The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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KEYNOTE SPEAKER

 

Mary Dozier
Amy E. DuPont Chair of Child Development
University of Delaware

Mary Dozier holds the Amy E. DuPont Chair of Child Development at the University of Delaware. She is the Principal Investigator of the school's Infant Caregiver Project. Her interests in understanding connections between experience, brain development, and behavior have led to the ABC Intervention techniques, a practical application of findings from years of research.

Dr. Dozier graduated from Duke University summa cum laude with a B.A. in psychology in 1976, and obtained her Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1983. She completed an internship and residency at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington D.C. Her first faculty position was at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where she studied treatment use among adults with serious psychiatric disorders. Since coming to Delaware in 1994, she has studied the development of young children who are neglected and young foster children. She has developed training programs for the caregivers of these children, with efficacy trials funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Dozier was promoted to Associate Professor in 1996, Full Professor in 2004, and Amy E. du Pont Chair of Child Development in 2004. Her work has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health continuously since 1989 through career development awards and large research grants. She is the recipient of the Bowlby-Ainsworth Award for Translational Research on Adoption and the National Institute of Mental Health Innovation Nomination.

PANEL DISCUSSION

 

UnJa Hayes, PhD.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dr. Hayes’ research examines the influence of reproductive experiences on attachment between parent and offspring. The goal of her work is to determine what experiences and neurobiological changes are necessary to prepare mothers for their new postpartum roles. This research is conducted using a translational approach that examines pre- and postpartum behaviors of female prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) and women. Her animal research looks at the physiological mechanisms that cause animals to suppress aggressive behaviors against vole offspring and show parental behaviors. Her current clinical research investigates how obstetric interventions affect postpartum feelings of depression and sensitive caregiving. This research is conducted for potential clinical application for the prevention of child abuse and neglect and postpartum depression.

 

Joyce Maguire Pavao
Founder & CEO, Center for Family Connections

Dr. Pavao is a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Clinical Member of the American Orthopsychiatric Association. She is a member and past Director of the American Adoption Congress. Past Board member of the Kinship Alliance, Boston Children’s Services, Home For Little Wanders, Cambridge Friends School, Education and Policy Board of Adoptive Families of America, Cambridge Friends School, and former Board member of the Open Door Society of Massachusetts. She is currently on the Practice Board of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the Editorial Board of Adoptive Families magazine and Fostering Families Today, and the Adoption Advisory Board of the Child Welfare League of America. Dr. Pavao has received many awards and honors, including the North American Council for Adoptable Children award for Child Advocate of the Year and Adoption Activist, the Baran/Pannor award for Excellence in Open Adoption, as well as the Congressional Coalition on Adoption award for Angels in Adoption 2000, as nominated by Senator Edward Kennedy and Congressman Mike Capuano.

Dr. Pavao has done extensive training, both nationally and internationally. She is a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and has lectured at Harvard, Smith, Wellesley, UCLA, USC and Antioch, among other universities. She has consulted various public and private child welfare agencies, adoption agencies, schools, community groups, probate and family court judges, lawyers, and clergy. She has also worked closely with individuals, couples, and families on issues related to adoption, foster care, guardianship and kinship, as well as complex families formed through reproductive technology, single parent families, gay and lesbian families, and families through remarriage.

Her constant chant is that adoption is about finding families for children, not about finding children for families. Although she is a family therapist with empathy for all parties, she keeps her focus on the best interests of the child. Her other mantra is that it takes a community to hold a family and the wider community needs to understand the Family of Adoption.


 

Jennifer Martin McDermott, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Dr. McDermott received her doctorate in Human Development from the University of Maryland in 2008. Her research focuses on how children learn to regulate their behaviors and emotions, with a special emphasis on the role of individual differences and influence of early experience. To explore these issues Dr. McDermott is charting the developmental sensitivity of cognitive and affective regulation across contexts using a combination of behavioral and physiological approaches. The primary goal of this research is to determine the manner by which regulatory abilities promote efficient learning and contribute to adaptive socioemotional outcomes in children.


Chris Overtree

Dr. Christopher E. Overtree
Director, Psychological Services Center, UMass Amherst

Dr. Christopher Overtree is the Director of the Psychological Services Center and the Associate Director of Clinical Training for the Clinical Psychology Program at UMass Amherst, where he has won awards for community outreach and teaching. His research focuses on psychotherapy outcomes in naturalistic settings, as well as effective methods of service provision in the community mental health system. As a clinician, he works with children, adults and families with specialties in anxiety disorders, depression, cognitive-behavior therapy, and disorders of childhood and parenting. He is also the Co-Founder of the Center for School Climate and Learning, an educational consulting group that specializes in the prevention of bullying and harassment in school settings and the promotion of positive school climate. This work has enabled him to work with students, educators and parents across the country.


 

Sally Powers, Ed.D.
Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Director, Center of Research on Families

Dr. Powers’ research investigates the interaction of normal developmental processes and psychopathology in adolescents. She focuses on understanding the role of cognitive, personality, and life history risk factors, interpersonal behavior in close relationships, and neuroendocrine functioning in the development of psychopathology. Her most recent studies, funded by NIMH, investigate a biopsychosocial model of factors hypothesized to contribute to the gender difference in the prevalence of adolescent and young adult depression. Colleague Paula Pietromonaco and she are also conducting a NCI-funded longitudinal study of close relationships and changes in neuroendocrine functioning throughout the early years of marriage.

 CONCURRENT SESSIONS

SESSION 1

How Many Families Does It Take To Make An Adoption?

 

Joyce Maguire Pavao
Founder & CEO, Center for Family Connections

Dr. Pavao is a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Clinical Member of the American Orthopsychiatric Association. She is a member and past Director of the American Adoption Congress. Past Board member of the Kinship Alliance, Boston Children’s Services, Home For Little Wanders, Cambridge Friends School, Education and Policy Board of Adoptive Families of America, Cambridge Friends School, and former Board member of the Open Door Society of Massachusetts. She is currently on the Practice Board of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the Editorial Board of Adoptive Families magazine and Fostering Families Today, and the Adoption Advisory Board of the Child Welfare League of America. Dr. Pavao has received many awards and honors, including the North American Council for Adoptable Children award for Child Advocate of the Year and Adoption Activist, the Baran/Pannor award for Excellence in Open Adoption, as well as the Congressional Coalition on Adoption award for Angels in Adoption 2000, as nominated by Senator Edward Kennedy and Congressman Mike Capuano.

Reactive Attachment Disorder


Anna Smyke

Anna Smyke, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Tulane University Coordinator of the Foster Care Team

Dr. Smyke’s interests are primarily in the area of early adverse experiences, such as maltreatment and institutionalization, and their influence on child development. She has a particular interest in attachment disturbances and disorders and ways in which caregivers can foster the development of attachment relationships in young children with no prior attachment relationships, or who are establishing an attachment relationship with a different caregiver. Other areas of interest involve the impact of maltreatment on young children’s development and the provision of support to foster children and their foster parents. Additionally, as a New Orleanian, she is also interested in understanding the effects of the traumatic experiences that our smallest citizens have experienced as a result of the flooding after Hurricane Katrina. She has also studied at-risk mothers’ beliefs about spoiling their young children and examined the influence of maltreating status on mothers’ representations and on their interactions with their young children. Current research interests include: attachment disturbances/disorders in foster children and previously institutionalized children and developmental sequelae of early institutionalization.

SESSION 2

Adoption-specific psychotherapy: A manualized approach for children adopted from foster care


Debbie Riley

Debbie Riley
Chief Executive Officer, The Center for Adoption Support & Education, Inc.

Debbie B. Riley is the Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Adoption Support and Education, Inc. (C.A.S.E.), an independent pre and post-adoption organization in the Baltimore-Washington area and co-author of the book, Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens.  Ms. Riley holds a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Maryland.

A nationally recognized adoption expert and dynamic public speaker, Ms. Riley has more than 30 years of professional experience, including extensive health care management and administrative expertise, hands-on experience at designing and developing nationally acclaimed adoption-competent programs for professionals, as well as her direct (and current) delivery of specialized counseling services to adopted children, teens, adults and their families, affords her the broad knowledge and nationally respected expertise needed to promote health education, child advocacy and public policy development.  Currently, Ms. Riley leads the national initiative to develop and implement a standardized training program designed to provide mental health practitioners with the requisite adoption competencies to serve adoptive families with quality services.  The standardized program has been pilot-tested through a partnership with the University of Maryland. This training program will be a foundational component of a certification process for mental health practitioners in the area of adoption.

Annually, she lectures on assessment, diagnosis and treatment at Southern Connecticut University, Post Master’s Adoption Certificate program.  In addition, she has also taught at Rutgers University, Post Master’s Adoption Certificate program on concurrent planning among foster children.   She serves the Editorial Committee for the Adoptive Families Magazine, former President on the Board of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, on the Board of Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption, and the Children’s Agenda Advisory Committee of the Montgomery Co. Collaboration Council for Children, Youth, and Families.


Jill Waterman

Jill Waterman
Professor of Psychology, University of California Los Angeles.

Jill Waterman is Adjunct Professor in the UCLA Psychology Department, and Coordinator of the UCLA Psychology Clinic, the training clinic for UCLA’s top-ranked Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. She was one of the initial developers of UCLA TIES for Adoption, an interdisciplinary program to support successful adoption from foster care of children with prenatal substance exposure and other high-risk conditions, and currently is the Training Director of TIES (now called TIES for Families). Dr. Waterman’s research involves various aspects of adoption and child trauma, and she recently completed a study collecting extensive 5 year longitudinal data for special needs children and their families adopting from foster care. Dr. Waterman also founded and leads the TIES for Families Infant Mental Health project, a clinical and research program for infants and resource parents in concurrent planning.

Currently, Dr. Waterman is the lead author (along with colleagues Debbie Riley, Jeanne Miranda and Audra Langley) on ADAPT, an adoption-specific psychotherapy manual for older foster children and their adopting or adoptive parents. The manual combines evidence-based therapy techniques with best practices in adoption treatment. The team is currently collecting pilot data and seeking funding for a randomized control trial of this modularized approach. Additionally, Dr. Waterman is the author of 2 books on child sexual abuse as well as an evidence-based group treatment manual for at-risk middle school students.

Adoption Mentoring Partnership


Jen Dolan

Jen Dolan
Program Manager, Rudd Adoption Research Program
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Jen Dolan, M.P.H. is the Program Manager for the Rudd Adoption Research Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.    Previously Ms. Dolan served as a Program Manager for the Health Education, Off-Campus Federal Work Study and Service Learning program at Holyoke Community College.   Her undergraduate degree is in social work and her master’s degree is in public health.  Currently she is pursuing her doctoral degree from the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts.  Her research is focused on learning how white adoptive parents support their Asian born children around race related issues.  Ms. Dolan is the mother of a Filipino boy she and her partner adopted 10 years ago.

 

Quade French, M.A.
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Quade French is currently providing leadership for the Adoption Mentoring Partnership, which seeks to match adopted undergraduates with adopted children in the community. His interests include adoptive identity, racial/ethnic identity development, and issues in clinical therapy that arise when working with adopted individuals. He received his Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology at California State University, Northridge, studying the effects of foster care on biological stress reaction systems in children, and his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego.


Harold Grotevant

Harold D. Grotevant
Rudd Family Foundation Chair of Psychology
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Harold D. Grotevant holds the Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research focuses on relationships in adoptive families, and on identity development in adolescents and young adults. His work has resulted in over 100 articles published in professional journals as well as several books, including Openness in Adoption: Exploring Family Connections (with Ruth McRoy, Sage Publications, 1998). He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the National Council on Family Relations; Senior Research Fellow of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute; former Board President of Adoptive Families of America; and recipient of research, teaching, and educational leadership awards from the University of Minnesota. He directs the Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project, which focuses on relationships in adoptive families and contact between adoptive and birth family members. This longitudinal study, begun with Dr. Ruth McRoy (University of Texas at Austin) in the mid- 1980s, has followed the children into young adulthood.


Renee Moss

Renee Moss
Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County

Renee was born and raised in New York City. She attended Bronx High School of Science, Hunter College where she earned a BA in Philosophy, and Bank Street College where she earned a Masters Degree in Education. 

 Renee taught in the New York City Public Schools for 10 years.  In 1981 she moved to Amherst Massachusetts. In 1985 Renee joined the staff of Big Brothers Big Sisters as a case manager and in 1997 she became the director of the program.  Since then the program has more than doubled in size and number of children served.  It has grown from 70 mentoring matches per year to over 150.  Half of the volunteer mentors are students from the five colleges.

 She has been involved in creating and participating in many partnerships and collaborations with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Smith and Mt. Holyoke Colleges, and several Hampshire County school districts and human service agencies, focusing on providing mentoring relationships to children with various risk factors. She presently co-chairs the Amherst Human Services Network and serves on the United Way Board.


Jess Robins

Jessica Robbins
Case Manager, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County

Jessica was born and raised in Homer, Alaska.  She attended Western Washington University where she received a BA, and the University of Alaska Southeast where she earned a Masters Degree in Teaching.

Jessica taught English and Special Education in Juneau, Alaska for 3 years.  In 2009 she moved to Amherst with her husband and began working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County.  Jessica supervises the Adoption Mentoring Partnership matches. 

Attachment In Adoption And Foster Care: Current Research


Ruth McRoy

Ruth Gail McRoy
Professor, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work

Ruth G. McRoy is a Research Professor and the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor Emerita at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work and Professor and Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Chair at the Boston College School of Social Work. She is also a Senior Research Fellow of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. During her 25 years on the UT faculty, she served, for 12 years, as the Director of the Center for Social Work Research, Director of the Diversity Institute at the UT School of Social Work and since 2002, as Associate Dean for Research. A practitioner, researcher, and lecturer in the field for over 30 years, her interests include family preservation, open adoptions, older child adoptions, transracial adoptions and post-adoption services. As part of the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids, she is currently leading a research team at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work which is conducting research on barriers to adoption and factors associated with successful special needs adoptions. She has written eight books, including: Transracial and Inracial Adoptees: The Adolescent Years (with L. Zurcher), Special Needs Adoptions: Practice Issues, and Openness in Adoption: Exploring Family Connections (with H. Grotevant) and numerous articles and book chapters on adoption issues.

 

Family Stress & Functioning in Clients Of A Post-Adoptive Service Who Were Referred for Attachment


Elizabeth Schilling

Elizabeth Schilling
Clinical Psychologist, Institute for Public Health Research
University of Connecticut Health Center

Schilling's main interests include couples and families, the transition to adulthood, and methodological issues in the evaluation of mental health interventions. She has a longstanding interest in the psychological issues related to adoption and in the efficacy of programs developed to support adoptive families.

 

Attachment Stories: A Comparative Study Of The Attachment Experiences Of Special Needs Adoptive Families


Colette Duciaume-Wright

Colette Duciaume-Wright
Social Worker
Professor, Texas State University

Colette Duciaume-Wright, PhD, LCSW has 15 year of experience as a clinical social worker and has treated numerous children who were in foster care and families who adopted children from the foster care system. These many years of working with this population sparked an interest in attachment and this topic became the subject of her dissertation. Colette had the opportunity to work on the AdoptUSKids project at the Center for Social Work Research with Ruth McRoy, PhD, which supplied the data for her dissertation. Colette obtained her PhD from Smith College and her MSW from Our Lady of the Lake University. She is presently teaching part time at Texas State University and continues her clinical work in private practice in Austin, Texas.

 

Hoarding Behavior In Foster Care: A Series Of Case Studies


Alana Curewitz

Alana Curewitz
Research Coordinator, Translational Pain Research Group
Brigham & Women’s Hospital, MA

Alana Curewitz was born and raised in Peabody, Massachusetts. She graduated with her B.A. in psychology from Smith College in May 2009. She is currently the lead research coordinator for the Translational Pain Research Group at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA where she collaborates on regenerative studies for diabetic neuropathy and investigates chronic pain among spinal cord injury patients. Alana plans to attend graduate school in the near future for clinical psychology. Her main research interests include child abuse and trauma, family interactions, and disruptive behaviors.

 

Becoming A Family: Parenting Stress & Internationally Adopted Infants


Jessica A. K. Matthews

Jessica A. K. Matthews
Graduate Student, Chlid Development
Tufts University

Jessica is originally from Palo Alto, California. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley in psychology and political science in 2007. After working for a year at the University of Maryland in the Department of Child Development, she worked for two years teaching in the Palo Alto Unified Public School District and working on research at Stanford University. Her research focuses on the neurological underpinnings of institutionalization and the impact on later social and emotional cognition after adoption. She is now attending Tufts University where she is earning her Masters degree in Child Development and working on the International Adoption Project with Drs. Ann Easterbrooks and Ellen Pinderhughes. The International Adoption Project looks at stress reactivity in recently adopted international infants over time, and their developing relationships with their adoptive parents.