We were very pleased to offer exciting sessions in the areas of child legal representation, dealing with trauma, resilience, child welfare assessments, alternative dispute resolution, and dealing with trauma.
Thursday, September 21 8:30-1:00 (MDT) Terri Pelton, Elder Bert Auger, Kirsten Wiebe - Welcome and Introduction Ken Armstrong & Kim Spicer - Truth and Reconciliation: A Photo Journey Faye Hamilton - Dealing with Trauma Lisa Weber - Child Legal Representation and An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families
Friday, September 22 8:30-1:00 (MDT) Terri Pelton, Elder Bert Auger, Kirsten Wiebe - Welcome and Introduction Justice M.J. Shaften - Child Welfare Expert Reports and Assessments Dr. Michael Ungar - Resilience Through Connection Professor Nick Bala, Dr Rachel Birnbaum, Jane Long - Child Experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution
Hon. Justice M.J. Shaften, received her juris doctor from the University of Calgary in 1993. She worked as a sole practitioner, with legal firms and Legal Aid Alberta, before joining Foster LLP, where she was a managing partner from 2015 to her appointment in 2023. Her areas of practice were child representation, family dispute resolution, mediation, arbitration, parenting coordination and litigation. She was appointed to the Calgary Family and Youth Division of the Alberta Court of Justice effective April 19, 2023.
Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience. In 2022, he was ranked the number one Social Work scholar in the world in recognition of his ground-breaking work as a family therapist and resilience researcher. That work has influenced the way human adaptation in stressful environments and organizational processes are understood and studied globally, with much of Dr. Ungar’s clinical work and scholarship focused on the resilience of marginalized children and families, and adult populations experiencing mental health challenges at home and in the workplace.
Elder Bert Auger is an Edmonton-based Cree Elder, a member of the Whitefish Lake First Nation #459. Elder Auger began learning from his Elders (his grandfathers) as a young boy and continues to study and work under the guidance of Elders today. He was a social worker, employed by the Alberta government for 25 years. More than 20 of those years were in senior administration positions where he co-led the development of a ground-breaking Aboriginal employee recruitment and retention program.
Elder Auger is committed to bringing an understanding of Indigenous peoples' story to mainstream Canadians to improve their relationships. Currently, he does this work through his business, Auger Cree Consulting. In 1986, he received a diploma in social work from MacEwan University.
Ken Armstrong, OCYA Knowledge Keeper,is an award-winning documentary photographer based in Parkland County, Alberta. He studied at Loyalist College’s respected School of Photojournalism and cut his photographic teeth as an intern at the Globe and Mail in Toronto. His photographic journey has taken him from Halifax to Vancouver, from Behchoko to the Crowsnest Pass, and his work has been published across the country. He grew up in Winnipeg and is a member of Sagkeeng First Nation. He is a Knowledge Keeper and educator who works with private, public, non-profit, and government systems on their journey toward reconciliation.
This photographic series, “Stories of Survival,” is an excerpt of a project that began 20 years ago documenting Indigenous people and houselessness in Canada. Many of the black-and-white images reveal the disturbing effects of addiction, but he’s hoping the images will help others understand that despair. The photographs also go beyond the streets to illustrate the hope of those working to win back the culture and identity that residential schools tried to erase.
Prof. Nicholas (Nick) Bala is a leading Canadian expert on legal issues related to children, youth and families in the justice system; much of his research work is interdisciplinary. He also teaches and writes about Contract Law. Nick has been on the Faculty of Law at Queen’s since 1980, and he has been a visiting professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, McGill and Duke Law School. Prof. Bala has published or co-authored 24 books and over 200 book chapters and articles in journals of law, psychology, social work and medicine), and his work is frequently cited by judges, including at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Rachel Birbaum, Ph.D., RSW, LL.M, is a Professor at King’s University College at Western University in London, Ontario. Her clinical practice, teaching, research and scholarship are interdisciplinary with colleagues in law, social work, psychology and psychiatry. She has presented nationally and internationally on parenting assessments, child legal representation, children’s participation in family disputes, and on the intersection between law and social work. …..and yes she likes to have fun!
Faye Hamilton, MSW, RSWhas 30 years of experience in a range of social work roles including child protection and health care. Faye is currently a PhD candidate with a focus on understanding the impact of trauma exposure for beginning social workers. She is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at MacEwan University as well as providing training and consultation to a wide range of organizations.
Jane Long, LLB received her LLB from the University of Western Ontario in 1986 and was called to the Bar in 1988. She has worked in private practice, with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Justice for Children and Youth. Jane conducted numerous trials and appeals as CAS counsel. She was also at the Family Policy and Programs Branch at the Court Services Division at the Ministry of Attorney General and was the Attorney General-designate on the Family Rules Committee and was engaged in policy development.
Since 2011, she has been in-house counsel at the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. She supervises personal rights legal panel members in the Central East region and enjoys strategizing with them, especially in difficult cases. Jane works closely with the clinical team and is currently the interim supervisor of the ADR program.
Terri Pelton, Alberta OCYA Advocate, was appointed as Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate on April 1, 2022. Terri has worked in the social services sector for over 30 years, helping to create positive outcomes for young people, their families, and their communities. She first joined the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate in 2007 and played a leading role in developing the Investigations and Legal Representation for Children and Youth (LRCY) programs.
Terri is guided by her belief that young people’s rights must be upheld, and their voices heard when decisions are made that affect them.
Kim Spicer, MPA, RSW is the Director of Investigations and Legal Representation for Children and Youth (LRCY) with the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate. She is accountable for the Legal Representation for Children and Youth Division and is also responsible for the public investigations into serious injuries and deaths of young people receiving designated services from the Ministry of Children’s Services and Youth Justice. Kim has over 21 years of experience in the public service and has worked in a variety of positions with Children’s Services. . She was also seconded to Justice and Solicitor General to initiate the Alberta Family Court Project.
Lisa Weber received her LL.B. from the University of Alberta in 1999 and was admitted to the Law Society of Alberta in 2000. In 2005 she received her LL.M. from the University of Manitoba, She is also a member of the Law Societies of British Columbia and Manitoba.
During her 20 years as a lawyer, she was an adjudicator and then Deputy Chief Adjudicator presiding through western Canada and the NWT over hearings and appeals from former students of Indian Residential Schools.
She was senior counsel for the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women in the National MMIWG Inquiry and also acted for the Institute in its involvements as Intervenor in the case of R. v. Barton at the Alberta Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada. Lisa is Métis, and a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta.
Kirsten Wiebe, LRCY Manager, joined OCYA in 2011. The LRCY program appoints lawyers for young people in child intervention matters. There are sixty-five lawyers on the roster serving nearly 2,000 children each year.
Kirsten is passionate about serving children and youth and strongly believes that young people should have a voice in decisions about them.
She started with the Alberta Public Service in 1993 and has held many positions since then, including working with adult and young offenders, providing income support, employment counselling, and child intervention. She also worked with a legislatively appointed committee reviewing social care facilities and a program that reviewed child deaths.