Our family advisory council (the Family council) builds on the capacity of family members to improve child and youth mental health across Ontario as active decision makers and partners in our work. The Family council reflects our commitment to meaningful family engagement; we rely on family members' perspectives as well as integral input, expertise and guidance to ensure our policies, approaches, initiatives and other work are responsive to the evolving needs of families.

Member responsibilities

The purpose of the Family council includes:

  • advising on our strategic directions and activities
  • empowering family representatives to lead and inform key decisions in the development, implementation and evaluation of our initiatives
  • building meaningful, professional relationships between council members
  • augmenting the capacity of our family engagement team by acting as a mechanism for project support, when needed
  • ensuring alignment with our strategic advisory council through consistent family liaison representing both councils

Meet the Family council

The Family council consists of diverse family members from across the province.

Portrait of Kelly-Lynn Musico

Kelly-Lynn Musico

Kelly-Lynn Musico is a physiotherapist, yoga teacher and mom to three young adults. Along with her lived experience as a family member in the child and youth mental health sector, Kelly-Lynn brings extensive experience in the hospital, home care, school and private sectors and a long track record as a dedicated volunteer. She currently contributes her voice to a national mental health research project and several family advisory councils at both the local and provincial levels.

Portrait of Leslie Kulperger

Leslie Kulperger

Leslie Kulperger has more than 20 years of experience in research, evaluation and management systems. She personally experienced significant gaps in mental health services while trying to access appropriate supports for her 11-year-old son at school and in the community. After he died by suicide in 2018, Leslie founded Myles Ahead in his memory, with the goal of leveraging her professional skills to create meaningful and measurable changes in the mental health and education sectors across Canada.

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Chrystal Becker

Coming soon! 

Portrait of Sarah Hudson

Sarah Hudson

Sarah is a single mother of two young girls. She became passionate about advocating for children’s mental health when her eldest daughter received a diagnosis at a young age. In her extensive journey through the mental health system, Sarah has encountered many obstacles and barriers, especially after moving from a large city to a small town. She now sits on various committees through many provincial mental health organizations and is a parent support group leader through Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH).

 

Portrait of Louise Murray-Leung

Louise Murray-Leung

Louise Murray-Leung is the family engagement lead at the Lynwood Charlton Centre. With a passion born of lived experience caring for loved ones with mental health challenges, Louise has played an important role in amplifying the family voice in child and youth mental health in Ontario. Notably, she was part of the advisory group that helped develop the quality standard for family engagement. She is also a volunteer peer leader with her local chapter of Parents for Children’s Mental Health.

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 Angela De Montigny 

Angela is an award-winning Indigenous fashion designer, artist, entrepreneur and mentor. She unveiled her first major public art installation, ‘All Our Relations’ on Hamilton’s waterfront on September 30, 2023 – the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. Angela has also worked with traditional Indigenous medicine people and knowledge keepers for decades and is passionate about bringing Indigenous healing practices into mainstream healthcare for everyone’s benefit.  

Mom to two children who have both experienced mental health issues, Angela has faced many challenges in navigating help for them. She is committed to creating positive change for mental health care. 

Portrait of Vicki Cochrane

Vicki Cochrane

Vicki is a parent of two boys with exceptions who have required constant advocacy and support throughout their childhood. She is also a Child and Youth Worker with over 20 years of experience in child welfare working closely with many vulnerable families to advocate for their needs and support them in navigating systems. Vicki is the Family Partnership Program Manager for Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO), leading the volunteer peer support program, Parents for Children’s Mental Health (PCMH). She is passionate about family engagement and the value of peer support being integrated into healthcare systems. 

As an original member of our Family Advisory Council, Vicki has represented family voice in several provincial initiatives, served on grant selection committees and co-developed quality standards.

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Kristen Montague-Dawson  

Kristen is a registered practical nurse and mom of three children, including one that has mental health challenges, for whom she has been an advocate for over a decade. Kristen’s experience also includes her previous role as a child and youth care worker in the foster care system. She has volunteer for Parents for Children’s Mental Health for over two years and peer supported many families in her region through crisis and addiction. 

Kristen is passionate about advocacy for youth mental health and a better future for children. She enjoys yoga, kayaking, and movies and game nights with her children.  

Portrait of Stephen Sliwa

Stephen Sliwa

Stephen is an adjunct professor and faculty advisor with the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University. He recently completed his term as Director of Education and CEO at the Upper Canada District School Board, and is a former superintendent of Instruction, high school principal, special education teacher, guidance counsellor and teacher of Indigenous studies. Along with his experience working with students and families, Stephen brings experience seeking support for some of his children to the family advisory council.

 

Portrait of Shannon McGavin

Shannon McGavin

Shannon McGavin is a system change leader dedicated to increasing wellness in rural communities across Canada. She has worked to enhance outcomes for children, young people and families in education for over 25 years. Throughout her own mental health challenges and supporting those she cares for, Shannon shamelessly advocates for mental health and substance use transformation on several local and provincial advisory boards, community health organizations, local integrated youth service organizations and in her own organization, The Well Community Collective.