#Isitgood4children campaign 

We want everyone to ask the question:

 "Is it good for Children?"

Help us to make this place the best place to raise children.

In the fall of 2015 CATCH ran a local awareness campaign before the 2015 Federal election and ending on National Child Day November 20, 2015.    With this awareness campaign we wanted to get everyone asking the question "Is it good for children?" Below is the blog we ran during this campaign and pictures from our partners who participated in the campaign.

  • 06 Jan 2016 3:28 PM | Site Administrator (Administrator)

    originally posted 19 Nov 2015 11:27 AM

    by Karla MacDonald

    Most parents are interested in keeping their children safe and healthy. The use of helmets, car seats and sunscreen are now second nature. Immunization is another way to keep children safe and healthy by protecting them from many dangerous diseases, such as measles and meningitis. As a public health nurse, one of the biggest worries I have is for the health and safety of children who cannot be immunized due to medical conditions. These children rely on those around them to be immunized to keep them safe, something referred to as “herd immunity.” This means that when most people are vaccinated for a disease it makes it harder for the disease to spread from person to person. That is why immunization is more than just good for children it is good for the communities that they grow and play in. Worldwide immunization saves the lives of 2-3 million children per year.

    Before vaccines became available, many children died or became disabled as a result of diseases that are now preventable. If people stop immunizing these diseases will come back and that is why it is so important that parents make sure their children get all the recommended vaccines.

    “Immunization: Is it good for children?” If “saving lives” and “preventing disability” is good for children then I say yes!

    For more information on the importance of immunization visitImmunizeBCor check outIBoostImmunity.ca.

    Karla MacDonald is a public health nurse with Interior Health. 

  • 06 Jan 2016 3:27 PM | Site Administrator (Administrator)
    Originally posted 12 Nov 2015 12:48 PM|Eve Layman

    Christopher Langer

    Neighbourhood Development Coordinator

    City of Kelowna

    Are strong neighbourhoods good for children?

    On CATCH’s homepage they have updated an old adage, stating that “It takes a community to raise a child.”

    If life was simple back when we all lived in small, close knit communities, it certainly isn’t now. We exist in a complicated social world that involves many interlocking communities - our professional world, school, faith and cultural community, and even our softball team, and of course our neighbourhoods - each of these can function as little communities. For children, growing up is not done in one community so much as it is about learning to move between and coexist within many communities effectively. As neighbourhoods are one type of community, one where children spend a great deal of their formative years, the primary question we should ask is whether we’d rather have:

    • strongneighbourhoods where we know, trust, and can depend on our neighbours for support raising our children, which contribute positively to our children's’ lives, and where we can work together to enhance our health, safety, and enjoyment in life; or

    • weakneighbourhoods where we know few or no people, where we are suspicious and even fearful of each other, and isolated from the many people who life mere footsteps from our door?

    When put this way, I’d like to think that the answer is clear: our children deserve the strongest neighbourhoods we can buildfor andwith them!

    There is evidential research that positively correlates the strength of neighbourhoods (as one aspect of the social determinants of health) to children’s development. The quality of neighbourhoods ranks among the most important determinants of early child development identified in recent research. While there are other considerations, neighbourhood safety and social cohesion are both very important in helping children develop confidence and reducing their vulnerability. Additionally, when children are confident and feel safe moving through their neighbourhoods they experience less stress, which otherwise can have adverse effects on their development. One way neighbourhood safety and cohesion can be addressed easily through residents coming together to get to know each other and working together to address local issues.

    The Strong Neighbourhoods Project (within the City of Kelowna’s Active Living and Culture Division) supports these two intertwining activities, encouraging residents toconnect with one another in order toengage in neighbourhood enhancing activities. While strong neighbourhoods are inclusive to all residents, from the point of view of children we can define a strong neighbourhood as one where children:

    • have at least one neighbour with whom they feel comfortable and confidant asking for help, especially in an emergency;

    • feel safe and confident walking to school or a friend’s house;

    • are familiar with their neighbourhood resources;

    • respect and use their communal neighbourhood spaces;

    • have a healthy sense of mutual ownership of local communal spaces;

    • take part in block parties and other neighbourhood events/gatherings;

    • have neighbours who can offer supports (e.g., such as babysitting for a short amount of time during an emergency); and

    • feel valued by other residents and are listened to in discussing neighbourhood concerns.

    When a child can experience the makings of a strong neighbourhood, their sense of security in their neighbourhood increases, their stress level decreases, and they feel safe in the space where they spend most of their. Often, when our adult schedules place many demands on our time, we often end up driving children from our front door to school, shops, or recreation centres, forgetting to let our children explore their social and environmental surroundings around their homes. From block parties to walking school buses and time banks, there are many ways to help children meet neighbours, walk their streets, and develop a healthy understanding of their neighbourhoods. For more tools and ideas, the City of Kelowna’s Strong Neighbourhoods webpage has a collection of resources, programs, and links to give you everything you need to strengthen your neighbourhood - come by for a visit whenever you’d like!


    1. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/46008431_The_social_determinants_of_early_child_development_An_overview

    2. http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/articles/editorials/stress-has-lasting-effect-on-childs-development

    3. http://www.kelowna.ca/CM/Page4692.aspx

  • 06 Jan 2016 3:27 PM | Site Administrator (Administrator)


    Special to The Globe and Mail

    Published Thursday, Sep. 03, 2015 1:27PM EDT

    Last updated Friday, Sep. 04, 2015 10:21AM EDT

    Whenever a newly pregnant friend asks for advice on preparing for the arrival of her first baby, I say the same thing: Think about child care. Be realistic about what you will need and what you can afford. Sit down (with your partner if you have one) and draw up a budget. Do the math. Do not wait until you are exhausted, unshowered and three months into a maternity leave to start panicking about daycare waiting lists, government subsidies and nanny shares. Try to figure out a realistic solution as early as you can if you have any interest in protecting your career, autonomy and sanity as a new parent.

    Usually, my pregnant friends look slightly crestfallen. Probably they were hoping for recommendations on local baby massage classes and gender-neutral nursery colour schemes. But no matter, I’d think. Soon they will understand.

    The single most shocking thing to me about becoming a mother was the lack of affordable child care, both in Canada and in Britain (where I was living when my son was born). It was an issue I had heard responsible people around me banging on about for years, but one that had sort of floated above my comprehension, like the sound of the grown-ups talking in the animatedCharlie Brown. Like car insurance or taxes, I expected organizing child care to be a pain – one of those annoying but ultimately surmountable aspects of grown-up life. What I did not expect it to be was a financially crippling, life-paralyzing quagmire. In Canada (as in Britain), I was shocked to find little or no access to affordable child care during my son’s first years of life. Like most families, we shouldered the heavy financial burden of full-time child care all on our own with no help from the government or extended family (everyone lives out of town). It was either that or one of us quit working. Not a pretty choice, or a realistic one for most parents, either.

    This week in Ontario, the provincial government rolled out its new regulations for unlicensed daycare. The news is good in theory (daycare should be safe and regulated) and potentially bad in practice (it will mean more low-income parents get their kids chucked out of what might be their only affordable child-care option).

    More importantly, it serves to highlight the larger problem: What Canada has long needed, and in fact very nearly once achieved, is a universal, federally regulated and provincially implemented child-care program.

    Just in case you are a new parent, or recently pregnant, or someone who, for whatever reason, wasn’t paying much attention to boring grown-up issues, such as “affordable child care” or “maternity benefits,” when Stephen Harper came to power eight years ago, I’d like to tell you a little bedtime story.

    Once upon a time there was a prime minister named Paul Martin.

    In 2005, his government developed a national “early learning and child care” program. The Martin Liberals negotiated agreements with all the provinces and territories, which set out public action plans to proceed as directed by the federal government. The vision was a new, Scandinavian-style era of universal child care for Canada – something that experts, task forces, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and the majority of Canadian parents had spent decades calling for. The provinces, starting with Manitoba, even began to spend the new multiyear federal funding. Then, in 2006, Stephen Harper was elected and immediately cancelled the program.

    The end.

    It doesn’t quite have the soothing effect of Goodnight Moon, does it?

    The problem in Canada is that early-childhood education and child care is currently a marketplace, not a system,” says Martha Friendly, executive director of Canada’s Childcare Resource and Research Unit, which provides public education, resources and consultation on early-childhood education and child-care policy.

    If we really cared about supporting child care, we’d be putting money directly into the services, not sending it out to people. We’d treat it more like health care – something to be planned federally and implemented province-by-province. But for that to happen, we need a federal government with an overarching child-care plan.”

    Access to affordable early childhood education and child care is a public good. It’s also something that Canada needs to be a fair, democratic, equitable and economically successful society.

    In Quebec, the $7-a-day daycare system has proved hugely popular and fiscally practical, acting as it does as an engine for workplace productivity and gender equality in that province.

    It’s an election year, one of the few times we can count on policy makers to discuss child care publicly. This year, the NDP has introduced plans for a program, not dissimilar to Mr. Martin’s, that would cost parents $15 a day and be rolled out over eight long years. The federal Liberals have yet to unveil their child-care platform, but there are rumours it will go head to head with the NDP’s federal platform. Meanwhile, the Conservatives, apart from their so-called “Christmas in July” child-care benefit payout, don’t appear to have a platform at all.

    Child care is not a women’s issue. It’s not even a family issue. Like health care or education, it’s an all-of-us-in-it-together issue. And yet it’s also something many of us don’t think about until we are hard up against it, confronting the impossible life choices that materialize when you live in a society with a lack of affordable daycare – a society that sentimentalizes children but not the act of actually caring for them.

    Follow Leah McLaren on Twitter: @leahmclaren


  • 06 Jan 2016 3:25 PM | Site Administrator (Administrator)
    originally posted 02 Oct 2015 12:00 PM|Eve Layman

    by: Sara Bishop

    October is Occupational Therapy month in BC- Quite simply, occupational therapists help people participate in the activities they need and want to do. Don’t be fooled by the title “occupation”—it is more than work. For occupational therapists (OT for short), “occupation” refers to all the meaningful and necessary activities that a person needs and wants to do.

    For children,occupations include play, learning and beginning to take care of themselves. Many children struggle to manage their occupations for various reasons such as disabilities or learning disorders. Occupational therapists work with children and their families to master the child's occupations.  A child will play when given the opportunity and a supportive environment. Play is riding a bike, doing a puzzle, finger painting, or playing tag at recess. For some children this may require more setup from the parents and teachers to be successfully engaged. An occupational therapist will work with a child's supports to teach them graded activities which will gradually result in a child's success. To do this, the occupational therapist will inquire about the child's preferences and complete assessments to determine where the child is developmentally as a starting point. 

    In schools, occupational therapists work with teachers and school staff to assist them to better understand the challenges the student and families are facing in learning. Together they will come up with a plan to assist the child's performance at school which is often written into a child's individual education plan (IEP). 

    At home, a child can struggle with basic activities of daily living such as eating, sleeping, washing and dressing themselves. An occupational therapist will assess the child's strengths with these activities and encourage parental support to accommodate or to provide skill development training for their weaknesses. In this way, a child will become more independent in taking care of their own needs. 

    When children and their families are asking for assistance, occupational therapists can guide their journey. An occupational therapist will provide a better understanding of a child's struggles with play, learning and self-care activities. This individualized assessment and treatment enables parents to support their child at home, in school and in their community. 

    For more information about occupational therapy or to find an occupational therapist near you, contact the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists- BC Chapter (caotbc@caot.ca)

    Article prepared by: Sara Bishop, OT, Owner of Abuzz Pediatric OT

    Chairperson for the Pediatric Special Interest Group for CAOT-BC

    Giovanna Boniface, OT, CCLCP

    Managing Director, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists- BC Chapter

  • 06 Jan 2016 3:24 PM | Site Administrator (Administrator)
    originally posted 14 Sep 2015 12:24 PM|Eve Layman

    By Kent Stralbiski

    Recent research clearly identifies the importance of the early years in a child’s life from birth to age six. Future health, well being and success in life are strongly influenced during this period. The future costs of healthcare, education and justice begin here and the payback on economic and social investment is significant.

    Since the late 1990’s, people across the province have been working together to turn research into practice and to bring awareness to everyone in their local community about the value of investing in the early years. Much of this work in the Central Okanagan is done through the people of Community Action Toward Children’s Health (catchcoalition.ca) and United Way Success By 6 (unitedwaycso.com/unitedway-success-by-6).

    In early 2014, the BC government created the Provincial Office for the Early Years (mcfd.gov.bc.ca/early_years) to help ensure that the work of these organizations, service providers and of the different government ministries that touch children and their families during the early years is as effective as possible. Health authorities, school districts, municipal governments and provincial ministries all influence early childhood development in many different ways, as do all of us who live and work in our communities.

    Included in this strategy is the creation of Early Years Centres in communities throughout the province. At time of writing there are twenty six centres in various stages of development and operation. People here in the Central Okanagan are in the advanced planning stages for one or more Early Years Centres in the Central Okanagan. The centre is seen as a central place where parents can go to contact the wide range of early years and family services that are available across the Central Okanagan. This ‘one stop shop’ is another step to meeting the goal of accessibility.

    Investments in literacy promotion over the past years have had a positive effect in the Central Okanagan where the level of literacy skills in the early years measured at kindergarten age are encouraging. Unfortunately, levels of social competence and emotional maturity are less than desirable here and across the province (earlylearning.ubc.ca).

    The importance of environment to the developing child is a current area of study by many researchers to define how adverse environments during critical windows of brain development can impair brain development and lead to developmental and mental health disorders. Problems that appear to develop in the mental health of youth may well have roots in earlier years.

    Resources for support and treatment of mental health issues in youth are limited as are the number of available professionals, particularly in smaller communities. Providing optimal environments during the early years, early evaluation, and timely support can help to mitigate the effects of environment and are significant pieces to improvements in social competence and emotional maturity.

    Work through CATCH currently identifies child poverty, child mental health and child care as specific areas of concern within the Central Okanagan that all directly and indirectly affect social and emotional development.

    CATCH research also shows that access to programs and services alone won’t resolve some of the issues that parents and families face. Families with challenges – whether economic, health, or social – face feelings of judgment and marginalization when attempting to access services. The concern is often significant enough to create a barrier for families from getting the help they need and deserve and is an area where societal attitudes require change. Look for ‘Learning About Families’ Connection with Services in the Central Okanagan’ on the CATCH website.

    Participants in CATCH research identified a sense of belonging as a critical part of a healthy environment. Local involvement in provincially coordinated early years planning remains a critical piece that must include the diverse perspectives of different cultures and economic lifestyles within each community.

    Families need not feel that influencing their child’s early years is just about access to services. Creating a more connected and inclusive neighborhood environment where raising children is considered a community responsibility rather than an individual one is a fundamental part of family support. The City of Kelowna, for example, has programs to help people plan neighborhood events and projects to address local issues. Look for ‘Strong Neighborhoods’ on the City of Kelowna website and ask your own civic officials about similar programs.

    Whether you are a city planner or a developer, an entrepreneur or an employee, a national, provincial or municipal representative, a parent, grandparent or a free spirit, whenever a decision is to be made, pause for a moment and ask – is it good for children?

    In the words of Gil Penalosa (8-80cities.org), if it’s good for children, it’s good for everyone.

    For more information go to IsItGood4Children.com, search for IsItGood4Children on Facebook and use #IsItGood4Children on Twitter.

    Kent Stralbiski is a retired biologist, community volunteer, and partner in McBean’s World (McBeansWorld.com), an independent childcare centre in Kelowna that is celebrating its 30thanniversary this year.

  • 06 Jan 2016 3:22 PM | Site Administrator (Administrator)

    originally posted 14 Sep 2015 9:30 AM|Eve Layman

    Welcome to CATCH's Isitgood4children campaign!

    With this campaign we are asking everyone to raise the question "Is it good for children?"  with decision makers in advance of our 2015 federal election.  By raising this question we want all decisions to be conscious of young children and their families.

    Join us in spreading the message, post a graphic on your social media or web page, take the question to your candidates and decision makers, watch for the question in your community and send us a picture of how it is being used.

    Eve Layman


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