CYC-Net on Facebook CYC-Net on Twitter Search CYC-Net

Join Our Mailing List

CYC-Net Board of Governors

Heather Modlin

Dr Heather Modlin (Canada),  Chair

Heather has worked with young people in residential care for more than 30 years. Heather is a former president of the Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations, an active member and former President of the Child and Youth Care Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, a founding board member of the Child and Youth Care Educational Accreditation Board of Canada, a board member of the Child and Youth Care Certification Board and the International Child and Youth Care Network, and an editorial board member of the Relational Child and Youth Care Journal. Heather has a Master of Science in Child and Youth Care Administration from Nova Southeastern University and PhD in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria.

Zeni Thumbadoo

Dr Zeni Thumbadoo (South Africa)

Zeni has dedicated her working life to the children’s sector in South Africa – in direct service provision, contributing to children’s policy and legislation, advocacy and model development. She has worked in a children’s home, as a consultant to the Department of Social Development, as a trainer in Child and Youth Care work and as a coordinator of a process of piloting of innovative projects linked to transformed policy in the building of children’s services in the democratic South Africa. Since 1997 she has worked as the Deputy Director of the National Association of Child Care Workers. She has contributed to the professionalization of Child and Youth Care work through: spearheading various advocacy campaigns linked to the statutory recognition of the Child and Youth Care field; serving on the Standards Generating Body for Child and Youth Care Work which developed national standards for the training of Child and Youth Care workers; serving on the statutory regulatory body, the Professional Board for Child and Youth Care; and representing South African Child and Youth Care work in various national and international forums.

Okpara Rice

Okpara Rice (USA)

Okpara joined Tanager Place as executive director in July, 2013, and assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer July, 2015. Rice also brings leadership experience from his work at the Jewish Child Care Association in Pleasantville, New York, the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago, and the Youth Campus in Park Ridge, Ill. He is active in the field and in the community and currently serves as the Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors for the Association of Children’s Residential Centers. He is a member of the Marion Cares Board, NAMI of Linn County Board of Directors, a member of the Cedar Rapids School Board Diversity Committee and a member of the Linn County Juvenile Detention and Diversion Advisory Committee.
Okpara has also presented internationally on issues that affect children in both Europe and Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Loyola University and a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He also holds an Executive Management certification from Georgetown University. Okpara lives in Marion, Iowa, with his wife Julie and two sons Malcolm and Dylan.


Dr Leon Fulcher (New Zealand)

Leon has worked for more than forty years as a social worker in residential Child and Youth Care work and foster care in several parts of the world. Leon has specialised in working across cultures and geographies, team working and caring for caregivers, as well as supervision and promoting learning with adult carers.

Ziigwanbinessi Charles

Ziigwanbinesii Charles (Canada)

Ziigwanbinesii Charles is mukwa ndoodem (bear clan) from Mnjikaning, Chippewas of Rama First Nation on Treaty 20 currently known as Ontario, Canada. Ziigwanbinesii is an active community helper, educator, adviser, and advocate. Ziigwanbinesii is a proud Child and Youth Care Practitioner who is passionate about strengthening young people’s identity, purpose, and community connections. Ziigwanbinesii uses their cultural teachings of love, kindness, authenticity, and reciprocity to guide their practice in Child and Youth Care. They have worked in a variety of roles with children, youth, adults, and families who are put at risk. Ziigwanbinesii is currently working in child welfare, supporting to re-define and reimagine equitable and culturally informed care with the ultimate goals being intergenerational healing, autonomy, self-governance, and healthier communities.  

Simon Walsh

Simon Walsh (Australia)

Simon is the CEO of Allambi Care in NSW, Australia. He has been married to his wonderful wife Martina since 2000 and they have been gifted with four amazing sons. Initially trained as a Nurse in the mental health field, Simon began working for Allambi Care as a Child Youth Care Worker in 1998. As the organisation evolved from a crisis refuge into a multi service agency providing Family Support, Foster Care, Disability and Residential Care services, Simon undertook further studies along with his more senior roles in the organisation. Simon approaches his work from a relational, needs-based model of care. He gains great satisfaction from working with a cohesive multidisciplinary team and seeing positive results achieved by children, young people and families. He attributes much of the agency’s success to his immediate team as well as national and international relationships with industry leaders, established through an array of organisations such as CYC-Net.

Kiran Modi

Dr Kiran Modi (India)

With a doctorate in American Literature from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and as co-author of a series of books on Life Skills and Health for children, Dr Kiran Modi is a person of varied interests, including the media and children’s theatre as well as being a founding member of several Trusts and Foundations working for the disadvantaged in India. Besides direct work with Child and Youth Care, in the Udayan Ghar Programme, in Udayan Care, a 22-year-old Trust, Dr Modi is also the Founding Editor of the bi-annual journal, 'Institutionalised Children: Explorations and Beyond', focused on South Asia. Through direct work, running group homes for children and aftercare programmes for youth, writing papers and organising training programmes, seminars and conferences, she has been advocating for better standards of care in Child and Youth Care practices across India and South Asia region.

Andy Leggett

Andy Leggett (Canada)

Andy is the CEO of Kalon Services, an agency providing family-based care and staff modelled homes in Ontario and Newfoundland and CEO of Transformative Relational Consultation and Training (TRCT). He has been a proud Child and Youth Care Practitioner for well over 40 years. His work with Kalon and TRCT has had him providing training and consultation provincially, nationally and internationally. His most recent area of interest and focus in his work has been in the realm of Relational Practice. Andy has been being married for almost forty years and is a proud father of three and grandfather. He lives in Port Hope, Ontario.


Lee Loynes (South Africa)

Lee is CEO of Girls and Boys Town, South Africa. She joined GBT South Africa in 1993 and has been at the helm of the organisation since 2007. Prior to that, her career focused on clinical work with high risk families and youth and consulting and training to the Child and Youth Care field. Lee feels honoured to be a role player in the youth-care field where her goal is to find solutions that help challenged youth get a better chance at life – and Shine. She has served on the CYC-Net Board since 2009. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg; a Master of Science in Child and Youth Care Administration from Nova University in the US and is working towards completing her PhD.

Kari Sisson

Kari Sisson (USA)

Kari is Executive Director at the Association for Children’s Residential Centers, USA. Kari came to ACRC in 2007 from a role in public child welfare in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With the support of an amazing board of directors, she has had the honor of providing a voice for children’smental health and the inherent need for a healthy and accessible system of care. She has moved the association to an international platform, including and embracing colleagues from around the world who skillfully serve the complex needs of children and families.Kari and her team provide leadership on best practices, clinical excellence, public policy, and healthy child-serving systems. A long time foster and adoptive parent, Kari and her husband David parent nine beautiful children and remain active in their community, supporting children and families with housing insecurity.

Mark Strother

Mark Strother (USA)

Mark Strother, M.A. Ed., is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Cal Farley’s in Amarillo, Texas.His areas of special interest are in Adventure-Based experiential programming (including Equestrian Assisted Growth and Learning), trauma informed care, the application of brain research, and the utilization of technology. Mark has been married 23 years to Deb and has four children.


Martin Stabrey (South Africa)

Martin is the Chief Operations Officer of CYC-Net and The CYC-Net Press and managing editor of CYC-Online. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa and is married to Helen. They have two daughters, Kirsten and Tamara. He is a product of the South African Child and Youth Care system, having spent most of his childhood at St. John's Hostel, Cape Town. He studied Economics and Information Systems at the University of South Africa.

Tuhinul Islam

Dr Tuhinul Islam (Bangladesh)

Originally a ‘forester’ by initial training, Tuhinul decided to change the course of his career, through a chance visit to a children’s education centre in a slum of Khulna district in Bangladesh. He was awarded a PhD in Social Work and Social Policy for a thesis entitled ‘Residential Child Care: The Experiences of Young People in Bangladesh' from the University of Edinburgh, UK. Tuhinul also has an MA in International Child Welfare from the University of East Anglia, UK and an MBA in Human Resource Management. He has over 20 years of leadership, operational and strategic management, teaching, research and practice experience in the fields of residential child care, child welfare management, child protection, brothel, sex workers, orphanages, madrasah, gender, education, healthcare and development in Bangladesh, Malaysia and the UK. Currently Tuhinul is a Senior Research Fellow (part-time) at Northern University Bangladesh; a Director (part-time) of Education and Child Development Programmes of a national NGO in Bangladesh serving over 500000 children and their families and a Technical Director (part-time) of a Children’s Home catering service for over 1200 indigenous children. He has preferred to work within NGOs, education and research organizations together in order to have a better understanding of the issues affecting children and their families thus to bridge the gap between academia, practitioner organizations and policy-makers in order to strengthen the rights of children. Tuhinul has been part of several Government appointed committees and NGO networks to influence policy reforms in Child and Youth Care in Bangladesh for example, rules of Children Act 2013; child friendly space (CFS) and alternative child care policy.

Jessica Hadley

Mukate Maiingun Gabo Ikwe (Jessica Hadley) (Canada)

Jessica is Migizi (Eagle) clan and lives in Winnipeg, MB, Canada with her husband and son. She is a Director of Transformative Relational Consultation and Training (TRCT) and has been involved in Child and Youth Care for 19 years and has supported families, children, and youth through her work in community and residential care. She has worked as a training coordinator and is currently an instructor of Child and Youth Care. She earned a CYC Diploma at Red River College Polytechnic (2006) where she graduated with Honors and was the gold medal recipient. She is currently a candidate of her Master of Science in Child and Youth Care Studies at University of Strathclyde.  She is a member of the Child and Youth Care Association of Manitoba, serving as President from 2009 to 2013, and 2015. She has worked leadership roles developing programs for children and youth requiring specialized care. Jessica passionate about the use of relational practice. She is a strong promoter of the profession of Child and Youth Care and advocates for the recognition of the unique role that Child and Youth Care has in human services.

James Freeman

James Freeman (USA)

James Freeman, MA, CYC-P is a member of the Board of Governors and serves as a consulting editor for CYC-Net. He’s a father of three and has over 30 years of experience serving kids and families in afterschool, camping, education, and mental health settings. He is past president of the Child and Youth Care Certification Board, advisor for the Association for Child and Youth Care Practice, and former board member for the Association of Children’s Residential Centers. James has a master’s degree in organizational leadership and was awarded a career achievement award from the National Staff Development and Training Association. He provides direct care and leadership training at

Retired Board Members | Friends of CYC-Net

Jennifer Davidson OBE, Dr. Gerry Fewster, Graham Bell OBE, Bill Carty, Ernie Hilton, Frank Ainsworth, Dr. Lorraine E. Fox, Sibylle Artz, Meg Lyndsay, Mordecai Arieli, Lesley du Toit, Thomas J. Mächler, Dr. Karen vanderVen, Werner van der Westhuizen

The International Child and Youth Care Network

Registered Public Benefit Organisation in the Republic of South Africa (PBO 930015296)
Incorporated as a Not-for-Profit in Canada: Corporation Number 1284643-8

P.O. Box 23199, Claremont 7735, Cape Town, South Africa | P.O. Box 21464, MacDonald Drive, St. John's, NL A1A 5G6, Canada

Board of Governors | Constitution | Funding | Site Content and Usage | Advertising | Privacy Policy | Contact us

iOS App Android App