Impact of Housing on the Healthy Development of Children and Youth

In 2011 at the CAPHC Annual Conference in Ottawa, you may recall a number of announcements related to a national network of child and youth health centres that were interested in addressing housing for children and youth as a determinant of health.

Much of this work was initiated by our colleagues at CHEO and the Child and Youth Health Network of Eastern Ontario, as a result of their work on the Ottawa Child/Youth Housing Advocacy Initiative (OCHAI).

Over the past 2 years a group that represents key paediatric health sciences centres and other groups involved with children and housing has evolved into a national network. The network's main activity is to raise awareness of the role housing plays in the healthy development of children and youth in Canada.

The Canadian Child and Youth Health and Housing Network have recently launched a new website at:  http://www.housingandchildhealth.ca/ and I encourage all of you to check it out.

One of the key objectives of this network, and of this new site, is to have stakeholders interested in improving the health of our children endorse their action statement regarding housing as a determinant of health children and youth.

From their website, by endorsing their action statement, centres will:

  • Acknowledge there is a direct relationship between poor housing conditions and negative health outcomes for children and youth.

  • Recognize that healthcare professionals and institutions have a role in addressing housing and its associated health disparities.

  • Encourage research to further investigate the association between housing and child and youth health and well-being.

  • Support housing as a child and youth health care issue in clinical practice and for health care organizations.

  • Promote awareness on the significance of housing on child and youth health.

  • We add our voice in support of initiatives and partnerships to address and improve the housing circumstances of children, youth and families across Canada.

We hope all of you will take this to your organizations and consider endorsing this action statement.  You will see from their website that CAPHC, along with many of our members, have already provided our endorsement, and we hope you will consider joining us.