While recent research evidence overwhelmingly shows that infants and children need loving and caring environments to thrive, many Canadian children start life facing chronic adversity and as a result are likely to experience a broad range of difficulties throughout their lifespan. Although the relevance of healthy, nurturing environments for children's health and well-being is widely recognized, less research has been conducted with regard to interventions, preventive measures and enhanced services to address different kinds of children's adversity and vulnerabilities. Consequently, we organized a forum to disseminate the research findings from our 2014-2015 investigation entitled "Framing preventive measures for children's adverse experiences". The forum targeted front-line service providers from health, social services and education in metro St. John's. The event's objectives were framed as: 1) to mobilize knowledge, expertise and resources to explore strategies and effective practices to prevent and/or overcome adverse experiences in early childhood; 2) to engage participants in an action-oriented discussion about the lifelong impact of adverse experiences in the early years; and 3) to find ways to raise public awareness about the relevance of guaranteeing healthy, nurturing environments for children's health and well-being in the province. The organization of the event counted with the valuable support of the Harris Centre and was held at The Lantern in St. John's on June 1st, 2016. The agenda was organized by Dr. Martha Traverso-Yepez (MUN), Heather Modlin (Key Assets), Dr. Delores Doherty (Aspens and Oaks) and Dr. David Philpott (MUN); the first three served on the panel at the event (Dr. Philpott was not available). The panelists' presentations delivered the knowledge, expertise and work experiences, providing the theoretical and research background for the participants in the audience to engage in an action-oriented discussion.
The event, as expressed in the evaluations submitted at the conclusion, was very successful in promoting a climate of knowledge sharing and reflective analysis and deliberation. The main outcome from the forum was the synergy that generated among the over 150 participants who attended the event, with a significant number of them interested in continuing the conversation to raise public awareness with regard to preventing adverse childhood experiences. A summary report from the forum has been prepared and sent to all participants. This report will also be the grounding document for the Interest Group to continue the action plan to be generated.