Family Wellbeing: Equitable, Accessible, and Quality Services for Children and Youth with Complex Care Needs




Abdel-Malek, Amira

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This reflective paper entitled “Family Wellbeing: Equitable, Accessible, and Quality Services for Children and Youth with Complex Care Needs ” will contextualize the Master’s Project, which is a literature review entitled “Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island: Literature Review Study – Children with Complex Care Needs” conducted on behalf of the charitable organization Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island (CHF). This reflective paper will situate the literature review (referred to in the paper as the “the Complex Care Needs (CCNs) Project”) within the context of the Child and Youth Care field. The CCNs Project explores the ways in which social and healthcare services for children with CCNs can improve their accessibility and quality. CCNs are defined as physical and/or developmental disabilities, medical conditions, or illnesses, however, this reflective paper argues that each CCN, and each person seen as having them, must be contextualized within the continuing and dynamic social and power structures of their societies, circumstances, and cultures. Therefore, the research for both the literature review and in this reflective paper is informed by the Social Determinants of Health perspective, which provides a lens through which to address equity concerns which in this research will discuss the intersections of CCNs, migration and Indigeneity. The CNNs Project utilizes a narrative approach in conducting a literature review that reinterprets, reconfigures, and rediscovers the existing information, thus displaying a new ‘story of the data’ in a fashion accessible and useful to the CHF and their shareholders (a community of professionals, donors, and practitioners in the social and healthcare sector), and this reflective paper will continue that narrative by adding contextualizing factors such as the social location of the author, some post structuralist theory and tenets of Child and Youth Care practice such as strength-based practice and commitments to social justice. The conclusions in the reflective paper reveal insights into the collection of trends and recommendations regarding ways to improve CCNs service quality and accessibility from the CCNs Project. These insights include that a) community inclusion is integral to the wellbeing of persons with CCNs, b) systemic barriers continue to impede the accessibility and quality of programs and services for these children and their families, and such barriers are layered when the family is also Indigenous, racialized, or made up of Newcomers, and c) practices that uphold trusting relationships are key to the inclusion and wellbeing of people with CCNs. This reflective paper also reviews some specific parts of the research findings in the CCNs Project which will provide examples that link this research to practice.



Complex Care Needs/Disability, Child and Youth Health and Wellness, Accessibility/Equity, Health/Social Services, Inclusion, Indigenous Health