Presentation Materials ALIGN Group Care Global Symposium, Edmonton, Alberta February 7- 8, 2019

Ideology, Evidence and the Great Residential Group Care Debate: Whose Keeping Score? ALIGN Group Care Symposium 2019 James P. Anglin Professor Emeritus School of Child and Youth Care University of Victoria

What Works: Lessons learned from implementing, sustaining, and evaluating the CARE Model ALIGN Group Care Symposium 2019 Martha Holden Cornell University

A Tailored Approach to Implementing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Youth Residential Facilities: Lessons Learned from Wolverine Human Services’ Journey ALIGN Group Care Symposium 2019 Cara C. Lewis, PhD Associate Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Co-Founding Editor-in Chief of SIRC Journal

It’s Time for Innovation: Care Planning and the Hoax of Participation and Voice ALIGN Group Care Symposium 2019 Dr. Kiaras Gharabaghi Director, School of Child & Youth Care Ryerson University Toronto, Canada

Update PDD Program Review Secretariat Feb 13, 2019

Communication from Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Program Review Secretariat Feb 13, 2019

As you may know, the PDD Review Panel undertook an engagement this fall and winter. The panel received thoughtful input from Albertans across the province, including self-advocates, individuals receiving PDD services, family members, service providers, advocacy groups and community disability workers and other interested Albertans.

The following is a summary of participation for the initial engagement period:

  • 1,115 people attended community conversation sessions in St. Paul, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Calgary and Edmonton
  • 1,163 people completed an online questionnaire
  • 10 community organizations submitted input from self-facilitated discussions and 13 organizations gave presentations to the panel
  • 84 individuals made submissions either in writing, video or art formats

The panel is currently reviewing and analyzing all of the feedback and submissions that were received. Once that is completed, they will provide an initial report to the Minister of Community and Social Services on what they heard during the engagement period. The panel will then submit a final report to the Minister that includes specific and actionable recommendations.

Stay tuned for further updates as the panel’s work continues.

Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Program Review Secretariat

See Related Posts

CanFASD Shares Top FASD Articles of 2018

CanFASD staff, researchers, and Family Advisory Committee members worked together in selecting certain articles to highlight some of the work that has been published over the last year in the field of FASD. Over 460 papers published on FASD in 2018 were narrowed down to a final list of 35 that focus on CanFASD’s areas of emphasis in FASD prevention, intervention, diagnosis, social justice, child welfare, and family collaboration. Additional consideration for what constituted the “top” articles included: generalizability to Canadians, influence on practice or policy, novelty, scientific rigour, and media attention. For a PDF version of the final document please click here: Top Articles of 2018 FINAL.

FAF Software Updates

Take a look at their  newly revised  factsheet. that is easy to share, and highlights FAF’s many benefits:

  • Family Centric
  • Culturally Sensitive
  • Research Validated
  • Linked, Guided Service Planning
  • Aligns with Protective Factors

Through our clients, FAF Software has reached more than 40,000 children and families, and we’re pleased to report a 100% client renewal rate for 2018. Take a closer look at the factsheet.

The FAF Team attended a Trauma-Informed Care Training recently offered by Strategies 2.0 , which provides no-cost resources to the family strengthening field. The objectives of the full-day course were 1) to define trauma 2) to describe trauma’s impact on development and well-being and 3) to identify strategies for responding to trauma and resisting re-traumatization.

Strategies 2.0 and FAF Software are both part of the peer-to-peer network within Children’s Bureau with missions to help other organizations help families. Learn more about Strategies 2.0 offerings.

Position Paper Calling for an Integrated Approach to Early Childhood Development.

First 2000 Days Network in Calgary link, align and leverage work to promote the importance of Early Childhood Development (ages 0 to 5). They’ve launched an engagement campaign ahead of the provincial election to try and get this issue in front of candidates

The evidence is clear: What happens from the ages of 0 to 5 can alter the course of a person’s life. Let’s not waste an opportunity to invest in this most powerful and formative time. Together, we can make sure that every Alberta child has the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.

The First 2000 Days has released a position paper calling for an integrated approach to Early Childhood Development. To help spread this call, we’ve created a campaign to put ECD on the policy agenda for the 2019 Provincial election.

For this initiative to be successful, we want as many candidates, community and sector leaders, friends and colleagues to understand that ECD matters! You are invited to use one or all of the resources below to tell people that investing in the Early Years is important to you.

Download the Q-Cards series.

What is your party’s plan to invest
in Early Childhood Development?

How does your party plan to address and improve mental health amongst children and their primary caregivers?

What is your party’s plan to end child poverty?

How will your party support children in the early years to improve school readiness?

Integrated Hubs Capacity & Readiness and Plan & Prepare Application Deadline Monday, January 28th

Update January 2018
Integrated Hubs: Webinar and Q&A Available
As a reminder, the Integrated Hubs application information session webinar is available on the website , in addition here is a copy of the Question and Answers from the webinar. Please feel free to forward these resources to colleagues who may not have been able to attend.

The deadline for both applications (Capacity & Readiness and Plan & Prepare) is on Monday, January 28th at 4pm MST. If there are any further questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with myself, Val Salt or Kyla Brown (cc’d here). Tel: 587-354-4803

PolicyWise for Children & Families is very pleased to share a second opportunity to support the implementation of Community-based Mental Health Service Hubs for Youth (Integrated Hubs) in Alberta. This opportunity is part of Valuing Mental Health.Integrated Hubs aim to minimize the service gap between child and adult services by providing a youth-oriented ‘one-stop-shop’ for youth to access mental health care as early as possible. Integrated Hubs use a collaborative and integrated care model to improve service access and reduce the personal and public health costs of untreated youth mental health concerns. As Integrated Hubs are community-based, they will be flexible and adaptable to each community’s social, cultural, and health needs.

CSS PDD Review – January 2, 2019

CSS PDD Review January 2, 2019
Brief overviews of the results of engagement sessions for the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) review. Each report includes information on the number of participants and key themes or issues heard by the appointed review panel during each session.


AHS Caregiver Education Series for the Edmonton Zone

AHS Caregiver Education Series

Mental Health Literacy Series (Videos)
Caregiver Education Series
Parenting Education and Reflection (P.E.A.R) Groups
Professional Development Series

 Reduce Stigma. Receive Information. Reflect on Strategies.
The Children, Youth & Families-Addiction and Mental Health (AHS) and Regional Collaborative Service Delivery (RCSD) are pleased to continue to provide the Caregiver Education Series. These free 90 minute sessions are intended to provide parents, caregivers, teachers, and community members with basic level information regarding addiction and mental health challenges that can and do affect children and youth.

Who can attend:Presentations are hosted in schools but are open to all adults in the community. Note that some sessions focus on topics relating to elementary school children while others apply mainly to adolescents. Unless specified, sessions are for an adult audience; however some sessions welcome youth (ages 12+) to attend with their parent/caregiver.

Registration: All current sessions can be found at Please select the session that is of interest to you. Multiple dates, times and locations are offered per topic however the content material presented is the same in each session. Sessions are hosted by individual schools, but all adults are welcome to attend

If you have any questions please contact us at or call 780-415-0074.


Foundations of Caregiver Support Evaluation Survey

Thank you for taking part in the Foundations of Caregiver Support training recently.  We are hoping to gain feedback from your experience by collecting evaluations.  Below are links to surveys for each module of training one through five.  Please take a moment to complete the applicable survey(s).  If you have taken more than one training module, please complete the survey for each module you have taken.  Each survey only takes approx. 2 minutes and the information collected is valuable for ALIGN and Children’s Services to track their training initiatives.  If you have any questions, please contact our office.  Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Please Complete Survey

Module 1 Evaluation

Module 2 Evaluation

Module 3 Evaluation F

Module 4 Evaluation

Module 5 Evaluation

Revisions Enhancement Act Policy Manual December 14, 2018

Revisions Enhancement Act Policy Manual December 14, 2018. Ideally, regular policy releases and updates to the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act Policy Manual will occur two times a year; however, there are times when circumstances may require a more immediate policy release.  This is a special policy release that represents the significant work completed in the field to build, pilot, and implement the Practice Strategies for Lifelong Connections (PSLLC).

The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act Policy Manual policy manual describes the policy, purpose and procedure that guide our work with children, youth and families. On an ongoing basis we ensure that policy is aligned with current practice approaches and tools. We often get requests from the field, recommendations and direction to update or create new policy.  We are attempting to establish a clear and timely policy cycle to:

  • Ensure we are addressing the specific needs of service delivery in an organized and thoughtful manner
  • Build in adequate consultation and approval time and process
  • Support communication and understanding of policy changes



OHS Staff Safety Initiative Update

Correspondence to ALIGN from Marika Giesen | Executive Director, Service Delivery Improvement and Integration December 12, 2018

Rhonda and Andrea, thanks for the good discussion on Monday re: moving forward, with the help of a Health & Safety Association, on the social services staff safety initiative. As mentioned, we’ve pulled together some high-level notes below to support your discussions/communications with your respective membership.  I hope this is helpful. If you have questions/comments, let me know.Watch for an update early in the new year.

–          Over the past several months, ALIGN and ACDS have been meeting with government representatives from Labour, Community and Social Services (CSS) and Children’s Services to discuss shared concerns and collaborative strategies related to the safety of staff in the social services sector

–          As a result of these discussions, government will be providing funding to secure the services of a Health and Safety Association (HSA) to develop a variety of resources focused specifically on improving safety for staff in our sector

–          We want to be clear that this is not about establishing a sector HSA that members pay into; rather, to use the expertise of an HSA to develop sector-specific resources for our association(s) and its members

–          These resources will focus on three key areas:

o   Awareness: through provincial and agency-level activities, staff at different levels will be aware of their respective roles and responsibilities regarding safety in the workplace;

o   Tools: creating a variety of common tools and templates (e.g., hazard assessments) that take into account the unique environment our social services staff  work in; and,

o   Training: creating a variety of training resources and identifying training opportunities for all staff that will support their ability to identify and respond to safety issues in the workplace.

–          We have been clear that whatever comes from this work, it cannot introduce additional costs for agencies and it must be informed by and developed in consultation with our sector members

–          We will have more to share in the New Year when the HSA is selected and begins its work, and we hope you will be willing to work with us as we create these important resources


New OHS Website: Work site health and safety committees and representatives
Applying for a joint work site health and safety committee
HSC HS Rep Approval Self-Evaluation Tool pdf
ALIGN & Bill 30 Occupational Health and Safety Act


Foundations of Caregiver Support (FCS) Update

Update from ALIGN E.D. December 12, 2018

This project has taken a life of its own.  ALIGN has provided 3 train the trainer sessions over the last 6 months.  We have trained over 150 people to train the FCS modules.  To date there have been a total of 685 staff and 200 agency caregivers trained that we know of.  We believe that many of the contract foster care programs are working on training their caregivers over the next few months.  Thank you for the support and uptake in doing this work.  We ask that you report who has been trained in your agencies to us so that in June we can report on the total numbers.

We are moving forward with the assumption that the trainers are making plans within their own agencies to train staff. Our offer of assistance stands, especially if you need an indigenous trainer.  Please email or call Nicole or 780.232.9199.

We have decided not to offer ALIGN session in January and February.  Our contract goes until June and the funding is tight.  We hope to run another session for whoever needs it later in the spring.  If you are struggling getting the training in, or need help please call Nicole ad we want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to get it done.  If we need to ask for more funding we will but need to know the need by March.

See more on ALIGN and Foundations of Caregiver Support (FCS) 
ALIGN Presents Foundations of Caregiver Support 101 2018 – 2019 Dates/Locations

Update: ALIGN Meets with Minister Larivee at the Legislature Re: Sector Financial Issues

Update: December 12, 2018

Message from ALIGN E.D.

The Board of Directors and I met with the Minister of Children Services Danielle Larivee last week.  Our meeting was a result of the letter we sent to the Premier. In our discussion we reviewed who we are, how many people we represent and the current financial issues we are facing.   According to the Boland report we are back up to a 47% turnover rate, agencies are reporting difficulty in hiring and ALIGN has had an unprecedented number of jobs posted on our website.  Interestingly as I reviewed our history for the meeting we are in a 6 year wave again.  It seems that every 6 years we are in this predicament.

We were able to state that in each of those times we were able to develop some sort of business relationship committee which help everyone understand the issues and collaboratively work on them, we also have been able to work on flexibility in contracts and in some cases injections of short term funds as a stop gap. At this time, there is a promise of some funding to cover the paid days off vacation requirements in Bill 17, and there is some discussion of support for the costs of Bill 30.  The Minister also assures us she is trying to request increased funding in the 2019/20 budget, with a special emphasis on the group care sector.

We emphasized that the added expectations over the past few years, and in the next few years with the Stronger Safer Tomorrow recommendations in all service delivery areas there is a need to fund those as we cannot sustain the good practice with just minor adjustments.  We stressed that group care, contact foster care and kinship care must have attention soon.  We would like to see a clear procurement plan, and contracts that includes the costs of the new legislation, regular cost of living increases, and a realistic cost for operating.  Generally speaking group care was last procured in 2006 and contract foster care in 2008.

We continue to advocate on your behalf, if you are really struggling you need to make your challenges known to your contract managers.  If you are beginning to close programs can please let me know.  I have monthly meetings with the policy and program division of the Ministry and we want to make sure they are aware of the challenges within the sector.

Board members of ALIGN Association met with Minister Larivee at the Legislature on Dec 4, 2018. Not all of the board members were able to be in attendance but those that were had an opportunity along with ALIGN E.D. Rhonda Barraclough to  discuss fiscal challenges in the sector. We appreciated this opportunity for dialogue and look forward to ongoing input and discussions moving forward.

Jeff Hansen, Aaron Hachkowski, Margaret Martin, Soraya Saliba, Rhonda Barraclough, Hazel Bergen, Bruce Armson, Pauline Smale, Robecca Chahine  (Not able to attend: Cheryl Whiskeyjack, Beverly Keeshig-Soonias, Bruce Rafuse, Julie Mann- Johnson)

FSCD Members: PDD Review Panel Update & Call for Submissions Dec 10, 2018

Please take a minute and review  Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS) Submission to Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Program Review Panel December 3, 2018. This submission is an excellent and thorough overview of key points for consideration. ALIGN Association encourage any FSCD members to also send in a submission if you are able to do so.

Rhonda Barraclough, ALIGN E.D. will be contacting Andrea Hesse the CEO from ACDS  to consider jointly meeting with the advocate to discuss the services to people with disabilities  and service providers.

More information is available at  Advocate’s for Persons with Disabilities (

Letter to ALIGN Association from Alberta’s Advocate’s for Persons with Disabilities Tony Flores November 19, 2018

This PDD Program Review Discussion Guide Fall 2018 is being used to assist in developing input to the panel.

ALIGN & Sector Alberta Human Services Updates Dec 7, 2018

This newsletter for Alberta Human Service Agencies is packed with news and resources on Indigenous initiative, Alberta Government news and updates, Surveys, Reports, Training and more!

Christmas Bureau Seeking Volunteers with Data Entry Experience/Social Work Background

Have  data entry experience a social work background ? We are looking for volunteer intake workers and data entry people to help with our Walk-In Days Dec 20 & 21.

Whether you’re a student, retired social worker or working in the field we need you!

If you can lend a hand and help us bring JOY to our Edmonton neighbors please contact Lee @ 780.414.7682 for more information.

Alberta Mental Health Services Protection Act Updates Nov 2018

Mental Health Services Protection Act Technical Briefing November 2018

QA Mental Health Services Protection November 2018

Fact Sheet Mental Health Services Protection November 2018

Bill 30: Mental Health Services Protection Act has been introduced to put standards in place to ensure residential treatment facilities are licensed and health service providers are appropriately trained and regulated.

Creating new regulations and standards for service providers and treatment facilities supports one of the key actions recommended in Valuing Mental Health: Next Steps and was informed by input received during public engagement activities held last summer.

Protecting Albertans through mental health support (Nov. 27, 2018)

See ALIGN All Updates & ALIGN Communications Re: Bill 30

New Alberta Health Services Caregiver Education for the Edmonton Zone Website & Caregiver Education Series

New Alberta Health Services Caregiver Education for the Edmonton Zone Website & Caregiver Education Series
Mission: To promote, preserve and restore the wellness of children, youth, and families through quality addiction and mental health services that are accessible and sustainable.
The Education Team of Children, Youth and Families – Addiction and Mental Health – Edmonton Zone (Alberta Health Services) provides parents, caregivers and community members with free education sessions to increase awareness of the mental health challenges that children and adolescents may experience. The Caregiver Education Series focuses on the 3 R’s: reduce stigma, receive information, and reflect on strategies. Each session provides evidence-based research, common challenges faced by children and youth, possible treatment options, supportive strategies, and information/resources for further support.

New Legal Supports for Sexual Violence Survivors

Free legal advice is being provided to survivors of sexual violence to help on their path to healing and support greater access to the justice system.

The three-year pilot program is being rolled out in municipalities served by the Elizabeth Fry Society, including Edmonton, Red Deer, Stony Plain, Morinville, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Ponoka, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, and a number of Indigenous communities.

The project is open to adult survivors of all genders who have experienced sexual violence in Alberta, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident.

Survivors of sexual violence wishing to learn more about the program can email or call 780-784-2213.

Alberta Supports – Centralized Government Services Support Contact

Alberta Supports is a Government of Alberta centralized point of contact for Albertans seeking information on employment, disability, financial, healthcare, housing and homelessness, childcare, seniors, guardianship and trusteeship, and abuse and bullying prevention services and programs. Visit an Alberta Supports Centre (see locations here) or visit  Alberta Supports Online to get help  accessing more than 30 programs and 120 community services1-877-644-9992 toll-free province-wide 1-800-232-7215  TTY province-wide, ask to speak to Alberta Supports Email general inquiries  

Are You Interested in Being A Nonprofit Rep. on the ANVSI Leaders Council?

The Alberta Nonprofit Voluntary Sector Initiative (ANVSI) Leaders’ Council is comprised of six leadership representatives from the nonprofit/voluntary sector and four Deputy Minister representatives from Alberta Government ministries that have the most frequent and broad interaction with the sector.

Pat Letizia (Alberta Ecotrust Foundation) and I (ECVO) are currently the only two nonprofit/voluntary sector representatives due to recent retirements and job changes.  Consequently, we need to find four nonprofit/voluntary representatives to join us.

The ANVSI Leaders’ Council Nonprofit Voluntary Sector Recruitment Posting provides more information about ANVSI, the Leaders’ Council and a little bit about the kind of nonprofit/voluntary sector leaders we’re looking for.

If you’re interested, please send your resume or CV along with a cover letter to by December 12, 2018.

Introductory Letter to ALIGN from Tony Flores Advocate for Persons With Disabilities

November 19, 2018

My role and responsibilities reflect the input of more than 1900 Albertans and key stakeholders…Read Full

Message from Deputy Minister Bouwsema Re Basic Maintenance Allowance Increase May 19, 2018

Message to ALIGN Association  from Deputy Minister Bouwsema Office of the Deputy Minister Children’s Services Re Basic Maintenance Allowance May 19, 2018

The basic maintenance per diem compensation rate has increase by 2 percent retro-active to April 1, 2018. See chart of basic maintenance change for each age. View Table: Changes to Alberta Basic Maintenance May 15, 2018

Update to Family Statutes Amendment Act, 2018

New law to better support and protect families

The Alberta government is working to modernize family law in the province to better support unmarried partners and protect children with disabilities.

If passed, the Family Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 would make it easier for unmarried partners to divide their property if their relationship breaks down. It would also clarify in the legislation that applications for child support can be made for all adult children with disabilities – regardless of the marital status of their parents...

If Passed Bill 26 Will Increase Core and Supplementary Benefits for AISH January 1, 2019

Bill 26 An Act to Combat Poverty and Fight for Albertans with Disabilities has been introduced to legislation. If passed it would increase core and supplementary benefits for AISH, going up each year to keep up with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The bill increases the maximum monthly core benefit rate for a single person covered by AISH to $1,685 from $1,588. If passed, Bill 26 would take effect Jan. 1, 2019. The legislation would mark the first increase to AISH benefits since 2012. The legislation would increase savings limits to match general eligibility criteria for AISH.

See Voices of Albertans announcement and information overview on 

The province is working to ensure all Albertans can benefit from the economic recovery by ensuring people with disabilities or low income Albertans have stable, predictable supports. Alberta Government Release Helping the economic recovery reach all Albertans November 8, 2018

PDD Program Review – Discussion Guide and Review Panel Presentation Invitations

PDD Program Review – Discussion Guide and Review Panel Presentation Invitations Update November 2, 2018|

To Rhonda Barraclough ALIGN Association E.D.
From Dorothy Badry, Dick Sobsey, Ann Nicol Co-Chairpersons’- PDD Review Panel

As you may be aware, the Minister of Community and Social Services has appointed a community-led panel to oversee the review of the Persons with Development Disabilities (PDD) program.  The review panel will be seeking input from Albertans with developmental disabilities, their families and guardians and others involved in supporting their participation in the community about how PDD can support the personal choices, independence, priorities and needs of those who receive services through PDD.

The panel is focused on five topic areas in scope of the review:

· access to services and supports to meet individual needs and goals;

· a service delivery system that: responds to the needs of individuals and families;provides clear lines of accountability and oversight;

· training and supports to enable a skilled and well-trained workforce; and

· engagement with the disability community (i.e. individuals, families, guardians, service providers and workforce) at both the system and individual levels to provide clarity of purpose and outcomes.

In addition to a series of Community Conversation sessions being held throughout the province, there will be opportunities for organizations such as yours to make presentations to the PDD program review panel.  This PDD Program Review Discussion Guide Fall 2018 is being used to assist in developing input to the panel.

If you are interested in presenting to the review panel, please contact the PDD Review Secretariat at to:

·  confirm your interest in presenting to the review panel; and

·  select your preferred city/date to present

The scheduled dates and times to present to the review panel are:

·   Thursday, November 29, 2018 – CALGARY (between 1:00 – 4:45 p.m.)

·   Thursday, December 6, 2018 – EDMONTON (between 1:00 – 4:45 p.m.)

Presenters can expect to have 30 minutes to share information with the review panel and 15 minutes for questions and answers.

Please confirm your interest by Friday, November 16, 2018. You will then be advised of the specific time allotted for your presentation.

Community engagement tool kits are being shared with other community organizations that will have the option of hosting their own facilitated discussions to gather and share feedback for the PDD review panel.

To learn more about the review panel members and the various ways of providing input to the review panel, please visit


Dorothy Badry, Co-Chair       PDD Review Panel

Dick Sobsey, Co-Chair            PDD Review Panel

Ann Nicol, Co-Chair                PDD Review Panel

See Additional ALIGN Correspondence/News and Resources related to PDD Review and FSCD

Voices of Albertan’s With Disabilities: Invitation to Sign on to the Open Letter Accessible Canada Act Bill C-81

Voices of Albertan’s With Disabilities: Invitation to Sign on to the Open Letter Accessible Canada Act Bill C-81 November 1, 2018

The draft Accessible Canada Act Bill C-81 is currently being reviewed by the Standing Committee on Human Resources and Skill Development (HUMA).
There has been a number of presentations made to the Committee about amendments that should be made to the draft Bill to strengthen impact. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities is concerned that the HUMA Committee is not going to act on the recommended changes. “ Among those who have been actively monitoring the proceedings, there is a consensus that the Liberals have not been persuaded by what they have heard concerning the need for substantive amendments, including the call for timelines. Instead, they are looking for cosmetic changes. The Liberal Committee members seem to be of the mindset that the entire disability community is behind Bill C-81. To strengthen Bill C-81, we must alter that misperception and show strong support behind the core recommendations coming from the disability community and these are presented in the Open Letter.”
This open letter, has been prepared for submission to Minister Qualtrough. The points in the letter are supported by Voice of Albertans with Disabilities and we have signed onto the letter. The more organizations /people that let Minister Qualtrough know they are in support of changes that will strengthen the draft Accessible Canada Act Bill C-81, the more she can champion our cause.
This email is your invitation to sign on to the Open Letter. Please reply to Steven Estey <> to indicate your organization’s willingness to sign on to the letter and copy us in at
Maureen Murphy-Black
ADF Co-ordinator
Voice of Albertans with Disabilities

New Advocate for Persons with Disabilities October 30, 2018

For the first time, Albertans with disabilities will have a dedicated advocate to help them resolve issues, find supports and promote inclusion.

Alberta’s new Advocate for Persons with Disabilities was selected after an open competition process. More than 1,300 Albertans with disabilities, families, service providers and support organizations provided input on the role, responsibilities and top priorities for the advocate’s first year of work during public consultations last spring.

Flores has a bachelor of arts degree in economics and political science with extensive personal and professional experience working with people with disabilities, their support networks and stakeholders. He is a self-advocate who believes strongly in empowering people with disabilities to reach their full potential and looks forward to being part of a team that will focus on improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.  Flores is an accomplished athlete, has extensive experience working with a non-profit organization and has volunteered – both locally and internationally – mentoring and coaching athletes with disabilities.

Letter from ALIGN Association to The Honorable Rachel Notley Re: Bill 17 and Bill 30

The Honorable Rachel Notley,

We want to commend you on leading your party, as government, for a full term and look forward to another term of the NDP next spring. We appreciate your efforts in implementing a number of initiatives for the human services sector and the vulnerable Albertans we serve. As you are aware, ALIGN represents a number of agencies that contract with Children Services to provide a range of services from community support to campus based residential treatment care and everywhere in between. ALIGN also represents Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) agencies.

Over the last year, implementation of Bill 17 and Bill 30 have had some unforeseen and unintended consequences for workers in this sector. While the intention is admirable, the added costs of providing service with respect to the changes required in each piece of legislation are unintentionally prohibitive. ..Read Full Letter

Excerpt: Bill 17 – The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act
We have been working along with Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS) and Alberta Home Visitation Network Association (AHVNA) and the Ministries of Community and Social Services, Children’s Services and Labour to explore regulatory options to changes in overtime requirements in Bill 17. During that time, numerous options were explored and some moments of frustration occurred as well as conflicting information and false starts. We have advocated for the flexibility required to manage the issue. Through meeting with the three Deputy Ministers we have arrived at a confirmation that the existing Caregiver Exemption should be interpreted broadly and applied to most direct service roles across Child Intervention, Home Visitation, PDD and FSCD. As a result of our negotiations and the legislative requirements, and nature of staffing for 24/7 operations, there has been significant added costs for statutory pay and overtime. Many agencies have had to stop offering… Read Full Letter

Excerpt Bill 30 – An Act to Protect the Health and Well-Being of Working Albertans
We continue to discuss the impact and concerns related to changes to OHS requirements in Bill 30 with Ministry officials at Community and Social Services, Children Services and Alberta Labour including the human resource, administrative and financial impacts. Those issues include OHS expectations related to violence, right to refuse work, supervisory expectations and Health and Safety Committees. Although we support the intent and spirit of the legislation it has created some unexpected financial hardships. We have shared our concerns with ministry officials regarding these requirements and the challenges regarding recruitment, retention and training needs as well as the potential for an employer to have numerous smaller “worksites”. Alberta Labour has confirmed that..Read Full Letter

See More Related ALIGN Correspondence & Initiatives
Bill 17 – Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act 
Bill 30 Occupational Health and Safety Act

ALIGN Directory – Election 2019 Alberta Nonprofit/Charities and Election News, Tool Kits & Resources Re Political Activity

Alberta PS4LLC Caregiver Information Package 2018

Practice Strategies for Lifelong Connections
The integration of the original 6 Practice Strategies and the philosophy and 4 strategies of Lifelong Connections has resulted in principle-based practice approach called Practice Strategies for Lifelong Connections. The original 6 practice strategies focused on the “front end” of practice, specifically intake, assessment and decisions related to children coming into care. They embed family centered and strengths-based practice early into the assessment process through slowing down and critically thinking through decisions, involving parents as active partners and engaging extended family and natural supports early in the process of safety planning for children and youth…

Practice Strategies for Lifelong Connections pptx
Practice Strategies for Lifelong Connections is a principle-based practice approach under the Child Intervention Practice Framework that includes 10 practice strategies focusing on promoting safety, well-being, and connections, from intake to file closure and supports critical thinking in decision making, creating and maintaining connections, and thoughtful transition planning…

4 Areas of Connection
Through consultation with stakeholders, 4 key areas where strong relationships are critical were identified. They describe how strong lasting relationships support overall well-being and safety of children and youth.  These key areas focus on the importance of human relationships within a family and community context and guide creating and maintaining meaningful connections for children and youth to people who love them unconditionally. The 4 areas of connection expand our understanding of permanency for the children, youth and families we all work with, moving the focus beyond just legal permanence. These connections are established and maintained through collaboration, critical thinking and intentional planning for children and youth.

Frequently asked Questions: Practice Strategies for Lifelong Connections – Caregivers

Family Finding – Caregivers
Family Finding is an approach that seeks to build and maintain a natural support network for children and youth disconnected from their home and community.  It helps children and youth in care connect or reconnect with, create, and maintain relationships with adults who are important to them.  These people can include parents or guardians, siblings, past caregivers, extended family members, adult siblings from previous placements, teachers, daycare providers, or anyone else they have had significant relationships with in the past.  These relationships are important for children’s well-being, allowing them to know who their family is and where they come from, to know their cultural or religious heritage, and to establish supportive connections into their adulthood…

Signs of Safety®An Overview for Alberta
Signs of Safety is an approach to Child Intervention that was developed by Child Intervention staff to enhance child safety and uses professional social work concepts such as strengths-based and solution-focused methods and integrates them with the family’s expertise and cultural knowledge. It encourages a balanced and rigorous exploration of danger or harm as well as indicators of safety and focuses on risk assessment and safety planning...


Child Intervention Review Panel & A Stronger, Safer Tomorrow Action Plan
Child Intervention Practice Framework (CIPF)
Family Finding
Signs of Safety

New Autism Spectrum Disorders: National Safety and Search and Rescue Plan

Autism Canada October 2018 New Autism Spectrum Disorders: National Safety and Search and Rescue Plan
In emergency situations, individuals with autism can be particularly vulnerable. In the last few weeks, news headlines across North America have been brimming with stories of missing people with autism spectrum disorders. Although many of these news stories have had positive outcomes, some, unfortunately, have not. Reducing the frequency of these situations is a priority for Autism Canada.
On October 15th, Autism Canada announced the launch of a three-year project called Autism Spectrum Disorders: National Safety and Search and Rescue Plan. Autism Canada is developing standardized education and training materials to be delivered to emergency responders across Canada. Not only will the focus be on response, but on prevention. The program will equip SAR and emergency responders to better execute searches, will educate families and organizations on risk assessment and pre-planning, and stress the importance of using the acquired knowledge to keep this vulnerable population safe

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First-of-its-kind nationwide program launched to help those with autism to communicate effectively in an emergency. April 10, 2018: Autism Canada and MedicAlert Foundation Canada team up to launch MedicAlert Autism Program.

LGTBQ2S Youth/Young Adults Survey Regarding Their Experiences With Either the Children’s Services or Youth Justice System

In partnership with the Edmonton area and the CHEW Project, a survey has been developed to gather information from LGTBQ2S youth and young adults regarding their experiences with either the Children’s Services or Youth Justice system.  This feedback will be used to inform program, policy and service delivery development broadly.

Are you an Albertan sexual or gender minority (LGBTQ2S+) youth or young adult who has been street-involved, homeless, or who has had some involvement with Children’s Services and/or the youth justice system? If any of these experiences apply to you, the CHEW (Comprehensive Health Education Workers) Project would really like to have you complete this survey so we learn from you and provide supports focused on your health, wellbeing, personal characteristics and experiences, relationships, needs, and everyday activities and living situations. We want to know how you cope, survive, and overcome different obstacles.If you have questions or concerns, please email us at To participate in this survey, which has ethics approval from the University of Alberta Research Ethics Board, please visit:

Important Announcement from Children’s Services Regarding Potential Mail Disruption

Important Announcement from Holley Belland  Manager | Children’s Services Regarding Potential Mail Disruption October 19, 2018

While you may have been notified through other channels, we wanted to update you informally on our contingency plans for addressing the possible service disruption affecting mail delivery.

On Wednesday October 17, 2018 , the National Executive Board issued what is known as a “72-hour strike notice” to Canada Post for both the RSMC and Urban units. The National Executive Board has decided that the strike will begin on Monday morning, October 22, 2018, at 00:01 should they not have reached negotiated settlements.

The National Executive Board has opted for rotating strikes. Their locations and intensity will depend on Canada Post’s actions at the bargaining table in the days to come. When the targeted locations of the rotating strikes becomes available, they will disseminate the information immediately.

All payments currently made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT or Direct Deposit) will continue as usual. This applies to the majority of Foster and Kinship caregivers.

To ensure the delivery of cheques for clients and vendors are not negatively impacted in the event of a service disruption, cheques for Children’s Services programs have been held back from Canada Post as of September 20, 2018 and will continue until a resolution of the strike occurs.

Cheques are being returned to the region’s Accounting Officer or Edmonton and Calgary regional head office for further distribution to originating worksite offices. Worksites will be provided tracking forms and instructions for distribution to vendors and clients. This means that it is the responsibility of each site to ensure that when cheques are returned to them arrangements are made for caregivers to receive those cheques.  We hope this information will assist in any inquiries you might receive. It might be valuable to consider posting this information on your respective websites.

Please note that the above does NOT apply for Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC) and Alberta Child Benefit (ACB) cheques as these programs are administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.  The Government of Canada has contingency plans in the event of a labour action for federally administered programs. Payments for the AFETC and the ACB are expected to be delivered within a few days of regular delivery.

Service Alberta will provide public information via and will manage other public notifications related to this issue as required.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available.

We hope that this uncertainty will soon end and we will return to normal handling of payments. Please do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions or concerns.


Holley Belland

Manager | Children’s Services

Policy, Practice and Program Development

10th fl Sterling Place
9940 – 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 2N2

Desk: 780-644-3484 | Cell:  780-686-2844

ALIGN & Sector News and Updates October 17, 2018

This bulletin includes announcements from Alberta Ministers regarding A Stronger, Safer Tomorrow Action Plan and Cannabis Legislation in regards to caregiver providers. Also find upcoming training, sector resources and news.

Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Program Review

October 2018
Letter from Alberta Community and Social Services Office of the Minister re PDD Review October 12, 2018

Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Program Review October 2, 2018
Today, the Minister of Community and Social Services announced the appointment of a community-led panel to oversee the review of the PDD program. The review panel will be seeking input from Albertans with developmental disabilities, their families and guardians and others involved in supporting their participation in the community about how PDD can support the personal choices, independence, priorities and needs of those who receive services through PDD
Letter from Community and Social Services Office of the Minister Ifran Sabir Oct 2, 2018

You May Also Be Interested in  FASD New Policies and Upcoming Listening Sessions

See More FASD/PDD Review

Update Family Supports to Children with Disabilities Sept 2018

September 2018

FSCD Action Plan – In response to the concerns raised by parents about the FSCD program the Ministry of Community and Support Services (CSS) have changed our Specialized Services policy, Family Centred Supports and Services policy, FSCD Program Outcomes Policy and Overarching Policies and Considerations Policy to confirm that direct services to children are supported and parent involvement is not required in the delivery of specialized services.

In May 2018, Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) listening sessions were held in Edmonton and Calgary.  This fall FSCD is hosting additional listening sessions to hear from you if what they heard in May is reflective of family’s concerns about FSCD specialized services; about the changes made in response; about communication between FSCD, parents and service providers; and how the FSCD Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) process can be more supportive to parents.

If you were not aware of the May listening sessions or the changes made in FSCD, please visit the FSCD website at  Here you will find a copy of the ‘What we Heard’ report as well as ‘tip sheets’ that provide updated and clarified information about FSCD specialized services.  The ‘What we Heard’ report highlights the concerns parents raised and the government’s commitment to changes.  You can also contact your FSCD worker or your regional office for more information about the policy updates and the practice shifts being made.

Below are the upcoming FSCD listening sessions across the province.  Parents, service providers and others are welcome to register to attend a session.   Each listening session is limited to 50 participants due to space and the desire to have small group discussions where FSCD can hear from you.  You can register to attend a listening session online through Eventbrite at

If you are a parent and require assistance with costs for your attendance such as travel, parking, and respite there will be assistance with these costs through your FSCD Agreement or reimbursement. You are welcome to bring your child with you however, there will not be onsite childcare.

If you are unable to attend one of the listening sessions, but want to comment on the “What we Heard Report”, the changes made, ways to improve communication and how the FSCD Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) process can be more supportive to families, you can provide your input by email to Alternatively, you can also go to the Listening Sessions Webpage  to provide feedback.

While the listening sessions will be focused on specific discussions as noted above, you are welcome to email with any other concerns or comments you may have or to contact the Executive Director for Disability Services, Roxanne Gerbrandt at

When you register, you will be able to select from any of the following listening sessions:

  • Grand Prairie, Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
  • Calgary, Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
  • Calgary, Thursday, October 11, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
  • Calgary, Saturday, October 13, 2018, 2:00 to 4:00 pm
  • Lethbridge, Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
  • Medicine Hat, Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
  • Red Deer, Thursday, October 18, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
  • Edmonton, Monday, October 22, 1:00 to 3:00 pm
  • Edmonton, Wednesday, October 24, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
  • Edmonton, Thursday, October 25, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
  • Fort McMurray, Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
  • St. Paul, Monday, October 29, 2018, 7:30 to 9:30 pm
  • Red Deer, Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 pm

WHAT WE HEARD Feedback from parents, families and advocates in the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) program June 2018

Letter from Minister Sabir to FSCD Colleagues June 29, 2018

Letter from Minister Sabir to FSCD Parents June 29, 2018

Policy 10-77 Specialized Services for Children with Severe Disabilities

Policy 2-7 Family-Centred Supports and Services

Policy 2-7 Family-Centred Supports and Services-2

Policy 7-3 Matters to be Considered

Policy 2-8 FSCD Program Outcomes

Information to Parents – Multi-Year Agreements

Information for Parents – FSCD Concerns Resolution

Information for Parents – FSCD Specialized Services Practices and Approa…

Information for Parents – General Specialized Services

FSCD Practice Shift – Service Provider Discussions September 2018-1

Imagine Canada Early Alerts October 2018


Parliamentary Committee Work
The Senate Special Committee studying the charitable sector will meet again on September 24 at 6:30 pm. You can watch the meeting here.

LEGISLATION Debates, Bills, and Motions
Second reading debate began on September 19 in the House of Commons for Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act. This bill would require organizations under federal jurisdiction to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility, including those related to the built environment, employment, information and communications technology, the procurement of goods and services, the delivery of programs, and transportation.

Initiatives to Support Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous Services Canada has announced $68 million to support First-Nations led health transformation by identifying and designing service delivery solutions tailored to First Nations community’s needs.

Senate Special Committee
The Senate Special Committee studying the sector kicked off the fall with two solid days of hearings on September 17 and 18. A broad range of sector organizations, including Imagine Canada, testified on issues like fundraising and philanthropy, social innovation and finance, and grant and contribution reform. Transcripts of the sessions are not yet available, but both sessions are available to watch. (Click here for September 17, and here for September 18.) Imagine Canada submitted a written brief to the Special Committee as well. We will share that once it’s available in both official languages.

ALIGN Presents Foundations of Caregiver Support 101 Training Series 2018 – 2019 Dates/Locations

All modules will be offered in both Edmonton and Calgary same day.
Module 1 is pre-requisite for the other four modules.
Module 2 thru 5 can be completed in any order

Who is this training for?
Foster parents and staff working with children, youth and families in Alberta. Kinship families working towards legal permanency (adoption or private guardianship) are strongly urged to take this training as well.

Why is this training required?
To achieve consistent trauma-informed support for children and families across the province at all levels

What will I learn?
FCS training aims to shift thinking from “what is wrong with this child? To a more informed “what has happened to this child?” and further, “how can I improve the developmental trajectory of this child?”

There are five modules in the training series
Module 1: Colonization, Historical Trauma and Healing
Module 2: The Core Story of Brain Development
Module 3: Child Development
Module 4: Loss and Grief
Module 5: Trauma, Stress and the Developing Brain

See Details, Dates and Locations

Resource Focus – CTA’s Caregiver Challenge Estimator

Caring for children creates physical and emotional demands that can be exhausting. The time, attention and energy of any caregiver is limited. When caregivers are depleted, it is much more difficult to meet children’s needs. There are a number of factors that influence the internal and external resources of any caregiver, and there are other factors that increase the caregiving ‘burden’ such as age of the child, as well as physical, emotional or behavioral problems.

CTA’s Caregiving Challenge Estimator (CCE) is a tool that is intended to provide an estimate of the caregiving ‘burden’ facing a primary caregiver at a given moment in time. Available for anyone to purchase and use, this simple tool allows professionals to estimate the balance between resources and demands to determine the Caregiving Reserve score; in turn, this information can help in clinical decision-making and psychoeducation for the caregivers.

As with all metrics, this report is intended to supplement and not replace the clinical decision making process.  Report packages are now available for purchase.

CCSA Launches ‘Best Practices across the Continuum of Care for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder’

Executive Summary

People living with an opioid use disorder in Canada should have access to comprehensive treatment options that meet all their needs. ‘Best Practices across the Continuum of Care for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder’ presents services that should be available to individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing harms from opioid use.

This report, developed to inform Health Canada’s Federal, Provincial and Territorial Treatment Task Group, outlines the standard of service that should implemented to provide person-centred care to all people experiencing harms from opioids. The report includes a summary of actions taking place across Canada at multiple levels of government to help.

Kids Brain Health Network Crisis in Care: The Discussion on Transitions for Youth with Disabilities is Far from Over

As young people with disabilities head towards adulthood, they find themselves cut off from familiar health services only to fall through the cracks of a fragmented adult care system. Last month, Dr. Jan Willem Gorter, KBHN investigator, Director of CanChild at McMaster, and transition clinician, had the opportunity to share about this critical, Canada-wide issue in CBC’s White Coat Black Art’s town hall, Crisis in Care.  People with disabilities, family members, and caregivers gathered to openly discuss their experiences and struggles with transitions as well as advocate for potential solutions…

PolicyWise – 4 New Reports

The Child and Youth Data Laboratory Longitudinal Project, Experiences of Albertan Children and Youth over Time, 2005/06 to 2010/11, focuses on understanding the experiences of Albertan children and youth as they develop. This project takes a multi-year, cumulative look at the service use of Albertan children and youth.
Four new reports have been produced as part of this project:
  • A profile of service use patterns for Albertan children and youth (aged 0 to 17) receiving Family Support for Children with Disabilities
  • A profile of service use patterns for Albertans with Cerebral Palsy (aged 0 to 25)
  • A profile of service use patterns for Albertans with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    (aged 0 to 25)
  • Transition experiences of clients moving between the Income Support program and the Income Support Learners program: Income Support Transitions
  • In addition, a special report was released. In collaboration with the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Cross Ministry Committee, data were analyzed on how children and youth with FASD were served by provincial programs in Alberta. These results highlight opportunities for collaboration and integration in service delivery. In particular, almost half of the children and youth with FASD received a complex constellation of services that included Child Intervention and other disability services. These results will serve as a baseline in evaluating Alberta’s FASD 10-Year Strategic Plan.

PolicyWise onYouth Mental Health Service Integrated Hubs

Posted August 2018
Community-based Mental Health Service Hubs for Youth (Integrated Hubs) are designed to integrate health and social services under one roof in a youth-friendly environment. The majority of mental health concerns emerge before the age of 24 and current systems of care are split between child and adult services. Integrated Hubs are an emerging practice to address service access issues that youth experience.
PolicyWise is excited to share the project background and next steps of their Integrated Hubs project. Learn more on their website.

July 2018 Updates to Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD)

Autism Calgary FSCD Program To Realign with Legislation
In response to pressures from families and community groups, the Government of Alberta is committing to changing policy and practice to appropriately realign the Family Support for Disabilities program to legislation and to better serve individuals and families living with Autism and other disabilities…

The Star Calgary July 18, 2018
‘Parent coaching’ no longer required under Alberta’s special-needs program
Community and Social Services Minister Irfan Sabir said come next month, the sessions for parents will no longer be required — a move he said is designed to ease the burden on parents.  “Parents will no longer be required to be involved in parent training or coaching,” Sabir said via phone Friday. “We will end all references to that kind of model in our practice and our policy…”

Inclusion Alberta – An update on Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) July 3, 2018
Overview of changes happening immediately and changes happening later this year

WHAT WE HEARD Feedback from parents, families and advocates in the Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) program June 2018

Letter from Minister Sabir to FSCD Parents June 29, 2018

More listening sessions will also be held across the province to identify improvements and allow FSCD staff to hear additional feedback.


Jon Reeves Presentation on Family Service Caseload Trends 2015-16 to 2017-18

Child and Family Service (CFS) Regions Caseload Trends 1015-16 to 2017-18 presentation by Jon Reeves, Executive Director – Child Intervention – Southern Alberta  May 2018 at the ALIGN Membership Meeting.

Share Your Input! Autism Research Ethics Task Force’s Collaborative Project

Autism Canada has been asked by Dr. Racine, Dr. Weiss, Dr. Cascio and the Autism Research Ethics Task Force to invite you to get involved in their collaborative project.
The Autism Research Ethics Task Force invites you to follow along and give feedback on a collaborative project to develop a new model for ethics in research on autism. Their goal is to develop best practices for respectful and inclusive autism research ethics. They are seeking your help and input to share your experiences with research, positive or negative. They are particularly interested in the experiences of autistic Canadians.

“Person-oriented research ethics” is a term the task force uses to describe a model for conducting research focused on the unique perspectives and needs of the people with whom researchers engage. The goal of this task force is to create a model for person-oriented research ethics for studies involving participants on the autism spectrum.

They are asking people on the spectrum, family members and caregivers, autism researchers, and autism professionals to be part of a community engagement group for this project, which will be led by a collaborative task force. A task force is a temporary group made up of people with common goals and objectives within a specific time frame. This task force will be working on a report addressing this person-oriented research ethics model. This report will suggest best practices researchers can use when doing research with participants on the autism spectrum.

You can read more about the project or watch their video here.
If you would like to be updated about this project and have the opportunity to provide feedback, please sign up for the mailing list here.

PDD Updates

Alberta government is working closely with people with disabilities, families, service providers and advocates to determine the scope, timing and content of the review. More details will be shared after further discussions with the community.

Get involved

They  want to hear your suggestions for the review

  • what issues and challenges should be discussed during the review
  • where, when and how the review activities should take place

There are 3 different ways to fill out and return the survey. Choose the way that works best for you.


Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir issued the following statement in response to the report from the fatality inquiry into the death of Betty Anne Gagnon who received services funded by the Persons with Developmental Disabilities program: April 5, 2018

Bill 205 Advocate for Persons with Disabilities

Provide feedback on the priorities that will inform the mandate of the new Advocate for Persons with Disabilities. Alberta Government is asking Albertans with disabilities, families, service providers and support organizations to provide feedback on the planned role and responsibilities of the advocate as outlined in Bill 205.
Share your feedback by completing the online survey before March 31, 2018


Bill 205: the Advocate for Persons with Disabilities Act was passed in the Alberta legislature in May 2017 and is expected to be proclaimed into law in the spring of 2018.

The Act will allow the government to better support persons with disabilities and their families by:

  • naming an Advocate for Persons with Disabilities
  • assigning staff to support the work of an Advocate
  • empowering the Advocate to represent the rights, interests and viewpoints of persons with disabilities

The advocate will report to the Minister of Community and Social Services and will be required to submit an annual report.

Creating an advocate was a recommendation from members of the disabilities community during the PDD Safety Standard Consultation in 2016. Advocacy was identified as critical within the PDD community to ensure people with disabilities are supported to lead fulfilling lives.

Once established, Alberta will be one of the first jurisdictions in the country to have an advocate specifically dedicated to persons with disabilities.

ALIGN Self-Care and Safety for Front-Line Workers Resource Bulletin March 8, 2018

This resource bulletin includes tools, resources and training to support front-line workers safety and mental health. If you are a supervisor – these resources can assist you in supporting your staff and if you are front-line worker you can access valuable resources that can help you stay safe. Please share with others who may benefit from this resource collection.

The Edmonton Volunteer Fair April 14, 2018

The Edmonton Volunteer Fair April 14, 2018 is an opportunity to not only raise awareness of your organization but to recruit new volunteers as well.

What We Heard Report

Last week, Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development announced the release of the What We Heard report which summarizes the diverse viewpoints of Canadians and ideas on what it will take to reduce poverty in Canada.

2017 International Signs of Safety Gathering Presentation Materials

2017 International Signs of Safety Gathering Videos and Presentation Materials Available for a Limited Amount of Time.

Please note that all presentations will be freely available to watch on for three months from the date that they are published. Following that, five presentations will be selected to remain available for two years. All the presentations from this and past International Gatherings are always available through an organizational subscription to the Signs of Safety Knowledge Bank.

See More from ALIGN about Signs of Safety

Government of Alberta Child Intervention Fact Sheets – February 1, 2018

Government of Alberta Child Intervention Fact Sheets Now Available – February 1, 2018

Child Intervention, also known as “child welfare” or “child protective services”, can be confusing for those involved. These fact sheets will help parents and families understand how the system works, how to access services, and their rights and responsibilities.

Family Finding Recommended Resources January 2018

Recommended Resources following ALIGN Family Finding Presentation Edmonton Jan 2018

Center on the Developing Child Harvard University
Toxic Stress Effects on the body
Applying Brain Science to Child Welfare
The Science of Resilience
Tipping the Scales: The Resilience Game

Turney K and Wildeman C. Mental and Physical Health of Children in Foster Care. Pediatrics. 2016;138(5): e20161118
Mental and Physical Health of Children in Foster Care Kristin Turney, Christopher Wildeman November 2016, VOLUME 138 / ISSUE 5

On Being
How Trauma and Resilience Cross Generations Rachel Yehuda

Campbell Collaboration
The health and well-being of children placed in kinship care is better than that of children in foster care 2016

American Academy of Pediatrics
Unique Needs of Children in Kinship Care


Behavioral Epigenetics
Moshe Szyf gives a keynote presentation on behavioral epigenetics during the opening conference of the research group “Genetic and Social Causes of Life Chances

The Body Keeps the Score
Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s leading experts on developmental trauma, explains how our long-term health and happiness can be compromised by prior exposure to violence, emotional abuse, and other forms of traumatic stress.

Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey VIII Keynote Presentation – Terry Cross
Terry Cross – Founder of the National Indian Child Welfare Association now serving as senior advisor. He is the author of Positive Indian Parenting and co-authored Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care, published by Georgetown University. He has 40 years of experience in child welfare, including 10 years direct practice.

Social and Behavioral Determinants of Toxic Stress
David Williams of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looks at the social and behavioral factors–including socioeconomic status, race, discrimination, and place–that play a role in triggering toxic stress for children and adults. He also discusses what effective solutions for reducing toxic stress and improving health

Gabor Mate: Attachment, Disease, and Addiction
Jack Shonkoff Harvard University Leveraging the biology of Adversity to Strengthen the Foundations of Healthy Development
Bruce McEwen Rockefeller University The Brain an Body on Stress
Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Health Across the Life Course—Core Story: The ACE Study

See More Family Finding

Child Intervention Review Updates January 2018

Alberta child intervention panel drafts 26 recommendations for government approval
Action plan on recommendations due in June Stephanie Dubois · CBC News · Posted: January 24th 2018,

OCYA Summary Report: Five Years of Investigations January 15, 2018

‘Terrible consequences:’ Jane Philpott on Indigenous children in foster care Macleans January 16, 2018 

Fighting foster care The stunning number of First Nations kids in care is a new touchstone for activists—and for rebel parents By Kyle Edwards Macleans


2018 Alberta Justice Public Fatality Inquiries
The Alberta government’s System to Track Responses to Fatality Inquiry Recommendations, launched in June 2017, documents the responses to fatality inquiry recommendations on a go-forward basis.
Reports 2018

Call for Speakers & Panelists: Fail Safe 2018

Call for Speakers & Panelists: Fail Safe 2018 Conference Edmonton March 22 – 23, 2018

At the inaugural Fail Safe conference, we’re connecting leaders from non-profits, businesses, and the public sector for open and honest discussions about embracing and overcoming failure.Comprised of a Thursday evening reception and a full Friday of keynotes and breakouts, delegates will leave Fail Safe informed about how failure can manifest in organizations and confident in utilizing failure for good. At Fail Safe, participants will become comfortable with the uncomfortable, learn how to embrace and overcome failure, and feel inspired to build strategic and resilient organizations
What can your experiences tell the non-profit community about overcoming failure?

Several opportunities are available to lead conversations on topics related to these themes, including keynotes, panel discussions, and short PechaKucha-style presentations at the Thursday evening reception.

The Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Council) Wants to Hear From You!

Dear Stakeholder,

The Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (Council) wants to hear from you! Deadline Feb 9, 2018

The Council was recently appointed through an Order in Council by the Government of Alberta.  Council members were selected by an open and transparent application process facilitated by the Alberta Public Agencies Secretariat.  Council is responsible for advising the Premier and the Government of Alberta and reports to the Minister of Community and Social Services.  Council’s advice is focused on opportunities for full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in the life of the province. The advice is grounded in the member’s own lived experiences with disability and by listening to persons with disabilities, their families, provincial organizations, service providers and aligns to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Council is establishing a strategic plan to guide and focus the work for a three year mandate. This Council is reaching out to stakeholders for input into our plan.  It is important that Council listen to the community to be able to reflect relevant issues and concerns of the disability community. We have attached an Information card about the Council that includes two key questions.  Council wants to hear from you on issues and challenges faced by the disability community and priorities to focus on for the next 3 years.

Council also needs your help getting this invitation out to individuals and families in your networks – Please share this email broadly with your networks.

Input is due Friday, February 9th, 2018

Responses to the questions can be emailed to: or if you require assistance or alternate format please contact the office of the Secretariat by phone at: 780-422-1095.

Questions They Are Asking Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities


Alberta Government Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) is back! Get the Details at an Upcoming Webinar

STEP grants provide eligible employers with a $7-per-hour wage subsidy to hire students into summer jobs. You can grow your business while providing a student with valuable work experience and transferable skills.

You will learn about:

  • Employer eligibility criteria
  • Student eligibility
  • Position requirements
  • Application and reimbursement processes

A live Q&A session will follow the presentation.

Who should attend:

  • Small businesses (1-49 employees)
  • Non-profit organizations, public libraries
  • Municipalities, First Nations, Métis Settlements
  • School Boards
  • Publicly-funded post-secondary institutions

Plan to attend one of 4 webinars offered from Jan. 9 to Feb. 1, 2018.

Find webinar dates and registration here. Space is limited – register now!

Changes to Child Intervention E.D. Positions

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:  To ALIGN On Behalf Of Rae-Ann Lajeunesse Alberta Government sent to ALIGN December 15, 2017

You may be aware that, as of December 11, Russ Pickford changed roles from Executive Director – Child Intervention North to become the Executive Director for Regional and Community Program Delivery, within our ministry’s Family and Community Resiliency (FCR) Division.  Fortunately, we’ll still be working with him in his new role within the FCR Division.

This change has created an opportunity to review and realign the leadership structure for Child Intervention regional delivery.  We will be moving  forward on some changes to our leadership structure.  Effective Monday, December 18,  Jon Reeves will be the Executive Director of Child Intervention Services, overseeing child intervention service delivery across the province.  Jon believes Alberta is on the leading edge of service delivery and is focused on continuing to improve child intervention practice in Alberta.  I know Jon is looking forward to continuing to work with you to improve the lives of children and families in Alberta.

With these changes, Jon will be filling the Regional Director positions in Edmonton and Calgary on an interim basis.  These positions should be filled by Friday, December 22.


Updated National Guidelines for Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care

The first two chapters of the updated National Guidelines for Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care have been released December 2017.  The Family-Centred Maternity and Newborn Care: National Guidelines is a resource on maternal and newborn health. It includes the latest information and advice from Canadian experts.  The guidelines are for those interested in maternal and newborn health, such as:health care providers, other Canadians involved with maternal and newborn health and those who plan, manage and decide on maternal and newborn health programs and services

Child Welfare Information Gateway New Child/Youth Trauma Resources

Supporting Brain Development in Traumatized Children and Youth
Series Title:  Bulletins for Professionals Author(s):  Child Welfare Information Gateway Year Published:  2017

Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT)  (Issue Briefs)

Addressing the Needs of Young Children in Child Welfare: Part C—Early Intervention Services (Bulletins for Professionals)

Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development  (Issue Briefs)

ACDS Call for Presenters

Request for Presenters: a Call for Participation (FSCD)

ACDS 2018 Annual Spring Conference Navigating the Journey…to who we are! Edmonton May 7-9, 2018
The Community Disability Services sector began its voyage a couple of generations ago and together we’ve made great progress.  Armed with a vision and a mission, we set sail on unchartered waters and have navigated shifting tides, been buoyed by many periods of smooth sailing, and have occasionally been adrift in the fog.  The purpose of Spring Conference 2018 is to inspire our teams on the next leg of the journey



Alberta Child Review Panel News & Updates December 2017

Final stage of work underway for Alberta child welfare panel  Edmonton Journal December 6, 2017

Bereaved Alberta mother fights for resurrection of Serenity’s Law December 5, 2017

Serenity’s mother at Alberta legislature as UCP reintroduces child welfare bill​​​​​​​ Global News December 5, 2017

Serenity’s Law will likely never become legislation, MLAs concede CBC News December 5, 2017


See More News and Updates Related to Review Panel

Calgary Foundation’s Vital Signs 2017

For the past decade, Calgary’s Vital Signs Report has featured expert research combined with results of a citizen survey. This year, over 2,500 Calgarians took the Vital Signs survey to grade their quality of life..

Crisis Services Canada Launches Canada Suicide Prevention Service

Call Message or Text
Today Crisis Services Canada (CSC), a national network of local and regional crisis and distress centres, launched the new Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS)…

Government of Canada Minister Lebouthillier announces Disability Advisory Committee

Minister of National Revenue, Diane Lebouthillier, announced that the Disability Advisory Committee, originally formed in 2004 and disbanded in 2006, is being re-instated to advise the Canadian Revenue Agency on the needs and expectations of persons living with disabilities, and to help formalize the means of collaborating with various stakeholders…

ALIGN Members – Procurement Update November 20, 2017

Procurement Update November 20, 2017

Late last week there was an announcement that Campus Based Residential Care will be tendered shortly.  For those of you who provide that service please stay tuned as I am sure you will receive information soon.

I am told that there has been a procurement plan (5 year) placed before the Minister and at this point there is no permission to move forward with anything other than this one area.  I am aware that most of you have contracts that are set to expire on March 31, 2018.

The likelihood is that most of your contracts will be renewed at the same rates.  Some may be able to re-negotiate some terms but for the most part status quo may be the outcome.  I realize that this means no increases in any part of your operation for a long time.

Budget 2018 may not see any changes or increases.  We already have a hint of that with no increases to foster care rates.

As always we will continue to advocate for a plan and for hopeful injections to the wages if nothing else.  We need to have some clear information and in reality you need to be thinking about this already.  If you have NO increases to your contracts and you are aware of the Bill 17 impacts, what will you do in the new fiscal year- i.e.  Do you need to close beds, close programs, are you ok, decrease services and if so what?  It would be very helpful if you can let me know what you think you will need to do if there are no changes of any kind.

I would appreciate if you can let me know what you think will happen and if you have any other impacts starting to creep in, like increasing turnover rates, etc.   This information is very helpful as we strategize a plan to move forward.  If we can we will also make the information available to you so that you can go out and advocate on your or your sectors behalf as we suspect there will be a need for political action.  It is the politicians who are stopping things as treasury board.

Again we are trying to give concrete examples of the impacts of no procurement (negotiations or tenders) and Bill 17.  I need to have that picture from you to share at table with the Ministry officials and the politicians.

Thanks for sharing I look forward to your information and trying to see what we can do to move the financial pendulum.  If you could send me your story or information by November 30 I would appreciate it.

Rhonda Barraclough – ALIGN Executive Director

Request for ALIGN Member Agencies to Submit Banked OT Hours and Average Salary

November 20, 2017
RE: Bill 17

Bill 17: Alberta’s Fair And Family Friendly Workplaces Act: the new labor code comes into effect January 1, 2018. There are many impacts on your agency and you need to be aware of those. The ALIGN Website has some information and the Ministry of Labor has more. One of largest effects for agencies and specifically anyone who works a 24 hour operation or flexible evening and on call hours will need to consider this:

• You will have to allow employees to take time off in lieu of receiving overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked, as opposed to the previous 1 hour for each hour of overtime.
• There are clear guidelines on how much someone can work in a specified period
• New types of unpaid leaves
• Changes to maternity leaves

There are many other changes your need to make sure you are aware for and are planning for.

Financially the biggest area will be the overtime. We are trying to advocate with the Ministries (CS & CSS) that banked time is a substantial cost and that the agencies cannot shoulder that cost. We have encouraged the Ministry to have a plan in place to compensate agencies for overtime and have explained how this is not just as simple as stopping overtime from happening especially in 24 hour operations and that due to contractual obligations they also can’t just increase the costs – therefore we believe there is a need for a compensation plan on the part of the Ministries.

To help paint a picture for the Deputy Minister of Children Services – Darlene Bouwsema, I need as many folks as possible to let us know their current bank overtime hours in a year and what the average salary for those employees is. I am making a graphic to show the Deputy Ministers. Darlene and Shannon Marchand the Deputy Ministry for Community and Support Services are meeting with the Ministry of Labor Deputy Ministry soon. We have also offered to arrange for them to meet with some of the CFO’s from the agencies and the Ministry to discuss impacts further. At this point we do not know if or when there may be answers. We would like to be able to send a further sample of the overtime impacts at this time because we can at least quantify that number.

Please send a note to me with that information by the end of this week – November 24, 2017

See Related Info

Child Review Panel Update November 2017

Speaking OUT: A Special Report on LGBTQ2S+ Young People in the Child Welfare and Youth Justice Systems OCYA November 2017

Video – Speaking Out: A Special Report on LGBTQ2S+ Young People in the Child Welfare and Youth Justice Systems

Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee issued the following statement in response to the Child and Youth Advocate’s Special Report Speaking OUT, November 20, 2017

‘We should do more’: Child advocate tells government about LGBTQ2S+ youth CBC News November 20, 2017

OCYA Report: Children’s Services Minister Responds November 6, 2017
Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee issued the following statement in response to the Child and Youth Advocate’s Investigative Reviews released today.

Investigative Review: 16-Year-Old Dillon November 2, 2017
Child and Youth Advocate releases investigative review involving the serious injury of a youth
Read the full news release here: Read the Investigative Review and recommendations here:

Global News November 2, 2017 Jane Philpott calls emergency meeting with provinces on Indigenous child welfare

See All Child Review Panel

Signs of Safety October 2017 Update

Signs of Safety working group.  Children Services has implemented Signs of Safety 2 day Provincial Delegation training. The working group is looking at how to implement a plan that insures all current CS staff also receive the 2 day Provincial training, whether or not they have had previous training in the past. This is to ensure everyone has received the same provincial specific training.  A 1 day training has been developed for agency partners and caregivers. The committee is in the process of developing a plan to offer the training provincially

Signs of Safety Newsletter October 2017

The first presentation video from sofsgathering2017 is now up. Watch Demonstrating Safety Within the Drug Epidemic

Visit Signs of Safety Home Page or ALIGN Signs of Safety Related Resources, Initiatives and Updates

New Report: Harvard Center on the Developing Child: Three Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families

Three Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families identifies three guiding principles for decision-making processes aimed at improving outcomes for children and families.

Excerpt: Recent advances in the science of brain development offer us an unprecedented opportunity to solve some of society’s most challenging problems, from widening disparities in school achievement and economic productivity to costly health problems across the lifespan. Understanding how the experiences children have starting at birth, even prenatally, affect lifelong outcomes—combined with new knowledge about the core capabilities adults need to thrive as parents and in the workplace—provides a strong foundation upon which policymakers and civic leaders can design a shared and more effective agenda…


The Role of Caregivers in Assessing and Managing Risk Related to Opioid Use – A Tip Sheet

This Tip Sheet that has been developed by a committee representing provincial Children Services , AFPA and ALIGN.

The Role of Caregivers in Assessing and Managing Risk Related to Opioid Use – A Tip Sheet
As a caregiver you are the closest person to the day-to-day activities of a child or youth who may be using opioids. You have a key role on the team who together ensure the tasks in the above diagram occur, plans are implemented and reviewed as circumstances change.

The tip sheet is going out to all the members as agencies have all types of caregivers providing service to children, youth and families. Specific Caregiver Training has also be developed and will be piloted for the fist time at the Alberta Foster Parent Conference this coming weekend. Once feedback is incorporated into the training  the manual will be made available for all to use. I will keep you posted as information becomes available. In the meantime please give the TIP Sheet the widest distribution. Questions can be directed to

See Additional or Related Opioid Information


Child Review Panel News October 2017

Edmonton Journal
Child intervention panel extends its timeline October 4, 2017

Edmonton Journal
‘That system abandoned me’: Child intervention panel hears from Paul First Nation October 2, 2017

Child Intervention Practice Framework (CIPF):
Child Intervention Practice committee is presently reviewing how to create consistencies and best practice provincially through the below initiatives. This committee consists of Regional managers. ALIGN and the AFPA.

See All Child Intervention Review Panel

Three New Children’s Service Divisions and Three New ADM’s

Correspondence form Darlene Bouwsema Deputy Minister Children’s Services to ALIGN ED Rhonda Barraclough October 2, 2017

As you may know, the creation of Children’s Services provided an opportunity to re-imagine the organization and its structure to achieve the renewed mandate and focus on continuously improving the services provided to children, youth and families.

As part of the evolution of Children’s Services, I am pleased to officially announce that we have identified three Children’s Services-specific divisions and the Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs) who will lead them. Each portfolio will be guided by a leader who has a great respect for the work happening in this ministry, and an unwavering commitment to public service.  I am confident that under their guidance, the Ministry of Children’s Services will be well-positioned for success. Effective October 2, 2017:

  • Gloria Iatridis, ADM will lead the Policy, Innovation and Indigenous Connections Division with responsibility for strategic policy and planning, initiative management (including the Ministerial Panel for Child Intervention), corporate quality assurance and Indigenous and community connections;
  • Mark Hattori, ADM will lead the Family and Community Resiliency Division with responsibility for early intervention and prevention programming, community programs and early childhood programs and the Early Learning and Child Care Centres initiative;
  • And Rae-Ann Lajeunesse, ADM will lead the Child Intervention Division with a singular focus on the child intervention system.

I would like to reiterate that no ongoing work will be interrupted. The Ministry of Children’s Services will continue to focus on priorities including the work happening across the province to serve families, the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention and affordable, quality, accessible child care offered through Early Learning and Child Care Centres

There will be no lay-offs as a result of changes and our staff remain committed to serving Albertans. If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please do not hesitate to contact my office, otherwise Assistant Deputy Ministers and their staff will be in touch as part of their regular business with your organization.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment and partnership.

Darlene Bouwsema Deputy Minister Children’s Services


The 15 modules of the course are designed for completion within a maximum time frame of ONE calendar year from your initial registration.  Should it be necessary to extend your study time in the course beyond 12 months, the Centre for Investigative Interviewing is obliged to charge an additional tuition fee of approximately $200 (yearly licensing fee).

  1. Establishing what constitutes ‘best practice’ guidelines
  2. Defining the various questions
  3. Understanding memory and language development
  4. Choosing the most effective open-ended questions
  5. Putting the right questions into practice
  6. Introducing the topic of concern and eliciting a disclosure
  7. Introducing the interview protocol
  8. Assessing your progress
  9. Repeated events
  10. Evidentiary requirements
  11. The “whole” story approach to investigating and interviewing
  12. Cross-cultural issues
  13. Interviewing witnesses with complex communication support needs
  14. Note taking
  15. Putting it all together

New From Alberta Family Wellness Initiative Aug/Sept 2017

The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) provides resources and symposia to bring key stakeholders together to help inform policy and practice in Alberta, so that they can create a common framework of understanding. The AFWI routinely scans academic journals for research articles related to its mission and vision.

Alberta Family Wellness Initiative Research Update August 2017
This packed with great research!

Brain Story Certification
Master Brain Story science fundamentals in a free, online course developed by the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) and endorsed by an expert Curriculum Committee. Over 5,500 students have already signed up: 3,800 students from Alberta, with the rest coming from 32 countries around the world. Brain Story Certification is eligible for accreditation with a number of professional bodies. If you haven’t yet enrolled, join your colleagues by registering now.

How We Talk About FASD: Mapping The Gaps In Our Discussions
In a new, in-depth study, the FrameWorks Institute “maps the gaps” that exist for individuals and agencies seeking to communicate with Manitobans about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The study notes the challenges for communication on FASD, given deeply held beliefs about associated topics including substance use, motherhood, responsibility and morality. FrameWorks also points out that effective discussion requires a clear picture of the core concepts that the public must understand in order to support the initiatives that evidence suggests will create positive change. “Seeing the Spectrum” is highly recommended reading for AFWI followers who recognize the importance of FASD research as it fits in the larger world of brain development, mental health and addiction.

Alberta Disability Forum – Opportunity to Network October 5, 2017 Edmonton

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Thursday, 5 October 2017 from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM (MDT) Edmonton

The forum is an opportunity to network with other organizations that are connected to the disability sector, with discussion and consultation on the future direction of Voice of Albertans with Disabilities,  presentations on the national consultation on accessibility legislation and the Hotel Accessibility Project and updates on the work being undertaken by ADF Working Groups re Accessible and Affordable Housing and Accessibility.

Accessible Hotels in Alberta

Accessible Hotels in Alberta 2017

Voice of Albertans with Disabilities has completed the Creating Accessible Hotels in Alberta project which includes sections on Current Practice, Accessibility Tools and Recommendations for Action. The report provides an overview of the accessibility strategies used internationally and within Canada.

Along with the results of this study, the report also provides tools to assist with assessing and improving accessibility in hotels including:

  1. Templates on Best Practices for Accessible Hotel Rooms and Bathrooms
  2. A Guest Checklist to Assess Accessible Hotel Accommodations
  3. A Hotel Accessibility Self-Assessment Guide for hotels to examine key accessibility elements.

Finally, the report makes recommendations for action that will improve accessibility in hotels.

The full report can be viewed here: Creating Accessible Hotels in Alberta
The summary report can be viewed here: Creating Accessible Hotels in Alberta Summary Report

Participate in Study on the Link Between Children’s Play and Mental Health

Communities For All Children: The loneliness crisis and the decline of free play

The Family and Disability Studies Initiative at the University of Alberta is investigating the link between children’s play and mental health and needs your help

Are you the parent of a 4 or 5 year old child with disabilities? Participation involves completing the ‘Communities for all Children Survey’ this year and once again next year. Upon completion of the project participants will receive a summary of the research findings and a $30 gift card to acknowledge their time.

Phone (780) 492-8568 or email your mailing address to to receive a paper copy of the ‘Communities for all Children Survey’

If you have any questions please contact project manager, Dr Amber Savage, at 780 492 8568, or Professor David McConnell at 780 492 7475

The Procurement Advisory Table (PAT) Final Report to the Ministers of Community and Social Services and Children’s Services August 2017

Update September 2017

Procurement, contracting and contracts continue to be a bit of a ambiguous.  We have met with the DM and Minister regarding the need to have contracts move forward.  We were told that in reality little will move until the Child Intervention Panel concludes and makes recommendations.  We continue to advocate that parts of the system still can be procured, or negotiated.

Procurement Advisory Table – Final Report August 2017

The Procurement Advisory Table (PAT) provided its Final Report to the Ministers of Community and Social Services and Children’s Services. The report includes recommendations for the departments to consider for designing and implementing future contracting approaches.

Arrangements are underway to schedule a meeting involving ALIGN (Rhonda Barraclough) ECVO (Russ Dahms)  ACDS (Andrea Hesse) and Deputy Ministers for both Ministry of Children’s Services and Community and Support Services Shannon Marchand and Darlene Bouwsema the second week of September to determine a course of action going forward considering changes that have occurred since the report was tabled in December.


Response from Minister Sabir to PAT Co-Chair,  Russ Dahms

Terms of Reference

Membership List

Previous PAT Updates

See ALIGN Directory of Contracting News



National Conference on Disability and Work in Canada Ottawa from November 27 – 29, 2017

The conference will take place in Ottawa from November 27 – 29, 2017. This multi-stakeholder gathering will celebrate progress in the employment of persons with disabilities in Canada and develop a vision and strategy for the years to come. This conference is organized by CCRW, ONIWG, Inclusion NL, and CRWDP.

A “Sneak Peak” of AMP New Indigenous Mentoring Resources

SNEAK PEAK: Resources for Mentoring Refugee, Immigrant & Newcomer Children and Youth

To access the resource one more step is required. Please fill in your contact information to assist in the role-out and evaluation of our new resource. AMP will not share your information, it is only for internal tracking purposes. In the next few months they will send you a brief survey asking for feedback.

Notice to Members  from Michael Jan August 1, 2017

AMP partners work to expand and enhance quality youth mentoring programs for young adults across Alberta.  Here is an exclusive opportunity for a “Sneak Peak” of the new Indigenous Mentoring resources. You might use different language or program labels other than mentoring, but the principles and considerations outlined in the document are valuable for any program that supports Indigenous or non-Indigenous relationships. Share your feedback with Michael Janz about how this can be further mobilized into the community.

While ALIGN is a valued “Builder Partner” of the AMP (and Rhonda Barraclough is a member of the Leadership Team), each individual agency should be listed as a AMP Partner! If you have not done so already, please take a moment and fill out our “Partner contact form” so AMP can promote your work and your agency and you can take advantage of our volunteer recruitment capacity! Don’t worry, there is no charge because we are a no-fee partnership

Call for Proposals Alberta College of Social Workers 2018 Annual Conference March 22nd – 24th, 2018

ACSW call for proposal 2018
Alberta College of Social Workers 2018 Annual Conference
March 22nd – 24th, 2018
Double Tree by Hilton Hotel – Edmonton
“Social Justice & Resilience: Moving Forward Together”

ASCW Call Application Form

ALIGN Association Strategic Directions Update – We Want to Hear From You!

Dear ALIGN Members,

I hope you are having a marvelous summer.  ALIGN is reviewing its strategic directions this summer with the goal of having a strategic plan completed this fall that will lead the way for the next few years.  Last week Nicole, Cathy and I held sessions in Lethbridge, Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton.  The feedback we heard has been incorporated into the Draft plan so far.  We want to hear for anyone else who may have great ideas.  So I have attached a draft of the plan and some of the directions members have been suggesting we move towards.  If you have any thoughts on these please or think of other things you would like to see us doing please add them to this document and send it back to me.

I would appreciate your thoughts by August 18.  After that we will be finalizing the plan and taking it to the Board of Directors.  Thank you for your participation and support. See you in the fall at the AGM  Sept 29, 2017

ALIGN Mission/Strategic Planning For Members Feedback

Rhonda Barraclough

Executive Director ALIGN Association

Alberta Government News Release Sole-source Service Contracts Disclosed for Q1

Sole-source Service Contracts Disclosed for Q1
The Government of Alberta’s online database has been updated with service contracts awarded outside a formal competition process during the last fiscal quarter.The Sole-source Service Contract Database has been updated with an additional 769 contracts with start dates on or before June 30, 2017. Of these, 561 provide direct social supports and 208 support government business. The total value of all 769 contracts is approximately $1.9 billion.The online database will continue to be updated on a quarterly basis in support of procurement accountability across the Government of Alberta

CYDL Releases New Reports From the Longitudinal Study Experiences of Alberta Children and Youth Over Time, 2005-06 to 2010-11.

Four new reports have been released from the CYDL’s longitudinal study, Experiences of Alberta Children and Youth Over Time, 2005-06 to 2010-11. This longitudinal, cross-ministry study is an analysis of over two million Albertans and their use of government services over the span of six years.

Findings like those shown in the infographic above can be found in four new reports:

The longitudinal study is ground-breaking in it’s multi-year, cumulative approach to the service use of Albertan children and youth as studying experiences over several years of development adds a valuable level of richness.

All current deliverables from this project can be accessed here.

Bill 205 Passed and Establishes an Advocate for Persons with Disabilities in Alberta.

May 24, 2017 the Legislature unanimously passed Bill 205 Tabled by MLA Sandra Jansen, Bill 205 establishes an Advocate for Persons with Disabilities in Alberta. This bill achieves something that people with disabilities and their advocates have been calling for for some time, and its passage is a great step towards building a more inclusive society.

4th Edition of the Signs of Safety Briefing Paper Released May 2017

The Signs of Safety is a constantly evolving practitioner’s model and because of this, written material cannot usually keep up with the latest developments. The Signs of Safety Briefing Paper has been continually updated to provide the most up to date overview of the Signs of Safety as it continues to evolve. This fourth edition of the Signs of Safety Briefing Paper offers a comprehensive overview of the Signs of Safety approach and underpinning theory, as well as detailing the research and implementation science that supports it.

Signs of Safety IT System Breakthrough Day for the Signs of Safety Approach.

Signs of Safety IT System April 24, 2017 was a breakthrough day for the Signs of Safety approach.
On that day in Islington London, together with Servelec HSC, the first fully specified Signs of Safety information management system was launched.

The system’s forms embed all the of the Signs of Safety practice elements, from intake through to closure, and include all the assessment and planning methods. Comprehensive Signs of Safety practice guidance is also embedded throughout the system. Since the Servelec system is built in the English context, the system is also fully compliant with English legislative and statutory returns requirements…

With the launch of the Signs of Safety IT system, Signs of Safety consultants can now offer any child protection organization the forms, experience and IT partners that are needed to implement a Signs of Safety IT system for their agency. This will enable the agency to create the recording environment where workers are supported to practice using the Signs of Safety approach, and deliver an IT system that workers will want to use because it will help them carry out their direct work with families…

See More Signs of Safety News and Resources

ALIGN to Present at Child Intervention Review Panel. Member Submissions & Presentations Encouraged

May 10, 2017
Dear ALIGN Members,

Over the next few months we have an incredible opportunity to ensure that The Child Intervention Panel (currently tasked with reviewing and revising the current child welfare system in Alberta) are informed, encouraged, educated and influenced by agencies, educators and the families who receive service. ALIGN is preparing to make a presentation to the panel regarding the work that sector agencies do and the need for resourcing the valuable information agencies can contribute.  We expect that they will be interested in hearing from various sectors such as group care, kinship and foster care.

The Panel members currently have a basic knowledge regarding intergenerational trauma, the CORE story, child development, and the importance of early intervention among other areas of importance.  Over the next 2 months they have expressed interest in furthering their understanding and awareness in these and related areas. Your submissions and presentation will provide them further insights and assist them to better determine what they require additional information on.

It is likely that time lines for presentations will be very short; therefore, I would suggest that agencies collaborate if possible when making written submissions and include an offer to present if you feel it is appropriate.  Share your thoughts with the panel

A few recommendations:

I highly encourage you to listen to the live stream audio segments of the child intervention panel.  You can listen to them by going to Panel Meetings

  • If there a group of you doing the same or similar work and you feel that the panel needs to know about it, do a joint submission.
  • Don’t put too many issues into a submission. Try to keep it to one or two issues so that they can absorb the importance of your concern.  Make separate submissions for each topic area you want them to hear about.
  • Use the guideline on the website Share your thoughts with the panel
  • If there is research that backs up your point, attach it to the submission but don’t send books. Find relevant adequate article and send the link to them if you can.


If you are sending in a submission or presentations, please submit a copy to me at  so we can include it on our ALIGN Review Panel Page  – this will assist members to avoid repetition.  The panel is only sitting to August 1, 2017 so don’t delay – if you want to say something now is the time!

Thank you, if you have any questions or want any advice on this please don’t hesitate to email or call me


Rhonda Barraclough
Executive Director ALIGN Association for Community Services 780 233.5459


For More Resources View  ALIGN Review Panel Page

ALIGN/AFPA – Mental Wellness for Children and Youth in Care: Support for the Caregiver Conference Edmonton January 25, 2017

The main theme of the Mental Wellness for Children and Youth in Care: Support for the Caregiver symposium was the mental wellness of children and youth in care, the use of psychotropic medications and how caregivers can become more knowledgeable in supporting these youths. Caregiver encompassed agency and department foster parents, kinship parents, adoptive parents, residential and group care staff. The theme of the day presented by culturally informed medical experts, is the mental wellness of children/youth in care and the use of psychotropic medications considering issues such as the child’s emotional, medical and cultural needs. Youth themselves and representatives from the Office of the Children’s Advocate presented. The day ended with a panel discussion. Presenters: Dr. Wanda Polzin; Clinical Director at CASA in Edmonton, AB Dr. Lana Potts; Family Physician Siksika Family Clinic and Jeffery Cheng and Sheena Stevens; CYS Mental Health Nurses.

Welcome & Introductions Mental Wellness for Children and Youth in Care: Support for the Caregiver Edmonton January 25, 2017

Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Randy Baker, Lee Bowers & Adreana Brochu OCYA Representatives & Youth

Panel Discussion

The Importance of Caring for the Care Giver Dr. Wanda Polzin, MA, RSW, EdD Clinical Director – CASA

Understanding Psychotropic Medications for Children in Care Jeffrey Cheng /Sheena Stevens Nurse Consultants – CASA

Who We Are First Nations People in Alberta Dr. Lana Potts Family Physician

Human Service Worker Wellness and Safety Bulletin April 2017

ALIGN Association of Community Services knows our member agencies make employee safety and wellness a priority so here is a helpful  collection of research, tools and training that can support you in that effort.  At the bottom of this bulletin you will find direct links to the related ALIGN online directories where you can access additional resources.

UofA New Research Study – Seeking Parents With Learning Difficulties

Support Needs and Service Pathways Project
The University of Alberta is investigating the support needs of moms and dads who have difficulties with learning or remembering, and we need your help. If you take part in this project you will be interviewed by a researcher. A researcher will meet with you at your home, or somewhere else if you prefer. The researcher will ask you some questions about your family and community, and the kind of help you might like with parenting.

Upon completion of this project participants will receive a summary of what we learn, and a $30 gift card to thank them for their time. View Full Invitation to Support Needs and Service Pathways Project for Parents with Learning Difficulties

If you have any questions, or would like to participate in this project, please contact Dr Amber Savage at (780) 492-8568 or by email:

Related Resources

New Website: Supporting Parents with Learning Difficulties

UofA Family and Disability Studies Initiative
Find information about past and current projects, download research

ALIGN E.D. Correspondence – Alberta Community and Social Services Assistant Deputy Minister Announcement

(Correspondence To ALIGN Association April 12, 2017 from David Morhart  Deputy Minister Alberta Community and Social Services)

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of John Stinson as our new Assistant Deputy Minister for the Disability, Inclusion and Accessibility Division of Alberta Community and Social Services.  This role provides the strategic oversight of the department’s disabilities support programs, including the statutory director responsibilities, and will work closely with the Service Delivery Portfolio on the provision of supports to Albertans across the province.

John comes from Manitoba with an extensive background in the public service, including roles as Chief Executive Officer of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, CEO of the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, Vice-President of Acute Care and Planning with South Eastman Health, as well as roles within Manitoba Health and Treasury Board Secretariat.  John brings strong leadership skills in multi-stakeholder consensus building, strategic planning and community development.  He has led and championed cultural change within and across organizations and brings an effective interpersonal style, including a great sense of humour, that embraces collaborative engagement of staff, colleagues and stakeholders.

John will begin his new role on May 23.  In the interim, John Cabral will continue to cover in this role and will be key in transitioning the file on John S’s arrival.

Please join me in congratulating John S. in taking on this new role and in thanking John C. for his continued leadership before his transition back to Alberta Seniors and Housing.

David Morhart  Deputy Minister Alberta Community and Social Services

See More Related to Ministry Transition


NDP Vows Quick Action But Opposition Frustrated As Child Intervention Panel Meets In Calgary

NDP Vows Quick Action But Opposition Frustrated As Child Intervention Panel Meets In Calgary / Calgary Herald March 30, 2017
The NDP government is prepared to introduce legislation this spring to begin fixing the child welfare system, Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee said Thursday. But as Alberta’s ministerial child intervention panel met in Calgary for the first time, opposition MLAs on the committee are expressing frustration around the process.
The panel was created after revelations about the death of Serenity, who was in government care in 2014 when she died of a traumatic head injury suffered while living in a kinship care program with private guardians.

Child Intervention Review Panel  Articles, News and Updates

Ministerial Child Review Panel Meeting Summary Feb/March 2017


Child Intervention Review Panel  Articles, News and Updates

Budget Updates Danielle Larivee Minister Children’s Services March 16, 2017

Children’s Services Non-Voting Operational Expense Budget 2017

All children and families in Alberta deserve opportunities to thrive within strong, supportive communities. Our government created a new, standalone Children’s Services ministry so that we can focus on improving the supports we provide for young people and their families. Today I am thrilled to share details on commitments that our government is able to make to Children’s Services in Budget 2017.

All children and families in Alberta deserve opportunities to thrive within strong, supportive communities. Our government created a new, standalone Children’s Services ministry so that we can focus on improving the supports we provide for young people and their families. Today I am thrilled to share details on commitments that our government is able to make to Children’s Services in Budget 2017.

Budget 2017 is focused on strengthening the things that matter most to Albertans, such as creating and supporting jobs, making life more affordable for families and protecting public services.

As Alberta’s population continues to grow, the economic downturn puts additional pressure on the social services sector. Despite this, Budget 2017 makes an additional investment of $86 million in Children’s Services to:

  • provide stable funding to maintain the programs and services that support at‑risk children and youth;
  • focus on protecting children;
  • and support working in partnership with communities and Indigenous partners to build relationships and improve outcomes for all children.

This year, our ministry will invest almost $1.4 billion to keep children healthy and safe, support parents with child care and build stronger families and communities by maintaining the quality of programs and services.Children’s Services Non-Voting Operational Expense Budget 2017

Budget 2017 protects previous investments and accommodates caseload growth including an additional:

  • $32.5 million for child intervention for total funding of $763 million. This includes $5 million for about 60 new positions (FTEs);
  • $14.3 million for child care for total funding of $321 million. This includes supports for a growing number of child care programs to become accredited and to recruit and maintain qualified staff.
  • $10.6 million for early intervention services for children and youth for total funding of $103 million so that we can continue to invest in enhanced early childhood development and parenting resources in communities to help families support their child’s optimal health and development.
  • And an additional $27 million for total funding of $174 million for the Alberta Child Benefit, which provides direct financial assistance to all lower income families with income below $41,220 per year

While we have taken action and made significant investments in the future of our province, there is always more that can be done. I remain committed to working with all of you to address the root causes of many of the issues affecting the safety and well‑being of children, including poverty, addiction, mental health concerns, and family violence.

Some of you may be interested in progress towards implementation of the Early Learning and Child Care Centres that Premier announced in November. We are making progress towards identifying the successful applicants and I hope to be able to announce the Centres soon.

Others may be interested in progress on the work to support the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention. Our government formed the Panel to support families and children by improving the child death review process and strengthening Alberta’s child intervention system as a whole. Once the Panel’s work wraps up, the Panel’s recommendations will guide our ongoing work on this critical priority.

I look forward to sharing more on these initiatives soon.

Budget 2017 is about making lives better for Albertans. It’s about protecting the services that matter and focusing on the areas where we can make a difference today. With a steady approach we will make progress to support families and communities.

More details on Budget 2017 are available online and I look forward to continued discussions about this and other issues that you champion as I meet more of you in the future. In the meantime, if you would like to stay informed about the work in Children’s Services, I invite you to follow the department’s new twitter presence at @AB_Children or reach out to me directly via my office.

Sincerely, Danielle Larivee Minister Children’s Services

Ministry Transition to Children’s Services and Community and Social Services Updates

Transition to Children’s Services and Community and Social Services Updates 2017

Transition Update from Deputy Ministers, Children’s Services and Community and Social Services February 24, 2017
Updates on Child Intervention, Disabilities, Inclusion and Accessibility,Strategic Planning, Policy and Quality Assurance, Corporate Services, Legal Services and Resources.

Transition to Children’s Services and Community and Social Services Updates Feb 17, 2017
See updates on   Child Intervention, Strategic Policy and Early Childhood Development, and Shared Services which includes Corporate Services, Strategic Knowledge and Technology, Legal Services and Human Resources.

Darlene Bouwsema Deputy Ministers of Children’s Services and Community and Social Services February 10, 2017
See updates on Communications, Ministry Logo,  Children’s Services, Community and Social Services and Shared Services.

See Additional News, Updates and Articles

Working with Youth to Enhance their Natural Supports: Practice Framework

Working with Youth to Enhance their Natural Supports: Practice Framework
Burns Memorial Fund and United Way of Calgary and Area are pleased to release “Working with Vulnerable Youth to Enhance their Natural Supports: A Practice Framework”. Natural supports are relationships and associations that are ‘natural’ in the sense that they are informally and locally developed; and are based on reciprocity or give and take. Natural supports include family, friends, neighbours, coaches, team-mates, and others who comprise our social network…

Government of Alberta Introducing Legislation Supporting Survivors of Sexual and Domestic Violence

Alberta Government News Release March 7, 2017
Supporting survivors of sexual and domestic violence
The Government of Alberta is introducing legislation today that would increase access to the legal system for survivors of sexual and domestic violence…

Bill 2: An Act to Remove Barriers for Survivors of Sexual and Domestic Violence

Listen to the news conference

Recruitment: Family Support for Children with Disabilities Provincial Parent Advisory Committee

Recruitment: Family Support for Children with Disabilities Provincial Parent Advisory Committee Nation Talk March 6, 2017

Alberta Community and Social Services is looking for parents/guardians of children with disabilities and who are currently accessing the FSCD (Family Support for Children with Disabilities) to sit on the Provincial Parent Advisory Committee (PPAC).  They are seeking representatives from across the provinces and those selected for the PPAC will also be given a seat on the Regional Parent Advisory Committee (R{AC) related to where they live…
Closing Date March 9, 2017

READ: A letter from Minister Irfan Sabir

Public Board Call

Premiers Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and the Provincial Parent Advisory for FSCD looking for applicants to sit on public board

Public Board Call FSCD and PCSPD March 2017 regarding a renewed focus on disability services and the request for people to apply to sit on the Premiers Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and the Provincial Parent Advisory for FSCD.  ALIGN Executive Director Rhonda Barraclough encourages those agencies  in  this area to have people from within your networks to apply.  The premiers council is trying to expand its reach and I think it would be  great way to ensure FSCD and families with persons who have disabilities in them get involved and can influence future directions of the services.  Also note the deadlines are very short.  So please let people know as soon as you can so they have time to apply.

Rhonda Barraclough
Executive Director

Contact Ms. Vicki Bertoia Director PCSPD Secretariat at 780 422-2726 or  Ms. Roxanne Gerbrandt,  Disability Support Branch FSCD PPAC at 780 408-8369

Alberta Government Throne Speech

Today’s speech from the throne takes significant new steps to make life better for Alberta families. Reducing school fees, building new schools, standing up in court for the Trans Mountain Pipeline, working with the federal government to create good oilfield service jobs, implementing a consumer bill of rights and expanding protections for victims of sexual and domestic assault are among key initiatives that will define Alberta’s next legislative session.

“Creating jobs, diversifying our economy, building pipelines and making life more affordable for families – that’s your government’s focus.”

Premier Rachel Notley
View Alberta Government News Release

A Government of Alberta Evening of Appreciation for Alberta Social Workers


Making Lives Better through Service

A Government of Alberta Evening of Appreciation for Alberta Social Workers

Social workers deserve appreciation for the work they do every day to ensure Albertans are supported to live safe, happy, healthy lives in strong communities. That’s why we recognize Social Work Week every March. This year, to celebrate Social Work Week, and to thank Alberta’s social workers for their life-changing work, the Alberta Government is inviting social workers to a Social Work Week Reception.

Please join Community and Social Services Minister Irfan Sabir, Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee, as well as other government officials and caucus members, for an intimate evening to engage in conversation about the important roles social workers play in improving the lives of Albertans. Refreshments will be served.

Date: Tuesday March 7th

Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Location: Wales Room – 10th Floor, Federal Building, 9820 107 Street NW, Edmonton

We look forward to seeing you there!

Please visit the website at and click on the social workers tab and select social work week for additional activities during this week.

AB Child Review Panel News and Updates March 1, 2017

Family voices are needed in child death reviews: Ministerial Panel member By Gareth Hampshire CBC News March 1,2017
One of the members of the Ministerial Panel on Alberta’s child intervention system is pressing the government to include families more when examining the circumstances behind their children’s deaths in care. Patti LaBoucane-Benson delivered the message to a senior official in the Children’s Services department at the latest panel meeting Tuesday…

Alberta Government Child Intervention Panel.

Ministerial panel will explore ways to improve Alberta’s child intervention system.

Meeting Summary Minutes and Audio Recordings

Child Intervention Review Panel  Articles, News and Updates

Neurosequential Model Consultation

If you or your colleagues attended the two day NM Introductory Core Concepts training and implementation sessions provided in your area, and/or if you are interested in consultation to support your practice, Child and Family Services is offering a unique opportunity for consultation of this trauma informed model.

The Neurosequential Model (NM) is a revolutionary evidence-based practice based on the understanding of neuroscience and brain development. This model, developed by Dr. Bruce Perry and his team at The ChildTrauma Academy, has deepened our understanding of how we work with traumatized children and adults. By better understanding the core concepts of the NM, and utilizing that as the framework in which we understand our children and youth, we have increased our capacity to work with our clients, seeing a decrease in restraints and critical incidents, and increase in relational engagement, self-regulation, and staff satisfaction. By helping these children build the capacity to self-regulate using this approach, the children and youth have shown better access to higher-order thinking (executive function skills) and have increased retention and learning potential both in the classroom and in their home environment.

Cost: No cost to agencies. This project is funded by Child and Family Services.

Consultation includes:
1. Monthly teleconference discussions for your agency regarding the implementation and practice of the NM.
2. One half day site visit to your agency
3. 3 to 5 Clinical Consultations on clients of your choosing (using the NMT Web Based Metric)

Space is limited

For more information, contact Dr. Emily Wang at

Board of Directors Announcement of ACDS CEO’s Retirement

Ann Nicol’s retirement as CEO of Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS), effective May 15, 2017. Since 2007, Ann has played a critical role in the development and success of the organization, and while we will miss her and her inspiring leadership, we wish her the best of luck in her retirement and her new ventures. We want to thank her for the 10 years of dedicated service which involved many significant accomplishments.

Please see CEO Retirement Announcement Letter Feb 2017 and Memo from ACDS CEO Jan 24 17

Thank you.

Helen Ficocelli, President ACDS Board of Directors Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS)

The application deadline for the new CEO will be March 24, 2017 or until a suitable candidate is found. . View posting here.

Culture of Secrecy Prompts Outburst at Child Intervention Panel

‘If they can’t give the answer, then why are we here?’: Culture of secrecy prompts outburst at child intervention panel
Emma Graney Edmonton Journal February 22, 2017
Opposition members of the government’s child intervention review panel worry a veil of secrecy and bureaucratic protectionism around child welfare will impede changes to the system. Time and again over the three panel meetings so far, social workers and managers have declined to give their opinions, lobbing the ball back into the court of panel members with, “That’s for you to decide…”

Child Intervention Review Panel Articles, News and Updates

Ministerial Child Review Panel Minutes (2nd meeting)

Ministerial Child Review Panel Minute 2nd mtg
The second meeting of the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention was held Feb 9, 2017 at the Federal Building on traditional Treaty 6 territory. Elder Leonard Bastien provided the opening prayer, sang the Sacred White Buffalo song and acknowledged we were meeting on Blackfoot traditional territory. Elder Bastien spoke passionately of his work with children in care and families engaged with the system. Elder Bastien reminded the panel of the importance of their task on behalf of all children receiving services, particularly indigenous children; overrepresented as a result of the residential school system, cultural genocide and legislation.
The second agenda for the panel was focused on child death investigation and review mechanisms in Alberta. The public were encouraged to submit their views to or on-site through a written submission to the panel. Minister Larivee commented on the positive deliberations of the panel and the Chair acknowledged the commitment of the panel to work together, focused on the safety and well-being of children…

Child Intervention Review Panel Articles, News and Updates

Alberta Child Intervention Panel Holds 2nd Meeting Feb 9, 2017

Alberta child intervention panel holds 2nd meeting By Slav Kornik and Phil Heidenreich Global News Feb 9, 2017
A non-partisan panel tasked with finding ways to improve the province’s review process when a child dies in government care is holding its second meeting Thursday. The public is is invited attend the Ministerial panel on Child Intervention’s meeting at the Federal House in Edmonton Thursday morning…

Child Intervention Review Panel Articles, News and Updates

FAF Software Coming to Edmonton Early March to Provide Training to New Users

FAF Software will be coming to Edmonton in early March to provide training to new users of its research validated Family Assessment Form© and accompanying FAF Software.  They are looking to connect with and help other interested agencies while in town! If you are interested in participating in an info session while we are onsite in Edmonton, or if you are just curious to learn more, please contact us at

FAF Web tool  currently being used by the following agencies to facilitate the implementation of OBSD .
Hull Child and Family Services
McMan Youth Family and Community Services
Unlimited Potential Community Services
Grande Prairie Public School District

FAF Web integrates the research-validated Family Assessment Form © tool with improved case management functions.  With FAF Web, case workers can track information from intake through contacts, service planning, and case closure.  Its service planning feature is an efficient tool for incorporating strengths and concerns into goals developed by case workers and families.  FAF Web meets all needs by tracking and reporting on data related to family functioning, service plans, contact notes, closing summaries, caseload reports, demographic reports, and a host of other evaluation functions.  The newest version of the FAF Web, has all the features of the original FAF Pro software integrated into a platform that users can connect with any time, from anywhere.   The Family Assessment Form (FAF) is the ideal tool for assessment and case management in the family services field is a practitioner developed, user-friendly tool designed to help child welfare and family support workers assess family functioning, develop meaningful service plans, monitor progress, and to assist agencies in measuring program outcomes. The FAF tool tracks, among others, clear indicators of child safety, child well-being, permanence, and family and community support and is the ideal tool for assessment and case management in the family services field. It is a state-of-the-art case management platform designed to support best-practice service planning, program improvement, evaluation, and reporting specifically for family strengthening and home visitation programs.. The newest version of the Family Assessment Form Software, FAF Web, has all the features of the original FAF Pro software integrated into a platform that users can connect with any time, from anywhere. To upgrade to FAF Web or to set up a webinar and discuss purchasing options, please contact: Kaya Okuniewski, FAF Program Manager, at

ALIGN Journal From Theory to Practice Residential Care for Children and Youth Special Edition Vol. 3 March 2017

This particular Special Edition is a compilation of the work that was created and presented at the
From Theory to Practice: Residential Care for Children and Youth Symposium April 28-29, 2016.
The ALIGN Association of Community Services co-hosted this learning event with the Ministry of
Human Services. The session was an opportunity for staff of both the Ministry and agencies to
come together and learn about several organizational models of residential care and how important
it is to use evidence informed practice in our care of these children and youth no matter the
environment. We explored how crucial the Foundations of Caregiver Support are and the significance
of developing meaningful relationships with the children we care for in order to assist the
change process. There was information shared about the effects early trauma and chronic stress
has on brain development and how we as caregivers can help undo some of the early harm done
to children.


Editorial Foundations of Caregiver Support – Jon Reeves

Growing Simple Interactions Inside Everyday Practice – Junlei Li

What Does It Mean to be Trauma Informed? From the Perspective of the Neurosequential Model. – Emily Wang, PH. D., R. Psych.

Sanctuary 101: An Overview of the Sanctuary Model – Ibet Hernandez

The Teaching-Family Model; An Evidenced Based Model – Michele Boguslofski

The CARE Program Model: Theory to Quality Practice in Residential Child Care -Jack Holden and Charles V. Izzo

Death of Disabled Alberta Teen Raises More Questions About Kids in Care Feb 7, 2017

Death of Disabled Alberta Teen Raises More Questions About Kids in Care Feb 7, 2017 Alberta Child Advocate wants improvements after 19 year old died following move to group home
By Gareth Hampshire, CBC News Posted: Feb 07, 2017
The 2014 death of a severely disabled Alberta teenager from a group home has prompted the Child and Youth Advocate to again call for improvements to the province’s child-intervention system.

Child Intervention Review Panel Articles, News and Updates

Persons with Disabilities Needed for the Provincial Transportation Needs Assessment

Persons with disabilities are needed for the Provincial Transportation Needs Assessment conducted by the Medically At-Risk Driver Centre at the University of Alberta. As the scope of the project is provincial in nature, they are trying to get a representative sample from across the province. They still need participants in Calgary (14 more), the North Zone (18 more), the South Zone (19 more) and the Central Zone (9 more).

They are interested in learning more about your transportation needs (e.g., if you are able to get to medical appointments, shops for groceries, clothing, etc. or transportation for social and religious events).
Between December, 2016 and March, 2017, we will be doing a 20 minute phone survey of PWD living in Alberta. During this phone survey, they will be asking questions about how you get to where you want to go and what places you don’t go to because you don’t have a ride. They also will ask you questions about what type of service (e.g., a handivan or a bus) is needed in your community to help you to stay mobile.

Once they have finished the survey and tabulated all the information, we will share this information with individuals and organizations in communities across Alberta. That way, communities can use the information to start or improve transportation services in their area. If you are interested in taking part in this survey, you can let the staff at the (name of organization) know. They will add your name and phone number to our list of individuals who want to be called. They will not share your name and phone number with anyone not involved in they

Help them recruit by sending names (and phone numbers) of individuals who would be willing to participate by faxing the attached sheet to the MARD Centre at: 780-492-2593. Once they get the names, they forward them on to Banister Research who then makes contact with the individual and schedules a time for them to complete the survey orf you have any questions please contact either
Tara Pidborochynski (Assistant Director) at / 780-248-1728 or
Emily Hussey (Research Assistant) at / 780-492-5892..


Provincial Transportation Needs Assessment Sign-Up Sheet

Privacy vs. Lived Experience: Child Intervention Panel’s Balancing Act

Privacy vs. lived experience: Child intervention panel’s balancing act Edmonton Journal Feb 1, 2017

Shauna Parks was a teenager in government care when she contributed to an overhaul of Alberta’s child welfare act 20 years ago.

Now with a master’s degree in social work, she traveled Wednesday to Edmonton from Calgary for the first meeting of the province’s child intervention panel…

See More
Child Intervention Review Panel Articles, News and Updates

New Volunteer Screening Program Improves Safety

New Volunteer Screening Program Improves Safety
Alberta non-profits now have access to new tools to help strengthen the safety and security of the most vulnerable Albertans.

In partnership with the Government of Alberta, they work with Alberta’s nonprofit sector to address volunteer screening and engagement and encourage a balance between participation, protection, and privacy. Volunteer screening helps foster safe communities and supports organizations to fulfill duty of care – for clients, volunteers, and community.

Developed with the input of non-profit voluntary sector stakeholders and police agencies, Alberta Culture and Tourism’s new Volunteer Screening Program will assist non-profit organizations with a range of resources to help reinforce existing volunteer screening practices or establish robust new ones.

Tools and training provided through the program will help organizations conduct a more thorough assessment of potential volunteers from the applications stage through interviews and reference checks to ongoing support, supervision and evaluation. In addition to identifying potential risks, effective screening also helps organizations better match the skills and experiences of volunteers with the right role in the organization.

The Volunteer Screening Program is a unique partnership funded by Alberta Culture and Tourism and administered and delivered by Volunteer Alberta. The program expands upon the existing Volunteer Police Information Check Program with a strong focus on education to support the development and enhancement of volunteer screening and management programs through online resources, learning modules, webinars and workshops.

Funding support for the cost of vulnerable sector police checks for eligible non-profit organizations will continue to be available through the program. A total of $44,000 has also been allocated to fund a limited number of Screening Development Grants. Eligible organizations can apply for a maximum of $2,000 to support efforts to build effective screening programs and practices.

Inclusion Alberta – Cabinet Shuffle: Initial Implications for Children & Adults with Developmental Disabilities Jan 20, 2017

Inclusion Alberta – Cabinet Shuffle: Initial Implications for Children & Adults with Developmental Disabilities Jan 20, 2017

Cabinet Shuffle: Initial Implications for Children & Adults with Developmental Disabilities & Their Families
Yesterday, Premier Notley shuffled her cabinet and created a new Ministerial position responsible for Children’s Services. The new Minister is Danielle Larivee.

This new department will be responsible for child care, early learning and development, child intervention, foster care and adoption, and relationships with Indigenous communities. Inclusion Alberta has repeatedly raised with this and previous governments its concerns about the very large number of children with a wide range of disabilities that are in the child intervention and foster care system. In addition, parents with intellectual disabilities also come into frequent contact with the child intervention system. Both children with disabilities and parents with intellectual disabilities have not been receiving the supports and knowledgeable resources which are essential for their greater safety and well-being. Simply separating child intervention into its own department will not substantively address the needs or significant safety concerns of children with disabilities who come into contact with child intervention or address the supports parents with intellectual disabilities require to successfully raise a family. In fact, the separation may put both children with disabilities and parents with intellectual disabilities at greater risk unless Minister Larivee is prepared to ensure, within her new portfolio, the necessity for knowledgeable and appropriate disability related supports is taken into account… Read Full

Cabinet changes focus on protecting children, communities A new Ministry of Children’s Services has been given a mandate to fix longstanding child intervention problems Alberta Government News Release January 19, 2019

Danielle Larivee to lead new child services ministry in Alberta cabinet shakeup Edmonton Journal 19, 2017

Danielle Larivee New Child Services Ministry in Alberta

Cabinet changes focus on protecting children, communities A new Ministry of Children’s Services has been given a mandate to fix longstanding child intervention problems Alberta Government News Release January 19, 2019
Danielle Larivee will serve as Minister of Children’s Services. She most recently served as Minister of Municipal Affairs. Shaye Anderson will serve as Minister of Municipal Affairs. He will also join Minister Larivee on the Municipal Governance Committee. Human Services will be renamed “Community and Social Services” and will continue to be led by Minister Irfan Sabir… Read Full



Inclusion Alberta – Cabinet Shuffle: Initial Implications for Children & Adults with Developmental Disabilities Jan 20, 2017

Danielle Larivee to lead new child services ministry in Alberta cabinet shakeup Edmonton Journal 19, 2017

PDD by the Numbers Fall 2016

Alberta Human Services Demographics and Regional Numbers Fall 2016
There are seven Human Services regions across Alberta. Each region contracts a number of service providers that provide supports to Albertans with developmental disabilities through the PDD program. As well, in each region, there are a number of families who manage their own supports, rather than having a service provider manage their services. Below is a regional breakdown of the number of individuals receiving PDD services, the number of service providers, and the number of families who manage their own PDD supports, as of September 2016.

Global News – Alberta should use ‘holistic’ approach to safety standards for people with disabilities: report

Global News – Alberta should use ‘holistic’ approach to safety standards for people with disabilities: report By Phil Heidenreich Oct 26, 2016

A team tasked with developing new policy alternatives for how the Alberta government approaches safety for people with disabilities submitted its final report to Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir Wedensday.

The report, Supporting Safe and Inclusive Lives, saw the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) Safety Standards Consultation Team speak with more than 2,000 Albertans over the last year about how to allow people with disabilities to lead safer lives while also being treated the same as all other Albertans…

Government of Canada Consulting with Canadians on Planned Accessibility Legislation 2016

Consultation objective: Canadians, communities and workplaces benefit when everyone can participate equally in everyday life. There has been much progress in making our society more inclusive, but we can do better. This is why the Government of Canada is committed to developing new planned accessibility legislation to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians who have disabilities or functional limitations. Many Canadians continue to face barriers that affect their ability to participate in daily activities that most people take for granted.

What does an Accessible Canada mean to you? – Video
Participate in the online questionnaire
Guide for more information

New Canadian Classification Tool for Autism 2016

New Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF:SC) from CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research at McMaster University Canada. The Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF:SC) is a five-level descriptive system based the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF).

PDD Alberta Human Services – Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) 2016

On June 1, 2016, Minister of Human Services Irfan Sabir committed to reviewing the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS) and bringing in a policy that is respectful in gauging the supports that people with developmental disabilities need. Identifying an alternative approach to planning supports for individuals in a fair, transparent and consistent manner will include exploring best practices, careful planning, and taking the necessary time to get it right.

Safety Standards update letter for individuals, families and guardians and service providers, May 3, 2016

Safety Standards News Release, April 1, 2016

PDD Safety Standards Consultation

Government Takes Action To Protect The Safety And Dignity Of Persons With Developmental Disabilities 2016

During the public consultation on the standards of safety for Albertans receiving supports through the PDD program, participants said the Regulation was confusing and caused undue stress in the community. The Minister accepted the Consultation Team’s Phase One recommendations in its summary report Read Full Release Here

Consultation Phase One Summary Report
PDD Safety Standards Consultation
News: Albertans invited to share ideas about safety and disabilities

Tackling the Autism Crisis in Alberta

Tackling the autism crisis in Alberta – 4 part series CNW CALGARY, Jan. 26, 2016 /CNW/ – An estimated 1 in 86 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) making it the most common childhood neurological condition in Canada. A leader in policy research related to autism, The School of Public Policy is pleased today to release four communiques on issues impacting individuals with autism, their families and caregivers. The goal of The School is to provide relevant and applicable research on a problem that is growing and that will have major social and economic costs in Alberta, and worldwide…