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October 19, 2009
For immediate release

Renowned Infant Mental Health Expert in Prince Edward Island to Train Local Child Welfare Staff

Social Services and Seniors

Prince Edward Island’s Child and Family Services staff will receive specialized training next week to better help them protect vulnerable infants and toddlers, said the Minister of Social Services and Seniors, Doug Currie.

“Our child welfare staff do a remarkable job of protecting children and supporting families in Prince Edward Island. Training and education opportunities like this one are designed to target specific areas where we can help our staff strengthen their skills and learn from key experts in the field,” said Minister Currie.

Calgary-based infant mental health expert Evelyn Wotherspoon will speak to 160 Child and Family Services employees at a child welfare staff conference to be held October 22 and 23 in Summerside. Ms. Wotherspoon leads the Infant Mental Health and Family Law Initiative, a national collaborative effort to bring the science of early childhood development into child protection and family law practice. Ms. Wotherspoon has been raising awareness about the unique and urgent needs of maltreated infants and toddlers through public speaking, writing and policy advocacy. Partners in the initiative include Infant Mental Health Promotion (Sick Kids Hospital), the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Youth Research, the Toronto Children's Aid Society, private foundations, and others.

Throughout her 25-year career, Ms. Wotherspoon has provided mental health consultations to child welfare workers, lawyers and judges throughout the United States and Canada and contributed papers to a variety of journals and publications.

Ernie Hilton of the Home Bridge Youth Society in Nova Scotia will address residential services staff on the second day of the conference. Home Bridge is a residential service that employs more than 120 youth workers. Mr. Hilton supervises the clinical team that develops safety processes and assessments tools to protect the young people who live at Home Bridge and the staff who work there.

Although the staff training session is not open to media or the public, Ms. Wotherspoon is available for media interviews Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. Prince Edward Island’s Director of Child Welfare, Wendy McCourt, is also available for interviews.

Media Contact: Maureen MacEwen
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