About the Symposium
Finding the Best Ways Forward is a two-day national symposium gathering together leading stakeholders to share information and dialogue about how the voices of children and youth are heard, how their interests are protected and how their evidence is received in justice processes. The symposium will generate innovative proposals for policy reform, best practices, and recommendations for future research about children’s participation in justice processes.
The symposium is open to anyone with an interest in the participation of children and youth in justice processes. We encourage the attendance and participation of: judges, lawyers and articled students; academics, researchers, graduate students and post-doctoral students; social workers, clinical psychologists, counsellors and other mental health professionals; and, government decision-makers, policy-makers and administrators.
Subject areas to be discussed at the symposium include: the role of children’s counsel; the child in family law proceedings, child protection proceedings and youth criminal justice proceedings; the practical and legal effect of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child within Canada; and, best practices for children’s legal clinics, representing children, judicial child interviews, and child interviews by lawyers and mental health professionals.
A special half-day conference on the fundamentals of Canadian family law for mental health professionals, and anyone who is not a justice system professional, will precede the symposium. The conference will help set the scene and provide valuable additional context for the work of the symposium.
The conference will be provided by John-Paul Boyd, a lawyer, academic and the Executive Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, and will review the law on the parenting and care of children after separation, contemporary dispute resolution processes, and the traditional and emerging ways that the views and voices of children and youth are presented in those processes. The conference will discuss:
Read about registering for the conference and participation fees on the registration page.
Continuing Professional Development Credits
Lawyers attending the symposium may claim credit for up to 12.5 continuing professional development study hours with the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Society of Alberta, following those organizations' criteria and guidelines.
The symposium is accredited for 12.5 CPD hours with the Law Society of British Columbia as "Children's Participation in Justice Processes: Finding the Best Ways Forward." British Columbia lawyers may be to apply some or all of these hours to the training requirements for family law mediators, family law arbitrators and family violence. Contact member services for more information.
Members of other law societies should contact their governing body for CPD accreditation information. Please contact John-Paul Boyd for a copy of the symposium agendum and any other information that your law society may require.
Organizers and Funders
The symposium is organized by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family and the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Alberta, and is generously funded by a grant from the Alberta Law Foundation. Read more about the Institute and the Office of the Advocate.
Additional sponsorship opportunities are available for organizations wishing to subsidize the cost of coffee breaks and meals, or advertise in the symposium guide. The symposium offers a unique opportunity for your organization to reach a diverse group of legal and mental health professionals who share a common interest in children's experiences in the justice system. Contact John-Paul Boyd for more information.
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