Together Towards A Better World For Children, Adolescents and
Families was in one of the words Bernie Sanders has made the word
of the year - huge. The numbers alone suggest this: 600 registrants,
200 presenters, 60 nations represented. For those used to the
Canadian experience, think twice over and perhaps a little more over
besides. Multiple keynotes, panel sessions, workshops and poster
sessions along with feature presentations over three full days.
Registrants received both a program and an abstract, the first dense
with choices and the last, a handy guide to the content of the
conference, much missed simply as that was the way it was. Many on
the Canadian delegation were familiar as most had been in Cape Town
the year prior and they have come to value international participation.
Brief impressions will have to do.
Notting Hill, London: Carnival
These young dancers seem lost in thought in the parade they are marching in to celebrate the identity and cultures of the Caribbean celebrated the end of August
each year. At one level it is a vibrant celebration of food, music, dance and costume, at another a free for all party for a million or more who flood in to participate
along boarded up streets and under the protection of some 7000 police who make over 450 arrests and tend to the wounded. There is a place for carers as they are
called in the United Kingdom to heal, guide and shepherd the young to adulthood and hopefully to their full potential. Child and youth care conferencing reminds one
of the complexity of this task and in a world of competing priorities, of the sheer privilege to participate in this movement.
|All rights reserved Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations/Garth Goodwin 1995-2016
No one does big picture quite like the U of Vic's James Anglin. Certainly James
has been the senior member to FICE for Canada for some time. He expands
your appreciation of child and youth care work by centuries and anticipates its
future global spread into Asia and the Indian sub continent. He is also acutely
aware of the development of the practice noting the continuing difficulties
realising training and experience for practitioners and the machinations of
governments to promote and/or frustrate this development.
Ryerson University's Kiaras Gharabaghi has a singular talent at
provoking thought by up setting the apple cart. Extending care to
include the young adult years and the transition to adulthood is a
recent development in care. He spoke of a friend who was, in his view,
an idiot. Still, a successful idiot having realised markers of property
and wealth most would envy. He was making the point that everyone
faces the transition challenge and that in the attempts to further this
through skills training was perhaps missing the mark. Allow the young
adult to make their own decisions and be there for them when they
need someone to talk to, some encouragement and perhaps a meal or
a spot of change to tide them over a rough patch seemed to be his
message. Program less, support more.
Panels are marvelous things. They allow for more presenters at a conference as being a panel member frees one
from the content of a solo workshop presentation and yet they allow for a range of content not possible in just
such a setting. Long time conference buddies Okpara Rice, Kelly Shaw, Kathleen Mulvey, James Freeman and
Frank Delano presented on that old chestnut - restraint. The beauty of the panel approach is that each individual
can take and inform a contrasting facet of the issue: for, against, necessary, alternatives and specific schemes. In
response the audience also represents these facets in their own way. As moderator, Frank allowed all viewpoints
to emerge along with their context. The discussion was vibrant and Frank left all with the notion of viewing
restraint both from the perspective of being a success or a fail as too often people tilt toward one or the other
and miss the nuisances involved.
Conference keynote, panel chair, employer, mentor Heather Modlin seen here on the left
with two of her Key Assets foster parents, Kyle and Jamie Lundrigan, also panel presenters
enjoying the sun on the campus plaza. Within weeks, all three were back in Newfoundland
presenting at a provincial child and youth care conference in the northern city of Gander.
This is the beauty of conferencing in action, new presenters coming up, sharing their
experiences and advancing the field.