Opening Plenary: 9:00 – 10:15

Tanya Talaga

All our relations: Finding the path forward

Stemming from her award-winning book Seven Fallen Feathers, the story of seven Indigenous high school students who mysteriously died in Thunder Bay, Tanya Talaga creates an intimate experience for her audiences. She imparts audiences with in-depth knowledge on Indigenous culture and history, while leaving them empowered through a hopeful message that we can learn from our past and set forward on a new path based on inclusivity and equity.


# 1 – Supporting foster families

10:45-12:15 1.1

Foster parent identity in the Quebec context of the Act regarding the representation of resources: Parent or professional?
Marie-Pierre Joly

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The Act respecting the representation of family-type resources, adopted in 2009, attributes the status of worker to Quebec foster parents and frames their right to organize in union associations. The Act is part of a movement towards greater professionalization of foster care. This movement requires the foster parent to take on a dual identity of parent and professional, which can cause them tension and discomfort. This doctoral research aims to better understand the identity of the foster parent and the tensions associated with it, in the current context where certain elements of professionalization have been introduced by the Act. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with 25 parents from different Quebec regions. Thematic analysis of the interviews will then be carried out. Preliminary results will be presented in three parts: 1) Discussion of the expressed identity of foster parents; 2) Analysis of identity tensions raised, according to ethical issues, problems and dilemmas; 3) Exploration of the ethical reasoning of foster parents, and the presentation of Virtue Ethics as a relevant perspective and approach. This project will shed essential light on the experiences of foster parents in Quebec since the emergence of the Act. In recent years the Act has disrupted the locations of support and exchange for foster parents, and addressing tensions from an ethical perspective will generate new avenues to better support them.

The effects of fostering on the family
Kelley Gruber

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This training, designed for foster families, will assist participants in: Identifying indicators they, or someone in their family, may be experiencing burnout or secondary traumatic stress; Describing the characteristics they possess that support their success as caregivers; Utilizing strategies to prevent or mitigate the stress of caregiving. Fostering can be hard. The stress, frustration, anger, and hopelessness caregivers sometimes feel is not because they are doing something wrong. It is the nature of foster caregiving. Understanding their stress and knowing what they feel is normal can be a good start to healing. This training will address the causes of stress, identify indicators of burnout and secondary traumatic stress, and share strategies caregivers can use to manage their stress. A foster care program can only be as strong as its foster families. It is important for agencies to educate their foster caregivers about burnout and secondary traumatic stress and give them the tools and support they need to be resilient. If the foster family is not emotionally well, they cannot properly care for and support the well-being of children placed in their home.

The role of long-term mentoring in a family-like care setting
Kiran Modi

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Children living in out-of-home-care settings, primarily institutional in India in the want of developed family-based and community care options, have limited opportunities for social exposure and bonding, impeding their transition to independent living. Udayan Care, a non-profit organisation based in New Delhi, India, in its 25-year journey of transforming the lives of children and youth, addresses this through the provision of alternative care in the form of small-group residential homes known as ‘Udayan Ghars’. The Ghars follow the Living In Family Environment (L.I.F.E) Model, where ‘Group Care’ ensures that children are loved and cared for by a group of long-term volunteers, called Mentor Parents, along with other care professionals. The Mentor Parents help children develop secure attachment, steady even through changes in the multi-level care professional team. A novel parenting concept, the Mentor Parents are ordinary individuals with extraordinary sensitivity, who voluntarily commit themselves for life in order to nurture the children like their own and essentially provide a stable, supportive and guiding relationship to them. This paper examines the voices of the mentors, as well as the children, youth and care team members directly supported and impacted by the relationship. Mentor perspectives are captured through an indigenously developed semi-qualitative questionnaire, with a structured survey and strength of relationship measure examining the quality of the mentoring relationship from child and youth perspectives. The study attempts to weigh the scope and impact of the model, the benefits engendered, challenges faced, and suggests steps to strengthen such care initiatives.
# 2 – Bringing about practice and policy changes
10:45-12:15 2.1

Legislating the conditions in which love can flourish – Children’s voice
Irwin Elman


Authentically engaging youth with foster care experience in practice and policy change
Amy Salazar


Empowering youth in advocacy – A youth led perspective
Susan Russell, Dylan Cohen, Ashley Crossen, Anita Shen

  2.4 We have knowledge too: Indigenous youth-in-care as knowledge holders for their own well-being
Lily Ieroniawakon Deer
# 3 – Reflecting on adoption and permanency
10:45-12:15 3.1

Reunifications in foster care in Finland – An urban legend?
Pia Lahtinen, Reetta Peltonen


Belonging in two families: Exploring simple adoption as a permanency option for children in long-term out-of-home care in Australia
Karleen Gribble, Stacy Blythe


Placing a child for adoption: What factors influence professionals in their decisions?
Geneviève Pagé

# 4 – Enhancing young people’s perspectives and relationships
10:45-12:15 4.1

Identity A’where’ness: Young people’s perceptions of the role of space in identity construction throughout their lives in foster care
Danielle Douglas


Raising Black youth in care: Examining their educational, familial and social relationships
Daniel Kikulwe


The magic of shared experience: Best practices and outcomes of youth peer support in child welfare
Lacy Kendrick Burk, Jammie Gardner, Tia Barnes

  4.4 Addressing the millennium scoop: A perspective from a former foster kid
Natasha Reimer
# 5 – Using data to inform practices and policies
10:45-12:15 5.1

Promoting foster caregivers’ understanding and use of the Ontario Looking After Children (OnLAC) data
Elisa Romano


Intersectional data analysis: The importance of it in aiding child welfare in understanding and addressing service disparities and disproportionality
Deborah Goodman, Christine Devine


Focusing in on localized disparities in socioeconomic disadvantages and child welfare placement: Three-dimensional spatial data analysis and structural equation modeling
Tonino Esposito

  5.4 Childonomics: Investing in child rights and alternative care
Jean Anne Kennedy, Maria Herczog
# 6 – Le maintien des liens parents-enfants durant un placement / Maintaining parent-child ties during placement


Évaluation d’une formation sur les visites supervisées: quels changements de pratique chez les intervenants de la protection de la jeunesse ? / Evaluation of a training on supervised visits: How do the practices of youth protection workers change?
Marie-Pierre Joly, Marie-Andrée Poirier



Comment favoriser la rencontre entre un enfant placé et son parent dans un dispositif de visite médiatisée ? / Facilitating mediated visits between children in care and their parent
Kim Stroumza, Anne-Françoise Pont, Marc Pittet



Mieux soutenir les enfants vivant des visites supervisées avec leur(s) parent(s) : discours des intervenants sur leur pratique d’accompagnement / Supporting children with supervised visits: Youth protection workers discuss their practices
Sarah Côté Auger, Marie-Andrée Poirier, Marie-Pierre Joly



Correspondances socionumériques : angle mort sur maintien des liens familiaux chez les jeunes placés / Online communications: A blind spot in maintaining family ties among youth in care
Sophie Hébert, Marie-Andrée Poirier, Isabelle Laguë
# 7 – Favoring whole-family approaches
15:30-17:00 7.1

Supporting the whole foster family and reinforcing sibling relations in Finland
Emilia Säles


A holistic approach to child protection
Yosr Kotb, Yasmine El Hagry, Noha Emam


Collaborating for change: Implementing an evidence informed fostering practice framework
Meagan Probert, Rob Ryan, Jamie Hodgson

  7.4 Siblings are for life
Caroline Brown
# 8 – Promoting cultural and community-based interventions
15:30-17:00 8.1

The current situation and the perspectives of foster care in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia
Maria Herczog


Child protection in Honduras: Understanding the context of how migration shapes the lived realities of youth in and from care
Kate Butler


Forensic child sexual abuse investigations. Thinking it through
Gerald Walsh

# 9 – Supporting foster care children and youth
15:30-17:00 9.1

Youth Research Academy: A model for meaningfully engaging youth in research
Maya Peled, Annie Smith, Stephanie Martin


Designing the future: Creating online resources with and for youth in state care
Marie Lovrod, Darlene Domshy, Stephanie Bustamante


Right supports, right time, real difference: Impact of 5 years of primary & secondary educational supports for youth in care
Chrystal Colquhoun, Wendy Chan

  9.4 Promoting successful outcomes for youth in care: The impact of scholarship and bursary supports
Violeta Dubov, Chrystal Colquhoun, Wendy Chan
# 10 – Les relations et l’attachement : des éléments clés d’un placement en milieu substitut / Relationships and attachment: Key elements of in-care placement environments


Favoriser la relation en situant la communication et la participation au centre du placement / Fostering relationships: Promoting communication and participation in placement
Martine Guénette, Patricia Ringuette



Observer et analyser les représentations d’attachement chez les postulants famille d’accueil : un nouvel outil pour soutenir les évaluateurs / Observing and analyzing attachment characteristics among foster caregiver applicants: A new tool for evaluators
Rosalie Caron, Marie-Pierre Joly



Et si on leur parlait d’amour ? Perceptions d’enfants placés sur leur sentiment d’être aimé / What if we talk to them about love? Perceptions of children in care on their sense of being loved
Carole Côté


12:15-13:30 1 Trauma inform substance abuse assessment & referral
Amanda Keller

Prevalence data on attachment disorders of out-of-home care children using the latest DSM-5 criteria
Maude Archambault


Attachment disorders and functional impairment in foster care children
Maude Archambault


Enhancing natural supports for youth in care; Indicators to strongly engage youth’s ‘people’
Amelia Larson, Karen Cepuran

  5 Xpress yourself : Improving care leaver wellbeing through identity and empowerment work
Carrie Harrop
  6 Children’s participation in kinship care assessments: A comparative examination between Scotland and Ontario
Alexandra Jundler
  7 Cultural connections: Cultural project and honouring our sacred children
Doreen Moellenbeck-Dushnitsky, Don Smoke
  8 Youth transitioning from care to independence and adulthood
Noha Emam Hassanin, Yosr Kotb, Amira Ghonim, Yasmine El Hagry
  9 Family treatment program – Ranch Ehrlo Society
Patti Petrucka, Bree Fiissel
  10 Alternative care for children around the globe: An overview of the alternative care and child protection situation in all countries
Florence Koenderink
  11 Mettre au travail les relations pour favoriser le lien parent-enfant
Laetitia Krummenacher
  12 Educational situation in foster care – A case study of Nepal
Santosh Dhungana
  13 Beyond institutions: Changing the culture of care in India and Sri Lanka
Myrna McNItt, Vasundhra Shrama
  14 The Canadian Child Welfare Information System
Farah Barakat


13:30-15:00 1 nêhiyaw kesi wahkotok: Cree relationship mapping – How we are related
Ralph Bodor, Kristina Kopp, Leona Makokis
  2 Programme Pingouin: Implementing trauma-informed care in residential child welfare settings
Denise Brend, Nicolas Fréchette, Frederick Martin, Véronique St-Pierre
  3 Skill-building workshop for working with and supporting LGBTQ+ youth in foster care
Amy Salazar, Sara Gutschmidt, Jacquelene Lopez
  4 Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre family group conferencing: Overview and practical application
Lisa Champagne, Jackie Anderson
  5 Inclusive foster care: Helping caregivers work with family, community and culture to grow connections for Indigenous children and youth
Carolyn Oliver
  6 Relationships matter: Examining the pathways to long-term supportive relationships for youth exiting care in Canada
Melanie Doucet
15:30-17:00 7 Whu Neeh Nee – Building a new Carrier Sekani child and family well being model
Mary Teegee, Warner Adam
  8 Life after advocacy, how do you maintain your own wellness
Audrey Thompson, Marie Christian

Simultaneous interpretation from French to English available

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