March 23 Webinar Recap: Supporting Positive Outcomes for Youth Involved with the Law

March 23, 2017 | 11:00am – 12:00pm EST

How can we support positive outcomes for youth involved with the law? What is the impact of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) on particular groups of young people facing barriers?

The YCJA has successfully changed the youth justice system by moving it away from punitive toward more rehabilitative approaches to youth justice, and by reducing the incarcerated rate of youth in general. However, not all youth are benefiting from the changes. The incarcerated rate of Indigenous youth has not decreased and there have been unintended adverse impacts on youth from racialized groups.

This webinar features Dr. Siu-Ming Kwok speaking on youth criminal justice in conversation with youth advocates, Rebecca Weatherstone and Heidi HeavyShield, who have experience working within the corrections system. Our webinar presenters share a case study scenario of a youth navigating the criminal justice system that we will discuss from the perspective of research and practice. In addition to providing an overview of evidence-based guidelines and principles for practitioners and program developers to support positive outcomes for youth involved in the law, webinar participants were invited to engage with the presenters and information shared.

Download a copy of the slides here. 

Siu Ming Kwok, MSW, MPA, PhD
Professor, Faculty of Social Work, Southern Alberta Region
University of Calgary

Siu Ming has extensive research experience in the areas of social justice among youth and youth in conflict with the law in Canada. In recognition of his research expertise in this area, he was invited to testify at the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights in 2014. Additionally, Siu Ming’s broader research interests include child welfare, social work education, social policy, municipal governments and social welfare, program evaluation, and non-profit sector administration. As well, Siu Ming is affiliated with a number of universities and institutes overseas as a research fellow and external examiner of their programs and curriculum. He has been invited to numerous local and international conferences as a keynote speaker in the areas of social work education, youth in conflict with the law, and social policy and municipal government.

Heidi HeavyShield, MSW, RSW
Sessional Instructor, Faculty of Social Work, Southern Alberta Region
University of Calgary

Heidi works in the criminal justice system in Alberta and has worked in direct clinical practice within in a provincial correctional institution for over 11 years as the Aboriginal program coordinator, working with incarcerated Indigenous men and women.  As well, Heidi is a sessional instructor with the University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work, Southern Alberta Region.  Heidi’s practice interests include Indigenous and diversity issues, families and parenting, Intergenerational trauma and the legacy of Residential schools, as well as loss and grief.  Heidi is actively involved in both local and provincial initiatives to deliver Indigenous cultural competency training, including initiatives which inform Corrections policy development and has presented community workshops regarding Indigenous social issues for a number of years, particularly around the TRC.

Heidi received both her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Calgary and has intentions of pursuing a Doctoral degree in the near future.

Rebecca Weatherstone
Registered Social Worker
Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Rebecca is a Registered Social Worker at an adult correctional institution with the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS). She graduated from Kings University College with a Bachelor degree in Social Work and is currently completing her master’s degree thesis with Wilfrid Laurier University. Her thesis is a qualitative study involving female street-level sex workers and female police officers to explore their views on the unconstitutional prostitution laws, and their ideas for legislative change in regards to prostitution. Rebecca has worked in corrections in various positions including as a Reintegration social worker and Probation and Parole Officer. She also has experience working with children who display inappropriate sexual behaviours with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS). Rebecca has a passion for supporting those involved in the Criminal Justice System and creating social programs to reduce recidivism. She believes collaboration with at-risk youth is a necessity to intervene in maladaptive behaviours and reduce risk of being involved in the adult justice system.