The Child and Youth Health Network was a grassroots initiative. In the beginning, we were just an assortment of people who joined forces to pursue a shared dream.
Spontaneity and enthusiasm carried us through the first months of our work together, but over time a governance structure evolved to (we hoped) support the realization of our long-term goals.
After trying a number of approaches, the governance structure of the network settled into the following format.
The Stewardship Committee acted as the decision making body, guiding the overall direction of the network. It included representation from all sectors, including:
- Government (including the Capital Regional District, Island Health, school districts, post-secondary institutions, the Ministry of Children & Family Development and municipal recreation);
- Non-profit organizations & coalitions;
- Local funders; and
- Community Members.
Network Backbone Collaborative
We struggled to find a ‘backbone’ structure to support the network. In the early years, one small nonprofit partner unofficially filled this role.
Over time, the stewardship committee created a flexible model in which administrative and fiscal support was provided by a small group of stewardship committee member organizations who agreed to:
- Act as fiscal agents for funding;
- Ensure all funding conditions and reporting requirements were met;
- Supervise the work of the network coordinator; and
- Provide administrative support to the network, including hosting meetings, providing minute taking and circulating meeting information
The backbone collaborative included the following members from the stewardship committee:
- The network chairperson;
- All organizations acting as fiscal hosts for network funding;
- Working group chairpeople;
- the network coordinator; and
- Any other organization providing administrative support.
Working groups were formed by the stewardship committee on an as-needed basis to complete specific tasks or projects on behalf of the network.
Each working group was chaired by a member of the stewardship committee and working group members came from the wider network membership.
An example of a project developed by a working group is the measures of connectedness.
The Network Coordinator provided coordination, planning and administrative support to the network. This included supporting the work of the stewardship committee, the backbone collaborative and the working groups.
Network partners included the following organizations:
- Government: Island Health; Capital Regional District: Ministry of Children & Family Development; School Districts (SD61-64); Ministry of Health, Shared Services BC
- Recreation: Oak Bay Recreation; Saanich Parks and Recreation; SEAPARC; Westshore Parks and Recreation
- Local Funders: Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island; Horner Foundation; Victoria Foundation; Coast Capital Savings
- Neighbourhood Houses: Saanich Neighbourhood Place; Quadra Village Community Centre; Burnside Gorge Community Centre; Sooke Family Resource Society; James Bay Community Project
- Non-profit organizations: Victoria Youth Clinic; International Institute for Child Rights and Development; Young Parents Support Network; Spectrum Job Search Society; Island Sexual Health; Boys & Girls Club
- Postsecondary/Research Organizations: The School of Child & Youth Care, University of Victoria; Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia, University of Victoria; Centre for Youth and Partnership, University of British Columbia; McCreary Centre Society; McConnell Foundation; and
- Community Members: children, youth, families and others with lived experience