Advocacy is pursuit of influencing outcomes - including public policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions - that directly affect people's lives.
Advocacy consists of organized efforts and actions based on the reality of "what is." These organized actions seek to highlight critical issues that have been ignored and submerged, to influence public attitudes, and to enact and implement laws and public policies so that visions of "what should be" in a just, decent society become a reality. Human rights - political, economic, and social - is an overreaching framework for these visions. Advocacy organizations draw their strength from and are accountable to people - their members, constituents, and/or members of affected groups.
Advocacy has purposeful results: to enable social justice advocates to gain access and voice in the decision making of relevant institutions; to change the power relationships between these institutions and the people affected by their decisions, thereby changing the institutions themselves; and to bring a clear improvement in people's lives.
Excerpted from Volume I: Reflections on Advocacy by David Cohen, Co-Director, Advocacy Institute from the forthcoming Advocacy Learning Initiative by Oxfam America and the Advocacy Institute.
How to Contribute
The Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Advocacy Committee welcomes your suggestions and contributions.
Members of the Academy
The Advocacy Committee holds one formal meeting each year during a morning of the annual scientific program meeting. Work is generally done through the preparation of draft documents, telephone conferences and e-mail. This is a working committee and participants are expected to produce and review the work of the committee.
The Advocacy Committee depends upon the members of the Academy for its work and suggestions.
Frequently, in developing the best position and document regarding any suggestions, expertise and determination is required. Often this is best found in the person who made the initial suggestion as they are usually the one who understands the area well enough to know the relevant background, issues and possible advocacy routes. It is for these reasons that suggestions are welcomed along with the willingness of the member to help with the product.
If you are a member of the CACAP and would like to work on the Advocacy Committee or send comments or suggestions, please Contact Us with the phrase ADOVOCACY in the subject line.
Members of the Public
Advocacy for the mental health of the children and youth of Canada, the services for them and the broad range of professionals who provide those services is important to the Academy.With this in mind, we welcome suggestions for Advocacy issues that you believe would be aided by the support of the Academy.
If you you like to send comments or suggestions, please Contact Us with the phrase ADVOCACY in the subject line.
The Academy members are small in number and the Advocacy Committee is formed of a small number of busy professionals. At the same time, as the sole group of physicians in Canada whose specialty is the mental health of our children and youth, we wish to use our skills and determination in as broad a manner as possible relevant to this specific area.
With this in mind, we welcome suggestions for Advocacy issues that you believe would be aided by the support of the Academy.
As a note of caution, we do not address or consult on specific individual or organizational concerns. We reserve the right not to pursue a suggestion, no matter how important it seems, even if our only reason is lack of resources to devote to the issue.
Surveying the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments.
Health Canada, in concert with the Provincial and Territorial governments, has published documents conveying the importance to our nation of the health and well-being of our children and youth and the importance of monitoring their progress to adulthood. The Academy is monitoring the progress of Governments in their responses to these documents.
During the past few years, Health Canada, in concert with the Provincial and Territorial governments, has published four particular documents addressing issues of significant concern to members of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CACAP), the national organization of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. These documents are:
Investing in Early Child Development: The Health Sector Contribution.
Health Canada. September 1999. (please see below for link)
The Opportunity of Adolescence: The Health Sector Contribution.
Health Canada. October 2000.
A National Children's Agenda: Measuring Child Well-Being and Monitoring Progress.
Health Canada. 1999.
http://socialunion.gc.ca/nca/may7-measure_e.html - Accessed 2005-09-17
Celebrating Success: A Self-Regulating Service Delivery System for Children and Youth. A Discussion Paper.
Health Canada. December 2000.
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/dca-dea/publications/pdf/celebrating_e.pdf - Accessed 2005-09-17
Each of these documents conveys the importance to our nation of the health and well-being of our children and youth and the importance of monitoring their progress to adulthood. Our Academy shares the concerns of governments that programme expenditures should be justified by appropriate outcomes. We believe that appropriate monitoring will help provide accountability.