Interactive online conversations featuring youth workers, young people and researchers
Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX) and Practice & Research Together (PART) co-presented this critical conversation on February 24, featuring a presentation by David Remington, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services, about Ontario’s Child Welfare Redesign Strategy.
This child welfare strategy, released in July 2020, was developed with input from youth, families, caregivers, Indigenous partners, lawyers, community organizations, frontline workers, and child welfare sector leaders. The strategy is focused on strengthening families and communities through prevention, early intervention, and seeking more permanent homes for children and youth in care when they cannot stay in their own homes or communities.
David’s presentation was followed by an engaging discussion on the issues, challenges, and opportunities of transforming the child welfare system by our special guests:
- Daniel Kikulwe, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, York University
- Chanice McAnuff, Youth Advocate; Founder & CEO, Project Outside
- Cheyanne Ratnam, Founder & Executive Lead/Director, Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition; Independent Consultant
The conversation was co-facilitated by Kathe Rogers, Program Director at YouthREX, and Sarah Head, Executive Director at PART.
David Remington joined the Ontario Public Service in 2007, working with both the former Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and former Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) as a Program Supervisor, Community Program Manager, and Director of East Region. David is currently serving as Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the Child Welfare and Protection Division of the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services (MCCSS), having previously served as the acting ADM of the former Service Delivery Division of MCCSS. He has managed a number of program areas and client issues including child welfare, vulnerable adults, and developmental services. Prior to joining the Ontario Public Service, David was in private business for 20 years and held senior roles in municipal government. David has led diverse teams through large complex change initiatives in multiple sectors.
Daniel Kikulwe is an assistant professor at the School of Social Work, York University. His area of academic interest is in child welfare practices, policies, families, and immigration. Other areas of research interests relate to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children and its applicability to the global south, as well as kinship care trends in Canada.
Chanice McAnuff is a passionate advocate for children and youth in and from the child welfare system. Chanice is a member of numerous committees, including the Youth for Change Steering Committee at the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and the Child Welfare Political Action Committee, and is a Board Member for York Region Children’s Aid Society. Among many other things, she has experience in consulting, event coordinating, and public speaking. Chanice is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology at McMaster University with plans of getting her Master’s in public policy. Chanice is also the founder and CEO of Project Outside, a youth-led social organization with the goal of tackling the issues that promote poverty for youth transitioning out of care. She strives to share her truth and knowledge to evoke changes to the child welfare system nationally.
Cheyanne Ratnam is passionate about equity and developing inclusive and accessible spaces and processes. She has dedicated much of her time/expertise in child welfare and homelessness. She is the Co-Founder/Executive Lead of the Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition (OCAC). She serves on the Board of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto as Vice-Chair of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, the board of Scarborough West Community Legal Clinic, the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario’s Race-Equity Working Group, a BYFY Advisor at The Housing Outreach Project – Collaborative, and Engagement Specialist Consultant with a Making The Shift project. She is also an advocate re: Childhood Sexual Abuse and GBV/IPV – a survivor of both. She is the provincial representative on the National Council of Youth in Care Advocates, a Steering Committee member of the Canadian Lived Experience Leadership Network, and serves on the Canadian Consortium on Child & Youth Trauma CAC. She is a Coordinator for NextGen at the Mosaic Institute, Advisor to both ISEE Initiative and Kudai Centre, is an independent consultant, engagement specialist, personal development coach, capacity builder, media commentator, public speaker, ambassador of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, and partakes in various communities through volunteerism.
Sarah Head is the Executive Director at Practice and Research Together (PART). PART is a Canadian non-for-profit membership-based organization that focuses on distilling and disseminating practice-relevant research findings to child welfare practitioners. PART promotes the use of research through evidence-informed practice by producing a variety of innovative resources on their online portal. Sarah is also a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Guelph in Family Relations and Human Development. She has worked in private and public agencies that serve children and youth with a wide range of social, emotional, behavioral, and developmental needs. Sarah’s primary research focuses on children and youth living within the child welfare system and their relationships with non-parental caregivers. Additionally, Sarah is interested in the intersection between child welfare services and children’s mental health services, and the lived experiences of those who access residential mental health treatment whilst living in care.
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