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Keynote Presentation 9:00-10:15

Campus Center Level 1 Auditorium

Implementing Evidence-based Practice with Mothers of Infants and Toddlers in the Child Welfare System

The introduction for Mary and Vicky starts on the above YouTube link at 32:35

Mary Dozier, Vicky Kelly

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   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.

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Campus Center Auditorium

 

Racial Identity at the Intersection of Artist, Academic, and Advocate 
Susan Harris O'Connor, Ruth McRoy, Kim Stevens 

 

​This session vividly illustrates how the intersection of three perspectives (artist, academic, and advocate) can provide a more powerful understanding of the complexity in the development of racial identities of transracially adopted children. Emphasis is placed on how professionals can assist adoptive, foster and first parents in advocating and providing the necessary supports. There will be a Q & A period for further dialogue on both the subject matter and this innovative style of teaching and collaboration.

 

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.

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.

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.

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 162-75

 

Foster America: A Fellowship Program Designed to Strengthen the Child Welfare Leadership Pipeline and Spark Innovation

This session will provide an introduction to Foster America and an opportunity to offer feedback and advice on the development of the program.  Foster America is a new fellowship program that aims to improve the lives of kids in the child welfare system.  The program will recruit talented professionals from diverse sectors—such as business and technology—to parter with child welfare leaders on developing new solutions to major challenges in the child welfare field.  It will also prepare fellows for higher levels of child welfare leadership.  Foster America is modeled on programs that attract top talent to other underserved fields, such as The Broad Residency and Global Health Corps.

 

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. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 163C

 

Dan Hughes' Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) for Children with Trauma and Attachment Histories: an Introduction for Caretakers and Therapists 
Robert Spottswood  


Children who learned from early experience to not trust adults for help or care can present troubling emotional challenges to loving caretakers.  This presentation will explain the experiential logic behind that mistrust, as well as Dan Hughes' relationship-focused approach to re-engaging such children.  Attendees will hear the theory behind Hughes' model, practice an attitude of PACE (Playful, Accepting, Curious and Empathic), and view short clips of a variety of DDP therapy sessions (subtitled).

 

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.

 

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 165-69

 

 

The Secure Base Model:  A Framework for Therapeutic Caregiving in Foster Care and Adoption 
Mary Beek 

 

This session introduces and explains a framework for providing focused, therapeutic caregiving to children in foster care and adoption: The Secure Base model, developed by Professor Gillian Schofield and Dr Mary Beek at the University of East Anglia, UK. The Secure Base model is based in theories of attachment and resilience and drawn from research and practice in foster care and adoption. The presenter will briefly describe the model and its applications and give examples of the ways that foster carers and adopters have successfully used it as a tool to shape their caregiving and support their children’s progress and development.  Associated publications and resources will be signposted.

 

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.
 

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 168C

 

Improving the Outcomes for Success: Building a National Adoption Competent Child Welfare and Mental Health Workforce 
Debbie Riley, Anne Atkinson 


This presentation will highlight the need for adoption competency training for  child welfare workers and mental health professionals, provide an overview of the development, implementation, and rigorous multi-year evaluation of the Training for Adoption Competency (TAC), now in 15 states  and the foundational constructs for a Children’s Bureau funded web-based training program, the National Adoption Competent Mental Health Training Initiative (NTI) both developed by the Center for Adoption Support and Education.

 

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.

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.

 

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45
Room 174-76

Fostering Futures: A Successful Community Volunteer Team Model for Supporting Foster Families
Bill McLaughlin, Darlene Ward
 

Fostering Futures NY (FFNY) is an innovative program that is operating in three counties in upstate New York that is identifying previously untapped resources from within the community.  The program is essentially a foster parent support model that uses no government resources.  FFNY builds partnerships between teams of volunteers from the community and individual foster families.  The goal of a team is simple - to provide practical help to foster parents in their task of providing a safe, stable and nurturing home for the the abused and neglected children in their care.  The early results are positive.  Foster parents are better supported and more satisfied in their roles.  Children have more interaction with adults and they are less likely to be moved.  And volunteers love the chance to make a difference in kids lives!

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.

Darlene Ward, VolunteerLay 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.

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 804-08

 

Mapping Needs, Costs and Outcomes: The English Adoption Journey
Lisa Holmes, Samantha McDermid, and John Simmonds 

 


This presentation will outline the adoption pathways in England and will highlight how a systematic approach to analysing and costing pathways can, and has, informed strategic planning. Furthermore the presentation will highlight the importance of costing child welfare services using the child as the unit of analysis, rather than focusing purely on fiscal data. Examples will be provided of how this approach facilitates an exploration of children’s needs and circumstances, how they impact on children’s pathways through the child welfare system and the outcomes that are achieved.

 

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.

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.

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 805-09

 

Think of Us! 
Sixto Cancel 

Think of Us is developing an online platform to support foster youth, foster/adoptive parents, and the state workforces. Think of Us started as a commitment of action with the Clinton Global Initiative University. The idea: To develop an online space for youth to access content to help them navigate their lives. The Think of Us Team is led by founder, Sixto Cancel and made up of fifteen young professionals/seasoned experts.

 

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.

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 811-15

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 904-08

Advocacy 101: Advocacy for Self (Youth-Only Workshop)
Amina Jordan-Mendez, Gabriel Peeples

In this workshop youth will have the opportunity to learn and practice self-advocacy skills. They will gain experience that will help them to better navigate the world of participatory child welfare, a shift in the system after the passage of the Strengthening Families Act. Youth need to develop the skills to participate in the process on their own behalf in a respectful and engaged way that will ensure their voices will be heard. The workshop will highlight several key pieces of policy in Massachusetts, including the Foster Child Bill of Rights and the Sibling Bill of Rights.

Chris Langelier, Director, HEROES Youth Leadership Project
Chris Langelier has been the director for the HEROES Youth Leadership Project since December 2011. Chris' began his professional work with youth experiencing foster care at Camp to Belong almost 10 years ago! His experiential approach of working with youth draws heavily on his background as a paramedic and outdoor adventure instructor. A graduate of the counseling program at Lesley University, Chris believes that young people can heal from their past experiences through a multitude of ways, many of which are outside the traditional therapeutic box."

Amina Jordan-Mendez
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.

Gabriel Peeples
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 for the Treehouse Foundation  as a Life Skills Coordinator and HEROES Project Youth Council Coordinator. While working with youth has been a lifelong endeavor, Gabriel has been sharing his many talents and skills with youth involved in the foster care system for the past 2 years.

 

 

Morning Breakout Session 10:30-11:45

Room 917


Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools 
Anne Eisner Anne Eisner 

 

 

 

​This presentation will share the work of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, a collaboration of Massachusetts Advocates for Children and Harvard Law School.  Based on their publications, Helping Traumatized Children Learn and Creating and Advocating for Trauma-Sensitive Schools, the workshop will summarize trauma’s impact on learning, behavior and relationships at school, and briefly describe the Attributes and Framework that can guide schools in creating the school-wide infrastructure needed to provide a safe and supportive, trauma-sensitive learning environment that is responsive, not only to the needs of students who have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences, but to the needs of all students. The highlight of the presentation will be the opportunity to hear from a team of educators who are creating a trauma-sensitive school.

 

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.

 

 

Afternoon Keynote Presentation 1:15 – 2:30
Campus Center Auditorium Level 1

 

Turning up the Volume on Older Youth Permanence

 

This Keynote panel presentation will focus on finding family permanence as an older youth. Young adults, adoptive parents and child welfare professionals  will provide compelling insights and personal perspectives on their unique experience of achieving permanence; what it means to them and implications for trauma informed child welfare practice.

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.

Mary LeBeau, MSW, LICSW, 3P Consulting LLC
Mary LeBeau has worked in the field of child welfare for the past 30 years. For many years Mary provided direct services to children and families, as both a social worker and supervisor. She has a special expertise in curriculum development, child welfare training and delivering post-training support through coaching, mentoring and consultation. She has co-develop program models that integrate family-centered practice principles, youth engagement and trauma informed practice to improve safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children and youth. Mary has a special interest in permanency planning with older and transitioning youth.

The panel will feature: 

Rodney Walker: REFCA Champion and graduate of Yale University. Author of A New Day One, an autobiography about his time in foster care.
Kim Stevens:  Adoptive parent/Youth Advocate.
Pat O’Brien:   Youth Permanency advocate.
Karen Zilberstein:  Mental Health/Trauma expert.
Jamie Caron:  MA DCF Administrator.
Cedric Riley:
a young man adopted as an older youth.

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Campus Center Auditorium

 

The Legacy of Foster Care: An Intergenerational Panel of Foster Care Alumni
Grace Hilliard-Koshinsky, Charles Lerner

Legacy is defined as “something that comes from the past”. While the legacy of foster care may be different from person to person depending on their experiences, the impact is felt nonetheless. Alumni panelists from across generations come together at this year’s Rudd-REFCA Conference to discuss how they have integrated their experiences in foster care into their lives personally and professionally. They have come together in the hope that by sharing their stories you may become an even more effective ally to children and youth who follow in their footsteps as alumni.

Grace Hilliard-Koshinsky, Program Manager, New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors (NEACWCD)
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).

Charles Lerner, Boston CASA Executive Director
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.

 

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 162-75

 

Technology on the Frontline: Changing Practice, Changing Lives
Adam Pertman 


The population of children and families we serve through foster care and adoption has changed radically in the 21st Century, and so the institutions themselves are evolving to meet their needs. This presentation examines the research and implications of this historic transformation, with a particular focus on the technological advances – such as the internet, social media, “data-sharing” and even IBM’s Watson computing system – that are adding complexities of our world even as they are providing unprecedented opportunities to improve outcomes.

 

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.

 

 

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 163C

 

Improving College Graduation Outcomes for Foster Youth: The Wily Network 
Judi King, Katherine MacDonald 

 


The vision of the Wily Network is to improve college graduations outcomes for youth with foster care experience at four-year residential colleges. Our presentation will offer a brief history of higher education support programs for college students with foster care experience.  Using examples from our work we will outline the critical need for developing robust programs to enhance each scholar’s college experience and help them to develop a life long network of peers and supports. Finally, we will highlight the importance of creating performance metrics in order to continually evaluate the networks efficacy.

Judi Alperin King Ph.D.
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. Judi is a psychologist who has dedicated her career to working with children who face severe emotional and behavioral challenges.  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 without benefits of a permanent family or home.  The Wily Network is an adaption of Guardian Scholars and Fostering Success Michigan.

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. Judi and Kat are passionate about their work and are honored to be supporting their new The Wily Network scholars. They are now tirelessly preparing for the upcoming launch of their program.  They are eager to respond to the needs these young adults, to serve as their safety net through college graduation and to help them to develop lasting communities. In the meantime, Kat and Judi have begun working with three students who are preparing to return to college this fall.

 

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 165-69

 

Getting Practice Right:  Using the Strengths and Limits of Research Findings to “Bridge the Gap” Between Practice and Research 
Beth Neil, Sally Popper, Karen Zilberstein 

 


This session explores how gaps between research and practice can be bridged. In the first part of the session, Karen Zilberstein and Sally Popper will identify areas in which research has provided useful guides for practice and areas in which research and standardized interventions do not yet completely address the experiences and needs of individual children and families. The second contribution will be from Beth Neil who will outline the “Contact after Adoption Change Project” from the UK. This project brings together an adoption researcher with experienced adoption professionals with the aim of coproducing online resources to help make research-informed, case sensitive decisions about post adoption contact for children 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.

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.\

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.

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 168C

 

Finding adoptive families for children in care: perspectives from the US and England
Cherilyn Dance, Kathy Ledesma

 

In this session, which is intended as an opportunity to reflect on adoption policy and practice, Kathy and Cherilyn will consider the way in which adoption has become a permanence option for some groups of children in care in the US and in England. They will explore briefly the profiles of children adopted from care and touch on similarities and differences in legislation, policy, process and practice in the two countries. The main focus of the session will be on current issues and tensions associated with finding families for children in a timely way. Topics to be discussed will include assessment of parental capacity and care planning for children within the Human Rights framework, practitioner values and beliefs, delays for children and the impact of new technology and adopter initiated matching.

 

 

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.
 

Kathy Ledesma, National Project Director, AdoptUSKids
Since 2008, Kathy Ledesma has been National Project Director for AdoptUSKids, which is administered by Adoption Exchange Association through a cooperative agreement with the Children’s Bureau. Kathy has worked in the field of child welfare since 1972, in both the public and private sector in Oregon and Washington states, Washington, D.C. and Chiapas, Mexico.  She served as Oregon’s statewide Adoption Manager for seven of those years and was on loan to the Children’s Bureau as the Acting National Adoption Specialist from 2005 to 2007. Kathy has served as President of the National Association of State Adoption Program Managers (NASAP), on the board of the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (AAICAMA), and is a frequent speaker on adoption and the recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive families.  She received her MSW from Portland State University. 

 

 

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 174-76

 

Facilitating Peer Support between Foster Carers in the UK  
Samantha McDermid 

 


Peer support between foster carers has been found to facilitate emotional and practical support for foster carers, information sharing and opportunities to reflect on and improve practice, along with reducing foster carers stress, reducing disruptions in placements, and improvements to the retention of foster carers. This presentation will bring together the findings of three research studies to explore three innovative approaches to facilitate peer support between foster carers and the impact that those approaches have carers and the children and young people they care for. The issues associated with implementing such models within fostering services in the UK and recommendations for policy and practice will also be examined.

 

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.

 

 

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 804-08

Part of the Family: Achieving Permanence in Long-term Family Foster Care 
Mary Beek & Joyce Maguire Pavao

 


This presentation will explore research on long-term foster care as a permanence option. It will focus on two contentious practice issues.  First there is the extent to which long-term foster children become fully part of the family as intended in the concept of permanence. Secondly there is the question of the role that foster carers in long-term placements need to play as both skilled professionals and committed parents. This presentation will bring together key research findings with reflections on policy, practice and the support needs of long-term foster care placements.

 

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.
 

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.

 

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 805-09

 

Sexual Minority and Heterosexual Parents Adopting Through the Child Welfare System: Challenges and Surprises During the Transition to Parenthood and Beyond 
Abbie Goldberg, April Moyer, David Brodzinsky  

This session will address some of the unexpected challenges and surprises encountered by heterosexual, lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals and couples who adopt through the child welfare system. Data will be presented regarding (a) the challenges that foster-to-adopt parents encounter post-placement, including: legal insecurity in their parental role, disorganization within social service systems, inadequate support services, and complex relationships with birth parents; (b) unmet expectations that foster-to-adopt parents often encounter with regard to the types of children that are placed in their home (e.g., in terms of age, race, gender, and special needs); and (c) the experiences of parents that have adopted via child welfare in terms of contact and openness with birth family members. Engaged and informal discussion of the implications of these findings for families and clinicians, as well as Q&A, will follow these brief research presentations.

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.

​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. 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.

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 811-15

 

Transaction to Transformation: A Modern Understanding of Adoption to Strengthen All Families  
April Dinwoodie 

After decades of research, passionate advocacy and practical experiences - why haven’t policies and practices on behalf of children and families moved far enough and fast enough? The Donaldson Adoption Institute will share results of new public opinion research that gauges how much Americans really know about adoption and where they stand on issues impacting adoption and modern family structures and explore key actions that are needed in order to truly bring a new world of adoption to life.

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.

 

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 904-08

 

Afternoon Breakout Session 2:45-4:00

Room 917

 

Expanding the Village: How “One Simple Wish” is Encouraging EVERYONE To Support Youth in Foster Care Danielle Gletow, Founder & Executive Director of One Simple Wish

 In 2006, Danielle Gletow and her husband, Joe, became foster parents in NJ with the goal of adopting. Frustrated by the stigma held by many about foster children and knowing they needed to empower more of the masses to get involved, they created One Simple Wish in 2008. One Simple Wish started in NJ serving just 12 agencies and their children. Now, 7 years later, OSW serves more than 6,000 kids a year in 49 states through over 750 Community Partnerships. By creating a culture of collaboration and inclusiveness One Simple Wish has encouraged a conversation about helping our nation’s most vulnerable youth in people and places that hadn’t considered their role before. Now One Simple Wish is embarking on yet another innovative undertaking, to bring One Simple Wish World to cities all over the country. This engaging and interactive approach to showing everyone how they fit into the solution has raised over 3 million dollars in private support and garnered the attention of CNN Heroes, NBC Nightly News, The Christian Science Monitor and scores of other national media outlets. Danielle lives in Central NJ with her husband, Joe, their two amazing daughters Mia and Lily and their beloved dogs Alice and Duncan.