OKN and service providers are aligned in their efforts to create “conditions of well-being” for children, youth and families
Our Kids Network’s vision is “All children thrive!” The term “thriving” is defined as growing strongly and vigorously and “doing well”. Thriving describes a child or youth’s present state, but is also focused on their future prospects. Through our research, we have identified seven conditions of well-being needed for children, families, and the community as a whole, to thrive. We call these conditions the “Halton 7” and we believe the entire community, including government and business, shares responsibility for reaching the Halton 7, so children, youth and families can thrive.
What are the Halton 7?
- Children are healthy
- Children are learning
- Children are positively connected
- Children are safe
- Families are strong and stable
- Schools are connected to the community
- Neighbourhoods are where we live, work and play
Service providers see the impact when their common agenda is the Halton 7
At an OKN Annual Meeting Day, service providers organized their resources, services and programs under the Halton 7. This small sampling of responses gave us a sense of how aligning our efforts can have an impact on the Halton 7. There are many, many more programs and services in Halton that could be added to the list demonstrating our impact as a community.
OKN partners and participating agencies have all agreed to work together towards the Halton 7
Agencies’ activities are specific to their local communities and neighbourhoods, and OKN strengthens these activities by coordinating a mutually reinforcing action plan for the community. For example, many Halton agencies use Developmental Assets® in their work with children and youth. The OKN Asset-Building Table has a Halton-wide strategy and plan that reinforces the DA work of the agencies.
And sometimes we team up with protocol partners and participating agencies on local initiatives. Recently, OKN researchers presented Early Development Instrument (EDI) results for Acton at an Early Years Community Data Discussion for professionals working in Acton. Local principals’ had voiced some concerns about EDI results for children in Acton and the researchers presented data which indicated that, in 2012; Acton had one of the highest rates of vulnerability in Halton. Numerous partners (health, teachers, principals, front line workers, and other service providers) were concerned and met to discuss how to address the concerns. After studying the details of the data, eight community partners committed to an action plan with funding support, and specific activities, resources and tools to address the problem. Their collective action means that we are that much closer to ensuring that “Children are healthy and Children are learning” in Acton.
How do we know when we’re making progress towards the Halton 7?
We continually monitor our progress on the Halton 7 and we’re able to identify whether we’re making a difference and where we need to focus our efforts to improve. We use large population surveys as part of our monitoring cycle, such as the Early Development Index, as well as other surveys of youth and parents in Halton. We report the results of the Halton 7 in a number of different ways, including our Data Portal, in presentations, and in the research reports available on our website. We also help people interpret and use data effectively so individuals, organizations and communities can make well informed decisions about programs and services for children and youth.
Co-authored by: Eileen Palermo, OKN Administrator, Beth Williams, OKN Communications Manager, and Elisabeth Wells, OKN Research Associate