2018 AFCC-O 10th Anniversary Conference

SAVE the dates of October 18-19, 2018 to attend our conference events, and join us in celebrating our first decade!

To kick off our 10th Anniversary celebrations, we announce our

“Award of Excellence in Family Justice”

Send us your nominations before April 30, 2018!!

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary,  AFCC-O will honour TEN outstanding Judges, psychologists, lawyers, social workers, financial professionals, academics and other professionals with an Award of Excellence in Family Justice. 

This award will be given to TEN (10) individuals or institutions to acknowledge their exemplary contributions to the field of family law and justice in Ontario.  The recipients will have made significant contributions demonstrated by one or more of the following principles:

  • contributions to the ability of families to access family justice;
  • research that has contributed to an understanding of the needs of families;
  • mentorship and leadership to newer professionals;
  • development and sharing of novel and innovative best practices;
  • promotion of collaborative and interdisciplinary practices;
  • creation and development of tools that assist practitioners (ex. software, screening tools, assessment tools);
  • development and promotion of information and resources that help families navigate the family justice system;
  • preparation of important educational resources, precedents and educational materials and/or commitment to continuing professional development activities;
  • community advocacy on behalf of families and children and or issues related to families;
  • advocacy, in and out of the court setting, particularly on behalf of vulnerable or underserviced populations; and/or
  • contributions specifically related to the understanding of the needs of children and advocacy for them.

Nominations for up to TEN (10) recipients of this Award can be made by a member in good standing of the AFCC-O on the Nomination form.

The 10th Anniversary committee will review the applications and report to the Board, who will make the final determination of the Awards by an application of the above principles and recognition of the rich diversity found in the various disciplines and professions who practice in the area of family justice in Ontario.

The successful award recipients will be invited to attend our 10th Anniversary Reception, on Thursday, October 18th, 2018 to receive the award in person.

Download 10th Anniversary Celebrations Nomination Form Here!

Conference registration opens in early May 2018!!

Early bird discounts apply until July 15th!

AFCC Ontario Chapter members are eligible for discounts to attend our chapter events

Memberships are offered via our AFCC International website at:  www.afccnet.org/become-a-member 

If you require assistance with joining or renewing your membership you may contact AFCC at:

afcc@afccnet.org or by calling 1-608-664-3750 for assistance.

Join us in celebrating our 10th Anniversary as an AFCC chapter,

at our Tenth AGM and Annual Conference,

The Future of Youth: Moving Beyond Risk to Resilience. 

Featuring Keynote Speaker: Dr. Michael Ungar

Thursday, October 18, 2018

LOCATION: The National Club, 390 Bay Street, Toronto, ON

Pre-conference Institute

Supporting Adopted Youth to Maintain Openness Connections with Birth Family and Communities

1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Elizabeth McCarty, Jennifer Gallagher, Pat Convery, Tara Noble and Maryanne King. Adopted youth benefit when they are able to maintain positive connections their birth family members and their culture. However, these relationships can be complex and difficult to navigate for youth and their adoptive and birth families. The best defence is a good offence. Discussion will be about building supportive plans for youth and families that can address conflict, social media and potential legal issues through an adoption lens.

New Professionals Event

Choosing and Working with Assessors, Mediators and Other Family Professionals

4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Dr. Shely Polak will facilitate an interdisciplinary discussion with Christine Kim, Julie Hannaford and Justice Wendy Malcom designed to provide counsel and family professionals working in family law matters with guidance on best practices in working with each other.

10th Anniversary

Evening of Excellence

6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Join AFCC Ontario Chapter as they celebrate their 10 year anniversary at an elegant dinner at Toronto’s historic National Club. Ten Awards of Excellence will be given to the leading Judges, Mediators, Psychologists, Social Workers, Lawyers and Academics who have influenced the practice of Family Law over the past ten years. Dinner will begin with a cocktail hour and is business attire.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Location: Toronto Reference Library, Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, 789 Yonge St., 2nd Floor, Toronto, ON

10th AGM and Annual Conference

The Future of Youth: Moving Beyond Risk to Resiliency 

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Keynote Plenary Session: Dr. Michael Ungar

9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Dr. Michael Ungar is among the best known writers and researchers on the topic of resilience in the world. His work has changed the way resilience is understood, shifting the focus from individual traits to the interactions between people and their families, schools, workplaces, and communities. As the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience and Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University, as well as a family therapist, he has helped to determine the most important factors that influence the resilience of children and adults during periods

Morning Breakout Sessions

10:30 a.m. to 12 noon (participant to choose one)

Reducing Risk and Fostering Resilience in Children and Youth Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence

Dr. Ramona Alaggia with comments by Judge R. Kaufman facilitated by Dr. Ungar


Understanding Risk and Practical Solutions: Youth and Drugs

Loree Hodgson-Harris, In House Society Counsel, Jodee Anderson, Director and Society Social Worker, Dr. Tim Baker, Child Psychologist, Dr. Balaji Gopidasan, Child

Psychiatrist and Justice Brian Scully, OCJ

Lunch Session

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Cultural Competency in Supporting At-Risk Youth from Conflict Zones

Sahar Atalla, Project Coordinator for the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support & Integration, London, Ontario

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. (participant to choose one)

You Can’t Make Me Go: Youth Consent in Contact Cases

Dr. Barbara Fiddler, Child Psychologist, Dr. Shely Polak, Social Worker and Linda Popielarczyk, Social Worker, Robyn Switzer, Lawyer and Justice Mario Faieta, SCJ


Building Resilience in Indigenous Youth: Cultural and Contextual Understandings

Dr. Christopher Mushquash with Elaine Toombs, Doctoral Student, Kristy Kowatch, Doctoral Student, Aislin Mushquash, Psychologist Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, Forth William First Nation

Plenary Pop-Ups: Your Community Response

2:40 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

After brief presentations of unique community-based initiatives, Dr. Ungar will facilitate a discussion on best practices for resiliency.

Vulnerability and Resiliency in Court Involved Youth

Dr. Joyce Radford, C.Psych. Director of Clinical Intervention Services, London Family Court Clinic and Dr. Debbie Chiodo, PHD Program Consultant Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Resilience In Youth: There’s an App for that!

Dr. Christine Wekerle, Associate Professor, Paediatrics, and Associate Member, Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Indigenous Voice: Hopeless to Spirit

Sue Doxtator, M.S.W., Director of FNMI & Diversity Service Coordination , London Family Court Clinic

Crossover Youth: Understanding Mental Health Difficulties

Hailey Kolpin, BA, MA Candidate, University of Western Ontario

From Traffic Lights to Traffic Circles: A Clinical / Legal Intersection Model for the Children of High Conflict Separations

Victoria Norgaard, Social Worker, and OCL Panel Member and Emily Comor, Counsel, OCL Panel , Co-Chair of the Ottawa High Conflict Forum.

Presentation on AFCC-O Research

4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Win-win is an Attitude, Not an Outcome: Family Mediation in Ontario 

Dr. Denise Whitehead and Dr. Rachel Birnbaum will share some of the findings from the research taking place on family mediation.

Please direct your inquiries about our conference to our conference planner Natalie Savage at:



AFCC-O recognizes the importance of  fostering new growth by assisting anyone interested in establishing a career in services supporting families going through separation and divorce. 

Please visit our Awards webpage to view information and download an application to apply for our Nicholas Bala Award for Student Excellence. The AFCC-O honors Professor Nicholas Bala with an annual scholarship to a student who demonstrates qualities similar to his own. An award of $1,000.00 will be granted each year to a student in law, a graduate program in social work, a joint social work/law program, a graduate program in psychology, or medicine (psychiatry). A  one year membership to AFCC-O, and attendance at our 10th Anniversary conference will also be included with this award.

Submission Deadline is May 1, 2018

Please visit our AFCC Conference Scholarships webpage to obtain a scholarship application to attend our 10th Annual conference, 
“The Future of Youth: Moving Beyond Risk to Resilience” on October 19, 2018.  Scholarship recipients include parenting coordinators, child custody evaluators, court services personnel, social workers, lawyers, mediators, graduate students, and other who work with children and familes.

Submission Deadline is May 15, 2018

Check back here for information on the status of Law Society of Upper Canada CPD credits.

Our conference is also recognized by both the American Psychological Association, and the Ontario Association of Social Workers for continuing education credits. Check back for approved hours for our 2018 conference.

We welcome anyone interested in sponsoring our 2018 conference and activities

For information on sponsoring our 2018 conference please contact:

Jennifer Suzor at jsuzor@familylawspecialist.ca

or call (519)252-2772