Kids Need Families and Families Need Support

Let us know where you'd like to see a PACT Program

Adoption Across the Lifespan

A Workshop Series

The Adoption Council of Ontario has developed a series of workshops designed to equip adoptive and permanency planning parents, adoption workers, social workers, foster parents, resource workers and mental health therapists with knowledge and skills needed to promote the child and family’s healthy adjustment to adoption, across the lifespan.

Workshops are designed for face-to-face presentations to small and large groups.  Each workshop can be customized according to the specific needs of an agency and/or group of interested parents /professionals, as required. Practical tools and strategies that can applied to practice as well as information and resources to facilitate ongoing learning by participants will be provided.

Workshop Offerings:

  • 1. Transitional Planning

    For all parties to the adoption process-the child, the birth parents, the prospective caregivers, and the foster parents, adoption and permanency planning are profound, life-altering events.  Protecting the child from the harmful effects of moves while simultaneously facilitating the child’s successful adjustment and integration into a new family unit are the goals of transitional planning.  Participants will learn  how to help  children make a smooth transition to adoption and permanency planning and will gain evidence-based knowledge about contributors to successful placement outcomes.

  • 2. Talking to Kids about the Tough Stuff

    One of the most important tasks for all adopted children to master is the acquisition of an age-appropriate understanding about life events from birth to present.  However, by the time that children begin to show curiosity about their biological origins or the events that culminated in their adoption placements, many foster and adoptive parents lack knowledge and skill on what to say or how to answer the tough questions, especially when their child(ren)  come from a history of grief, loss and trauma.  Equipping caregivers with the confidence and competence to promote open, fluid channels of communication with their children, about issues of relevance, is the goal of this workshop.

  • 3. Healing from Trauma and Loss

    As children settle into stable, secure and loving adoptive and permanency planning families, they have the potential to begin moving forward through an intense process of healing from grief, loss and trauma.  For caregivers and therapists alike, having knowledge about the impact of loss/trauma as well as the corresponding tasks that children must master is pivotal.

  • 4. Open for Discussion: proactive planning for openness after adoption

    Adopted children and youth benefit when they are able to maintain positive connections with their birth family members and maintain cultural connections. However, these relationships can be complex and difficult to navigate for youth and their adoptive and birth families. This workshop focusses on assessment, education and mediation tools and strategies with a focus on pre-placement planning for openness; supports that can realistically be provided to families post-placement.
  • 5. Adoptive parenting and Social Media: the best defense is a good offence

    When it comes to ‘untangling the web’ the best defence is a good offence. This workshop will look at how parents and adoption workers can prepare for the realities of openness in adoption in a world of social media by learning about the internet and openly addressing their children’s interest in learning more about their birth families of origin.

  • 6. Looking Through a Permanency & Adoption Lens: Understanding the Complex Mental Health of Children, Youth and Their Families

    Meeting the mental health needs of individuals and families touched by adoption requires specialized training in assessment, diagnosis and intervention. At each phase of the clinical process, clinicians must be attuned to the complex array of historical and contemporary factors impacting the lives of their clients and, specifically, to the ways in which the adoption experience can influence their identity, relationships and development.

    This workshop was developed by the ACO to be the first step of the ACO’s comprehensive Permanency and Adoption Competency Training Program (PACT). Its aim is to create permanency and adoption-informed child welfare and mental health practitioners who can support families created through adoption, kinship and guardianship placements in meeting the complex and challenging mental health related challenges experienced by this population.

Lead presenters

Judy Archer

Judy Archer is the Manager of the Permanency and Adoption Support Services team. Judy has over 40 years of experience working in the field of adoption, foster care, and special needs. She has also had the privilege of providing a myriad of mental health services in First Nation communities on Vancouver Island and at family services agencies in both Vancouver and Northern Ontario. 

Pat Convery

As the Executive Director of the Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO), Pat is constantly learning about the special areas of permanency planning and adoptive parenting that need to be mastered to truly help children move into new families when birth family are not able to provide the lifetime stability they need.  Pat brings over 30 years of clinical experience in adoption, child welfare, assessment and mediation. She spent many years with Children’s Aid Societies, working as an adoption social worker and in adoption program development and coordination.

For more information and to book a workshop contact: 

Judy Archer –

Schedule & Cost


  • $600 for ½-day (3.5 hours) – plus travel expenses.


  • $1200 for 1-day (7 hours) – plus travel expenses.

Schedule and Timing: 8:30pm to 4:30pm

The Workshop may be offered within the GTA or in communities across the province, upon request. If you are interested in bringing the Workshop to your agency or community please email

***Veuillez noter que  ces cours ne sont pas encore disponibles en français. Afin d'évaluer la demande pour ces cours, s'il vous plaît écrivez-nous à et laissez-nous savoir si vous êtes intéressés à avoir ces cours disponibles dans votre région en français.

For background information on the ACO’s overall Permanency and Adoption Competency Training Program (PACT) initiative in Ontario please click here

PACT Trainers and Pathways Parent Support Leaders login here

Questions? Contact us