Dr. Mary Dozier, Amy E. du Pont Chair of Child Development and Professor of Psychology, University of Delaware
Dr. Mary Dozier is Amy E. du Pont Chair of Child Development and Professor of Psychology at the University of Delaware. She obtained her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1983. Over the last 20 years, she has studied the development of young children in foster care and young children living with neglecting birth parents, examining challenges in attachment and regulatory capabilities. Along with her graduate students and research team, she developed an intervention, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up, that targets specific issues that have been identified as problematic for young children who have experienced adversity. This intervention has been shown to enhance children’s secure attachments, ability to regulate cortisol normatively, and executive functioning, among other things. Dr. Dozier is currently conducting randomized clinical trials examining the effectiveness of this intervention with high-risk birth children, foster children, and internationally adopted children, work that has been continuously supported by the National Institute of Mental Health since 1989. She was on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, was an associate editor of Child Development, and serves on a number of advisory and editorial boards.
Dr. Vicky Kelly, Consultant, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Former Director, Delaware Department of Children, Youth and Families
Dr. Vicky Kelly is the Director of the Delaware Division of Family Services in the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Families. Prior to this appointment, she served as the Deputy Director for the Division of Child Mental Health. Prior to public service, she served as the clinical director for several multi-service private agencies. Dr. Kelly has over 30 years of experience in child welfare and mental health as a clinician and program administrator. She received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Masters in Health Administration from Widener University. She received her Masters in Social Work from Louisiana State University. Dr. Kelly has been an Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Clinical Psychology at Widener University. She is a nationally recognized trainer and consultant in trauma and attachment.
Breakout Session Presenters:
Dr. Anne J. Atkinson, Founder and President of PolicyWorks, Ltd.
Anne J. Atkinson, Ph.D. is founder and president of PolicyWorks, Ltd., a partner organization with the Center for Adoption Support and Education in the implementation of the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative. She has served as external evaluator for Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) as well as for nine federally-funded, multi-year demonstration projects including the Quality Improvement Center on Adoption. She has also directed two federally-funded projects designed to strengthen state and local systems capacity to use data and engage in evidence-based practices. She is author of more than a dozen curricula and guides for child welfare, criminal justice, and education professionals.
Dr. David Brodzinsky, Professor Emeritus of Clinical and Developmental Psychology, Rutgers University and Research Director, National Center on Adoption and Permanency
David Brodzinsky, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Clinical and Developmental Psychology at Rutgers University and Research Director for the National Center on Adoption and Permanency. For the past three decades, his research and scholarly writing has focused primarily on issues related to the adjustment of adopted children and their families. Dr. Brodzinsky lives in Oakland, CA, where he maintains a private clinical and consultation practice focusing on mental health issues in adoptive kinship members. He has been a consultant to countless public and private adoption agencies and has conducted training workshops on adoption and foster care throughout North America and Europe. He has published widely on the psychology of adoption in professional journals and is the co-author or co-editor of six books on adoption, including Adoption by Lesbians and Gay Men: A New Dimension in Family Diversity.
Mary Beek, Research Fellow, School of Social Work, University of East Anglia (UEA), UK
Dr Mary Beek has had a long career social work, mainly in the fields of foster care and adoption practice and management. Since 1998, she has combined her social work career with a series of research roles at UEA. Most of Mary’s research has been connected with foster care or adoption and she has been involved in longitudinal studies of children growing up in foster care (with Professor Gillian Schofield), and of contact after adoption (with Professor Elsbeth Neil). She is currently working on a study of professional systems and support in long-term foster care. Mary is particularly interested in foster and adoptive family relationships that build attachment and resilience for children, and the ways in which these relationships can be promoted and supported.
Sixto Cancel, Founder, Think of Us
Sixto lived experience in the foster care system fuels his passion for youth development, youth’s well-being and capacity building of systems and people impacting youth. As a commitment maker for the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) Sixto founded Think of Us, a non-profit dedicated to innovating with data, technology and multi-media to develop tools and services that build capacity and reform practice. Sixto is one of the executive panel member on the National Evaluation Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent or At-Risk in addition to serving as a consultant for the Children's Bureau via the Center for State Capacity . Sixto has participated in several White House briefings around technology, foster care and LGBTQ issues. He has been recognized by the White House as a White House Champion of Change, a Millennial Maker by BET and was named as one of the Top 24 Changemakers in government under 24 in the country by the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council and Sparkaction. Sixto has served as a Young Fellow at Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative since 2010, where he has worked on youth engagement, asset development and permancy. He currently serves as a member of the integration team at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Sixto currently leads a working committee that focuses on the learning of vulnerable youth populations as a member of the Dell Youth Innovation Advisor. Sixto served as a policy council member, where he provided recommendations to the acting assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He also currently serves on the board of directors for the National Foster Care Coalition and The North American Council on Adoptable Children. He has also served as a Youth Thrive Expert Panel at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Sixto has appeared on NPR’s “Tell Me More,” Fox News, the Katie Couric show, and the Huffington Post.
Cherilyn Dance, Researcher, Department of Social Care and Social Work, Manchester Metropolitan University, England
Cherilyn Dance is a researcher based in the Department of Social Care and Social Work at Manchester Metropolitan University, England. Her professional background is in health and child development but she has been involved in child welfare research for well over 20 years. The majority of her research has focused on permanence outcomes for children placed away from their birth families, mostly though adoption from care, and the development of appropriate services to plan and support those placements. Together with colleagues she has authored a number of research reports, books and journal articles on this and related topics. Her most recent completed adoption study focused on practice in Linking and Matching waiting children and families and she is currently conducting a study which is examining the issues associated with fees which are payable in England when children are placed by one agency with adopters approved by another.
April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive, The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Inc.
April Dinwoodie is a nationally recognized thought leader on adoption and foster care. As Chief Executive of the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) and a transracially adopted person, April is committed to improving laws, policies and practices through sound research, education and advocacy. She is also a co-founder of Fostering Change for Children, a progressive nonprofit that helps drive innovation in the child welfare system and created a specialized mentoring program called Adoptment where adopted adults mentor to young in foster care.
Anne Eisner, Deputy Director, Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative
Anne Eisner is a co-author of Creating and Advocating for Trauma-Sensitive Schools and the Deputy Director of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI), a collaboration of Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School. A licensed social worker, Anne leads the project’s policy work and, along with Joe Ristuccia, its work with educators. The focus of both of these efforts is to build and sustain safe and supportive, trauma-sensitive schools. Anne participates in the work of the Safe and Supportive Schools Commission, which was established through the recently enacted Safe and Supportive Schools legislation here in Massachusetts. Anne’s 26 years of experience providing clinical services to and advocating for families and children impacted by domestic violence, child abuse and neglect inform her current work with TLPI. Anne has a Master’s degree and holds the following licenses: LCSW, LMHC, and LMFT.
Danielle Gletow, Founder & Executive Director of One Simple Wish
Dr. Abbie Goldberg, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts
Abbie E. Goldberg is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research examines diverse families, including lesbian-parent families and adoptive-parent families. She is the author of over 70 peer-reviewed articles and two books: Gay Dads (NYU Press) and Lesbian- and Gay-Parent Families (APA). She is the co-editor of LGBT-Parent Families: Innovations in Research and Implications for Practice (Springer) and the editor of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of LGBTQ Studies (Sage). She has received research funding from the American Psychological Association, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Williams Institute, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the National Institutes of Health, and the Spencer Foundation.
Susan Harris O’Connor, MSW
Susan Harris O’Connor, MSW is a national solo performance artist of her book The Harris Narratives: An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee. Her narratives have been featured over 100 times at places such as the Smith College Summer Lecture series, Harvard Medical School conference series, Yale Law, NAACP and Starbucks Coffee. She is published by the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism and the esteemed journal, Adoption and Fostering where her racial identity theory for transracially adopted persons is featured. In 2014, she received the Outstanding Practitioner in Adoption Award from St. John’s University. Susan is Vice-President of Quality Assurance and Director of Adoption Services at Children Services of Roxbury.
Grace Hilliard-Koshinsky, Program Manager, New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors
Grace is the Program Manager for the New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors (NEACWCD). She recently earned her Masters of Fine Art (MFA) with a concentration in metalsmithing from UMASS Dartmouth. As a welding and fabricating instructor at Stonybrook Fine Arts in Boston, Grace teaches a variety of clientele interested in working with metal. Grace is an alumna of the foster care system in Ohio and an adoptee. Grace views the concept of family as a working document and she is interested in exploring the intersection between the fields of art and child welfare. Currently she works on three major projects in her role with the NEACWCD which include the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), the New England Youth Coalition (NEYC) and the Massachusetts Network of Foster Care Alumni (MassNFCA).
Lisa Holmes, Director, Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR), Loughborough University, England
Lisa has worked as a researcher at Loughborough University since 2000 and was involved in the formation of CCFR in 2001. Since then she has undertaken a body of research funded by government departments, non-government organisations and children’s charities to inform child welfare policy and practice nationally and internationally. Since 2007 Lisa has managed the Costs and Outcomes research programme, which aims to explore the relationship between needs, costs and outcomes of services provided to vulnerable children. This work includes development of an outcomes framework and analysis of children’s needs. Publications include academic journal articles and books, as well as government reports and practice guides to inform policy and practice. Along with Harriet Ward and Jean Soper, Lisa led the development of the award winning Cost Calculator for Children’s Services. Lisa first started her career in child welfare as an outreach worker in 1991, working with vulnerable families followed by two years working as a residential social worker in a children’s home.
Amina Jordan-Mendez is an AfroLatina queer woman from Amherst, MA. As a poet-performer she has performed at campuses, community centers and conferences locally and nationally, for over a decade. Amina has worked for influential community and arts-based organizations including Youth Leadership in the Arts, New WORLD Theater, Capacidad Multicultural after school program, and the Performance Project's Mural Project. Amina's newest professional adventure as HEROES Youth Truth Coordinator applies her niche perfectly-- hands-on development of middle and high-school age youth to engage in critical thinking, sharing youth stories and linking the arts with life skills, and youth advocacy.
Judi Alperin King, Ph.D.
Judi is a psychologist who has dedicated her career to working with children who face severe emotional and behavioral challenges. Judi earned her BA and MA degrees in Psychology at Hamilton College and Boston College, respectively. She received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout her career at Wediko Children’s Services, Judi was committed to supporting children without permanent families. In late 2014, Judi decided to shift her path and founded The Wily Network, an organization to support foster care alumni who were attending four year residential colleges with out benefits of a permanent family or home. The Wily Network is an adaption of Guardian Scholars and Fostering Success Michigan.
Sherry Lachman, Founder, Foster America
Sherry Lachman is the founder of Foster America. Previously, she served as a domestic policy advisor to Vice President Biden, a senior policy advisor at the Department of Education, a senior education counsel to Senator Al Franken, and an attorney at the Juvenile Law Center. She is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Harvard Kennedy School.
Charles Lerner, Executive Director, Boston Court Appointed Special Advocates
Charles is the Executive Director of Boston CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). As a previous foster youth, adoptee and professional in the child welfare field, he has been part of the foster care system his entire life. His professional experiences have included being a foster and adoptive parent educator, adoption recruiter, and family therapist. Charles has taught at universities around the country, including Harvard University. Three years ago, he adopted his son from foster care. Charles continues to be concerned with the experiences children have while in the system and the discouraging outcomes the longer these children remain in the system. Charles is a visionary leader and an impactful, passionate speaker on child welfare and understands on a deep personal and professional level the legacy of foster care for those who experience it.
Katherine Castañeda MacDonald, LICSW
Kat earner her B.A. at Oberlin College and her MSW at Simmons College. Kat has 10 years of experience working with youth and families in the Boston area. She has worked in a variety of positions in residential, school, re-entry, home-based, and community settings. Her work has focused primarily on mind-body interventions, social and racial justice, dynamics of trauma and attachment, and post-traumatic growth.
Samantha McDermid, Research Fellow, Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University, UK
Samantha joined the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University in 2007 to work on the costs and outcomes programme of research which aims to explore the relationship between needs, costs and outcomes of services provided to vulnerable children and families. Since then she has worked on a number of studies funded by the Department for Education and Department for Health, non-government organisations and children’s charities to inform child welfare policy and practice. Sam has published academic journal articles and a book, as well as research reports and practice guides to inform policy and practice. Her research interests include foster care, social pedagogy and the impact that different services and interventions have on vulnerable children and families, and the mechanism through which those services are implemented and delivered.
Bill McLaughlin, Director of Development, Fostering Futures New York
Bill McLaughlin's professional experience reflects a series of various roles within human services including youth worker, HS teacher, CPS worker, Title XX Planner (hints at his age), regional director, director of operations, and associate Commissioner for Policy and Planning. He has direct experience at the county level and management/leadership experience at the state levels overseeing development and implementation of large systems changes. He retired in 2010 from the Office of Children and Family Services with a plan to do organization and systems consulting which he did for a number of years before he was distracted by the opportunity to "do something completely different" by joining FFNY. He initially signed on as a volunteer and later as a hybrid (paid sometimes/volunteer others). He describes his choice to commit to FFNY as very logical in that after almost forty years of experience in child welfare and foster care in particular, that it is really time to "try something different" and to engage the community in caring for their own children.
Joyce Maguire Pavao, Founder & CEO, Center For Family Connections, Inc.
She is a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, Clinical Member of the American Orthopsychiatric Association (Ortho), and Clinical Member of the American Family Therapy Association. She is a member and past Director of the American Adoption Congress, former Board member of the Open Door Society of Massachusetts, Kinship Alliance in Monterey, California, and Education and Policy Board of Adoptive Families of America in Minneapolis. She is currently on the Practice Board of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York, the Editorial Boards of Adoptive Families magazine and Foster Families Today magazine, the Adoption Advisory Board of the Child Welfare League of America, and the Library Board of the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center. Dr. Pavao has received many awards and honors, including the Children’s Bureau/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Adoption Excellence Award for Family Contribution (2003), The Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy (2003), the North American Council for Adoptable Children award for Adoption Advocate of the Year (2001) and Child Advocate of the Year (2001), and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption award for Angels in Adoption (2000), as nominated by Senator Edward Kennedy and Congressman Mike Capuano.
Ruth McRoy, Donahue and DiFelice Professor of Social Work, Children, Youth & Families
In September 2009, Ruth G. McRoy became the first holder of the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professorship at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Prior to joining the Boston College faculty, McRoy held the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professorship at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. A practitioner, academician, researcher, and lecturer in the field for over 30 years, her research has focused on such topics as culturally competent service delivery, family preservation, open adoptions, post adoption services, transracial adoptions, and older child adoptions. McRoy has published numerous articles and books, including: Transracial and Inracial Adoptees: The Adolescent Years (with L. Zurcher); and Transracial and Intercountry Adoptions: Culturally Sensitive Guidance for Professionals (with R. Fong). She received the St. John’s 2010 Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award; the 2013 Children’s Bureau Adoption Excellence Award, and the 2014 Child Advocate of the Year Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children.
April Moyer, Doctoral Candidate, Clinical Psychology Department at Clark University
April Moyer is a doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology department at Clark University. Her research and clinical interests focus on the complexity of diverse families. The goal of her dissertation is to discover ways in which the school experiences and educational outcomes of foster youth in Massachusetts can be improved. As a member of Dr. Abbie Goldberg’s research team, she has been involved with a number of projects, including the Transition to Adoptive Parenthood Project and the Post-Partum Well-Being Study. She has authored and co-authored several publications on diverse families with emphasis on adoption, LGB parents, foster care, and multiracial families. She is also a mom of two sons adopted from foster care.
Dr. Elsbeth Neil, Professor of Social Work and Director of Research, School of Social Work, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England
Dr. Elsbeth (Beth) Neil (BSc, MA, Ph.D.) is a registered social worker and Professor of Social Work and Director of Research at the School of Social Work, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. She has been undertaking research in the field of adoption since 1996 and her research has focused on adoption from a number of perspectives (children, adoptive families, birth families and practitioners). She has conducted a longitudinal study focusing on post-adoption contact, and has completed two major studies funded by the UK government: the ‘Helping Birth Families’ study examined support services for birth relatives of children adopted from care, and the ‘Supporting Contact’ study has looked at how adoption agencies support face-to-face contact arrangements between adoptive children and their birth relatives. She has published a wide range of books, edited books and journal articles about adoption.
Gabriel Peeples identifies as an educator, activist, and math-enthusiast. Gabriel is working on a Master of Social Work from Boston College and is currently working with Treehouse Easthampton as a Life Skills Coordinator as well as with the HEROES Youth Leadership Program as the Youth Council Coordinator. While working with youth is a lifelong endeavor, Gabriel has been working with youth connected to the foster care system for the past 2 years.
Adam Pertman, President and CEO, National Center on Adoption and Permanency
Adam Pertman, President of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency, is one of the leading U.S. experts on adoption and child welfare. Previously, he led the Donaldson Adoption Institute and was Associate Editor of the scholarly journal Adoption Quarterly. He is a widely published author, including of “Adoption Nation,” which was reviewed as “the most important book ever written on the subject.” Pertman was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his writing about adoption as a journalist at the Boston Globe. He gives keynotes, trainings and other presentations nationally and internationally, and the research he has instigated and participated in – along with his writing, testimony and advocacy – have been utilized to improve practice, shape law and policy, and educate professionals, students, the media and the public. His commentaries and interviews appear in media worldwide, and he has received numerous awards for his work.
Sally Popper, Treehouse Community & Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America of Western Massachusetts
Sally Popper has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and has worked as a researcher and therapist exploring the impact of attachment disruption and early trauma on the development of children and working with their families to help them heal. She is author and co-author of a number of journal articles, most recently on clinical competencies needed to treat children in the foster care system. Recently, she has taught at local clinics and at the Smith College School of Social Work. She is an active volunteer both at the Treehouse community and in the their Reenvisioning Foster Care in America task force in Western Massachusetts.
Debbie B. Riley, LCMFT, CEO, The Center for Adoption Support and Education, Inc. (C.A.S.E.)
Debbie B. Riley LCMFT, CEO, The Center for Adoption Support and Education, Inc. (C.A.S.E.), an independent, nonprofit adoptive family support center in the Baltimore-Washington area. A nationally recognized adoption expert and dynamic public speaker, Ms. Riley has 35 years of professional experience, including extensive health care management , administrative expertise, designing and developing nationally acclaimed adoption-competent programs , direct delivery of specialized counseling services which affords her the broad knowledge and nationally respected expertise needed to promote mental health training , child advocacy and public policy development. Ms. Riley created a continuum of innovative, culturally responsive evidenced-informed programs to improve the behavioral outcomes of foster and adopted youth and their families which has become a nationally recognized model. Ms. Riley consults with national child welfare agencies on complex child welfare issues and systems of care enhancement. For over a decade she has built and implemented a framework for training an adoption competent mental health workforce nationally and is the Founder of the TAC (Training for Adoption Competency Curriculum) currently taught in 13 states within the United States. Through a recent federal five year grant awarded to C.A.S.E from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Ms. Riley serves as the PI to establish a National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative (NTI). The initiative will build the adoption competency capacity of child welfare professionals and mental health practitioners that serve youth moving toward permanency as well as youth living in permanent adoptive or guardianship homes. The NTI will develop state-of-the art evidence informed adoption competency web-based curricula for each group with quality improvement components for use on a national basis.
Robert Spottswood, M.A., Certified DDP Consultant in private practice, Norwich, Vermont
Robert Spottswood, M.A., LCMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor at North Star Counseling Services in Norwich, Vermont. He sees adults, couples, families and children (always with their attachment figure). Robert specializes in the assessment and treatment of children struggling with trust – often from early loss or maltreatment. He provides phone, skype and email consultation to a wide geographical range of therapists with questions about challenging child cases. Robert is contracted with the state of Vermont for childhood attachment assessments, recommendations and testimony as needed. He is a contributing author to two books on attachment and one children's book (The Bean Seed). Robert has presented in the U.S., Canada and England.
Kim Stevens, Director, Advocates for Families First
Kim directs Advocates for Families First, an alliance of North American Council on Adoptable Children, Generations United, and National Foster Parent Association. In this role, Kim oversees advocacy efforts on a federal and state policy agenda, capacity building for caregiver support/advocacy organizations throughout the United States, and manages communications and messaging efforts. Previous professional experience includes eight years with Massachusetts Families for Kids, where Kim moved from part-time Family Advocacy Coordinator to Co-Director. While at MFFK, she established the Speak Out Team, a nationally recognized model for youth advocacy, launched Lifelong Families for Adolescents, and assisted in successful advocacy for post-adoption services. In her 26 years of child welfare work, Kim has provided training and consultation on foster care, adoption, transracial adoption, trauma and recovery, and youth permanency issues both nationally and internationally. She and her husband, Buddy have six children, four of whom were adopted from the public foster care system.
Darlene Ward, Volunteer
Lay Leader, St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, Assistant Coordinator, Child Welfare Court Improvement Project (CWCIP) within the NYS Unified Court System (UCS)
Darlene Ward is Assistant Coordinator of the Child Welfare Court Improvement Project (CWCIP) within the NYS Unified Court System (UCS). Previously, she served as the Training Manager for CWCIP and as the Program Manager of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Assistance Program. Prior to joining NYS UCS, she was the Executive Director of CASA: Advocates for Children in NYS, the State Association for CASA programs across New York. Ms. Ward previously directed two projects at the Mental Health Association in NYS, working with parents with psychiatric disabilities and survivors of sexual abuse. She holds masters degrees in English from the University at Albany and in Community Psychology from Sage Graduate School, and formerly worked in journalism and public relations.
Karen Zilberstein, Psychotherapist and Clinical Director, A Home Within, Northampton, MA
Karen Zilberstein is a practicing psychotherapist and Clinical Director of the Northampton, MA chapter of A Home Within, a national nonprofit that provides pro bono psychotherapy for individuals who have experienced foster care. She is an Adjunct Professor at Smith College School for Social Work and a member of APSAC’s (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children) Guidelines and Publications Committees. She recently co-authored a children’s book entitled Calming Stormy Feelings: A Child’s Introduction to Psychotherapy and has published numerous journal articles on child therapy, parenting interventions, the treatment of foster and adopted children, and the clinical implications of attachment and complex trauma in children.
additional presenter information coming soon!