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Our Team

Steering Committee

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Dr. Tara Collins (she/her)

Associate Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care, at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), Honorary Associate Professor of the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town

Dr. Collins is also faculty with Toronto Metropolitan University's (formerly Ryerson University) graduate programs on Early Childhood Studies, Immigration & Settlement Studies, & Policy Studies. Her professional experience includes work for: universities in Canada, South Africa, and Ireland; Canadian federal government (Dept of Foreign Affairs & CIDA) and Parliament; and a NGO. Children’s rights have inspired NGO, governmental, and academic work since 1996.


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Dr. Natasha Blanchet-Cohen (she/her)

Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Concordia University

Dr. Blanchet-Cohen’s work explores the opportunities and limitations for immigrant and indigenous young people in being change agents in their schools, homes, and communities, and the opportunities in providing for rights-based and culturally-safe services and programs. She is the co-lead of the Youth Research Network Chair in Quebec.

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Dr. Patricio Cuevas-Parra (he/him)

University of Edinburgh Fellow, Director for Child Participation and Rights at World Vision International

Dr. Cuevas-Parra leads strategies and programmes to ensure that children and young people are at the centre of the advocacy and policy debate. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the University of Edinburgh, a Master of Advanced Studies in Children’s Rights from the University of Fribourg-UIKB, and a Master of International Relations. Patricio has a keen interest in looking at cutting-edge child rights advocacy tools. 

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Lucy Jamieson (she/her)

Senior Researcher at the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town

The Children’s Institute aims to create the conditions for children to thrive by engaging in research, advocacy, education and technical support. Lucy works with, and for, children to promote the realization of their participation and protection rights and to engage them in the work of the Children’s Institute and its partners in government and civil society.

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Dr. Irene Rizzini (she/her)

Professor in the Department of Social Services at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, President of the International Center for Research and Policy on Childhood (CIESPI)

Professor Rizzini has conducted many research and policy studies and published extensively on children, families and their communities in Brazil. She has been focusing on various issues of rights violation, particularly children living in situations of vulnerability such as poverty & violence. She has also published extensively on children and youth in institutions and on the streets, and young people´s activism and their right to participation.

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Dr. Mónica Ruiz-Casares

Dr. Mónica Ruiz-Casares is Professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at Toronto Metropolitan University & Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, the Department of Equity, Ethics, and Policy; the School of Social Work, and the Centre for Research on Children & Families at McGill University.

Dr. Ruiz-Casares is Co-Chair of the International Society for Child Indicators and has worked in policy and program evaluation of human services internationally for more than 25 years. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the American Evaluation Association. She leads mixed-methods studies on child wellbeing and protection cross-culturally, mainly with migrants and refugees, and in contexts of parent-child separation.

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Dr. Kay Tisdall (she/her)

Professor of Childhood Policy at MHSES University of Edinburgh

Dr. Tisdall is a Professor of Childhood Policy, working within Childhood and Youth Studies (external link) . She works across policy areas, with current projects in such areas as early years, domestic abuse and mental health. She has worked in and out of academia, so she has a keen interest in policy research and practice engagement.

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Dr. Laura Wright (she/her)

Lecturer in Childhood Studies at University of Edinburgh, Director of Participatory Methodologies at the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD)

Dr. Wright’s work with youth and adults has focused on play and arts-based participatory methodologies, children’s meaningful participation and more. She is an active member on several child-centred networks and boards to support collaboration and positive transformation across sectors and disciplines.


Sachi Shukul (she/her)

Child and Youth Participant Coordinator at the ICCRP, Masters Student at the University of Toronto (OISE)

Sachi is a Master of Arts in Child Study and Education student at the University of Toronto (OISE). Sachi completed her Early Childhood Studies undergraduate degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) along with a minor in Child and Youth Care. Sachi has a passion for children’s rights and advocacy which she hopes to use towards her work in child rights, research and education as well as in future advocacy efforts.


Click here to email Sachi

Vanessa Zufelt

Vanessa Zufelt, MA (she/her)

Project Manager of the ICCRP

Vanessa is a child and youth care practitioner who has worked in several settings in Toronto such as children’s aid, homeless shelters, and special education. She has several years experience supporting students at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) as a research and teaching assistant. Her past research has focused on professional regulation, empathy in direct service, and child and youth participation.


Click here to email Vanessa 

*Vanessa is on maternity leave from May 2023-May 2024*

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Steven Gibson, MA (he/him)

Steven Gibson - Interim ICCRP Project Manager

Steven has professional experience supporting adults experiencing poverty and/or homelessness, providing one-on-one therapeutic relational counselling, organizing children's rights workshops for diverse young people, and as a research assistant on various children's rights projects. His own research interests include children and young people's participation in social relationships, as well as helping to identify social relations that are rooted in justice and equity. He holds a MA in Child and Youth Care from Toronto Metropolitan University.


Click here to email Steven

Emilia Gonzalez, MSc (she/elle/ella)

Research Facilitator at the ICCRP, PhD Student at Toronto Metropolitan University

Emilia is a PhD student in Social Policy at Toronto Metropolitan University, under the mentorship of Dr. Ruiz-Casares. As a researcher and facilitator, Emilia has been building bridges between research and the social sector for over eight years. She is interested in participatory evaluation processes that center the perspectives of young people from diverse backgrounds. Her previous research focused on newcomer youth wellbeing and participation. Emilia holds an MSc in Social and Cultural Psychiatry from McGill.


Click here to email Emilia (opens in new window) 

ICCRP Research Staff

Kalee Kiluu-Ngila |  Undergraduate Research Assistant  | May 2023 - Present 
 Alexandre Levesque  | Undergraduate Research Assistant | May 2023 - Present
 Skye Tinevimbo Chirape | Doctoral Research Assistant | March 2023 - Present
 Delreeze Moshopane  | Masters Research Assistant | March 2023 - Present
 Silvia Battaglia | LLB Research Assistant | January 2023 - Present
 Sabeeka Jaffer | Undergraduate Research Assistant | January 2023 - Present
 Christa Leeder | Masters Research Assistant | January 2023 - Present Molly Brooks | Doctoral Research Assistant | January 2023 - Present Sal Sabila  | Undergraduate Research Assistant | September 2022 - Present Sheldon Caruana | Masters Research Assistant | September 2022 - Present  Jessie Cross | Research Assistant | September 2022 - Present 
Janine Hunter | Doctoral Research Assistant | September 2022 - Present 
 Caroline Araujo | Masters Research Assistant | August 2022 - Present 
Amy Cooper | Doctoral Research Assistant | August 2022 - Present
Renata M. Brasil do Couto | Doctoral Research Assistant | January 2022 - Present Carolina Terra | Masters Research Assistant | December 2021 - Present Sachi Shukul | Child & Youth Participant Coordinator | September 2021 - Present 

Past Team Members

Nabin Maharjan | Postdoctoral Fellow | November 2022 - October 2023 Katherine Westwood  | Postdoctoral Fellow | April 2023 - October 2023 Marilyn Saad  |  Undergraduate Research Assistant  | May 2023 - August 2023  Mary Ellen Oxby | International & Canadian Child Rights Partnership Annual Graduate Internship Awardee | November 2022 - August 2023 Reah (Hyun Ju) Shin | Communications Consultant & Past Child and Youth Participant Coordinator | August 2017 - August 2023 Marie Olson-Cuthbertson | LLB Research Assistant | February 2023 - April 2023 Laura Weiner | Doctoral Research Assistant | November 2022 - April 2023 Mandi Parsons | LLB Research Assistant | September 2022 - February 2023  Hussienatou 'Natou' Manjang | Masters Research Assistant | September 2022 - December 2022 Clemence Bouchat | Doctoral Research Assistant | September 2022 - November 2022 Lauren Grootboom | Masters Research Assistant | June 2022 - August 2022 Anum Rafiq | Postdoctoral Fellow | May 2022 - August 2022 Caroline Wells (nee Bec) | Doctoral Research Assistant | February 2022 - August 2022