 days per week childcare services.
    • We need generational programs.

    RESOURCES AND SUPPORTS TO FAMILIES

    • We need tax incentives to allow for parents to stay at home, for volunteerism, and for anything related to wellness.
    • Focus away from short term funding to long term funding.
    • We need parenting education. Programs must be good quality, be comprehensive, and accessible to everyone. Parents need to understand needs of children.
    • We should be empowering parents.
    • Make programs and services inviting so children are willing to access them.
    • Programs that model, and that are interactive with parents and families are needed for skill building and sharing experiences.
    • We need to focusing on families in transition (e.g. preschool, elementary).
    • We need to integrate a few of the programs (e.g. health, education, justice).

    PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM

    • We need developmental community high schools.
    • We need further definition of the role of the schools.

    AT-RISK PROGRAMS

    • The "At Risk" label is damaging to children and youth.

    COMMUNITY-BASED RECREATION PROGRAMS

    • We need a crime prevention component.

    CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

    • Define what every child needs and allow individual communities to define extra services.
    • For ages 0-6 programs should be universally available and publicly funded.
    • Create grassroots political will to support children’s programs.

    PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

    • Prevention is key.
    • Help must be immediate.
    • Schools should be open so kids have a positive place to hang out.
    • 75% of children and youth have communication problems. Services such as speech therapy need to be accessible to ages 0-3.
    • Harm reduction is critical.

    ADDITIONAL ESSENTIAL SERVICES:

    AFFORDABLE HOUSING

    • This allows parents to focus on the job of parenting.
    • It builds communities, keeps kids in school, and supports families.
    • Community-based recreation can’t take place without affordable housing.

    COMMUNITY CAPACITY BUILDING

    • Resources in the community are often too fragmented. They need to be coordinated. All stakeholders need to be involved. We need neighborhood centres every 6 blocks, comprehensive pre- and post-natal support and care for all families, and a public education system starting at pre-natal until the child leaves the home.
    • Don’t reinvent the wheel: Talk to neighbours, local and provincial/territorial, Find out what works.
    • Consider the Hub Community model.
    • Develop services along a community school model.
    • Maximize the impact and increase the awareness of existing resources.
    • We need funding to maintain existing programs as well as create new programs.
    • Consider Sustainability as a separate principle.
    • We need long term support programs that are seamless, proactive, and continuous.
    • Break down multiple funding sources (e.g. Education/Social Services/Health/Justice).

    WE NEED A CLEARINGHOUSE

    • Provides list of services/ a directory of what is offered and where
    • Available/Accessible to all
    • Continually updated

    ASSESSMENT

    • We need assessment tools to determine what the child needs.
    • Identify client group and their needs.
    • We need to look at needs-based programming (e.g. food, security, housing).

    OTHER COMMENTS

    • Change the decision-making process to be more client-based.
    • Power brokers need to share power and decision-making.
    • Assume an action oriented posture and develop a collective caring.
    • We need to look at Federal/Provincial/territorial responsibilities (e.g. for children on and off reserves).

     

    C.2.l. Yukon Discussion

    See C.1.l for general comments.

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