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Our National Panel of Experts is here to answer your parenting questions. This includes questions about the following categories: Prenatal, Your Child’s Development, Parenting Strategies, Positive Parenting, Family Lifestyle and more.

To ask a question, click here or select an expert below. We will endeavour to answer your questions as quickly as possible, however, high volumes of questions may lengthen response times. Your patience is appreciated.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Find out more about our National Panel of Experts 

Ask Marni a Question!

Marni Binder, Ed.D.
Marni Binder is an Assistant Professor at The School of Early Childhood at Ryerson University. Prior to Ryerson, she worked in the preservice and graduate programs at The Faculty of Education, York University. Marni also worked extensively with primary-aged children, as well as with junior-aged children as an educator in Regent Park schools in Toronto for 23 years. Marni has presented at international conferences on topics such as imagination and education, and young children's art and literacy. Dr. Binder’s expertise involves children ages 3-8 in the areas of literacy and the arts, the creative arts, and family literacy practices. This includes multi-literacies and multi-modalities, quality children’s literature, culturally and linguistically diverse children and communities. Her expertise is grounded in a holistic education framework.

Ask Liane a Question!

Liane Comeau, Ph.D.
Liane Comeau is Scientific Advisor at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. Her work focuses on the determinants of development and social adaptation of children from the prenatal period to school entry, in support to the Ministry of Health and Social Services as well as regional public health authorities. Previously, she was Director of Research and Evaluation at Invest in Kids. She has published scholarly and applied articles and reports, and is a reviewer for scientific journals in the area of language development. She is also an Expert Member in mental health promotion for the Quebec-based Qualaxia Network. She earned her Doctorate in Psychology at McGill University in 2004.

Ask Carol a Question!

Carol Crill Russell, B.A., M.S., M.S.W., Ph.D.
Dr. Carol Crill Russell, former Senior Research Advisor at Invest in Kids, is a respected Parenting and Child Development Expert. She served for over a decade as the Senior Research and Policy Advisor for Children’s Services in Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services. She has served as a member of a number of Canada’s leading applied research and policy framework initiatives, including Ontario’s Better Beginnings, Better Futures Policy Research Project. She has authored numerous studies on parenting for Invest in Kids.

Ask Giselle a Question!

Giselle Garcia, M.S.W., R.S.W.
Giselle Garcia is the acting Manager of the Assessment & Treatment Program at Boost Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention (formerly Toronto Child Abuse Centre). For the past 5 years, Giselle has conducted trauma assessments for children 4 to 17 years old. She provides individual, family and group trauma treatment for children and their families who have experienced abuse and violence in their lives. Giselle was instrumental in designing the current comprehensive trauma assessment model at Boost. Giselle has co-authored violence prevention programs, as well as facilitated training in the areas of reporting suspicions of child abuse, and primary prevention for professionals, children and youth. Giselle is currently obtaining her play therapy certification.

You can learn more about Giselle Garcia and the work that she does at the following links: 

Ask Karon a Question!

Karon Foster, R.N., BScN, M.Ed.
Karon Foster, Lead of The Parenting Partnership Program, has over 35 years of combined nursing and teaching experience. She obtained her baccalaureate in Nursing Science (BScN) from the University of Toronto, and her Masters in Education (M.Ed.) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) where her focus was in the area of adult education.

Karon is intimately familiar with the needs of expectant and new parents through her work conducting prenatal and parenting classes and working with parents as a public health nurse. She continues to provide prenatal education to expectant parents as a childbirth educator. As Director of Parent and Professional Education at Invest in Kids she also trained parent educators and provided content expertise in various projects. She is one of the key authors of The Parenting Partnership, a prenatal and parent education program developed by Invest in Kids. As a nursing instructor, she has designed courses and taught nursing students in baccalaureate programs. She has contributed as an author to several community nursing textbooks.

Ask Palmina a Question!

Palmina Ioannone, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Dr. Palmina Ioannone has spent more than 15 years working with young children, families, and early childhood professionals in various settings including schools, childcare centres and family support programs.  In addition, she has taught at Ryerson University in the Early Childhood Education Department.  She has been involved in a variety of research projects in Canada and the U.S. and recently worked on the Toronto First Duty project - a pilot project integrating kindergarten, childcare, and family support through schools.

Ask Chaya a Question!

Chaya Kulkarni, B.A.A. M.Ed., Ed.D.
Dr. Chaya Kulkarni is a Parenting and Child Development Expert with more than a decade of experience in the field of children’s services and early childhood education. Dr. Kulkarni is currently the Director of Infant Mental Health Promotion at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. She has served as the Senior Policy Analyst and Researcher for the Office of the Official Opposition at Queen’s Park where she was able to influence and inform practices surrounding early childhood care and education. She has also worked directly with children and families in the childcare sector.

You can learn more about Dr. Kulkarni and the work that she does by visiting http://www.IMHPromotion.ca.

Ask Kris a Question!

Kris Langille, R.N., B.ScN.
Kris Langille provides expertise in prenatal education, early infant and maternal postnatal assessment and intervention and adult education. She has more than 35 years of nursing experience, ranging from intensive care and operating room to public health nurse (for Toronto Public Heath). Kris’s focus for the past 12 years has been in the area of Maternal and Newborn nursing. She has facilitated prenatal education classes and worked with the Healthy Babies/Healthy Children Program. Kris has also worked with the Parenting Partnership Team as a Parent Educator and Lead Parent Educator.

Ask Greg a Question!

Greg Lubimiv, B.S.W., M.S.W., C.A.C.P.T.S
Greg Lubimiv has more than 30 years of experience as an administrator, clinician and trainer in children’s mental health and child welfare. He is renowned internationally as an expert on play therapy, family therapy, grief and loss, military families and therapeutic storytelling. Greg has authored books and articles on these topics including, Wings for Our Children: The Essentials of Becoming a Play Therapist, and has also penned, My Sister is an Angeline, to help children cope with the death of a sibling. He is a certified play therapist and supervisor with the Canadian Association of Child and Play Therapy. Greg is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards including, the Elizabeth Manson Award in 2006 for contributions to children’s mental health and The Monica Hebert Award (2004) for contributions to the field of Play Therapy and The Base Commander’s Commendation, (2007) for contributions to the delivery of mental health services to military families. Greg credits most of his learning to growing up with 9 siblings and being father of 5 children who continue to add to his ‘education’ as they move through their stages of life.

You can learn more about Greg Lubimiv and the work that he does by visiting http://www.phoenixctr.com.

Ask Nikki a Question!

Nikki Martyn-Capobianco, Ph.D.
Dr. Nikki Martyn-Capobianco has a unique combination of practical, educational and business experience in the field of child psychology and early childhood education.  She completed her Doctorate in Early Childhood from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and went on to found Mindwerx4kids early learning centre. She works clinically with children in private practice conducting play therapy and developing interventions for children in childcare centres and schools. She currently teaches at Ryerson University and develops curriculum at York University as part of the Infant Mental Health Certificate program. She is a sought after speaker and teacher who has given lectures across Canada.

Ask Nancy & Nanci a Question!

Nanci Burns and Nancy Rubenstein
Taking Your Temperament Co-Authors

Nanci Burns, MSW, RSW
Nanci has co-authored a workbook with Nancy Rubenstein called Take Your Temperament: Finding the Way to Family Harmony Through an Understanding of Diverse Temperaments (Creative Bound, 2009). Her passion in prevention has been prevalent throughout her career. She brought the umbrella of “Safe and Caring Schools” to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and developed initiatives to nurture the social and emotional intelligence of all students from kindergarten to high school. She continues to work directly with students in building their strengths and resiliency to not only survive but be successful, in spite of adversity. At the national level, Nanci helped establish the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence/Health and Welfare Canada and then spent several years at the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. While there, she co-authored Nursery Crimes: Sexual Abuse in Day Care.

Nancy Rubenstein, ECE
Nancy Rubenstein is the co-author of Take Your Temperament! She brings a wealth of experience as an educator, parent and nana to the exploration of the dynamic dance of nature and nurture in children's lives. As a workshop presenter, she shares a practical and empathetic perspective with parents and professionals working with children. Nancy is a Registered Early Childhood Educator. She has experience working with children and families in various programs – a Headstart nursery school, a cooperative nursery school, a daycare centre for teen parents, a school-based empathy program and programs for immigrant families. Nancy holds an honours BA degree from Vassar College. She also completed qualifications as a resource teacher for children with developmental challenges.

Packaged together, the “Nanci/y Twins” bring a refreshing and fun twist to the age old argument of is it “nature or nurture”? How else can one explain the unique differences among families?

Ask Pearl a Question!

Pearl Rimer, Dip.C.S., M.E.S.
Pearl Rimer is the Manager of Research & Training at Boost Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention (formerly Toronto Child Abuse Centre). She designs and conducts award-winning training for community service providers, children and youth, as well as designing psycho-educational groups for adolescent girls. Pearl has dedicated over 25 years to the fields of child care and children’s mental health as a consultant, instructor, trainer, and research coordinator. Pearl designed and implemented the first child abuse course to be offered in an Early Childhood Education Program in Ontario, and co-authored the first Canadian textbook on child abuse. She has worked with Invest in Kids Foundation to develop and implement training programs across Canada for high-risk home visiting programs.

You can learn more about Pearl Rimer and the work that she does at the following links: 

Ask Brian a Question!

Brian Russell, M.S.
Brian Russell is currently a Parent Education Worker with the LAMP Ontario Early Years Services in Toronto.  His main focus is on working with fathers, encouraging them to be responsibly involved with their children. Brian also supports other organizations and agencies working with fathers through coordinating conferences and providing training in Father Involvement best practices directly to staff and organizations.  He is the Provincial Coordinator for the Father Involvement Initiative - Ontario Network (FII-ON). With a background in Marriage and Family Therapy, Brian brings an important perspective to the couple relationship in families, where trust and respect are key elements to building strong families.

You can learn more about Brian Russell and the work that he does at the following links: 

Ask Attie a Question!

Attie Sandink, R.N., I.B.C.L.C
Attie Sandink is a Registered Nurse, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and Childbirth Educator, who can presently be found either teaching Child Birth Classes, giving breastfeeding support and education to the children of clients she taught many years ago or assisting them at their births. She may also be supporting teens.

While giving breastfeeding support to her clients she is also part of a mentoring program through IBLCE (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners), assisting new students who are wanting to become Lactation Consultants Attie is a Lactation Educator for CAPPA Canada and facilitates a Distance Education Program for Breastfeeding through Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. She continues to work as a Private Registered Lactation Consultant and a Labour and Delivery Nurse. Attie was also a facilitator for The Parenting Partnership Program. Her husband and her four sons have been very patient with her passion to support new families.

You can learn more about Attie Sandink and the work that she does by visiting http://www.birthandbabyneeds.com.

Ask Moumita a Question!

Moumita Sarkar, BSc., MSc., Ph.D.
Moumita Sarkar has over 12 years of professional experience in such diverse areas as clinical research, education and women’s issues and services. This encompasses research, coordination, writing, presentation and speaking to media. Since 2000, Moumita has held the position of Alcohol and Substance Use Counselor with The Motherisk Program, Hospital for Sick Children. Moumita is a highly skilled clinical researcher with an expertise in Maternal and Fetal Pharmacology. Moumita holds a PhD with the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto with a specialist in Addiction Medicine. She currently serves as an advisory committee member for several National and Community Task Forces with respect to Alcohol and illicit substance use prevention.

Ask Sarah a Question!

Sarah Naomi Shaw, M.S.W, Ed.M., Ed.D., MD, CCFP
Dr. Sarah Shaw is a family physician providing care to families of all ages, but predominantly young families, women and children. Her medical practice encompasses newborn and well child care, prevention, acute care, and chronic disease management for children and adults, as well as psychotherapy. She brings a background as a developmental psychologist and a clinical social worker to her work as a doctor. Prior to practicing medicine, she ran a nonprofit helping individuals involved in street prostitution and counseled sexual assault/abuse survivors. She taught psychology and social work at Harvard and Wilfrid Laurier universities. Her scholarly publications span a variety of areas including self-injury in young women, the father role, and patients' perspectives on collaborative health care.

Ask Karen a Question!

Karen Soper, BSc., CNP
Karen Soper has been practicing holistic nutrition since she graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in June 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree and is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, CNP. She teaches a canfitpro Nutrition and Wellness Specialist Certification and has designed a series of nutrition workshops for elementary students to address the growing need for health and nutrition literacy amongst children. Involved in many communities, Karen has spoken to First Nations diabetes health care workers, adult learners, and offers cooking classes for athletes and the elderly. Karen is always training on three core pillars - nutrition, physical fitness, and wellness. Bringing those components together, and taking a holistic approach she teaches how to achieve balance, variety and moderation in all of life’s aspects.

You can learn more about Karen Soper and the work that she does by visiting http://www.gorganic.com (coming soon!).

Ask Robyn a Question!

Robyn Stremler, R.N., Ph.D.
Dr. Stremler is a nurse scientist whose research is aimed at improving sleep for families. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and an Adjunct Scientist at the The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) Research Institute. Dr. Stremler is currently a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator. Dr. Stremler’s past clinical care activities include staff nurse positions in various maternal and newborn care settings and the Multidisciplinary Sleep Disorders Clinic at SickKids. She has taught in the undergraduate and graduate programs and in clinical and classroom settings at the Faculty of Nursing. In her role at SickKids, Dr. Stremler contributes to the advancement of nursing research initiatives and provides research mentorship to staff and advanced practice nurses.

You can learn more about Dr. Stremler and the work that she does by visiting http://www.stremlerresearch.com.

Ask Richard a Question!

Richard Volpe, Ph.D.
Dr. Richard Volpe received his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta. He then was a Laidlaw Foundation Post Doctoral Fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children and the Clarke Institute. Currently he is Professor of Human Development and Applied Psychology, and Projects Director, Life Span Adaptation Projects, University of Toronto. Previously he has been Chair of the Institute for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Evaluation and Conceptual Elaboration Unit Director, Child at Risk Program, Laidlaw Foundation, OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Senior Program Evaluation Expert, and Director of the Dr. R. G. N. Laidlaw Research Centre, Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto. As a social psychologist interested in human development he has focused on interpersonal relations and their significance throughout the life span. His research has led to numerous projects and publications on life span development, the prevention of intentional and unintentional injury, and the connection between theory, policy, and practice. Last year he published a book called the The secure child: Timeless lessons in parenting and childhood education.

 

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