Oregon Researcher to Keynote New Worlds of Adoption Conference

Philip Fisher

“Helping Families Overcome Early Adversity” is the theme of the 6th annual New Worlds of Adoption Conference, set for Friday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium. The conference is organized by the Rudd Adoption Research Program in the psychology department.

The keynote address, “Innovations and Best Practices: Helping Adoptive Families Overcome Early Adversities,” will be given by Philip Fisher, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.

Children who have experienced foster care and adoption often have early adverse experiences that impact their development and complicate effective parenting. Fisher will discuss the effects of early stressful experiences on children’s neurobiological and psychological development, highlighting the brain’s plasticity over the course of development in order to maximize the effectiveness of interventions. In the area of adoption, there are still very few evidence-based interventions, many adoptive parents struggle to find appropriate services that can meet the needs of their children and families, and there is very little state or national legislation to guide the allocation of resources. The presentation will describe activities of Fisher’s research group to address these issues, within the context of basic science, intervention, and public policy.

There will also be facilitated discussion groups with focus on child welfare/Department of Children and Families workers, researchers, clinicians, adoptive and foster parents, and educators. The discussions will be co-facilitated by persons familiar with Fisher’s work and with the needs of adoptive parents and adopted children. The goal of the sessions will be to continue the discussion of the implications of Fisher’s work in very practical terms, and relating the discussion to the audience for that breakout. The goal of the afternoon groups will be to identify action items. How can people in the group take that knowledge back to their settings and use it? What concrete things could they do with the information?

The conference will include panel discussions and posters displaying research and programs.

The event is open to the public.

The conference is sponsored by Adoption Research Program, department of psychology, Center for Neuroendocrine Studies, College of Education, Center for Research on Families (CRF), and College of Natural Sciences; Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

The program is sponsored by the Massachusetts Psychological Association.