Are We Doing Enough?
A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health
To encourage policy-makers to examine their progress on child and youth issues and to foster discussion among Canadians, the Canadian Paediatric Society produces a biennial status report on public policy affecting children and youth.
This report examines how well provincial/territorial and federal governments use their legislative powers to promote the health and safety of children and youth.
The fourth edition, released January 10, 2012, continues to assess key indicators of child and youth health and rates progress on these indicators since 2009. The report includes recommendations to improve public policy affecting children and youth, actions based both on need and evidence.
The report alone will not effect change. We need organizations and individuals to join with us to call governments to account. Here are some ways you can help:
10 Ways to Advocate for Child and Youth Health
Send Are We Doing Enough? to the public health units, family physicians and other health professionals in your community. Ask your colleagues to do the same.
Write an op-ed piece or a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. We’ve drafted a sample to get you started. If you feel it is appropriate, discuss the issue with children and youth, and ask them to write letters to the appropriate provincial or federal Minister. Handwritten letters from children require special attention by ministers’ staffs and therefore have a greater impact.
Tell your MP, MPP and local Medical Officer of Health about the status report. Click here for links to provincial/territorial and federal government contact information.
Organize an event. Work with a children’s or social advocacy group to raise awareness about child and youth health in your community through a creative event. Have children paint pictures of what health looks like to them, or ask older children and youth to perform skits about what makes children healthy. Be sure to invite local politicians and the media to the presentation.
Pay a visit to your local MP or MPP/MLA. Bring a copy of Are We Doing Enough? with you, and focus on the one issue you are most passionate about. If you can’t choose, you may want to focus on something broad, such as poverty or early childhood development.
Make a brief presentation. Sometimes you get an opportunity to do a brief presentation on an issue of choice. This may be with a local politician, at a local school board, or among other health care colleagues. Use Are We Doing Enough? as a starting point to educate communities on how they can make a difference in child and youth health.
Suggest that people volunteer for a child/youth health organization by posting a notice in your waiting room. Offer suggestions of local organizations you value or help them search out a local group through Volunteer Canada or another volunteer matching organization.
Focus on Aboriginal child and youth health. Aboriginal children and youth suffer ill-health at far greater rates than most Canadian children and youth. Make contact with a local Aboriginal group and ask what you can do to help, and encourage your legislators to take action.
Help spread the word by sharing Are We Doing Enough? on Twitter, Facebook, on LinkedIn or by e-mail with your colleagues and friends. On Twitter use the hashtag #Cdnkidshealth. You can use our sample updates.
Look for opportunities throughout the year to honour children and youth, and advocate for their health and wellness.
Previous Editions of Are We Doing Enough?
May 31 2012