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Community Access to Child Health (CATCH)

A Community Development Project to Improve the Health of Mothers & Children

Helen Thomas, McMaster University; Sharon Charters & Judy Kloosterman, CATCH - Hamilton, Ontario.

This project, which has been on-going since 1993, has as its objectives, to improve community cohesiveness and informal support for families with children under six years of age. The presentation will outline the process of community development within the identified communit where there are fewer health, social service and recreational resources, where the SES is lower, and where there is more high density living than in the rest of the city.

The program is directed by a Steering Committee where over half the members are community residents. To date, several resources have been developed by the community, including initiation of a Community Council, redevelopment of a local park, an after school program, a mother and tot drop-in centre within a large not-for-profit housing complex, and a crafter collective group. To date, residents have volunteered 11 hours of time for every hour of staff time in initiating and maintaining these projects.

The presentation [at the Gender & Health conference] includes quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the project to date. Through the stories of some of the involved community residents, it demonstrates the strengths and limitations of the project. Lessons learned and on-going challenges are also presented.

Abstract of paper presented by: Helen Thomas, Hamilton-Wentworth Teaching Health Unit, McMaster University School of Nursing.

Contact: Community Action Program for Children (CAPC) 75 Centennial Parway North, Stoney Creek, ON L8E 2P2 (905) 546-4295 or Community Support Worker Program (905) 546-3086

Related Resource: Comment From Helen Thomas:

Re CATCH...I don't know of other similar programs, although there must be some. Ron Labonte's article re health promotion, empowerment and professional practice could be interesting for those who haven't seen it.

Health Promotion and Empowerment: Practice Frameworks by Ron Labonte (1993). Cost: $15. Issue paper available from ParticipACTION, 40 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON, M5G 2C2 Tel. (416) 954-1212; fax (416) 954-4949.

We give it to our PH students as it is a good summary of activities and potential barriers for professionals


Helen Thomas

School of Nursing Hamilton-Wentworth Dept. of

McMaster University Public Health Services

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Phone: 905-525-9140, ext. 22404, Fax: 905-570-0667



Related Paper from the Hamilton Teaching Health Unit Resources

The Hamilton-Wentworth Teaching Health Unit has a background paper on public health and community development- "Effectiveness of Community Development Projects: systematic overview" by Jenny Ploeg, Maureen Dobbins, Sarah Hayward, Donna Ciliska, Helen Thomas, Jane Underwood .

The paper concludes that: "successful Community Development projects used theoretical frameworks, and worked to eliminate barriers. They remained flexible and followed a realistic time frame. Small attainable goals were initially identified."

The paper, including references, can be seen on the Hamilton Teaching Health Unit website at