The Children's Advocacy Project of Philadelphia (CAPP) was hatched from the realization that most health care practitioners were not adequately prepared for, nor had resources to turn to, for the many psychosocial problems that faced many of their patients and families. It also came from the knowledge that there were many dedicated social service agencies in Philadelphia to serve those in need. The CAAP was developed to bridge the gap between families in need and the social service agencies that serve them.
Dan Taylor, DO, from St. Christopher's Hospital in Philadelphia, along with third year pediatric resident, Raj Raman, began the arduous process of gathering data on well established social service agencies in Philadelphia. To identify these resources they turned to social workers at St. Chris for their lists of resources; conducted extensive Internet services on agencies whose mission was to help families and children in need; and gathered published resources from city agencies. A decision was made to have 20 different parent handouts, broken down by needed resources for families. We then called all of the identified advocacy organizations, verified their contact information, web address (if available), and description of the services they provide.
After gathering all of the content for the site, they received a $6,000 grant from the St. Christopher's Hospital for Children to develop this project. Dr. Taylor called Drexel University, an affiliate of St Christopher's, to identify the department who he could partner with to design the CAPP web site. Dr. Taylor was directed to the College of Media Arts and Design's Interactive Department, and made a contact with an interested professor, Jervis Thompson. Jervis assigned two of his undergraduate students to complete the CAPP web site as their classroom assignment in a 10-week time frame. After many designs, the final www.capp4kids.org, design was approved and all the content was added. The site was present version was placed ?online? to test its user-friendliness in July, and the initial launch of the completed project was announced in September 2004.
Rather than simply providing a sympathetic ear to a family in distress, doctors can use the Web site to pinpoint a social-service agency or program to address concerns that come up during an office visit. "Quickly, you're able to give a resource," Taylor said. "It will make pediatricians better social workers, better advocates for their patients."
For resources compiled by the Children's Advocacy Project of Philadelphia, go to: www.capp4kids.org. For specific lists, click on "Parent Handouts."