Update January 2017
The main theme of the Mental Wellness for Children and Youth in Care: Support for the Caregiver symposium was the mental wellness of children and youth in care, the use of psychotropic medications and how caregivers can become more knowledgeable in supporting these youths. Caregiver encompassed agency and department foster parents, kinship parents, adoptive parents, residential and group care staff. The theme of the day presented by culturally informed medical experts, is the mental wellness of children/youth in care and the use of psychotropic medications considering issues such as the child’s emotional, medical and cultural needs. Youth themselves and representatives from the Office of the Children’s Advocate presented. The day ended with a panel discussion. Presenters: Dr. Wanda Polzin; Clinical Director at CASA in Edmonton, AB Dr. Lana Potts; Family Physician Siksika Family Clinic and Jeffery Cheng and Sheena Stevens; CYS Mental Health Nurses.
Because of the good work done by the Psychotropic Medication Committee who developed the “Pathways to Better Mental Health” resource, the same individuals were asked to participate on the MHFA symposium/ training committee. The committee members representing foster parents ALIGN, Ministry of Human Services, agencies, CASA, and the AFPA met on June 20, and August 11 and Sept 15 to discuss the symposium development and other training that will be helpful to support caregivers in the mental health area. “Caregiver” encompasses agency and department foster parents, kinship parents, adoptive parents, residential and group care staff.
The main theme of the symposium will be the mental wellness of youth in care, the use of psychotropic medications and how caregivers can become more knowledgeable in supporting these youths. We plan to have medical expertise as well as culturally informed individuals presenting. Representatives from the OCYA have agreed to present and this will include hearing from youths who are or who have experienced treatment with psychotropic medications. The presentation will include what worked, what didn’t work and what could caregivers do differently to support the youth better.