Marketplace of Ideas Presentations


September 19-20, 2018


ACWS is showcasing evaluation aspects of member programs and initiatives. Discover what shelters across Alberta have been working on in the areas of Ethics, Trauma-Informed Practice, Indigenous Knowledge Inclusion, Leadership, Inclusive Practices and Women-Centered Practice. These presentations are intended to be brief enticing morsels that share challenges as well as successes, invite interest, spark ideas and encourage networking. 


Ethical Practice

Evaluation of a Child and Youth Program
Presenter: Rea Mishaxhiu & Harold Pliszka, Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Centre, Calgary

This presentation discusses an independent evaluation of the Child and Youth program at Discovery House, a long-term shelter for domestic abuse in Calgary, Alberta. The goals of the Child and Youth Program are to mitigate the impact of domestic violence by building protective factors in children, improving mother-child attachment, and strengthening a mother’s capacity for positive parenting and resilience. The evaluation uses a mixed-methods approach and various data sources to answer questions about program implementation and effectiveness. The use of data to inform program management, leadership and organizational learning and the conduct of quality evaluations and useful evaluations, are explored in the context of collaborative evaluation approaches that put client’s voices at the forefront of program improvements. Uses of evaluation findings are reviewed, focusing on changes to the program model and theories of change and learning events that allow for transformative learning and meaningful conversations about program delivery.

Women-Centered Practice/Gendered Lens

Centering Women to Increase Safety from Domestic Violence
Presenter: Ian Wheeliker, Alberta Council of Women's Shelters

Placing women facing violence at the centre of all service provision increases the likelihood of successful outcomes by addressing the often invisible barriers of gendered inequalities. Women are the experts on their own experiences and needs, and they should have a strong role in defining service expectations and outcomes. Gender neutral services often fail to recognize the inter-related and co-constructed nature of social locations and women’s experience with opression intersecting with violence and abuse (V Smye, AJ Browne, C Varcoe, V Josewski – 2011). Approaches that are women centred provide holistic services that empower women, treat them with dignity and recognize the intersecting societal barriers women face that impede their path to safety. 

This presentation will explore the Safety from Domestic Violence: Using Evidence Based Best Practices to Keep Women Safe project and results. Developed and facilitated by ACWS this project builds on the individual and collective work of community and government services in Alberta to address barriers to women's safety by identifying promising practices in service provision for women fleeing domestic violence. T. The Promising Practices Inventory is a collection of emerging and promising approaches to service provision from across the province. A comprehensive literature review affirms six foundational approaches to keeping women safe chief among which is a women-centered approach


Client and Organizational Outcomes: Lessons Learned During the First 18-Months of CAWES Trauma Informed Practice Transformation
Presenter: Rayann Toner, Central Alberta Women's Emergency Shelter, Red Deer

In January 2017, CAWES started to embed trauma informed practice (TIP) into its shelter, outreach, and court support services. The process of change that emerged from supportive conditions (Board and leadership support, dedicated resources, alignment with external environment) has been exciting and challenging. It started with supportive conditions and enthusiasm, moved to some support combined with questions and concerns, then to fatigue for change. The process continues to move forward with renewed dedication and a focus on client and organizational change (outcomes), connecting bottom up and top down change efforts, and encouraging support through strategic communication and engagement.

We link our lessons learned to this process. Lessons learned include:

  1. underestimating the magnitude of change (including financial (client transportation/food), scope of staff training required, and level of management support needed);
  2. addressing the consequences of transparency;
  3. connecting ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ change;
  4. coping with staffing constraints (skill sets and competencies);
  5. needing to collect and communicate evidence internally and externally; and
  6. needing to understand the spectrum of trauma-informed services in the community.

Our poster will show how our transformation process is unfolding and will contrast our experience with models that suggest organizational change is linear and plannable. Our experience suggests such models oversimplify change and leadership of change - we will provide insight into the complexity of organizational transformation. Connected to outcomes we will show that when organizations are transforming to trauma-informed services a dual focus on client outcomes and organizational change outcomes is crucial.


Trauma-Informed Administrative & Clinical Supervision
Presenter: Britany Smith & Janna Bara, Rowan House, High River

Supervision is a strength-based reflective process that provides a physical and emotional safe space and opportunity to examine the clinical work of the counsellors with the goals to enhance personal and professional growth, shape competence, and promote high quality of services.

This session will focus on utilizing underlying principles and fundamental structures including Individual, Group and Informal supervision which consists of three components:

  1. Administrative Supervision
  2. Educational Supervision
  3. Supportive Supervision.

Participants will be provided with a handout highlighting key components of Clinical Supervision.

Indigenous Knowledge Inclusion/Lens

Travelling Trauma Kits
Presenter: Nicole Greville, Waypoints Community Association, Wood Buffalo

We will include an overview of how we came up with the idea for the TTK, as well as a list of items we've purchased. We will also bring along a kit, in order for folks to see the objects and practise using them. We will discuss the role of sensory interventions in dealing with trauma, the challenges to evaluation, our next steps and how our community has been embracing a more trauma-informed approach

Inclusive Practices

Widening the Lens: Building Inclusive Programming
Presenter: Pamela Pizarro, Brenda Strafford Society for Prevention of Domestic Violence, Calgary

The Brenda Strafford Centre for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is a second-stage shelter and progressive housing program in Calgary. With a diverse population of clients served, it became clear that the needs of specific cultural communities had to be met in a new and inclusive way by staff. In July of 2017 the role of Multicultural Family Support Worker was created in order to provide culturally competent and inclusive information, education, advocacy and case management services to the families residing at the Centre.

Over the past year the MFSW role has adapted and changed to include providing training to staff and volunteers of the Brenda Strafford Centre on diverse cultural communities. In the past year staff have received cross-cultural communication training, cultural sensitivity training and training specifically on first nations’ culture. Use of interpretation services when dealing with clients whose first language is not English has become standard practice to ensure that clients are able to accurately communicate their needs and concerns. The MFSW role also partner with Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association in order to provide clients with a Cross-Cultural Parenting Group that specifically address some of the challenges that immigrant families face when parenting in Canada.

It is hoped that these small changes will contribute to an increase in cultural sensitivity in staff as well as create a welcoming space for women from all different backgrounds.

Trauma Informed Practice

Sonshine Children's Centre: Developing Trauma-Informed, Therapeutic Day Care
Presenter: Alma Fourie, Sonshine Community Services, Calgary

Sonshine Children’s Centre is a licensed, accredited daycare located in Calgary. The focus of the program is to prevent the cycle of violence from continuing by intervening early on in a child’s development, so that they can grow into healthy, positive youth and adults.

The Children’s Centre programming targets both normally developing and traumatized children and is anchored in well-tested theoretical frameworks and service principles, that ensure consistent, informed and individualized services that build on child development theories and understanding of child behaviour. The Centre’s interventions and services help address multiple issues such as the history of trauma, abuse or neglect, behavioural problems, and attachment disorders as well as support and encourage normal child development in normally developing children.

The Centre uses ARC framework as well as the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) to guide its service planning with children, particularly those who have been exposed to significant trauma. The Children’s Centre takes a learning through play approach, organizing the play environment in a way that provides a choice of play activities that meet the developmental needs of each child in the group. The learning through play approach expands, for traumatized children, into Theraplay which is a child and family therapy for enhancing and building attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. This session is intended for staff across the agency who wishes to learn more about offering integrated services for both the typically developing children as well as children who have been exposed to family violence and other forms of trauma.

Trauma-Informed Practice in a Domestic Violence Shelter
Presenter: Sherrie Botten, Rowan House, High River

The presentation will begin with an understanding of trauma and the impact trauma has on survivors of domestic abuse, both women and children. This presentation will be an interactive format where participants will be able to use the information gained to make immediate changes in their own organization and come away with a plan for how to weave trauma-informed practice throughout their agency. There will be an opportunity to strategize on how to involve the entire organization, from board to frontline, in creating a fully trauma-informed service delivery model. The compounding issues of a physical disaster in a rural area will also be explored.