I am associate professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. I am also program faculty with Ryerson’s graduate programs on Immigration & Settlement Studies, Early Childhood Studies and Policy Studies. I am honorary associate professor at the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
I have a PhD from the University of London. My professional experience since 1996 includes work for: universities in Canada, South Africa, Brazil, and Ireland; Canadian federal government (Department of Foreign Affairs and Canadian International Development Agency) and Parliament; and a non-governmental organization.
I have worked with young people in various ways in volunteer and professional capacities in community and recreational contexts since 1989.
In addition to serving as Principal Investigator for the International & Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP) (described further below), I am a member of: the Program Committee for Equitas: International Centre for Human Rights Education; the Child Rights Academic Network; Advisory Committee of the Landon Pearson Resource Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights, Carleton University; and the International Child Protection Network of Canada. I also serve as an editorial board member for Canadian Journal for Children’s Rights.
Research interests include child and youth participation; child protection; monitoring and child rights impact assessments (CRIAs); general principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) including best interests and child and youth participation; CRC general measures of implementation including law reform, budgeting, and child rights education; rights-based approaches (RBAs); anti-violence violence in schools; the right to play, and business.
International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP)
The International and Canadian Child Rights Partnership (ICCRP) involves Ryerson University, International Institute for Child Rights and Development, University of Cape Town, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Edinburgh University, Lakehead University, and McGill University along with numerous institutional partners in Canada and around the world: Centre intégé universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) de Centre-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, Equitas-International Centre for Human Rights Education, New Brunswick Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (Canada), Plan International Canada, Right To Play International/Right to Play China, and Save the Children Canada. (The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth – Ontario was also a partner until it closed on May 1, 2019).
This partnership was established as an outcome of an international conference held at Ryerson University in October, 2015 on the subject of children's participation and child protection. (See further https://icpnc.org/2015/09/11/international-conference-child-participation-and-child-protection-oct-5-6-2015/) We have come together in order to research the following question: How can children’s participation in international and Canadian child protection programs and policies be monitored? The ICCRP understands children’s participation as a human right and the necessary means to monitor and address protection concerns.
To ensure the inclusion of young people in the partnership, an international Child and Youth Advisory Committee has been established to guide the research process. This Committee is comprised of youth from Brazil, South Africa, China and Canada and meets virtually regularly to discuss issues related to children’s rights and the research process and efforts.
Specific ICCRP research objectives over three years until March 2020 include: 1) Identify current conceptualizations of monitoring participation in international child protection; 2) Understand the realities, challenges, and successes of monitoring participation in child protection in specific contexts and develop recommendations for effective measurement; and 3) Analyze the connections between children’s participation and child protection outcomes.
In addition to establishing the Child and Youth Advisory Committee, the first phase of research in 2017 addressed the first aforementioned research objectives. Adult professionals from multiple sectors and contexts around the world were interviewed and an academic literature review was undertaken.
In order to elaborate the second objective identified above, phase two commencing in late January 2018 involved researching children’s participation in their protection in four different countries namely: Brazil, South Africa, China, and Canada (in separate studies in New Brunswick and Ontario). In addition to creating local Child and Youth Advisory Committees and supports, each of these cases involved the following three steps:
1) Identifying and analyzing the existing policies and programs as well as gaps;
2) Creating reflective spaces for key stakeholders to discuss Phase I results; and
3) Co-producing ‘next steps’ for how to effectively monitor protection efforts.
Phase three of this collaborative effort is addressing the third aforementioned research objective to analyze the connections between children’s participation and child protection outcomes. ICCRP is investigating the potential for learning across the earlier two objectives, assessing similarities and differences. This objective will consider the implications for monitoring norms and tools and advance knowledge mobilization.
If you have any questions about this project, please contact Tara Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior to Ryerson in fall 2012: I have taught graduate & undergraduate courses and classes elsewhere including: