AFKA 48th Annual It's All About Kids Training Conference, Awards Banquet & AGM

OCTOBER 27 – 30, 2022

Registration closed on October 10th, 2022 

We look forward to seeing those registered in Jasper!



what's our annual conference all about?

For 48 years, the AFKA has hosted the annual “It’s All About Kids” Conference and it’s become an event we truly look forward to as an opportunity for learning, connection, networking, and a dab of relaxation and fun too!

Our annual conference is jam-packed with amazing courses that enable us to learn and grow, but also an opportunity to recognize your meaningful contributions to the lives of children and youth in care at our awards banquet!

Each year our courses vary but all provide the types of coursework the foster and kinship community asks for. It is our pleasure to be able to provide these tools to our community and we look forward to having you join us!

For details on this year’s sessions, keynote address, awards ceremony, and entertainment, scroll down to view the particulars!

*Conference schedule is subject to change without notice

Conference Schedule

  • 1:00 pm – Board and President’s Meeting
  • 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Conference Registration
  • 5:15 pm – Cash Bar Opens
  • 5:45 pm – 6:30 pm Opening Ceremonies
  • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Buffet Dinner
  • 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm Keynote Speaker:
    • Craig Wanless – “Finding the Courage to Care”
  • 7:00 am – 8:45 am Breakfast & Conference Registration
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Workshops
  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch
  • 1:15 pm – 4:15 pm Workshops
  • 4:15 – 7:00 pm – Supper on your own and free time
  • 7:00 pm Cash Bar opens
  • 7:30 pm Entertainment – Mind Magic
  • 7:00 am – 8:45 am Breakfast
  • 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Workshops
  • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch
  • 12:45 pm – **Silent Auction Closes**
  • 1:15 pm – 4:15 pm Workshops
  • 6:15 pm – Cash Bar opens
  • 6:45 pm – Banquet doors open
  • 7:00 pm – Awards Banquet
  • 9:00 am  Annual General Meeting (Doors Open at 8:45 am)
    • A continental breakfast will be provided for those in attendance at the AGM
  • 11:00 am Hotel Check-Out

Conference Details

Session Descriptions

Friday, October 28, 2022

101 – Engage  – Plenary Session
Presenters: Leann Wagner, Assistant Deputy Minister, Child Intervention Division, Children’s Services; Jessica Winship, Executive Director, Policy, Practice and Program Development, Children’s Services; Bonda Thompson, Regional Director, Calgary Region, Children’s Services

An opportunity to hear first hand about current Children’s Services initiatives. You will have an opportunity to ask questions about what to expect and what it means for you.


201 – Understanding Bill C-92
Joan Conibear, Associate Director Edmonton Region, Children’s Services; Tim Gillis, Associate Director, Indigenous Services, Edmonton Region, Children’s Services; Heather Storoziuk, Associate Director, Calgary Region, Children’s Services; Nicole Samoisette, Manager, Indigenous Services, Children’s Services

Join Joan Conibear, Tim Gillis, Heather Storoziuk and Nicole Samoisette as they take us through better understanding Bill C-92. The presentation will include Jurisdiction and Indigenous Governing Bodies, the Federal Act, CS Policies and Changes – the process and practice, principles, and what caregivers can expect. This session will include a presentation, followed by discussion and Q&A portion.

203 – Traditional Parenting 
Elder Martha Campiou

Join Elder Martha Campiou for a Teaching Circle focused on Traditional Parenting.

204 – EPS: Cyber Bullying and Internet Safety
Sergeant Corinne Kline 

  • Cyberbullying, signs, and tips on how to deal with victims or perpetrators
  • Internet safety for parents and youth alike
  • How to access resources on help, including Victim Services

205 – Beyond Behaviours: Supporting Youth with Compassion
Craig Wanless, Clinical Director, Counsellor, Facilitator, Benchmark Counselling

In this 3-hour experiential, trauma informed and attachment based workshop, you will have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how trauma affects children and youth behavior and increased confidence to support those who have experienced trauma. As well as a solid understanding in how our own attachment style and personal history will better support us to make positive changes to become more secure and become a child’s secure base to feel confident, safe and protected. There will be an opportunity for group discussions and for some experiential learning.

Human’s have a fundamental need to evolve. We are wired for growth and healing and this happens in the context of relationships. This means we are wired for self-righting, and resuming impeded growth which naturally happens when we feel safe. We are shaped by a deep desire to be known, seen, and recognized.

If we can seek to harness the motive forces of this self-righting evolution we can facilitate change.

206 – Fun with Paint – Landscape (Pyramid Lake)

Join Joshua as he leads you step by step through fun filled instruction on painting the gorgeous Pyramid Lake landscape on canvas. Expect to learn a few techniques and tricks to help you along the way, while exploring and expressing your creative side. Don’t worry, no experience necessary for this guided activity.

301 – Advocacy and the OCYA (Office of the Child and Youth Advocate)
Presenters: Terri Pelton, Child and Youth Advocate (Alberta); Kim Spicer, Director, Investigations and Legal Representation

Foster Parents and Kinship Caregivers are natural advocates to the young people in their care. You will learn more about the work of the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and the ways you may interact with the OCYA. You will also learn about children’s rights and advocacy.

401 – Care for the Caregiver (Practical Strategies) & Trauma 101 (SESSION FULL)
Dr. Wanda Polzin, MA, RCSW, EdD

This workshop will discuss developmental trauma, looking into the aspects of physical/emotional/mental/sexual and spiritual trauma(s). We will discuss the potential impacts across time, including attachment and relational issues, emotional regulation, and overall functioning. We will explore the impacts on children/youth, caregivers, as well as within the family. We will further explore strategies for caregivers to address responses to trauma including aggression, anxiety, mood dysregulation,  communication, and disrupted attachment. Practical interventions will be take-aways to support caregivers moving forward.

402 – Exploring What it Means to be Human: The Reality of Bias and Stigma 
Dr. Peter W Choate, PhD, Clinical Social Worker, Program Coordinator, Social Work Professor, Social Work

Understanding we are all biased; it is a human condition, so what can we do about it? If bias is part of living as a human in society, then it affects all of us and influences all we do. Most of us want to treat everyone fairly, we believe the kids we work with deserve the best. Let’s work with who we are and think about bringing the best out in ourselves.

403 – Advantages of Starting Early
Gordon Cairns, CFP, Ba., BSc

We tend to get lost in words like compound interest and investment assets, without much guidance to help us navigate the fiscal world as we come of age. As caregivers, we can help guide our kids when they’re young, teaching them the power of money, investing, etc., and give them the advantage of this highly important knowledge before they leave the nest! This course is designed to help you prepare.


405 – Fun with Paint –  Pet Portrait
Joshua Heudes

Do you have a pet that you think the world of? …at least when they behave? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your fur baby (feathers and scales too) in a portrait? Here’s your chance to have a professional artist help you make that happen. Join Joshua Heudes help you create a portrait of your beloved pet. No experience required as he introduces simple steps and techniques that will help you create your very own painted pet portrait.

Confirmed registrants of this session will be contacted to email in a photo of their pet they wish to paint ahead of the session. 

406 – Men’s Group (SESSION FULL)
Presenter: Rene Rajotte, AFKA Vice-President

Join Rene and other caregiver dads in a session where you will explore topics about fostering that are specific to men. This session has been successfully held at various retreats and has met with a great deal of success and enjoyment. Sorry ladies – men only!