From the outset, partners in the Child & Youth Health Network struggled to identify and agree upon a ‘theory of change’ or how it was going to improve health outcomes for children and youth.
The network identified three Strategies:
- Upstream Approaches (i.e. early years)
- Systems Change (i.e. policy and practice)
- Connectedness (4 domains: family, school, community & peers)
Research shows that connectedness to family, community, school and peers is directly linked to improved mental health for youth, as well as to reduced risk, including less self-harming behaviours, less frequent suicidal ideation and reduced substance use. Therefore, improving connectedness for children and youth became a primary focus.