Throughout the Inspiring Healthy Futures initiative, participants repeatedly emphasized that we must act together and with urgency. As the COVID-19 era continues to unfold, we need to mobilize to prevent further risk to children and strengthen resilience and inclusive recovery.
Collectively, we will be better able to ensure politicians, policymakers, community leaders and other decision-makers understand that equitable child, youth and family health and well-being must be at the centre. Without child and family recovery there is no economic recovery and no sustainable future.
This acceleration agenda will set the foundation for longer-term, substantive action:
A plan for child, youth and family-friendly pandemic recovery
As investment and funding decisions are made for COVID-19 recovery, we need to launch a comprehensive campaign to call attention to the evolving and inequitable impacts on the mental and physical health and well-being of children, youth and families.
This campaign will highlight the need for access to inclusive, accessible, flexible policies and services for recovery, resilience and rebuilding across systems. A focus is needed on early childhood, youth at risk, youth in transition to adulthood, and families with children with complex physical and developmental conditions.
This campaign will energize a recovery plan and take us another step toward what participants described as a national hub to help foster connection and integration across research, policymaking, system-building and advocacy for and with children, youth and families.
Comprehensive, cross-disciplinary research to understand and alleviate the full impact of the COVID-19 era on children, youth and families
COVID-19 is a novel disease, with uncertain and evolving direct and indirect impacts on children, youth and pregnancy. The pandemic era has generated unprecedented social changes that may affect the development, well-being and trajectories of children and youth for decades. To generate the most meaningful knowledge about impact, mitigation, resilience and recovery, researchers and decision-makers need to come together now, across disciplines, to initiate interconnected short and longitudinal studies.
A national child and youth hub to connect research, policy, systems, advocacy and services
The single most commonly identified action by participants in Inspiring Healthy Futures was to create a “network of networks” to connect the diverse communities of people who study, mobilize, advocate for and work with children, youth and families.
Building on existing platforms and networks, this initiative should enable people to locate others; find and create communities of practice; share knowledge, resources and ideas; support each other; collaborate on research and other initiatives; and share opportunities for youth involvement.