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Revitalizing Practice

Cindy Blackstock

(May 16, 9:00 - 10:15 AM)


A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. As Director of the First Nations Children’s Action Research and Education Service (FNCARES) at the University of Alberta, her research interests are Indigenous theory and the identification and remediation of structural inequalities affecting First Nations children, youth and families.


Her promotion of culturally based and evidence informed solutions has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others.


An author of over 60 publications and a widely sought after public speaker, Cindy has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous children. She also recently worked with Indigenous young people, UNICEF and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to produce a youth friendly version of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Cindy is currently completing a Master of Jurisprudence in Children’s Law and Policy at the Loyola University Chicago.


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Stephen Gaetz

(May 17, 1:15 - 2:30 PM)


Stephen Gaetz is a Professor in the Faculty of Education and is the Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub. He is also now President of Raising the Roof, a leading Canadian charity that focuses on long term solutions to homelessness.


Dr. Gaetz is committed to a research agenda that foregrounds social justice and attempts to make research on homelessness relevant to policy and program development. His research on homeless youth has focused on their economic strategies, health, education and legal and justice issues, and more recently, he has focused his attention on policy and in particular the Canadian Response to homelessness.  He has recently edited two volumes on homelessness in Canada, including: Housing First in Canada – Supporting Communities to End Homelessness. (2013) and Youth homelessness in Canada: Implications for policy and practice (2013). In addition, he has published a book on community-based responses to youth problems in Ireland and written numerous reports and articles published in a wide range of peer reviewed journals. Dr. Gaetz was Associate Dean of Research and Professional Development in the Faculty of Education Prior to his time at York University, Dr. Gaetz worked in the Community Health Sector, both at Shout Clinic (a health clinic for street youth in Toronto) and Queen West Community Health Centre in Toronto.


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Sophie Yohani

(May 17, 9:00 - 10:15 AM)


Dr. Sophie Yohani is a psychologist with background in counselling psychology, global mental health, elementary education and experience in community psychology, program development, and community-based research.  Dr. Yohani maintains a special interest in childhood and adult trauma and the experiences of hope and resiliency.  She is interested in the mental health outcomes of refugee and immigrants based on pre- and post-migration experiences and program/policy implications in educational and community settings.  She is also interested in the perceptions of trauma, loss, and adaptation from the perspective of survivors and helping professionals who work with diverse and underrepresented populations.


Dr. Yohani’s focus on trauma and adaptation stems from practice that has involved work in private practice, at a Centre for Survivors of Torture and Trauma and a community-based War Rape Initiative. She has explored the use of hope-focused counselling applications to understand resources that individuals and helping professionals utilize to cope and adapt in light of traumatic experiences. Dr. Yohani is currently exploring the role of cultural brokers in facilitating the adaptation and delivery of mental health services for refugee children and families in school/community settings and the mental health of refugee women and child survivors of war-related violence.


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The Voice of Youth – “Beyond Basic Needs: Engage in the Partnership!”

(May 16, 12:45 - 1:30 PM)


A panel of youth will share, motivate, and challenge to help you reflect on their experience and perspective, and your own practice, and how together we can build capacity, understanding, and improved opportunities to make a difference. Topics such as attachment, relationship, harm reduction, trauma, mental health, addiction, resilience, collaboration, and communication will be explored with the audience, guided by youth who have had experience in the system, and facilitated by Peter Smyth and David Rust. The Youth Panel Members are young people representing diversity of experience, unique perspectives, and courage and commitment to use their voice to help the system of care, and all the stakeholders involved, build strong relationships based on mutual respect and support. We wish to thank www.Kids4Cameras.com  for the use of photographs for this keynote.







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