Catherine Richardson/Kinewesquao (CA)

Kate Alexander (AUS)

Dignity-Driven and Response-Based Child Protection Practice

Child protection systems are largely a response to violence and other forms of structural and economic injustice.  It follows that careful analysis of violence and resistance should be central to child protection practice.  Instead, most child protection systems lack such an analysis and tend to replicate ‘boot camp’ and family-unfriendly practice.  In this keynote, Kate Alexander (Ph.D.) and Dr. Cathy Richardson present a “dignity-driven” and “response-based” approach to child protection practice that builds upon the insatiable desire for dignity and justice.  They will discuss their common concern in seeking justice with Indigenous families.


Dr. Catherine Richardson/Kinewesquao is a therapist, researcher, activist and an author.  She is the Director of First Peoples Studies at Concordia University in Montreal and a co-founder of the Centre for Response-Based Practice. Cathy is Métis with Cree, Dene and Gwichin ancestry. She teaches counsellors and social workers and promotes system change and decolonization in all areas of social services.

Cathy is a lead researcher for a number of current studies, such as the Quebec Youth Network Chair, the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevent Initiative with Vulnerable Populations; and documenting promising practices for Indigenous transition housework (FRIDAA).  Cathy is the winner of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association Indigenous Practice Award in 2019 and she is a co-organizer of the Dignity conferences.  She is currently working on three books which should be available in 2020.  Cathy was a Green Party candidate in the Quebec provincial election in 2018.

Kate Alexander is the Senior Practitioner, Office of the Senior Practitioner (OSP) for the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. The role of the OSP is to inspire, influence and review child protection practice. Kate is responsible for the OSP’s work in the review of child deaths, leading evidence based child protection approaches, and facilitating learning through conferences, publications and coaching strategies. 

Kate has a Masters of Social Work (Family Therapy) and has worked in the field of child protection for more than 25 years in a variety of roles including therapeutic, casework and management. She is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne, focused on decision making in child protection.

In June 2018, Kate was awarded a NSW Public Service Medal for outstanding contribution to family and community services. 

DIGNITY2020 is organized by