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Judy Finlay

Director; Associate Professor
EducationPhD
Phone416-979-5000, ext. 554809

Judy Finlay is an associate professor and graduate program director in the Faculty of Community Services at Ryerson University and has been faculty member in the School of Child and Youth Care since 2007.

She is currently the co-chair and principal investigator of the Cross-Over Youth Project, which is designed to learn ways to interrupt the trajectory of youth in the care of the state from entering the youth justice system.

Finlay’s current research (in which she is also the principal investigator) includes:Mamow Ki-ken-da-ma-win: Searching Together: Enhancing wellness through a partnership-based approach to child, family and community in First Nations in remote northern Ontario.

She is a member of the Child and Family Services Review Board and Custody Review Board with the Social Justice Tribunal of Ontario.

Finlay was the longest standing child and youth advocate in Canada and was Ontario’s chief advocate from 1991 to 2007.

She has worked for more than three decades in the areas of child welfare and children's mental health. Finlay has participated in the development of children’s rights agendas, youth capacity building and leadership and community development in Mexico, Jamaica, Japan, Guatemala and Sierra Leone.

Teaching responsibilities:

  • CYC 803: Advocacy in Children and Youth Services
  • CYC 807: Advanced Group Work
  • CYC 605:  Advanced Therapeutic Interventions
  • CYC 402: Group Work
  • Advanced Clinical Practice in Child and Youth Care

Teaching interests:

  • Offers students opportunities to learn through direct experience in the child and youth care field. For example, students in CYC 807: Advanced Group Work course plan, organize and facilitate a two-day conference with youth from across the province relating to a particular article of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Students in CYC 803: Advocacy in Children and Youth Services develop and undertake an advocacy initiative relevant to their field of study under the guidance of an advocacy champion from the community.
  • Creates a range of meaningful opportunities for students to understand, practice and integrate therapeutic relational skills at all stages of their academic and professional career.
  • Positions the significance of “family” in the life of all children and youth.
  • Draws attention to society’s special responsibility as parents to children and youth in the care of the state and the impact of out-of-home placement on these young people.

Research interests:

  • Peer violence among incarcerated youth
  • Children’s rights and citizenship
  • Narratives from elders
  • Relationships among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples

Cross-Over Youth Project

Funding: Funded for four years by the Department of Justice Canada, Youth Fund and the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, Ontario ($1.3 million)

The project’s interdisciplinary team intervenes in ways to interrupt the trajectory of youth in the care of the state from entering the youth justice system. The project brings together service providers and decision makers from ten service sectors to collaboratively plan for young people and make changes systemically. These include: judges, crown attorneys, defense counsel, justices of the peace, police, probation officers, group home staff, child welfare staff, education officials and youth. The Youth Group: Project C plays an integral role in advising the project staff and the Cross-Over Youth Committee at each step of development. There are four pilot sites: Downtown Toronto, Thunder Bay, Belleville and Chatham.

Mamow Ki-ken-da-ma-win: Enhancing social determinates of health through a partnership-based approach to child, family and community wellness in First Nations in northern Ontario

Funding: A five-year project funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Community-University Research Alliances grant ($1 million)

The project was completed in January, 2016. Five remote northern communities defined their communities’ priorities and how each contributed to community wellness. These included: food security; access to health services; adequate housing; connection to land, language and culture; education and cultural immersion; community governance and infrastructure; justice services, protecting the environment; the circle of life and youth voice.

Mamow Ki ken da ma win: the Community Wellness Index project in remote First Nations in northern Ontario

Funding: A one-year project funded by the Ring of Fire Secretariat, Government of Ontario ($114,000)

The Mamow Ki ken da ma win:  Searching Together project offered us the opportunity to establish meaningful and enduring relationships with First Nations’ chiefs, community leaders, elders, families, and young people. The Community Wellness Index is an extension of this work and will allow the community the ability to create an action plan to address the priorities each community has identified. Nibinamik First Nation is the first community to participate in the development of a Wellness Index with the Ryerson team. It is anticipated that other communities will follow. The Mamow ki ken da ma win- Nibinamik partnership will begin the work on the Wellness Index in the Spring of 2016.

1. In the course of the partnership with remote northern First Nations in Ontario, over 60 documents/videos/reports were developed for five remote First Nations leaders and their community members. These were created by and with the community. The following are examples of those materials:

  • Finlay, J. & Gray-MacKay, C. (2016). Housing in Mishkeegogamang First Nation. Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Gray-MacKay, C. (2016). Listening Today: Shaping Tomorrow. Eabametoong First Nation.  Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Gray-MacKay, C. (2016). Voices of Mishkeegogamang: Concerns, Hopes and Wishes. Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Sagutch, F. (2015). Circle of Life in Eabametoong First Nation. Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Sagutch, F. (2015). Building Elder and Youth Relationships in Eabametoong First  Nation.  Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Sagutch, F. (2015). The Voices of Youth  in Eabametoong First Nation.  Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Sagutch, F. (2015). The Roots and the Ravages of Arson in Eabametoong First Nation.  Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Sagutch, F. (2015). The Housing Crisis in Eabametoong First Nation.  Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Yellowhead, J. (2014). Nibinamik First Nation: Children, Families and Community. Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Yellowhead, J. (2014). Nibinamik First Nation: Economic Development. Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Yellowhead, J. (2014). Nibinamik First Nation: Education. Mamow Ki ken da mawin.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Yellowhead, J. (2014). Nibinamik First Nation: Health and Wellbeing. Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Yellowhead, J. (2014). Nibinamik First Nation: Connections to the Land, Language and Culture. Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Yellowhead, J. (2014). Nibinamik First Nation: Sports and Recreation. Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Yellowhead, J. (2014). Youth Speak 2014. Nibinamik Elementary School.  Mamow Ki ken da ma win.  Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J, & Moonias, P. (2013). Neskantaga First Nation: The Circle of Life. Mamow Ki ken da ma  win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J, & Moonias, P. (2013). Neskantaga First Nation: Devastation of the Environment. Mamow Ki ken da ma  win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J, & Moonias, P. (2013). Neskantaga First Nation: Eating Right and the Right to Eat: Food Security. Mamow Ki ken da ma  win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J, & Moonias, P. (2013). Neskantaga First Nation:The State of Emergency and Healing.  Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J, & Moonias, P. (2013). Neskantaga First Nation:Youth Speak. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation:Yesterday and Today. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation: Understanding What We Learned. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation: Roads and Communication. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation:Health Services and Community Wellbeing. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation:Community Organizing and Support. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation:Youth Engagement. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation:Pregnancy and Parenting. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation:Criminal Justice and Policing. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.
  • Finlay, J. & Fiddler, A. (2012). Sandy Lake First Nation:Support for Elders. Mamow Ki ken da ma win. Ryerson University.

2. The Cross-Over Youth Project evolved from the work of the Cross-Over Youth Committee which was formed in October, 2013 with members seeking to understand what triggered the trajectory of youth from the child welfare to the youth justice system and how the resulting consequences could be ameliorated. To this end, a series of forums took place with nine service sector groups across Ontario. The collation of the information gathered resulted in the following report:

  • Finlay, J & Scully, B. (2015). Cross-Over Youth: Care to Custody. Ryerson University.

3. Participation in the development of children’s rights agendas, youth capacity building and leadership and community development in Jamaica, Japan, Guatemala and Sierra Leone led to a speaking tour in Mexico in 2015 in which Finlay was invited by the National Academy of Women, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitan, Benemerite Universidad Autonoma de Puebla; the Canadian Embassy of Mexico, the Mexican Institute for Social Research, the Ministry of the Interior and the Law Society of Mexico. She participated in a variety of forums on this tour  which  included lectures, presentations, key note addresses and panel discussions in Mexico City and Puebla such as: Lessons Learned in Defending the Rights of Women and ChildrenThe Power of PartnershipCollaboration with Social Services and Youth Justice AgenciesWomen as AdvocatesThe Therapeutic Power of ArtThe Canadian Way of Confronting Violence in Different ContextsChild and Youth Advocacy: Lessons LearnedHow to Keep Children Safe in CustodyThe Healing Power of Art when Confronting Domestic Violence.

Books:

  • Finlay, J.  & Pearson, L. (2010). Tibacimowin: Gathering of Stories, Toronto, ON

Chapters:

  • Finlay, J. (2011).  Keeping Kids Safe in Custody in Canada.  In Westhues, A. & Wharf, B. Canadian Social Policy: Issues and Perspectives.  Wilfrid Laurier Press. Waterloo, ON
  • Finlay, J. (2010). Non-Discrimination and Indigenous Children. In Bennett, S. & Pare, M. (Eds). 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  University of Ottawa.  Ottawa, ON

Journal articles:

  • Bala, N., Finlay, J., Defilippis, R, & Hunter, K. (2015). Child Welfare Youth Charged Under the  YCJA: Failing to Respond Effectively to Cross-Over Kids, Criminal Law Review .
  • Finlay, J., Hardy, M., Morris, D. & Nagy, A. (2010).  Mamow Ki-ken-da-ma-win:  A  Partnership Approach to Child, Youth, Family and Community Wellbeing, International   Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, Vol. 7; Issue 4.
  • Finlay, J.  (2010). Mamow Sha-way-gi-kay-win.  In Imprint:  The Newsletter of Infant Mental Health Promotion, Vol. 55, Spring, Toronto.

Contact details

Office details

  • SHE-630, Sally Horsfall Eaton Centre for Studies in Community Health

Hours available

  • By appointment