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IFCO 2015 World Conference: Key Highlights

IFCO 2015 World Conference: Key Highlights

More than 960 delegates attended IFCO 2015 World Conference ”Tell Someone Who Cares” which took place at Sydney Star Event Centre on 8 – 11 November 2015. Professionals and carers who are actively involved in children, family and youth services from 25 countries from across 4 continents were represented at the 18th Biennial International Foster Care Organisation's global event.

Programme at a glance

Over 4 days—and nearly 60 sessions— the conference celebrated the work of foster, kinship and relative carers being undertaken around the world, featuring important updates, innovations and practical guidance on a wide range of issues, with many opportunities for delegates to share their stories and to be inspired by experienced and committed speakers. The themes selected for the event aimed to empower participants to continue their essential work across the world, to support children and young people and to make fostering better, bringing into consideration an international perspective, a foster child's perspective, and a carer's perspective.


The opening keynote speaker, Kevin Brown shared his story of how social workers and foster care parents supported him through 17 years of foster care and helped to become a debt-free college graduate, MTV host, New York Fashion Industry Marketer and CEO of his own empowerment company. Amongst other keynote speakers were:

  • Deborra-Lee Furness - an internationally acclaimed actress as well as a passionate advocate for vulnerable and abandoned children
  • Maggie Hamilton - writer and social researcher, presenter of talks and lectures; and regular media commentator and a keen observer of social trends
  • Nathan Mikaere-Wallis -  a lecturer at Canterbury University, New Zealand in the Education department
  • Estella Abraham - CEO of Key Assets and a qualified social worker with over 30 years’ experience of working with children and families in the public, private and voluntary sectors
  • Claire Robbs - CEO of Life Without Barriers with over 20 years’ experience in the welfare and community services sector
  • Gregory Nicolau - CEO and Consultant Psychologist of Australian Childhood Trauma Group
  • Nina Funnell -  freelance opinion writer and researcher
  • Alastair MacGibbon - Children’s eSafety Commissioner - leading online safety education for Australian children and young people, protecting them when they experience serious cyberbullying and managing complaints about offensive or illegal online content
  • Sarah Milan - Director of the Rees Foundation, UK and a qualified social worker with over 10 years' experience in child protection, fostering and adoption
  • Stephen Bloom - coach using techniques like Mindfulness Meditation and Laughter Yoga to improve his clients' health, well-being and productivity
  • Tracey Shipton- Director of Dingwall Trust in New Zealand and  a qualified social worker and strengths based trainer


By all reports IFCO 2015 was a resounding success with overwhelmingly positive feedback about the quality of speakers and presentations and the fabulous opportunity for networking.

"The main strength of the programme were the speakers and the people who attended. It was so wonderful to meet other carers and workers from all around the world."
-Pamela Anderson, caregiver for 24 years, New Zealand

"The IFCO 2015 World Conference in Sydney was extremely informative, each presentation we attended added significant value to our day to day work with carers. The ability to meet and network with people from different parts of the world was excellent."
-Foster Carers' Association NT

"I made some amazing connections, both personally and academically. As a result of attending the IFCO 2015 conference, I will be able to bring back the knowledge and resources I gained from the conference to assist my peers throughout their own journeys. I was amazed at the amount of people, services and supports involved in the Foster care systems which I did not previously know about. This were handy to know of as a care leaver myself, also being a kinship carer to my brother and a social welfare student I was able to gain a wealth of knowledge. I am very thankful for this."
- Tonyka Jamieson, IFCO 2015 Pat Whelan Youth Fund Awardee

Conference partners

We extend our heartfelt thanks to the conference partners for their invaluable support and the ongoing commitment to foster and kinship carers and their children.

Conference resources

To view presentations from our presenters visit the following link. For more photos from the 2015 IFCO World Conference please click here.

We would like to thank all of you who visited sunny Sydney in November for IFCO 2015 World Conference and made this year’s edition a success. Be sure to mark your calendars and join us for the 2016 European conference in September 2016 and for 2017 World Conference in November 2017.  See you then!


We are working hard on a shiny new website!

IFCO members spoke and we listened. We are currently building a new website that will be more user friendly for IFCO members and the international foster care community.

Our new website will be ready early in 2019. In the meantime you can still join, connect, learn and share at the current IFCO website. Don’t forget that you can also hang out with us on Facebook or keep up to date via Twitter

If you are an IFCO member you are cordially invited to our digital AGM on Sat the 10th November, 2018 at 2pm GMT. Email for more information.

If you would like to become an IFCO member please click here.