At the Heart of Our Work:  The Theoretical Framework and Core Elements of the Reporting and Evaluation System for CAPC and CPNP in Atlantic Canada

At the Heart of Our Work is a product of an ongoing, participatory process with parents, staff, volunteers, community partners, provincial and federal government representatives, evaluators and researchers associated with the Community Action Program for Children (CAPC) and the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) in Atlantic Canada. The purpose of the document is to outline a theoretical framework for CAPC and CPNP in Atlantic Canada, as a foundation for the development of a new reporting and evaluation system for these programs.

The steps that led to the production of At the Heart of Our Work included a series of literature reviews, a number of reflection sessions, a review of documents and two Atlantic Region think tanks with representatives from all stakeholder groups. The theoretical framework described in this document draws from national CAPC and CPNP work and current research on evaluation and community-based programming for children and families.

The theoretical framework also draws on four areas of thinking: 

1) the social ecological approach to healthy child development, 

2) population health promotion, 

3) the empowerment approach and 

4) social and economic inclusion. 

These four bodies of knowledge reveal the many interdependent factors that influence the lives of children, their families and their communities. Together, they inform the theory-of-change for CAPC and CPNP programs in the Region.

The first section of the report, Theory-of-Change, describes how change occurs through participation in CAPC and CPNP programs. 

Section two, Core Elements, describes the values, beliefs, philosophies and assumptions that are key to the success of CAPC and CPNP programs in this region. It also describes how the core elements contribute to change by outlining the structures and mechanisms of CAPC and CPNP projects. 

The report includes an extensive glossary.


At the Heart of Our Work was produced by Frances Ennis and Yolande Samson for the Atlantic Regional Office of the Population and Public Health Branch, Health Canada.


This publication is available for download in English PDF (385 KB) and French PDF (437 KB).  To access the full report please go to At the Heart of Our Work: The Theoretical Framework and Core Elements of a Reporting and Evaluation System for CAPC and CPNP in Atlantic Canada.  For the French version please visit Au Coeur de Notre Travail.