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Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, February 7, 2006

President's Update

As your recently elected President, I am delighted to introduce you to members of the Executive Committee of the International Forum for Child Welfare. This global team will be working closely together over the next year to further the work of IFCW and help to improve the welfare of the world's children and youth. They represent the same outstanding commitment that is evident throughout IFCW's membership, bringing many years of experience and a spirit of international cooperation to the task.

Mauri Upanne - Vice President

For the past 16 years, Mauri has provided exemplary leadership as the Executive Director of the Central Union for Child Welfare, based in Helsinki, Finland. He has published extensively in Finland and prior to his work with the Central Union, Mauri established himself as a research expert with the Government Committee on Social Science with particular emphasis on housing policy. Mauri has been a strong supporter of the IFCW since its inception and has served as its Vice President for the past 2 years.

Sharon Osborne - Treasurer

As President/CEO of the Children's Home Society of Washington, Sharon has established herself as a leader in child welfare circles within the United States and beyond. She held various leadership positions with the Child Welfare League of America and was more recently the chair of the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services (COA) based in New York. Sharon's involvement with IFCW is a natural progression of her local and national commitment to children and youth.

Catriona Williams - Secretary

With an established track record of leadership throughout Europe, Catriona is the Chief Executive of Children in Wales. This National Umbrella agency brings those working with children and youth together in Wales and Catriona's role as key spokesperson and leader with many governmental bodies is noteworthy. Catriona has been President for the European Forum for Child Welfare and is currently the President of 'Eurochild'. Her involvement with IFCW and commitment to the cause has been most significant.

Rolando Quiros Fonseca - Deputy President

Economist by profession, child advocate by affection, Rolando is the former President of IFCW and served as UNICEF representative for Central America, Panama and Belize. He was the founder and Secretary General of the Latin American Child and Family Network and is also the President of the Fundacion de Estudios e Investigiaciones Latinamericanas. Based in Costa Rica, Rolando was one of the founding members of the IFCW and a major contributor throughout his tenure as President.

T.K. Mathew - Member-at-Large

As Chief Executive of Deepalaya, located in Delhi, India, T.K. has helped to develop and expand NGO capacity to respond to the educational and developmental needs of that community's children and youth. His efforts over the years have addressed issues of poverty, child labour and breaking the cycle of disadvantage. In addition to IFCW commitments, T.K. sits on many boards and committees, provides consulting support and has been recognized locally and internationally for outstanding community leadership.

Elba Montalvo - Member-at-Large

As founder and Executive Director of the Committee for Hispanic Children and Youth, Elba has emerged as a strong advocate and community leader in the City of New York. She is a member of numerous local committees and national boards, having been appointed by the President of the United States to the Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. Elba has received many awards of distinction for her public service and recently took on the special assignment as IFCW's liaison to the United Nations.

Niresh Ramklass - Member-at-Large

For the past several years, Niresh has been providing leadership at the Cape Town Child Welfare Society, most recently as their Chief Executive. This innovative community based organization has benefited from his extensive front line and senior management experience. Niresh has developed a strong capacity to work effectively with national networks of NGOs throughout South Africa. With this solid base of social development, Niresh is well positioned to support the work of IFCW and its international affiliates.

In assuming the responsibilities of President for IFCW, I will call upon and rely on all members of the Executive Committee as well as my own experience as a child welfare practitioner and administrator. That work began at the Children's Aid Society of Toronto, where I provided leadership as the Executive Director for more than fifteen years and more recently has taken me to government where I head up the Child Welfare Secretariat for the Province of Ontario. My experience, during the past decade, as President of the Child Welfare League of Canada has been invaluable in preparing me for this significant challenge.

Next month, the Executive Committee will be meeting together for two full days in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. At that time, we will deal with a number of important critical agenda items including plans for the upcoming Worldforum and IFCW membership strategy and benefits.

With regard to the latter, you recently received an IFCW membership survey and questionnaire . If you have not already done so, I would ask that you complete and return this immediately as it is critical to inform the discussion and decisions that will be taken at that March executive Committee meeting. I have attached the document which will only take minutes to complete as well as instructions for return to our colleagues in Finland.

As well, attached you will find an invoice for IFCW membership fees. While infrastructure is largely supported through a strong group of committed volunteers, the annual fees help to offset some administrative costs of maintaining a web site, the production of materials as well as IFCW participation in UN and other international forums.

Finally, I would ask that you save the dates of November 19-22, 2006 for this year's Worldforum2006 which will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The IFCW, in partnership with the Child Welfare League of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, are planning an outstanding event that will bring the latest child welfare knowledge, research and best practice from an international perspective. A special conference rate will be provided to IFCW members, and within weeks a call for papers and more details on Worlforum2006 proceedings will be available through our website at .

I look forward to working with each of you in partnership to promote the welfare of the worlds children and youth.

If I can be of service or assistance to you in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me directly at the addresses listed below.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bruce Rivers

President, IFCW




880 Bay Street, 6 th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M7A 2B6 Tel: (416) 325-3560;

Fax: (416) 326-8098; e-mail:


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