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Child Legal Representation Conference

2022 Best Practices in Child Legal Representation Conference

October 24-25, 2022 – River Cree Resort and Casino, Enoch, Alberta


Tickets are still available for the 2022 Conference! Visit www.lrcyconference.ca


The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) is hosting its biennial Best Practices in Child Legal Representation conference October 24 & 25, 2022 at the River Cree Resort and Casino near Edmonton, Alberta. This year we will be offering both in-person and virtual attendance.

Conference Goals:

The goal of the conference is to further explore child participatory rights and to develop and improve child legal representation practices by:

  • Providing a forum to learn about new areas of practice and to share practice experience
  • Showcasing best practice in child legal representation
  • Examining child intervention (welfare) practices and child legal representation
  • Heightening awareness of the importance of connections for children and youth

The conference will be an opportunity to reflect and develop new plans for practice and ultimately to provide better outcomes for children and youth.

The Conference

The conference can be attended in person and will also be livestreamed for remote speakers and conference attendees. Over the 2 days, there will be keynote speakers, breakout sessions, panel discussions, and opportunities to network.
To find out more, go to the conference website: www.lrcyconference.ca.


Please contact Kirsten Wiebe at LRCY.information@ocya.alberta.ca


Past Conferences

Children’s Participation in Justice Processes: Finding the Best Ways Forward

A National Symposium on Hearing the Voice of the Child in Legal Proceedings

September 15 & 16, 2017 – Calgary Alberta

This two-day national symposium gathered leading stakeholders to share information and talk about how the voices of children and youth are heard, their interests are protected and their evidence is received in justice processes.

The symposium featured keynote speakers Mr. Sheldon Kennedy of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Dr. Nicole Sherren of the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

Finding the Best Ways Forward was a project of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family and the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Alberta, and has been generously funded by a grant from the Alberta Law Foundation.

Conference Program
Conference Pictures

2015 Conference – Calgary, Alberta

The Best Practices in Child Legal Representation Conference was held May 6-8, 2015 in Calgary at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel.

Conference Host – Del Graff, Alberta Child and Youth Advocate

Special Guest – Honourable Judge Harry M. Van Harten, Provincial Court of Alberta

Keynote Address – Honourable Judge John Reilly

Concurrent Sessions

  • The Good Enough Parent – A standard for assessing parents in the child protection system – Peter Choate
  • Children and Parental Conflict – John-Paul Boyd
  • Child Intervention in Alberta – Kim Spicer
  • Intersection of Representing Children in High Conflict Custody Cases and Child Protection Matters – Andrea Doyle, Denise Harwardt and Zelma Hardin
  • Calgary Police Victim Services Assistance Support Team
  • What’s New at the OCYA – Del Graff
  • Alienation and Estrangement – John-Paul Boyd
  • New Saskatchewan Child Legal Representation – Betty Ann Pottruff
  • Exploring Your Advocacy Through Art – OCYA Youth Advisory Panel
  • World Café
  • The Indigenous Family: Failures in Assessment Process and Ideas for Moving Forward – Peter Choate and Amber McKenzie
  • Practice Issues in Representing Multiple Clients with Competing Interests – Cindy Turner and Gregory O’Laughlin
  • How do Advocates and Lawyers Work Together? – Arlene Eaton-Erickson and Jeremy Williams
  • Discussion with The Law Society of Alberta Practice Advisor – Ross McLeod
  • Secondary Trauma & Self Care – Kerrie Moore
  • Child Advocacy Centre – Linda Anderson

View the 2015 Conference Brochure Here
For Full Bios Click Here

2013 Conference – Jasper, Alberta, Canada

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate hosted its 2nd biennial Best Practices in Child Legal Representation conference October 27-29, 2013 in Jasper, Alberta at the beautiful Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

The conference had a special focus on the rights of the child.

Over 120 delegates, including lawyers, social workers, educators, advocates, and youth attended this event.

Conference Host: Del Graff, Alberta Child and Youth Advocate

Keynote address: Cindy Blackstock, Ph.D. Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (http://www.fncaringsociety.com) and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta

Keynote address: Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D. Senior Fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy, a not-for-profit organiztion based in Houston, Texas (http://www.childtrauma.org/), adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and inaugural Senior Fellow of the Berry Street Childhood Institute, an Australian based centre of excellence

Keynote address: Honourable Judge M. J. Savaryn, Provincial Court Judge, Family Division, Edmonton, Alberta

Concurrent Sessions:

  • Child Welfare & the Charter of Rights – Rachel Birnbaum & Nicholas Bala
  • Alienation, High Conflict Separations, Child Welfare and the Family Justice System – Nicholas Bala & Rachel Birnbaum
  • Searching for the Child’s Voice in Parenting Capacity Assessments (PCA) – Peter Choate
  • Guardianship Applications for Children in Care of the Director – Sonja Lusignan
  • Representing Young People: What We Can Learn From Each Other – Dale Hensley, Cathy Goodfellow, Julie Hart
  • Advancing Legal Recognition of Children’s Rights through Intervener Status in the BC Polygamy Reference Case and the Omar Khadr Case before the Supreme Court: Benefits and Challenges – Kathy Vandergrift
  • Advocating for the Young Client When There are Competing Interests – Evelyn Wotherspoon
  • Chronic Neglect – Causes, Consequences and Implications for Child Advocacy – Evelyn Wotherspoon
  • Representing Children and Youth in Massachusetts: Ethical Issues – Carol Rosensweig
  • Emerging Practices in Child Intervention – Kimberly Spicer

View the 2013 Conference Brochure Here

For more information on the next conference please contact:

Kirsten Wiebe
Phone: (780) 422-6104
Toll-free in Alberta: dial 310-0000, then (780) 422-6104
Email: Kirsten.Wiebe@ocya.alberta.ca