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Silos and Silences: Shedding Light on Child Welfare and Immigration Status

March 4, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

2:00 – 5:00pm EST / 11:00 – 2:00pm PST
Format: Virtual, via Zoom.

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About Border(ing) Practices: Systemic Racism, Immigration and Child Welfare

The Border(ing) Practices: Systemic Racism, Immigration and Child Welfare is a collaborative research project based at the University of Toronto and University of Victoria working in partnership with child welfare, immigration, and gender-based violence service providers and advocates in Ontario and British Columbia. Our research aims to understand how immigration policies in concert with systemic racism, shape child welfare policies and practices with children, youth and families. 

About the Forum

The Bordering Practices research project invites you to join us for panel and discussion and workshops that explore how the child welfare systems works with immigrant youth and families in Ontario and British Columbia 

The forum will feature a panel discussion among leaders working to address anti-Black racism in child welfare, gender-based violence services for immigrants, and legal immigration services for children and youth. Participants will also be invited to join interactive workshops to explore how precarious status impacts their work with immigrant families who are involve in the child welfare system. 

Social work students, practitioners, and people working to support immigrant families are welcome to join this forum to learn and share ideas on how intersecting systemic issues impact newcomers, refugees, and non-status immigrants who are involved in child welfare system and discuss calls to action to improve policy and practice.  

Panel Speakers:

Moderated. by Keishia Facey, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies

  • Travonne Edwards, University of Toronto & Black Community Action Network, Peel, ON
  • Mary Birdsell, Justice for Children and Youth, Toronto, ON
  • Shaoli Choudhry, YWCA Vancouver, BC
  • Monica Larios, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Peer Champion 


Workshop 1: Duty To Report for Immigrant Service Organizations 

Facilitated by: Shaoli Choudhry, YWCA Vancouver 

This workshop will unpack and address the barriers and constraints for workers in gender-based violence sectors when supporting victims of gender-based violence with precarious immigration status. These workshops will explore barriers such as the fear of duty to report, worker accountability and how workers safeguard the immigration status of women when there is a likelihood of child welfare involvement. 

Workshop 2: Social Invisibility of Immigration Status in Child Welfare Policies in British Columbia & Ontario 

Facilitated by: Mandeep Kaur Mucina, University of Victoria, Manvinder Gill, University of Toronto 

This workshop will present findings from a discourse analysis of provincial and organizational child welfare policy documents that inform the assessment of risk for child abuse or neglect in Ontario and British Columbia. We invite discussion on how our analysis might inform anti-racist approaches within areas of discretionary practice within child welfare systems, but also among support workers who are mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. 

Workshop 3: Intersections: Child Rights, Immigration and Child Welfare

Facilitated by: Mary Birdsell from Justice for Children and Youth and Khaldah Salih from The Black Legal Action Centre.

This workshop will explore how to identify when immigration status is a barrier for children and youth who are accessing services, and how to legally advocate for children and youth experiencing systemic racism when applying for immigration status. 

Workshop 4: Understanding Risk Assessments for Black Immigrant Families 

Facilitated by: Chizara Anucha, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies , Bilqees Mohamed, University of Toronto 

This workshop addresses the need for an anti-Black racism lens when conducting child welfare assessments for Black immigrant families experiencing socio-economic barriers. Using a transnational lens, this workshop critically examines how late-stage migration impacts relationships amongst Black immigrant parents and children. Cultural expectations such as remittances (sending money to support family members in home country) and economic status will also be considered in the context of risk assessments. 



March 4, 2022
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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