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About Us
Conference 2015
Find a Family Resource Program





FRP Canada conference 2015    

FRP Canada 40th Anniversary
National Conference

40 Years Strong - FRPs in Partnership with Families 

Sheraton Hamilton Hotel, Hamilton, Ontario


March 10-12, 2015

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Costs Program Exhibits Sponsors CFIN Conference Connect

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Subject to change.

Exciting sponsorship opportunities. Click for more information

Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Canadian Father Involvement Initiative Conference
See www.frp.ca/CFIN for all the details

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
8:00 am 9:00 am Registration
8:00 am 9:00 am   Breakfast
9:00 am 9:15 am Conference Opening  Terry Cooke, Hamilton Community Foundation 
9:30 am 12 noon Block C   (with a break at 10:30am)
C1 Understanding Infant Mental Health: The Importance of Early Intervention and Developmental Support Planning

Note: this session continues in the afternoon

  This presentation will provide an overview of infant mental health and trauma. The presenter will discuss what infant mental health looks like: how to screen, assess and understand an infant’s mental health; current interventions used to support positive mental health in vulnerable infants and toddlers; as well as research initiatives related to this topic.

Infant mental health is the social, emotional and cognitive well being of our youngest children. Increasing amounts of research are showing that poor infant mental health can produce devastating consequences for a child both in the short term and long term, and the risk of poor infant mental health is that much greater when a child is exposed to cumulative risk factors and/ or trauma (such as domestic violence, separation, etc.) early in life. The quality of mental health experienced by a baby or toddler can have lifelong consequences, yet few understand how to recognize when infant mental health may be at risk and if so, how to intervene.

Many adverse outcomes can be prevented when caregivers are provided with the support and information that enables them to be optimally responsive to their infants and young children. Well planned early intervention can promote positive outcomes, even in the face of diverse cumulative risk factors. Attendees will learn how to support caregivers to promote optimal outcomes for infants and toddlers through the creation of developmental support plans.

This workshop will look at how service providers, practitioners, clinicians can support families in their quest to support development as they wait for intensive services using a developmental support plan (Help Me Grow). Many families with young children who have been identified as at risk for a developmental delay experience lengthy wait times for further assessment and/or intervention. For families, this can be a discouraging and disempowering experience as they wonder if the only help for their child’s needs can be found outside of their home. Using current science on brain development, epigenetics, toxic stress and child development, this session will provide practitioners within the health, social service and education systems a way to create a developmental support plan to be used by a family as they wait for more intensive assessments and services using online resources. Based on the science that shows how critical the caregiver child relationship is in the first few years, the developmental support plan acknowledges the critical role of parents/caregivers in supporting a child’s development.

Chaya Kulkarni, BAA, M.Ed. Ed.D Director, Infant Mental Health Promotion (IMHP), The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto
Dr. Chaya Kulkarni is Director of Infant Mental Health Promotion (IMHP), a professional coalition dedicated to promoting optimal mental health outcomes for infants, based out of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Chaya is also an Advisor to the Dolly Parton’s foundation, The Imagination Library, a member of the Board at Family Day Association and a part time professor at Seneca College in the Bachelor of Child Development program. Prior to joining IMHP Chaya was VP, Parent and Professional Education at Invest in Kids, and has also served as Senior Policy Analyst and Researcher for the Office of the Official Opposition, Queen’s Park.

C2 Financial Literacy

Note: this session continues in the afternoon

We know that having a young family often brings with it financial worries and that these worries can lead to relationship breakdown, ongoing stress, poor (desperate) decision making and in general can affect the well being of the family. We also know that family resource programs (FRPs) are trusted sources of information and support for families especially those who may be more vulnerable. The relationship between family support practitioners and parents is significant, influential and motivating. The peer support and modelling available at FRPs is also of value when addressing life issues that directly affect parenting and familial well-being.

Financial Literacy is not about money, it is about empowerment.

Learning Objective: Family support practitioners will have an increased understanding of the potential impact financial literacy/capability can have on all families especially those who may be marginalized. Practitioners will feel capable of incorporating financial literacy into the work that they do and have increased awareness of the network of community agencies engaged in financial literacy work.

The workshop will include:

Saving and Financial Literacy; Some Insights from Behavioural and Experimental Research Dr. William (Bill) Morrison, Wilfrid Laurier University

Research in Behavioural Economics has and continues to provide insights that could help in solving problems related to individuals not saving (or not saving enough) and to financial literacy. Decision experiments conducted in the laboratory can help isolate behavioural influences that may be harder to pinpoint in field studies and such experimental research can help in the design of programs promoting saving and financial literacy. This presentation will provide an overview of relevant behavioural research findings and their implications for the promotion of financial wellbeing.

Dr. William (Bill) Morrison is an Associate Professor in the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. In the area of Behavioural Economics, Bills’ research investigates intertemporal decision-making, attitudes to risk and behavioural biases in consumer choice. He is a Research Fellow with the Centre for Transportation Research at the University of British Columbia and has been a visiting professor at the Moore School of Business, South Carolina and at École Superiéure de Commerce – Toulouse. Bill has a BA(Hons) in Economics from The University of Stirling, an MA in Economics from Carleton University and a PhD in Economics from Simon Fraser University.

Tamara Griffith, Coordinator/Trainer with West Neighbourhood House, Toronto, will talk about Financial Advocacy and Problem-Solving (FAPS), and incorporating financial liiteracy into the work with newcomers and refugees.

Guy Anderson, financial planner and founder of Parkview Financial in Toronto who will talk about on entitlements, benefits and investments suitable for low-income families.
Guy Anderson is a financial strategist who focuses on maximizing his clients' wealth through comprehensive financial planning and tax minimization strategies. He has been in the financial services field for over 15 years and has numerous industry designations including the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation which he earned in 1998. Guy has also attained the Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI) and an MBA with an Investment management focus.
Guy teaches a course through the CMA organization where he enlightens accountants on tax effective strategies and products available from the investment and insurance fields.
Guy has also written a best-selling Investment book which was co-authored by Rob Carrick of the Globe and Mail. He also sits on the board of directors for Theralase Technologies (TLT.v), a forward thinking laser technology company that hopes to eradicate cancer through the use of patented photo-dynamic compounds and targeted laser stimuli. Guy lives in Toronto with his wife and 2 daughters.

The afternoon will look more at the financial literacy tools/resources and running workshops.

C3 Nobody's Perfect  - program and techniques

Note: this session continues in the afternoon

  “There are no perfect parents or perfect children or perfect people.. We can only do our best, and we all need help once in a while.”

Nobody’s Perfect is a Public Health Agency of Canada developed community-based, parenting education and support program for parents of children aged birth to five years who are facing challenging life circumstances. Nobody’s Perfect has 30+ years of strengthening families! It’s approach to parent education was a leader in the 1980’s and continues to make a difference in families lives, all over the world.

This interactive session will provide participants with an update on what is happening with the program nationally, and how to become a facilitator in your area of the country! Come learn why the program continues to be considered best practice. It will be a full day of concrete ideas, suggestions and activities to use within your own Nobody’s Perfect groups or other programs based on the program principles of adult education and participant-centered approaches. Workshop Participants will leave revitalized with practical activities and adaptation tools that they can use.

This day-long workshop is open to all family support practitioners, including those who may be a Nobody’s Perfect Facilitator already, and those who want to know more about the program and its approach to parent education.

Learning Objectives:
  • Increased awareness of Nobody’s Perfect parenting program and its program objectives that help encourage parents to attend family resource programs
  • Increased awareness of a variety of adaptations that can be made to the Nobody’s Perfect parenting program to better meet the needs of vulnerable participants.
  • Increased awareness of facilitation techniques that can be used when offering Nobody’s Perfect parenting program.
  • Increased awareness of other resources related to Nobody’s Perfect parenting program.

The speakers include:
Carmen Paterson-Payne, Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program Manitoba Coordinator and Master Trainer, Youville Centre, Winnipeg

Ruby Banga, Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program BC Coordinator, BC Council for Families, Vancouver

Lavonne Roloff, Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program Alberta Coordinator, Alberta Home Visitor Network Association, Edmonton

Tannis Shanks, Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program Saskatchewan Coordinator, Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, Saskatoon

Tharany Nadarajah, Toronto Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program Coordinator, Public Health, Toronto

Kristin Bennett, Nobody’s Perfect National Lead and Policy Analyst, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Branch Public Health Agency of Canada / Government of Canada, Ottawa

Tina Leon, RN, BcScN,

C4 Healthy Together: An Innovative Family Education Model for Children (birth to 18years) and Their Families

Note: half-day session

Core values, principles, lessons learned and details on facilitation and implementation of Healthy Together in your community.

The session will describe key findings from Phase I and II of the Healthy Weights for Children Project, and provide details on Healthy Together© program. This innovative program comprises of three age based modules (0-6y, 7-12y, 13-18y) featuring themes such as food and nutrition, physical activity, community and relationships. Delegates will engage in group learning activities, to acquire knowledge about program implementation strategies, resources, and supports necessary for implementing Healthy Together in their community. The session will be interactive in nature, and will allow for opportunities for hands-on learning experiences. We hope that through this session, delegates will have an increased understanding of group facilitation skills and learning within health promoting practices. By integrating Healthy Together in core population health and family support services across Canada, we hope to increase the probability that vulnerable children and youth will experience greater equality of health outcomes in our country.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Become informed about the Healthy Together program background, content and delivery.
  2. Identify principles and strategies to engage vulnerable populations around health promoting behaviours.
  3. Evaluate organizational or community capacity and readiness to implement Healthy Together.
  Robyn Berardi, ECE.  Robyn is the mother of 3 children, Kaila, 26, Chelsie 25 and Jonathan 21.  She has been married to Gino for the past 27 years. Robyn also has a beautiful 5 year old granddaughter Alyssa. Robyn has been in the field of early childhood education for the past 26 years and has a diploma in early childhood education. She is employed by Brant Family and Children Services in the Child Development Unit for 11 years as a Child Development Worker

Michele Hucul, M.S.W., R.S.W., the HWC Project Coordinator, has worked with children and families for 25 years. Michele holds an M.S.W. and is a certified trainer for Mental Health First Aid. She is a professional speaker who is invited for staff trainings and parenting conferences across B.C. Michele is an experienced presenter and facilitator with expertise in the area of group facilitation skills, temperament, parent and care provider education and counselling. Email: michele.hucul@thebridgeservices.ca
C5 Looking Through an Adoption Lens    AND  Tuning Up the FRP e-Valuation

Note: half-day session - This session includes 2 topics

Looking Through an Adoption Lens
Understanding the Mental Health Issues of Children, Youth and Their Families,

Because of the complex myriad of issues that adopted children face such as attachment disruptions, trauma, grief, loss and identity and belonging issues, adoptive families need ongoing support from qualified mental health professionals, educators and others who work with their children.  This will help ensure lasting permanency for their children and provide effective support to families on their lifelong journey.  In this session the ACO will present its Adoption Competency Training initiative and its overall goal to build a "Village of Support" for adopted children and their families throughout the province of Ontario on a community-by-community basis. 

Elaine Quinn, RSW, Since  1987, Elaine has worked in Ireland, Australia, England, South Africa (volunteer) and Canada in the field of child welfare and adoption.  She has worked extensively with individuals and families at every stage of the adoption journey including public, private and international adoption.  In her current role as Permanency and Adoption Support Social Worker at the Adoption Council of Ontario, she continues her passion to advocate for and support adoptive families to ensure permanency for all children. 

Tuning up the FRP e-Valuation

Join in a round table conversations about the FRP e-Valuation. Discuss how the results are being used; how it could be used; and share suggestions for improvements. Once evaluations are complete, what can we learn from them?

Noreen Hornsby, CYW, BEd Adult, CCFE.  Noreen is the Early Years Manager for Child Development Resource Connection Peel, managing the Brampton West Mississauga OEYC and Learning in Our Neighbourhood (LION), a mobile Early Learning program for Brampton West.  She has been actively engaged in supporting families for more than 20 years in a variety of capacities.  She is a member of the Best Practices Standing Committee of the OEYC Provincial Network responsible for the collaborative effort in creating the 2007 document "A Guide to Best Practices of Ontario Early Years Centres".

C6 Understanding the Impact of Violence & Trauma on Mothers and Young Children

Note: half-day session

This workshop will explore the impact of violence and trauma on mothers, young children and their relationship. Basic strategies and tips for supporting this population, including the importance of self-reflective practice will be discussed along with a short introduction of Child Development Institute’s Mothers in Mind™, a trauma-informed mother-child program.

Lisa Sura-Liddell, MSW, RSW, has over 13 years experience in children's mental health, more specifically in developing, facilitating and managing innovative, therapeutic group programming for women and children impacted by violence and trauma. As a part of a team, she contributed to the development of Mothers in Mind™ in response to a service gap in programming for mothers who have experienced violence and trauma and have young children. Currently Ms. Sura-Liddell is the lead on the expansion and implementation of Mothers in Mind™ across the province, training and consulting to over 25 licenced agencies.

12 noon 1:30 pm Exhibits and Lunch
1:30 pm 3:30 pm Block D
D1 Infant Mental Health - continued
D2 Financial Literacy - continued
D3 Nobody's Perfect - continued
D4 HealthSTEPs – Health Skills, Tools and Education for Parents of Young Children
  This session will introduce HealthSTEPs - an evidence-based, six-week program that aims to provide parents of young children with the information, tools and hands-on skills needed to provide healthy eating and activity environments for their young children, 0-6 years. The Health, Skills, Tools and Education for Parents program was developed collaboratively with Family Resource Centre (FRC) staff and families for delivery within FRCs. This partnership ensures the program is based on research and avails of the expertise and family and community relationships that FRCs have established. Development of the HealthSTEPs program was funded by the Medavie Health Foundation under its diabetes prevention initiative.

Ms. Melissa Blake, Executive Director, Gander Bay Area Family Resource Centre, NL
Ms. Blake is the Executive Director of the Gander Bay Family Resource Centre and Healthy Baby Club, and also a member of the national CAPC/CPNP Injury Prevention Needs Assessment Project, coordinator of the Kids Eat Smart Breakfast Program in her community’s local school, an FASD Central committee member, a member of the NL Injury Prevention Coalition and treasurer of the Roads to End Violence program in Gander. She has worked with the Provincial Prenatal Advisory committee for the Province’s Health Baby Clubs and the Central Regional Promotional Breastfeeding committee. She volunteers with various other groups in her community and has worked with national organizations and other FRCs in NL and other parts of Canada.

Dr. Patricia Canning, Professor, Faculty of Education and Department of Psychology, Memorial University of NL, St. John’s, NL. pcanning@mun.ca
Dr. Canning has worked in the field of child health and development on collaborative projects at the regional, national and international levels. Her work includes research on the epidemiology of child overweight and obesity and evaluations of childcare and family health programs (e.g., Atlantic Daycare Study, Child Care Management Study, Mother-Baby Nutrition Supplement Program Evaluation). She has designed, delivered and evaluated family support, childcare and intervention programs in several provinces, with aboriginal groups, and in developing countries (i.e., Antigua, Dominican Republic), and served on many provincial and national family and child care associations.

Ms. Lynn Frizzell, Project Coordinator, Faculty of Education and PhD Candidate, Department of Psychology, Memorial University of NL, St. John’s, NL lynnf@mun.ca
Ms. Frizzell is the coordinator of the HealthSTEPs project, a program that represents the culmination of the research and program evaluation she has conducted with Dr. Canning for the past 13 years. Together they have investigated the epidemiology of child overweight and obesity; parental knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding child nutrition and health; and the impact of early intervention programs for children and families. This work has guided the development and ongoing evaluation of the HealthSTEPs program. Ms. Frizzell is also a PhD Candidate in Developmental Psychology, investigating the effects of background television on attention and learning in preschool children.

D5 The Best and Worst Proposals We've Ever Seen
  As securing funding gets more challenging for those in the family resource field, (and probably for all not-for-profit organizations) executive directors are always looking for ways to improve their skills in writing proposals.
Come and hear the best parts and the worst parts of proposals that have come across the desks of these women who review proposals daily.

Carmen Bian, was born and raised in Hamilton and is pround to call Hamilton home.  She is a graduate of McMaster University with a Master of Arts degree in Sociology.  Currently employed as a Senior Policy Analyst for the City of Hamilton for the past 24 years in the Community and Emergency Services Department, Carmen has been the lead staff person for the City's grant program for the Community Services stream since beginning her career in the city.  Combining this knowledge along with her volunteer experience of the past 25 years at the United Way of Burlington, Hamilton-Wentworkth as senior volunteer responsible for the allocations for the United Way, Carmen has a wide range of experience as both a municipal and donor based funder. 

Sharon Charters, Grants Manager, Hamilton Community Foundation.  Describing herself as a “connector”, Sharon Charters has made a career of connecting people to services and programs; charities to resources and the community to work together on common concerns. A Mohawk College and McMaster University graduate, she has shared her insights with social service worker students for over a decade. Sharon has served on the boards of many organizations including Wesley Community Homes, the Hamilton Non-Profit Housing Corporation and the Hamilton Mountain Legal Clinic. As grants manager with Hamilton Community Foundation for the last 14 years, Sharon is particularly proud of her work to help citizens to play an active role in their neighborhoods. Her favourite role however is “Nana” to Christopher, Abigail and Ryan.

D6   Healing Through Relationships: Interventions and Supports for Mothers and Children Affected by Substance Abuse
  Family Resource Programs are ideally situated to effectively support mothers, children and families who may be affected by substance use and related complex issues.  The presentation will provide an overview of effective strategies and approaches to:
  1. Engage and support pregnant women who use alcohol or other substances as a key strategy for prevention of FASD.  Emphasis is given to the fact that pregnant women who use alcohol are also subject to other adverse conditions, including: poor nutrition, poverty, tobacco use, illicit drug use, violence, history of obstetrical problems, and lack of prenatal care, among others. FASD is not simply an issue of alcohol abuse but a complex issue rooted in the underlying social and economic conditions which influence all aspects of maternal and child health.
  2. Identify and support children who may be affected by prenatal alcohol/substance exposure through:
    • Timely identification of children who may have special needs stemming from prenatal alcohol exposure
    • Early interventions which capitalize on strengths, support special challenges, and prevent secondary disabilities, including child and youth mental health problems.
The presentation will provide research evidence that confirms the positive effects of comprehensive early intervention strategies to realize positive outcomes for infants and young children affected by pre and postnatal alcohol/substance exposure, and their families.
  Margaret Leslie Dip.C.S., C.Psych.Assoc..  Margaret Leslie is Director of Early Intervention Programs at the Canadian Mothercraft Society. Her clinical experience over the past 30 years has been in the areas of prevention and early intervention services for families and young children living in conditions of risk. Her expertise is in the areas of infant and child assessment, infant/early childhood mental health, and parent-infant therapy. She was instrumental in the development and implementation of Mothercraft’s Breaking the Cycle program, which has been recognized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as a best practice program serving pregnant and parenting women with substance use problems, and their young children.
Ms. Leslie is a member of the Executive and Steering Committees of the Infant Mental Health Promotion Project. She has co-authored numerous publications on pregnancy, parenting, early intervention, FASD, and children’s mental health. She provides training and consultation nationally and internationally. Ms. Leslie is the recipient of the National Harm Reduction Award for Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use Programming, the 2013 Elizabeth Manson Award for Community Service in Children’s Mental Health, and the City of Toronto 2014 Public Health Champion Award.

Ms. Leslie is a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

3:30 pm 4:30 pm

KeynoteDr. Jean Clinton, The Adolescent Brain: Under Construction. 
Over the past decade neuroscience has finally been able to shed light on why teenagers do the things they do! This presentation will explore what has been learned about brain development and how the environment and experience plays a key role in this development. Risk taking, novelty seeking, and risk of substance abuse will be explored.

4:30 pm 5:30 pm 40th Anniversary Tea

Thursday, March 12, 2015
7:45 am 8:45 am Breakfast
8:45 am 10:15 am KeynoteDr. Judy Cameron, The Role of Experiences in Shaping Brain Development. 
Dr. Cameron will give a brief overview of how life experiences shape early brain development, focusing on how various supportive relationships in children's lives enhance healthy brain development. She will also discuss the influence that strong social supports in the form of early childcare opportunities, preschool availability, adequate healthcare, and policies that give parents leave to care for infants have on healthy brain development. Participants will then work together in small groups to play the 'Brain Architecture Game', in which they will be able to build the strongest, most resilient brain possible as their child grows up with various life experiences, with and without the benefit of social supports.
10:15 am 10:30 am Break and Exhibits
10:30 am 12 noon

Alberta panel
A presentation about the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative - a platform that aims to achieve breakthrough outcomes for children and families through practice and policy innovations based on what we know about brain and early childhood development. 


  • Nicole Sherren, PhD, Scientific Director, Norlien Foundation
  • Jennifer Weber, Senior Manager, ECD Program Design/ Policy Development Ministry of Human Services, Government of Alberta
  • Cathie Scott, PhD, Chief Operations Officer & Lead, Policy Research Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research
  • Marni Bercov, Executive Director Addiction and Mental Health Strategies Clinical Network Alberta Health Services
  • Carlene Donnelly, Executive Director, Calgary Urban Project Society
  • Catherine Regier, LLB Partner, Pritchard & Co. Law Firm, LLP

Thursday morning is sponsored by the Norlien Foundation

The Norlien Foundation's Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) is a platform of investment designed to advance the understanding of brain and biological development and its impact on health and wellness across the lifespan and the implications of this knowledge for both policy and practice. The AFWI has created engagement and collaboration across multiple jurisdictions that touch children and families, in order to influence and support system level change and paradigm shifts in the health, education, human services, and justice sectors, based on a common language and shared understanding of the science of early brain development. This session will include a description of the AFWI platform followed by presentations from some of Alberta's leaders in government policy, health care, and community services, who are applying this knowledge in new and innovative ways to support better outcomes for children and families.

12 noon 1:00 pm Exhibits and Lunch
1:00 pm 2:30 pm Block E
E1 The value of peer support

An important and integral piece of building families with strong foundations to support our children and youth is that of peer to peer support. Many aspects of family lives such as dealing with mental health challenges and becoming new parents present unique struggles for families, that connecting with others who have traveled the same path can prove to be an important factor in the family's ability to navigate their unique challenges. Parents are better equipped to raising resilient children when equipped with the tools to address the stressors of these unique situations. One effective tool is peer to support.

Using the LWAB (Life With a Baby) and PCMH (Parent's for Children's Mental Health) models of peer support as examples, we will look at the importance of peer support 



Sarah Cannon, ED of Parents for Children’s Mental Health. Sarah Cannon is the Executive Director of Parents for Children’s Mental Health, Ontario. PCMH represents the voice of families raising children and youth in Ontario with mental health disorders/illnesses. Through the work of PCMH, Sarah co-developed “Bringing Family Engagement into Action – a Training Curriculum for Family Engagement” in partnership with the Ontario Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health. Sarah also co-developed the “Made in Ontario model of Family Support” and “Family Support Training Curriculum” in partnership with the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, and Kinark Child and Family Services. Sarah is an Advisory Member to the Ontario Provincial Centre of Excellence in Child and Youth Mental Health; one of the original and founding members of the Ontario Coalition for Child and Youth Mental Health; as well as participating in many Provincial, and National committees representing family voice including the Ministry’s Family Advisory Council on Moving on Mental Health. In 2009 Sarah was awarded the For Kids Sake Award by Today’s Parent, in 2010 the Kinark President's Award and most recently was awarded the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award for her work in children’s mental health.

Claire Kerr-Zlobin. Claire is the Executive Director of Healthy Start, Healthy Future and Founder of the Life With A Baby program. Life With A Baby is a three-tiered peer support system for parents. It offers local, community-based social events to build relationships, online support, and multi-lingual parenting programs. Claire started Life With A Baby after her own struggles with social isolation and depression. Life With A Baby serves over 43,000 users across the province of Ontario. Claire is involved in innovative initiatives and partnerships focused on peer support, parenting, newcomer supports, parent engagement, and supporting women. Claire is passionate about supporting parents, developing collaborations, reducing social isolation, and building healthy a healthy future for the next generation. Claire has been nominated for the 2014 3M Health Leaders Award.

E2 Indigenous Prenatal and Birth Teachings - Historical Context and Current Practice of Aboriginal Midwifery in Canada
  Our time together will examine the ceremonies and traditional teachings that define our parental roles from one of the Creation Stories of our Nations, and discuss the Rites of Passage that contribute to healthy balanced loving families.  Historical location of Aboriginal health will also be part of the presentation. 

Ellen Blais, Aboriginal Midwife, Association of Ontario Midwifes and Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network, Oneida Nation of the Thames, Ontario.  Ellen is an Aboriginal midwife who is currently National Co- Chair for the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives. She works as a Policy Analyst at the Association of Ontario Midwives and is the Aboriginal Health Consultant  Lead for Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network. She is working hard both on a provincial and federal level to reclaim the ceremonies and traditions of Aboriginal midwives, which she believes is integral to the heart of healthy Indigneous communities. She is also working locally in the creation of the Toronto Indigenous Health Strategy. Ellen sits on several boards locally and nationally and works in many other aspects of Aboriginal health. She also enjoys playing Native American Flute and plays keyboards in a band. 

E3 Supporting families of children on the autism spectrum : the Pat Roberts Developmental Centre’s perspective
  This workshop will take you on a journey into the daily struggles of families with children on the autism spectrum and how we as educators can best support them.

It will feature stories of families who have weathered the storm after discovering their child has autism and how they dealt with life in the months that followed. We will illustrate how our Family Resource Program is successful in supporting families of children on the autism spectrum through listening, caring and nurturing. You will learn about the challenges families face and how you can support them during this difficult time.

  Lyne Charlebois, Coordinator of the Pat Roberts Developmental Centre, WIAIH, Ste-Geneviève, Québec
Lyne Charlebois’ personal journey raising 2 boys with Tourette’s Syndrome has given her insight and experience which she brings to her role as coordinator of the Pat Roberts Developmental Center, a preschool for children with special needs. In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Lyne plays an important role in supporting parents as they come to terms with the implications of living with a child with special needs. A strong involvement in local tables and committees has provided Lyne with a wide range of contacts in various community resources and allows her to address queries or needs that families may express.

Wendy Wilson, Special Educator, Pat Roberts Developmental Centre, WIAIH, Ste-Geneviève, Québec
A school teacher and mother of four, one of which has special needs, Wendy Wilson has worked with a speech therapist for 20 years, helping parents develop their child’s language skills through play, using the Hanen Centre’s® approach. Wendy’s skills and knowledge are put to good use as a specialized educator in a preschool for children who experience developmental delays. Her timely and constructive feedback to parents clearly demonstrate her understanding of their challenges and quickly build a solid and trusting relationship with them.

E4 Working Together Makes Us Stronger

Hamilton has a rich history of community collaboration beginning with the evolution of family resource centres to Ontario Early Years Centres to Best Start Child & Family Centres.
Through our intentional partnerships and collaborations we will highlight our journey of best practices that include maximizing our resources, shared skills and professional development to name a few.

Presenters will share concrete examples supported by current research on how we strive to make Hamilton the Best Place to Raise a Child.

Debbie Myers, BA, OTC.  Deborah is a retired kindergarten teacher and Early Years consultant who was involved in piloting JK programs, developing kindergarten curriculum and providing professional development opportunities.  She was also responsible for designing and integrating child care into the school system.  She is currently the Executive Director of a Not-for-Profit organization that operates 37 licensed childcare programs as well as Ontario Early Years programs.  As the Chair of Hamilton's Best Start Network, she is a member of many committees and works with multiple partners in the community. 

Carrie Horn, R,ECE, Manager of Early Years & Adult Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hamilton.  Over the past 13 years Carrie's leadership has expanded Boys & Girls Clubs of Hamilton's Early Years Department with developing partnerships, community collaboration and participating on multiple committees and networks. Carrie is the chairperson of the OEYC Directors Table and an active member on many Hamilton's Best Start sub-committees such as Parent & Family Engagement, Personalized Child Supports, Check It Out Working Group, Car Seat Safety Committee as well as a Board member for Opening Hearts Non-Profit Organization. Carrie participates in many workshops, conferences, courses and focus groups for Hamilton Early Years initiatives.

E5 Healthy Development Depends on Healthy Relationships
  Children need connections with caring adults now more than ever as they are growing up in a deeply digital world. Children’s healthy development depends on healthy relationships – those that help them feel valued, support them to learn, do not add stress to their lives, but help buffer the stresses they encounter. Why are healthy relationships important? – They affect the development of genes, brains, behaviour, and overall wellbeing.
This talk will also touch on brain and genetic development, not only in the early years, but through childhood and adolescence as it relates to bullying and victimization.

Debra Pepler. Dr. Debra Pepler is a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at York University and a Senior Adjunct Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children. Her research focuses on aggression and victimization among children and adolescents. She also conducts research on children in families at risk through Breaking the Cycle – a program for substance using mothers and their young children.
Together with Dr. Wendy Craig, Dr. Pepler is leading a federally funded national network, PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network). PREVNet’s mission is to promote safe and healthy relationships and prevent bullying for children and youth (www.prevnet.ca). One of her major projects within PREVNet is a study, funded by SSHRC, on Walking the Prevention Circle, a Red Cross violence prevention program developed by and for Aboriginal people.

E6 Children See… Children Learn – Best Start’s Child Discipline Campaign
  The Best Start Resource Centre is planning an awareness campaign on child discipline for the fall of 2015. The goal of the campaign is to reduce the prevalence of physical and emotional punishment of children from birth to age six. This workshop will highlight some of the background research conducted: key informant interviews, environmental scan, best practices review and parent survey. It will also offer a preview of some of the materials that will be available to service providers to support this campaign.

Louise Choquette, Bilingual Health Promotion Consultant, Best Start Resource Centre – Health Nexus, Ontario. Louise has been with the Best Start Resource Centre since 2005, where she has led initiatives such as reaching Francophones, reproductive and child health of newcomers, physical activity, prenatal education and tobacco control. Her formal education is in Communications and Educational Technology. Louise has two adult children.

E7 Kids Can Fly

Founded in 2001, Kids Can Fly (KCF) is a registered charity that advocates and supports early learning and parenting. Based on the research of the late Dr. Fraser Mustard, KCF believes that the first six years of life set the stage for a lifetime of learning, health and well-being, and that parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. Kids Can Fly provides a variety of programs to support children and parents, with our most recent focus on addressing a gap in service needs of women with postpartum depression

This workshop will include:

Implementing a telephone-based peer support intervention program for women with postpartum depression: Valuable Considerations Tracy Woodford, MPH
The Postpartum Depression Peer Telephone Support Program provides barrier-free, confidential access to peer support to new mothers in Brant and Haldimand Norfolk counties. This initiative was designed to address a gap in services for new mothers experiencing depression and anxiety during the perinatal period. Informed by the evidence-based peer support model developed by leading Canadian perinatal mental health researcher, Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis (University of Toronto), the goal of this initiative is to help improve health outcomes in new mothers, their children and family members, through the intervention of peer-to-peer support. This type of support can be a beneficial adjunct to treatment, and is essential for women who are unable to attend support groups due to transportation and childcare barriers, inconvenient timing, fear of stigma, or feeling too incapacitated by their condition to leave the home. This presentation will outline the successes and challenges met with implementing this program within our community with the aim of providing some practical considerations to those interested in implementing a similar program in their community.

The Parachute Program: Supporting the transition to Parenting, Jane Flinders, R.E.C.E.
In this presentation, we will share the evolution of the “Parachute Program” and demonstrate our diligence in providing a program that supports the needs of families within our community; particularly families coping with poverty, teen parenting and postpartum depression, as well transitioning to their new role as parent. Twelve years ago Parachute Program was founded on the beliefs that: • Parenting your children is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you will do • Music-making and singing to your baby builds confidence in your ability to comfort, play and teach your baby, thus enhancing the attachment between you and your baby • Parents need to share and hear from other parents going through similar experiences • Parents want to do a good job and need practical, hands-on guidance without having to sift through vast amounts of information Not all new parents’ journeys are equal. We are dedicated to creating a safe place where parents can receive support, accurate parenting information that has no judgment and a place where friendships are created.

Imagination Library, Sharon Brooks, ED KCF
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is an incredible early literacy program which mails a quality, age-appropriate book per month to registered children from birth until age 5. Founded by the County Singer/Songwriter – Imagination Library has grown from the USA to Canada, UK and Australia, distributing over 800,000 books each month. Due to massive bulk purchasing this can be done for about $4.00 a month per child. Kids Can Fly hosts the project in Brant County and are the ONLY community in Ontario currently providing it. About 1500 children are receiving books, 400 have graduated and the waiting list grows. Kids Can Fly is advocating the provincial government to take on this program as part of their early learning framework. This presentation will provide a background on Imagination Library, information on how to start a chapter in your community and outline the challenges an incredible benefits it continues to offer.

Sharon Brooks is an Early Childhood Educator with over 40 years of experience working with children and families. She was part of the late Dr. Fraser Mustard’s National Council for Early Child Development and has been the Executive Director of Kids Can Fly since its inception in 2001. She is a catalyst to provide support, fill gaps and nurture children to maximize their potential.

Jane Flinders has been an active Early Childhood Educator in her community for 37 years. In 1994 she opened Musical Motion that offered music experiences for infants and preschoolers and their families, and still runs this program today. In 2002 Jane partnered with Kids Can Fly to offer a 12 week mom/infant class that included a music making time and an informal support discussion time. Through Kids Can Fly and other community partners Jane has facilitated programs the: Parachute Program, Patta Cake Program, Education Through Music and the Launch Pad, an early development and literacy program located in a school classroom for children infant to six years old. Through her close work with families she recognized the gap in services with moms’ challenges transitioning to their new role as parents, as well as many struggling with postpartum depression. Hence began the mission to investigate the latest research on PPD and how to adapt successful programs already offered to better meet the needs of these moms and families. Jane is grandmother to one, mom to four adult children and a foster parent .

Tracy Woodford is the Program Coordinator for the Postpartum Depression Telephone Support line. She has a master’s degree in public health and over 15 years of experience working in mental health at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Women’s Health Concerns Clinic (St. Joseph’s Healthcare) and McMaster University. Tracy’s area of interest is in perinatal mental health and she is a strong advocate for stigma reduction of postpartum depression (PPD). Part of her time as Program Coordinator is spent raising public awareness about this disorder and she is passionate about making discussions of PPD part of daily discourse.
2:30 pm 3:00 pm Break & Exhibits
3:00 pm 4:30 pm Block F
F1 How Community Health and Family Support Practitioners Can Work Together to Address the Complexity of Early Child Development and Family Health

Early childhood is a critical time period for establishing the solid foundations essential for children’s long term health, well being, and academic success. Child health screening has many benefits. It provides families with opportunities to learn about child health and development, as well as information on and access to programs and services. It also promotes early identification of potential and ongoing health concerns, enabling planned interventions and strategies, which include referrals to appropriate professionals.
A specific new integrated partnership model of child and family health and supports to comprehensive infant, early years and family health will be discussed. Needs and opportunities around the specific components of community health care access and immunization, child development, support for communication and literacy, nutrition, sleep needs, dental care, vision assessment, and financial resources and family security will be discussed.

Workshop Learning Objectives

  1. To demonstrate the intersection of
    • experience-based brain development
    • social determinants of health
    • health and early learning frameworks
  2. To describe a comprehensive community child health screening model
    • including Partnerships, screening and follow-up intervention
  3. To provide specific examples of new education and practice opportunities
    • of community and family support access and immunization, child development, support for communication and literacy, nutrition, sleep needs, dental care, vision assessment, and financial resources and family security
Malini Dave MD FAAP FRCP(C), Hospital for Sick Children, Black Creek Community Health Centre
Maureen McDonald, Director Early Child Development, Mothercraft, Toronto
Zaheeda Daya, Manager Early Years, Toronto Public Health
F2 Perinatal Depression: Impact on Children and Current Management Strategies

This session will provide an overview of postpartum depression.  Prevalence, symptoms, causes and risk factors will be described and consequences related to child development will be outlined.  Evidence-based identification strategies will be presented and options for the potential prevention o this condition will be highlighted.  Treatment strategies will be reviewed.  The session will conclude with a detailed description of a large treatment trial that was recently completed across Canda which addressed common access to care issues many women in rural and remote aresa face. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. To increase participants' knowledge related to perinatal depression.
  2. To increase participants' capacity to identify and support clients with perinatal depression and their families.
  3. To increase participants' awareness of current evidence and best practices for the prevention, detection and treatment of perinatal depression.
This session is sponsored by a donation from Fifth Avenue, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Smiling Mask pins.
  Cindy-Lee Dennis, PhD Professor in Nursing and Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Community Health; Shirley Brown Chair in Women’s Mental Health Research, Women’s College Research Institute
F3 Exploring the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support in the Canadian Context
   What does it mean to be a quality Family Strengthening and Support Program?  Issued by the California Network of Family Strengthening Networks in 2012, and adopted by the National Network of Family Support and Strengthening Networks in the U.S. in 2013, the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support are designed to be used by all stakeholders–public departments, foundations, community-based organizations, and parents–across different kinds of Family Strengthening and Family Support programs as a tool for planning, providing, and assessing quality practice.  Join us to learn about the Standards and to explore and share your thoughts about their potential application in the Canadian context.  

The Standards integrate and operationalize the Principles of Family Support Practice with the Strengthening Families Approach and its research-based, evidence-informed 5 Protective Factors.  The Standards create common language and expectations in the Family Support and Strengthening field across different kinds of programs, such as Family Resource Centers, home visiting programs, and child development programs.  The vision is that their implementation will help ensure that families are supported and strengthened through quality practice.

Presenters will provide an overview of the origin, development process, structure, implementation, and content of the Standards.  Participants will also learn about the successful implementation of the Standards and discuss the potential application of the Standards in their work.  


Brenda McChesneyDirector of Strengthening Families Programs, joined the Family Resource Center Association in Colorado in October of 2010. She has over 14 years’ experience in program and organizational development, grants management, and training in the areas of youth and family development, early childhood education, and violence prevention. Currently, she is the lead trainer in Colorado for the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support, a certified trainer for the Family Development Credential and certified mediator. She holds leadership positions on the following national and statewide organizations: Co-Chair of the National Network of Family Support and Strengthening Networks, Colorado Strengthening Families Coalition Co-Chair, and Advisory Council Member for Prevent Child Abuse Colorado. Brenda holds a M.A. in Sociology from California State University Bakersfield and B.A. in Child Development and Sociology from California State University Chico.

Andrew Russo has worked and volunteered in the nonprofit social service sector for nearly 20 years in Boston, New York, Chicago, Taiwan, and the San Francisco Bay Area. He has co-founded and served as co-chair of six networks at the neighborhood, city, state, and national levels focused on supporting families. He is currently the Director of the San Francisco Family Support Network, which he co-founded in 2004, and serves in volunteer leadership positions as co-chair of the California Network of Family Strengthening Networks and National Network of Family Support and Strengthening Networks, which he co-founded in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He previously directed the first Family Resource Center serving the Asian community in Contra Costa County, California and established the Joy Lok Family Resource Center in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which was recognized as a model program. He earned his B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and his M.A. in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University Chicago.

F4 Fantastic Facilitation
  An effective, interactive, hands-on, fun workshop that will inspire andgive you confidence to use the techniques learned in your own groups!

This workshop is intended to be a professional development opportunity for a variety of community based personnel to come together and hone their adult group facilitation skills. Participants will leave with some innovative, creative and practical ideas for delivering vibrant sessions. Fantastic Facilitation techniques are based on adult education principles that can be transferred to all types of settings such as staff training or community educational sessions, or, by using them in board, staff or even sport team meetings. By applying some new delivery techniques, participants will help turn their own groups into something that inspires and initiates change in others.

This workshop will have participants experience and practice participant-centered and interactive approaches to adult group facilitation so that they will use these methods in their group settings either at their workplaces, or in their own lives in the community.

Learning objectives:
By the end of the Fantastic Facilitation workshop, participants will:
  • Have an increased awareness of adult education principles for group facilitation
  • Have an increased awareness of resources related to facilitation techniques
  • Explore facilitation through interactive activities and examples of warmups, energizers, group building and other participant-centered techniques that can be used with their own learners
  • Be able to determine when to use a fantastic facilitation technique that can help energize, motivate and engage their own learners
  Carmen Paterson-Payne, Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program Master Trainer and Manitoba Coordinator. She is also a contract trainer, program developer and adult learning facilitator. Carmen's background in Early Childhood Development and Adult Education compliments her work today with practitioners and families. When Carmen is not training, coordinating or offering workshops she volunteers in the community and is a huge fan of her two grown daughters' endeavours.
F5 A Child Rights-based Approach in Practice at the Community Level

This engaging session will provide background information about children's rights and explore why children's rights are so important to your work with children and families.  It will include ideas about how to practice children's rights at the community level. 

Tara M. Collins, holds a Ph.D (Law) from the University of London and has worked on children's rights since 1996.  Her professional experience included work for: Carleton University; Egalitarian World Initiative, School of Social Justice, University College Dubin, Ireland; University of Ottawa; Canadian federal government (Department of Foreign Affairs adn Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)) and Parliament; and the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children.  She is Assistant Professor, School of Child & Youth Care, Ryerson University. 

F6 Building Babies’ Brains by Making Connections
  Research tells us that a positive emotional bond with at least one caregiver paves the way for how we feel about ourselves, how we get along with others, how we communicate and even how we learn. (Shonkoff, 2013)
We now know that in the first three years, a child’s brain grows at a faster rate than at any other period in life. This makes it a critical time to support parents and teach them skills that will help them get their child off to a good start.
This presentation will address current brain research and demonstrate research-based activities parents and caregivers can use to help them strengthen their relationship with their child from birth to three. Participants will gain a better understanding of brain development within the first three years of life and learn about activities they can use with parents or caregivers to strengthen the caregiver/child relationship.

Claire Watson, MSc., is a Psychotherapist, Infant Mental Health Consultant and author of Make the Connection programs. Claire is a highly experienced parenting educator and lead trainer at The Psychology Foundation of Canada.
Dr. Emis Akbari, PhDM.Ed., is a postdoctoral fellow at The Atkinson Centre.  Her past research examined issues surrounding early life experience on brain development.  Her current research involves the evaluation of recent changes to the Ontario early education policy adn curriculum for preschoolers.  She is co-author of the Early Childhood Education Report 2014.
F7 The Child Development Assessment Scale (CDAS)

This session will present and discuss The Child Development Assessment Scale (CDAS) which is a tool used to assess the development of children aged from 0 to 5 years for whom developmental delays are suspected.  The CDAS can be administered by any psychosocial worker or educator working in the early childhood field.  It is a first step, in case of doubt, to identify potential developmental delays in cognitive and language, motor or social-emotional development.  The tool was created and validated by a group of researchers from Quebec and it is produced and distributed by the Centre de liaison sur l'intevention et la prévention psychosociales (CLIPP), a non-profit organization from Montreal, Quebec, that specialises in knowledge transfer and mobilization. 

Throughout this session, several aspects of the CDAS will be explained and videos of the tool being used with children will be presented.  Finally, ethical considerations will be discussed. 

Laura El-Hachem, is a social worker and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Montreal.  She specializes in issues and intervention geared towards children and families going through precarious psychosocial situations.  She is the project manager for the CADS at the CLIPP and teaches classes on intervention with youth and on child maltreatment at the University of Montreal and at the Université du Québec à Montréal. 







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