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Call for proposals

A conference focused on advancing child welfare will be held at McMaster University from February 22-24, 2018. This event is being organized by the School of Social Work in partnership with local service users, service providers, and academics/researchers/traditional knowledge keepers who are working together for better child welfare. Submissions are due November 1, 2017.

Aug 24, 2017

3Voices Child Welfare Conference Series

Service users, service providers, & academics/researchers/traditional knowledge keepers: working together for better child welfare

February 22-24, 2018

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario




This conference is the first in a series that will explore and promote approaches to child welfare developed through collaboration between the following 3Voices (three voices):

  • Service users (i.e. children, families, grandparents, kin, and others who have received and are eligible to receive child welfare services and those from communities impacted by child welfare services)
  • Service providers (i.e. workers, managers, policy makers, foster parents, community members and leaders, or anyone else involved in the delivery of child welfare, child wellbeing, and related services)
  • Academics, researchers, or traditional knowledge keepers (i.e. anyone involved in teaching, writing, researching, journalism, and keeping and sharing knowledge about child welfare and child wellbeing)

The conference will pay particular attention to Indigenous, Black and other voices that tend to be underrepresented in the way child welfare is currently imagined and delivered.



a) WORKSHOPS (40 or 60 minutes)

We seek PROPOSALS for WORKSHOPS that provide examples of collaboration between the 3Voices (e.g. service users, service providers, and academics, researchers, and traditional knowledge keepers), which have had a positive impact on child welfare. The purpose of a workshop is for a group to share what they have done so that others can do the same. All three voices must be represented in the workshop.

b) PRESENTATIONS (20 or 40 minutes)

We seek PROPOSALS for PRESENTATIONS that are examples of 3Voice collaborations, or between at least two of the 3voices (e.g. service user and worker, or service user and academic, or traditional knowledge keeper and service provider, etc.). The purpose of a presentation is to share work in progress, or ideas for work in progress, and to get feedback from conference participants. For those whose projects only have two of the 3Voices, time will be made available to network with other participants to recruit an additional voice.

c) ROUNDTABLE SHARING (60 minutes)

We seek PROPOSALS for ROUNDTABLES where ideas for innovative change in the way child welfare is imagined and delivered can be discussed and developed. Propose an idea, and we will connect you with others who have similar ideas in roundtable discussions. Anyone can propose roundtable ideas.


You do not have to propose or present anything to attend this conference. If you want to come just to hear the ideas, or to give feedback on ideas, let us know and you will be welcome.


Deadline for Submission: November 01, 2017

Notification of Acceptance: December 20, 2017


Proposals outlining the information below can be sent via email (as text in an email, word file or RPF attachment) to Dianne Fierheller at by November 01, 2017

Please include the following information:

  • Your name and contact information (including phone number)
  • Type of proposal (workshop/presentation/roundtable)
  • The title of your presentation, workshop, or proposed roundtable discussion
  • If a workshop or presentation, your preferred time allocation (60 or 40 minutes for a worksho40 or 20 minutes for a presentation)
  • The names of those speaking with you[1], include yourself here too
  • List which of the 3Voices each member of your group speaks from[2], along with any relationship/connection with an agency, institution, community, Nation and so on.
  • Whether you will need a LCD projector, audio speakers, Internet access, or any other equipment.
  • A description/abstract of what you are proposing in no more than 250 words
  • A 50 word description of your workshop/presentation/roundtable that will be published in the 3Voices conference brochure


If you would like to attend but do not want to present or submit a proposal, please email your name and contact information to and we will provide you with more information and a link to online registration when it becomes available.


This conference is free of charge.


All questions and inquiries can be directed to Dianne Fierheller, MSW RSW, 3Voices Conference Coordinator: 


This is the first in a series of conferences.  Later conferences in this series will build on the work and relationships of the previous 3Voices conferences, in ways that work together for better child welfare.


[1] If you are proposing a roundtable discussion but have no one speaking with you, provide details we will link you at the conference to a roundtable with others proposing a similar topic.  

[2] We recognize that many people speak with more than one voice, for instance someone can be an academic, knowledge keeper, service provider, and a service user all at the same time. Feel free to say in your proposal whether you or others in your group will speak to issues from multiple perspectives.