by: Meaghan Trewin, Communications Coordinator
As President and CEO of Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research (The Centre), an organization dedicated to creating and mobilizing evidence to ensure the well-being of children, Robyn Blackadar is one of Safe and Caring’s valued partners and fellow champions for child and youth well-being.
Having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration, Robyn’s career prior to joining The Centre cultivated her expertise in research, policy analysis, policy implementation, knowledge mobilization and evaluation.
In her current role, Robyn draws on this background to oversee The Centre’s diverse research priorities, including: early childhood development; middle childhood and youth well-being; family capacity building; community capacity building; and tracking long-term outcomes.
This work includes Co-Chairing the Early Childhood Development Research and Innovation Strategy, which aims to build awareness of existing research, influence creation of new knowledge and create a collaborative environment that enhances relationships between researchers, policy makers, practitioners and the public to the benefit of early childhood development.
In Robyn’s experience, the collaborative element of this work is essential, because different stakeholders often have very different priorities for research. “One of the best things you can do is bring together researchers, policy makers, community members, service providers, caregivers and youth and have them talk and be more clear and coordinated around what knowledge is needed… and start to synergize more sustainable connections between the different roles, the different contexts and the different incentives.
In addition to their focus on knowledge exchange and mobilization, The Centre also generates evidence that supports policy decisions that directly help children, youth and families.
For Robyn, “information is not knowledge until you do something with it.” Adults need to know how to best benefit the children in their lives, and The Centre’s role is to help them access the information they need to make the best decisions possible.
“Your child is being influenced by many adults. We need all of the adults in a child’s life—grandparents, teachers, neighbours, friends—to understand and be mindful of their shared responsibilities and impact.”
“Your child is being influenced by many adults. We need all of the adults in a child’s life—grandparents, teachers neighbours, friends—to understand and be mindful of their shared responsibilities and impact.”
As a grandmother herself, Robyn is thankful for the opportunity to be a vital part of her grandson’s life, and mindful of her own and others’ impact on his early development.
This article appeared in our March 2015 News Bulletin. Click here to read the rest of the bulletin!