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Foster Alumnus Snubbed

September 11, 2009 permalink

John Dunn paid attention to a press release from the province of Alberta, announcing another senior panel to look into the child welfare system. His attention fell on Peter Dudding, Executive Director of the Child Welfare League of Canada. The league's name makes it sound like a guardian of children, but it is really the social workers' trade association. Following the press release below we include Mr Dunn's experience with Mr Dudding, showing how child welfare professionals are insensitive to the people they claim to care most about, their wards.



Government of Alberta, News Release, July 22, 2009

Panel established to help build stronger child intervention system

Edmonton... A review panel led by child intervention specialists from across the country will study Alberta’s child intervention system, bring forward leading practices, and suggest ways the system may be strengthened to support at-risk children, youth and families.

“Continuous improvement has always been an important part of our child intervention system,” said Children and Youth Services Minister Janis Tarchuk. “While we believe that our child intervention system is strong, the children and families we serve deserve to benefit from the knowledge and experience of leaders in the child intervention field.”

The nature of child intervention supports and services has continued to transform over the years in Alberta. The rate and effects of population growth and shifting demographics in the province, combined with societal changes such as gang activity, addictions, human trafficking, and use of the Internet by predators as a tool for child sexual exploitation, make it necessary to confirm that the child intervention system in the province is keeping pace and responding effectively.

“In the last eight years, we have introduced new public policy, enacted new legislation around child intervention, and are currently implementing a new model to manage casework practice,” said Tarchuk. “Reviewing the effectiveness of these enhancements is the natural next step in the evolution of the child intervention system in Alberta.”

The review panel will be co-chaired by child intervention specialists Dr. Nico Trocmé, Philip Fisher Chair in Social Work at McGill University and Scientific Director of the Canadian Centre of Excellence in Child Welfare and Peter Dudding, Executive Director of the Child Welfare League of Canada. The co-chairs will make recommendations to the Minister on additional panel members, expected to include individuals with backgrounds in Aboriginal child and family services, child and adolescent mental health, and the youth justice system.

The panel will examine the following questions:

  • Are the necessary checks, balances and processes in place to ensure accountability and transparency in the child intervention system?
  • Does the system have the capacity to effectively respond to emerging societal trends, service demands, and evolving workforce and practice issues?
  • Is the system organized and aligned with leading practices and evidence-based research?

Cal Dallas, MLA for Red Deer-South, will work with the panel to ensure collaboration and co-ordination with Safe Communities and other government initiatives that support and serve vulnerable and at-risk children and youth.

Opportunities for input from partners and stakeholders in the child intervention system and from the public will be provided during the review process. The review panel’s report with recommendations is expected to be submitted to the Minister in spring 2010.

“The driving force behind establishing the panel is making a strong system stronger, but recent tragedies involving children and youth in the system also make it prudent to ensure our system is rooted in a solid foundation,” said Tarchuk. “By receiving an objective assessment and acting on opportunities to strengthen our system, people in our province will gain an increased understanding of how the child intervention system works and be confident that we are doing the right things for at-risk children, youth, and families in Alberta.”

The review also follows through on a commitment made by western Canadian provincial ministers responsible for social services to share best practices in child intervention, particularly in the area of supports and services to Aboriginal children, youth, and families. Tarchuk plans to share the results of this review with her western ministerial colleagues.


Peter Dudding, MM, MSW, RSW

  • Executive Director, Child Welfare League of Canada

Peter Dudding has three decades of senior management experience in the fields of child welfare, public health and international development.

Dudding’s career includes service as the associate director of the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, executive director of the Children’s Aid Society of Lanark County, and social services director for the Government of Yukon. He currently serves as the co-director of the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare and co-chairs the national steering committee for the Canadian Incidence Study on Reported Child Abuse and Neglect.

His work includes conducting applied research, establishing best practice models, policy and program development, evaluating outcomes, advocacy, knowledge building, and promoting child and youth rights.


Source: Government of Alberta

The email below went to Nico Trocmé and Peter Dudding on September 10, 2009

Subject: Knowing who you work with

I just wanted to inform the Alberta Child Welfare Review Panel members of the fact that in 2003, I, a former foster child contacted the Child Welfare League of Canada (of which Peter Dudding was / is? Executive Director) to ask if I could attend with a fee waiver, the Symposium on the Outcomes of Child Welfare services held at the Ottawa University because I could not afford to attend.

The receptionist responded to me with an approval of my request to attend free of cost as I had no income at the time. Later, upon discussion with the receptionist, the authorization for me to attend was withdrawn by Peter Dudding with no other explanation than the symposium is "not the time, nor the place for former foster children to tell their stories"

I assure you all I wanted to do was to attend since I am a foster care outcome and I had no desire to speak out, or anything at all. I just feel that anyone who will be working with Peter Dudding should be aware of his position when it comes to the voices of children and youth in and from foster care.

Please keep article 12 of the UN CRC in mind when consulting the public. Please also advertise as much as possible to the "regular citizens" on the radio, tv and where ever you can so you reach foster kids and former foster kids. Not just the "select" kids who are happy with how foster care affected them, but all kids who have been in, or who are in care.

John Dunn

Source: email from John Dunn