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This parent and caregiver curriculum is informed by and incorporates key concepts from Seneca/Kinship Center’s ACT: An Adoption and Permanency Curriculum for Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals. The goal is to provide compatible information to both professionals and parents to enable them to work together in improving permanency outcomes for children.
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To expand each of the following sections, just click on the title.
The following core beliefs are foundational to the curriculum itself:
The following reflect core competency areas for specific types of knowledge, values and skills. Upon completion of this training participants will:
Session 1, “Parenting Children With Extra Needs” begins the adoption and permanence knowledge and skill building content, focusing on the impact of societal views on the adoption/permanency experience for children and families. The similarities and differences of parenting through adoption/permanence versus non-adoption/permanence are explored, as well as a child’s understanding of adoption/permanence. Openness in adoption is discussed, particularly as it relates to children knowing their story. The extra challenges involved in becoming an adoptive/permanent family are explored with an emphasis on identifying strengths in families that can prepare them for the journey ahead.
Session 2, “Lifelong Issues in Permanence” continues the adoption/permanence knowledge and skill building through an exploration of kinship connections for both children and parents/caregivers. The Seven Core Issues in Adoption and permanence is introduced, and provides a theoretical framework for the class series. The core issues of Loss, Rejection, Shame & Guilt, Grief, Identity, Intimacy and Mastery are discussed as they relate to all members of the adoption/permanence constellation. Recognizing the core issues is an intervention that can assist constellation members and professionals to better understand each other and the adoption/permanence experience.
Session 3, “Childhood Development” presents the stages of child development, as a foundation for understanding what happens when a child’s development is impacted by trauma and loss. Emphasis is given to how children may become “stuck” at an earlier stage of development, based on traumatic life events, and the importance of parents/caregivers parenting to the stage of development rather than chronological age of the child. The difference between a traditional parenting approach and a developmental re-parenting approach is introduced, with focus given to why traditional parenting methods are often ineffective with children who have experienced trauma and loss. Techniques for identifying and meeting the needs underlying children’s negative behaviors are explored.
Session 4, “Creating Positive Attachments, Part 1” introduces the theory of attachment, another foundational concept for this class series. The important role of attachment in the formation of healthy relationships is discussed, and the critical role of the Arousal-Relaxation Cycle in the attachment relationship between child and caregiver. A healthy cycle, in which the child’s needs are consistently met, is described, as well as what happens to children when attachment is impaired by trauma and/or multiple changes in caregivers. The two tasks of the parent/caregiver are defined, which are decreasing distress and increasing pleasure for children. Emphasis is placed on the importance of doing this over and over again as part of the attachment building process, with techniques provided for parents/caregivers to use in assisting their children in forming healthier connections.
Session 5, “Creating Positive Attachments, Part 2”, introduces the science of attachment, and how attachment impacts a child’s developing brain. The neurological benefits of a secure attachment pattern for infants/children is discussed, including the negative impact of chronic neglect/abuse on a child’s regulatory system and attachment pattern. Participants will also learn how their own early life experiences have a lasting impact on their relationships, with emphasis given to the importance of parents being able to regulate themselves before responding to their children’s behaviors. The impact of a parent/caregiver’s attachment style on the child’s resulting attachment style is explored, including the importance of parents/caregivers being attuned to their children’s needs in order for a more secure attachment to develop. Attachment-building behaviors that parents/caregivers can do every day with their children are presented.
Session 6, “Parenting the Child of Abuse and Neglect” gives an overview of abuse, neglect and trauma to provide a context for better understanding children’s histories, behaviors and needs. The therapeutic parenting skills of reflective listening and talking to children about their difficult histories are explored, with examples provided of what children understand about their story at different developmental stages, as well as language to use when sharing particularly sensitive information with children. The lingering feelings that children continue to experience as a result of neglect/abuse, even when they are currently in a safe home environment, is discussed, with further opportunity provided to apply the concepts of developmental re-parenting, attachment-based parenting and therapeutic parenting to children’s challenging behaviors.
Session 7, “Parenting the Child with Drug & Alcohol Exposure” begins with an overview of the high incidence of parental drug and alcohol use in child abuse and neglect cases, including children who are exposed in utero to drugs/alcohol. The impact of prenatal exposure on an unborn child’s central nervous system and brain development is presented, with interventions for care of prenatally exposed infants. The long term impact of in utero exposure is explored, and the concept of sensory processing is introduced to help participants better understand some behaviors of older children who have been prenatally exposed. The importance of using developmental re-parenting, attachment-based parenting and therapeutic parenting techniques with children who have been prenatally exposed is reinforced, with additional guidelines for helping children who were prenatally exposed.
Session 8, "Building a Community-based Family Support Program" provides Pathways to Permanence 2 participants with the tools that they need to begin to build an ongoing parent support network in their community. The participants will be guided and supported by their Pathways trainer and the ACO’s PACT Parent Leader, an experienced adoptive parent who has built a thriving parent support group and youth network in her community. Information and contact information about existing supports and networks in their communities will be provided to participants. The leaders will work with the participants to develop a plan so that the knowledge and the relationships built during the Pathways to Permanence 2 training can continue to grow, and a bridge to an ongoing family support program is created.
In developing the Pathways 2 curriculum, Kinship Center addressed an unfilled need by creating a clinically informed competency building training for parents and caregivers of children that have been traumatized by early abuse and broken attachments in their lives. Traditionally, issues arising in children, and through them the families that care for them, have not been addressed or treated adequately by the social work community at large. Once the legal aspects of the child’s care had been addressed, the family was often left on its own, without the community or other resources needed to help heal the child in their midst. This stress can negatively impact marriages and other children in the family.
The purpose of these classes is to provide a foundation based on both science and experience for parents to better understand and help the children in their care, while guiding them to a functional and healthy adult life. It is the intent of the Pathways to Permanence 2 curriculum to assist parents and caregivers to recognize, identify, and address the core issues with new tools given to them during the series. The parents become empowered and have more empathy as their skills increase. By using the information from this curriculum, families can be stabilized and children helped to heal from trauma.
A guiding theme in this curriculum is the belief that parents and caregivers need to develop a greater understanding of themselves in order to better parent their children, a point that becomes particularly critical when parenting children with traumatic histories. This theme is woven throughout the curriculum, with each theoretical framework or concept that is introduced. For example, the curriculum begins with a recognition of the challenges and strengths faced by each family, asking parents how they refuel to take care of themselves in the face of these challenges. The curriculum then begins to explore concepts as the Seven Core Issues, child development, attachment styles, implicit memory, and internal working models…just to name a few! As each concept is introduced, the discussion questions and exercises are geared toward parents developing an understanding of the concepts in relationship to themselves, as well as in relationship to their child, and then how it plays out in the parent-child relationship.
By having parents and caregivers apply these concepts to themselves as well as their children, the focus shifts from one of “fixing the child” to developing an understanding of trauma and loss as they impact attachment relationships (both parent and child’s), and providing tools to assist parents in their relationships with their children.
Originally created for adoptive parents, relative caregivers, foster parents, and others who are parenting children not born to them, much of the content in the Pathways to Permanence 2 curriculum is also applicable to parents of children who have experienced separation from a biological parent due to divorce, death, incarceration, military service, or other circumstance. Ideally, not only would the parents or caregivers be trained in these concepts and techniques, but also the families’ extended support systems and all the professionals who guide the family in the community.
We are thrilled to report that the University of Toronto will be assisting the ACO in evaluating the effectiveness of ACT and Pathways 2 in Ontario, thanks to a 3-year research grant funded by long-time supporters of the ACO.
Dr. Barbara Fallon, Associate Professor & Associate Dean of Research and Factor-Inwentash Chair in Child Welfare at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto will be working closely with the ACO to design and monitor a comprehensive evaluation system for ACT and Pathways 2. This system will measure the ongoing effectiveness of both ACT and Pathways 2 in Ontario, from the perspective of both professionals and ultimately the families and children they serve. We are excited to work with Dr. Fallon and her colleagues on this initiative and very grateful to the funders who made this possible.
The Pathways 2 curriculum is informed by and incorporates key concepts from Kinship Center’s ACT: An Adoption and Permanency Curriculum for Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals. The original curriculum was created in 1998 at the request of Orange County Social Services Agency. Content for the curriculum was developed by Deborah N. Silverstein, L.C.S.W., taught by Del Stewart L.C.S.W. and Nancy Currie, L.M.F.T., and refined substantially by Allison Davis Maxon, L.M.F.T. Silverstein and Maxon are recognized educators in the child welfare field and in addition they brought a perspective from child and family therapy to inform and to enrich the curriculum. A team of subject experts reviewed and updated content for the 2012 publication of this curriculum, which was field-tested with parent groups in Northern, Central and Southern California.
The eight-session (24-hour) Pathways to Permanence 2 curriculum will be offered on an ongoing basis to parents and other caregivers in various Ontario locations over an 8-week period of time as follows:
Fall: October to December (one 3 hour session per week for 8 weeks)
Winter: January to March (one 3 hour session per week for 8 weeks)
Spring: April to June (one 3 hour session per week for 8 weeks)
Summer: July & August (4 full days over the 2 months)
Cost: There is no cost to parents thanks to funding from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
***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 firstname.lastname@example.org et laissez-nous savoir si vous êtes intéressés à avoir ces cours disponibles dans votre région en français.
To find upcoming offerings, please click here.
Pathways has given our family a whole new vision. It's such a relief to know that we are doing what is right for our son and our family.
Pathways has been a godsend for our family. We were experiencing particular challenges at home and having the support of the training and peers was tremendous and taught me how important it is for me to have access to support. I have a much better sense of adoption related challenges now.
Gave us more insight into grief and loss in adoption and painted a better picture of what our adult sons are actually going through that we don’t often think of because we are reactive and caught up in the moment…. We will not give up. We adopted them for life.
It has improved our relationships immensely. Our house is more calm.... fewer tantrums and acting out. Decoding is amazing!
Huge impact. We didn't feel that we could have our adoptive daughter in our home anymore - we placed her in temporary foster care (we had lost all hope that the situation in the home could improve). By week 6 of the course, we felt we had some insight into her behaviour and felt more positive and we have decided to end the foster placement. I feel better equipped to decode her behaviour, although I know there will be ongoing challenges. We will seek adoption-competent counselling and have the support of the foster care agencies. It will be a long, challenging process but we are now hopeful of a positive outcome.
Gave us a better understanding of brain age opposed to chronological age. Showed us we are not alone with the challenges we face with our child. Gave us different ideas to try.
It helped my co-parenting partner to understand why traditional parenting will not work with our children/teens.
Positively - it has given us hope. Things before this course were very dismal.
This training had a great impact in my life. It taught me the parenting through adoption is different. Also it helped me parent with more empathy and understanding, calm and positive attitude.
Increased knowledge & awareness that there are others who share the same experience, support of other adoptive families. Childcare allowed our son to see that there are others in his situations - make connections with other children.
The Pathways training, gave me the tools to understand my child. There were times when I have felt that no one understands. Sometimes I would wonder what I did. This training and meeting other parents has let me see I am not alone. I now feel empowered. I feel I can do this.
My perspective and perception has changed on this whole thing. Raising my own son vs. raising two children who have experienced trauma and neglect is so polar different, ...this has really helped me to see through fresh eyes, and with much more confidence. The added friendships and support is wonderful!
The community we built was amazing. We really brainstormed to help each other. It felt more like a circle of friends with a wide range of experiences and family make-ups working together.
It has been amazing! We have had the best weeks since starting the group.
There was a HUGE change over the course of the last month of the program. Be it us, the course, time, or our sons changing and adapting we r not sure but what a huge difference in our family life and personal relationships with each of the boys Thank you Pathways!!! For the course, the new friends we made the babysitting services and the chance to realize we r NOT the only ones struggling..... We’re not alone!! That alone made a huge difference for us.
As parents we are continuously needing to learn, Pathways' curriculum was excellent - more parents, early on in their parenting journey, need to benefit from it.
For me as a parent the discussions throughout the trainings were so valuable. The honesty of the sharing and the lack of judgment - the support provided - really helped. The strategies that were shared were practical and applicable. The shared experiences wove nicely with the content of the program which, particularly in sessions 3 onward, was new and relevant.
It allowed me to realize traditional parenting doesn't work and love is not enough but with patient and empathy there is hope and it has already helped my family. I’m grateful and blessed to have taken the course with such wonderful trainers who get it as well.
We are more connected as a family. Also, now that I understand more I find my patience has increased creating a calmer environment which is nurturing healing.
Life-changing skills learned. Wonderful connections made with new friends.
It has helped us with our transition and given us a support system to lean on.
It made me more accepting of where my child is. I now understand a lot of the negative behaviors we were dealing with. My child is having HUGE difficulties dealing with the rejection from his family of origin – I have always recognized this but now I feel I have the tools to deal with it. I feel we can all go forward from here. I have lowered my expectations of him and wait rather than push.
The comfort level I felt in this group surpassed any other training I have ever taken part in.
It has helped me develop my patience and my need to recognize that I need to take care of myself too, and to prioritize this need. It has made me want to reach out and join the post adoption support group.
Being able to learn the stages of adoption was very comforting since it let us know we were not alone. Listening to other parents and watching videos of children who were adopted was encouraging and it was nice to know firsthand what they felt.
Overall, it's helped me understand adoption through the eyes of an adopted child, which I believe is helpful to enabling me to be more empathetic to my child.
The training should be a requirement for all adoptive parents. I would suspect that there would be less disruptions if parents had this support. The ministry needs to continue to support this program and continue to provide the training at no cost. (emphasis added)
This course should be AS MANDATORY as PRIDE is for adoptive/foster parents. I wish I had this training available about 1 year into our life as adoptive parents. I feel our family would have experienced less trauma by having had this knowledge well before our son started school. Early intervention is paramount, right? (emphasis added)
We think this should be mandatory training for all adoptive families (during adoption probation) and foster families readying children for adoption. If there was a second part to this training we would certainly attend.
It changed my whole view about children’s needs. It should be mandatory for all adopting families.
Wish I had this training many years ago.
I was blown away at the amount of information that was clearly and concisely provided in this course.
Excellent initiative that MUST be continued! We NEED the support and information that it provides as our children have unique needs and it’s quite isolating feeling to think you’re the only one experiencing what we experience as an adoptive family.
Time it better with parents who are shortly into their adoption journeys (ie., kids with them for 6-12 months) Keep offering it for sure. It’s a great course….
I think this was a fantastic course. VERY useful. I think it should be mandatory for anyone adopting, but after they have adopted, about 6-12 months in so they have a point of reference. It seems to be much more useful than Pride training, I think for this reason. You now have a child as well as experiences so you can apply the learning right away. I loved the decoding part and the loss circle. Both were highly impactful for us.
Keep offering this training. The fact that it was offered free of charge allowed many of us to participate.
My only real criticism of the course is that I wish it was longer.
I have been Foster to Permanence for 4 years and a PRIDE trainer and this training was by far the best training I have participated in.
When I think back to our PRIDE training and compare it to this, Pathways wins hands down.
PRIDE was mandatory prior to adoption and wasn’t very realistic. Pathways was raw and practical.
The Pathways training specifically targeted trauma and loss and attachment issues in adoption. Almost 100% of children placed for adoption through the public system will have these experiences before they get to an adoptive family. The PRIDE training provided by CAS did not cover any of this. Even foster parents do not receive this level of training and they all should.
It’s engaging, developed in such a way that I can’t believe any adoptive or foster parent couldn’t gain from taking it.
The training was amazing. Questions I had for a long time have finally been answered. I am so very grateful to have found this. My children now have a more attuned mother. Being able to decode their behavior has changed our lives for the better. I also work in this field and am considering taking the professional course too. Thanks you so much for this being free. I could not have come otherwise. EVERYONE NEEDS THIS TRAINING. ESPECIALLY CAS CASE WORKERS!!!!! As a CAS worker myself I can speak to this with certainty.
Keep pushing for therapy and child welfare professionals to take the professional course so that children receive appropriate and sensitive care within their communities.
All foster parents, social workers, pediatricians and child psychologists should pass the training. Anyone interacting with an adoptee should go through this training.
Our 27 Ontario trainers have over 700 years of combined experience in the child welfare and mental health fields. They also represent the different regions of Ontario. All of our trainers demonstrated that they are highly qualified professionals many having both child welfare and mental health experience as well as experience training professionals and/or families. They also exemplified the following attributes we hoped to attract in our team of trainers:
Of our 27 trainers:
Below is a list of our ACT/Pathways 2 Ontario trainers organized by region.
They have all completed the ACT training and comprise the first group of permanency and adoption competent professionals in Ontario.
Judy Archer, MSW, Thunder Bay
Judy is a mental health professional with over 40 years of experience specializing in adoption, child-in-care and special needs (i.e., grief, loss and trauma, FASD, etc.) issues. Before returning to Ontario in 2013, Judy had the privilege of providing adoption and mental services in BC's Lower Mainland and First Nations communities on Vancouver Island. Judy is an experienced trainer and has written adoption-related curricula for the Ministry of Children & Family Development in BC, including the curriculum for the mandatory pre-adoption training program for prospective adoptive parents. While working in the PASS Program at the ACO, Judy provided counselling and support services to all members of the adoption constellation, at all stages of the adoption process, as well as consultation to community partners. Currently in private practice, Judy provides counselling, consultation & training in adoption and child-in-care issues.
Loretta Montgomery, CYW, Thunder Bay
Loretta is an adoption worker with the Children’s Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay. She is an accomplished child welfare professional with over 28 years of experience working with children and families. She has also worked as a full-time trainer for the CAS with a focus on facilitating PRIDE pre-service training for prospective foster and adoptive applicants and the facilitation of ongoing training for resource families, including the PRIDE in-service curriculum.
Melissa Pye, Sioux Lookout
Melissa has spent the majority of her career employed at Children's Centre Thunder Bay where she worked as a Psychological Associate. She completed her undergraduate degree at St. Francis Xavier University (’03), before moving to Thunder Bay to attend Graduate School. Melissa completed her Master’s degree at Lakehead University (’06) where she studied the impact of personal strengths and resiliency on classroom behavior and performance in young students. Some of Melissa’s early professional experiences included working in Day Treatment Classrooms, and completing learning assessments however she quickly found her niche when she began practicing Dialetical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and consulting to the Short-term Treatment and Assessment Unit (STAT unit). The STAT unit is a 90 day residential treatment program, whose clientele seems to include a large number of children in foster care, kinship care, and those who have been adopted and at risk of placement breakdown. Melissa is an adoptive mother of two and a foster parent for the Children's Aid Society, so educating others about the necessity of post-adoption supports is a cause that is near and dear to her.
Central Ontario - north of GTA
Laura Banks, BA, Orillia
Laura is a mental health professional in private practice. She provides counseling, education, advocacy, skill development and service coordination to families in adoption. Laura also sits on several Boards and Committees with the clear intent of assisting children to find permanency and healing in their lives. Laura is an adoptive parent to seven children and has been a Treatment Foster Care parent for over 18 years. She is an experienced trainer to adoptive and foster parents and others.
Karen Moore, RSW, MA (Leadership), Lanark County
Karen is a mental health professional, a creative and innovative manager and leader in Lanark County. She is the Director of Services at Open Doors, a children’s mental health centre in Lanark County. Karen also has a private practice in Kanata working with children, youth and families. She has been involved in the world of adoption and children’s mental health for many years through her experience in social work, training and development and leadership positions. Karen is also an adoptive parent of four children.
Central Ontario – east of GTA
Dr.Charlie Menendez, Psychologist, Peterborough
Charlie is a clinical psychologist providing assessment, treatment and consultation services for children, adolescents, adults and families as well as individuals with special needs with a particular focus on supporting children in care or being adopted, and those who care for them. He has over 25 years of experience as a therapist and counselor. Charlie is also an experienced trainer of professionals.
Teresa Jarosz, BSW, Durham
Teresa is an approved adoption practitioner and a social worker with over 20 years experience. She provides supportive counseling for adopted youth and parents and assisted families in locating and accessing mental health services. She is an experienced PRIDE trainer and is a trainer of foster parents. She is also an adoptive parent.
Jackie Robertson, Cobourg
Jackie is a Registered Psychotherapist in private practice and Clinical case Consultant for Child Welfare. She has been in the field for over 30 years; with extensive experienced in the field of mental health and child welfare. Jackie completed the Adoption Competency Training (ACT), facilitates Pathways to Permanence II training and has her level II in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. She has worked extensively with adoptive families, abused and traumatized individuals and provides parental coaching.
Lesley Allen B.S.W, Sarnia
Lesley is a Social Worker with over 17 years experience in a variety of roles in Child Welfare. Lesley’s currently role with CAS is to provide clinical supports to families post adoption. Lesley also works as a private practitioner, providing counseling services to families and individuals with a focus on supporting blended and non-traditional families. Lesley is also a PRIDE Trainer, as well as having trained programs in crisis management and de-escalation strategies. Lesley has significant experience working in the non-traditional concurrent planning / foster for permanency model.
Barbara Jones Warrick, M.Ed. Counselling, Registered Psychotherapist, London
Barbara is a mental health professional in private practice. She is a child and family therapist specializing in play therapy and provides individual, family and group services to diverse populations. She is also a sexual assault counsellor at ANOVA where she provides clinical counselling and supervision. Barbara trains and instructs professionals in various forms of therapy. Barbara brings her own personal experience as an adopted person to her work.
Loralin Tansley, MSW, Brantford
Loralin is a child welfare professional with over 16 years of experience. She works at the Brant Family and Children’s Services and for the past 11 years she has been specifically working in the areas of adoption and foster care. She has been a trainer since 2004, has been a PRIDE trainer since 2007 and has been a trainer with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies since 2010.
Cindy Stewart, CYW, London
Cindy is a mental health professional in private practice. She offers post adoption support to adoptive families and co-facilitates an interracial adoption support group and an adopted teen group. She has child welfare experience facilitating successful foster placements and providing individual counseling to children and youth. She also worked in group homes for eight years with teens and youth. Cindy brings her personal experience as a parent to biological and adoptive children and as an adopted person to her work. Cindy is also a private investigator interested in search and reunion work.
Central Ontario - west of GTA
Mary-Jo Land, Registered Psychotherapist, Priceville/Hamilton
Mary-Jo is a private practice clinician offering individual and family therapy. Her primary focus in therapy is resolving early childhood trauma and facilitating (secondary) attachment of children to their parents, foster and adoptive parents. She offers consultation and supervision to therapists in the field and offers workshops internationally in the fields of attachment, bonding and trauma to parents and to therapists. Mary-Jo is a parent to biological and adoptive children and an experienced foster parent.
Caroline Sears, MSW, Dundas
Caroline is a social worker with many years of experience working as a grief counselor in the healthcare field. She is now working as an adoption therapist providing counseling for pre-adoptive and adoptive parents to address infertility and adoption, grief and loss, trauma and neglect, attachment difficulties, emotional effects of parenting children with learning disabilities, FAS, medical concerns and developmental or social concerns. She also has over 15 years of experience parenting adoptive and biological children.
Elaine Ash, MSW, Toronto
Elaine has been working in the field of mental health for over 35 years. She has experience working in child welfare and working with First Nations children. She worked for many years at the Out-Patient Child and Family Clinic at Trillium Health Partners, Credit Valley Hospital and has a private practice with the primary focus being Post-Adoption Integration work and addressing the mental health needs of children and youth who are navigating their lives as adopted children. Elaine is an experienced instructor and trainer and is an adoptive parent.
Darby Crosby, MA, RMFT, RP, Stouffville
Darby is an adoptive parent, a Registered Psychotherapist and on the Registry of Marriage and Family Therapists. She works full time at Family Services York Region and has a small private practice. She has provided counselling to individuals, couples and families who are dealing with various issues such as parenting, adoption, trauma, grief, anxiety, depression and domestic violence for over 15 years. Her experience includes working with all members of the adoption constellation. Darby has been a PRIDE trainer since 2007.
Lorraine Franco, MSW, Mississauga
Lorraine is a mental health therapist and an approved adoption practitioner. She worked as a Child and Family Therapist at a children’s mental health agency and now works in private practice. She provides counseling to children, adolecents, adults, couples and families struggling with issues such as anxiety, depression, addictions, trauma, attachment, grief and loss, infertility, identity, parenting, adoption and domestic violence. She has been providing mental health therapy to clients for over 17 years. She has also experience working in child welfare.
Kimberley Miller, RSW, Mississauga
Kimberley has over 24 years of extensive child welfare experience. Kimberley imparts both professional and personal adoption experience; as an adopted person and as a single, adoptive parent. Kimberley is an experienced trainer of professionals, families and youth.
Elaine Quinn, RSW, Toronto/Calrgary
Since 1987, Elaine has worked in Ireland, Australia, England, South Africa and Canada in the field of child welfare and adoption. She has worked with all parties in the adoption constellation at every stage of the adoption journey. In her role as Manager of the Permanency & Adoption Support Service program at the ACO from 2013 to 2016, she continued her passion to advocate for and support adoptive and kinship families to ensure permanency for all children. Elaine is an experienced trainer of both professionals and families.
Karen Rybko, Toronto
Karen has worked in the field of child welfare and adoption in South Africa and Canada since 1983. She has also been an approved Private Adoption Practitioner for over 30years.
Karen has a passion for training and she has been involved in developing training for adoptive families and is an experienced Pride Trainer for foster and adoptive parents.
Jean Skelton, GTA
Jean Skelton is a social worker with Highland Shores CAS in Cobourg. She works as a Clinical Case Consultant with the Therapeutic Family Care (TFC) Program, which is a collaborative clinically-oriented child welfare program sponsored by three Children’s Aid Societies (Durham, Highland Shores and Kawartha-Haliburton). Jean works within a multi-disciplinary team to provide clinical support to resource families. Jean is also a Certified Solution Focused Therapist. Jean has experience in facilitating PRIDE training, adoption assessment (SAFE), and formerly was a treatment level foster caregiver.
Jacquie Tjandra , MSW, Scarborough
Jacquie has over 25 years’ experience in child welfare as an adoption worker and adoption reunion counsellor. She has also provided consultation services to Children’s Aid Societies working with families where mental health concerns were identified. Jacquie has a private practice focused on supporting adoptive families and providing counseling to all members of the adoption constellation. She is an experienced PRIDE trainer and has also delivered training to various community agencies and groups. She co-facilitates an adoption search and reunion group through the Adoption Council of Ontario.
Sylvia Gibbons, Orillia
Sylvia founded and runs a Support Group for Adoptive Families and founded and runs an Adopted Youth Group, both of which are in Simcoe County. She is the ACO's PACT Parent Liaison. In this newly created role she will assist and guide Pathways parent groups to form ongoing parent support groups in their communities. Sylvia continues to provide peer support to many adoptive families throughout Ontario. Sylvia has been a PRIDE trainer for eight years. Sylvia is also an adoptive parent.
Dianne Mathes, RSW, Haliburton
Dianne Mathes is the Executive Director of the Adoption Council of Ontario. She has over 35 years of experience providing therapy and education/training for individuals, couples, children and families and professionals. Using attachment therapy, she specializes in adoption and provides therapy and training on the experiences and realities of early separation, adoption, abandonment, trauma, abuse, loss and grief as well as the multi-layered experience of being adopted and being a family in adoption. Dianne has been one of the ACO's PACT trainers since 2017. Dianne is herself an adoptee and has experienced her own personal journey in adoption and reunion.
For background information on the ACO’s overall Permanency and Adoption Competency Training Program (PACT) initiative in Ontario please click here.
© ACT: An Adoption and Permanency Curriculum for Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals and Pathways to Permanence 2: Parenting Children who have Experienced Trauma and Loss are copyrights of Kinship Center, a member of Seneca Family of Agencies in California. Through a partnership with Seneca Family of Agencies, Adoption Council of Ontario owns the exclusive Ontario license to ACT and Pathways 2.