Conference
& Training

 

Conference

 
   
  Other Training
 
   
 

 

 

 

2014 Conference Sessions

 

General Sessions

Thursday, July 24 — Sue Badeau, “Beyond Spare Tires, GPS, and Jumper Cables: Gathering and Using the Tools You Really Need for Your Adoption Road Trip”

Thursday’s general session features Sue Badeau presenting an educational, inspirational, and eye-opening session about what to expect on your adoption journey.

Sue Badeau is the NACAC board president and has served as an advocate for youth and family engagement for three decades. She is a national child welfare trainer and consultant with more than 30 years of experience in the field.

Friday, July 25 — Youth Panel,  “Permanency Matters: A Family for Growing Up and Growing Old

Friday’s general session moderated by Nathan Ross, features a panel of youth who were adopted from or aged out of foster care. They will share their personal experiences and emphasize the importance of a permanent, stable, and loving family for everyone—young and old.

Nathan Ross, a former foster youth adopted at 14, leads the Community Champions Network for NACAC. For the past seven years, Nathan has been using his story to help achieve positive changes and advocate for a system that fights against child abuse and neglect.

Saturday, July 26 —Awards Luncheon and Closing Session by Maris Blechner, “Perspective Is Everything: It’s Time for Some Good News!”

At Saturday’s luncheon, NACAC will present awards to deserving individuals and organizations. (See list of award winners.)

Following the awards luncheon, attendees will hear an uplifting presentation by Maris Blechner, adoptive parent and co-founder of Family Focus Adoption Services who has served as a licensed clinical social worker and educator for 38 years.

Pre-Conference Sessions

On July 23, NACAC will offer three all-day pre-conference training sessions. Pre-conference sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Sheraton. Fees of $100 U.S./$110 Cdn. per person are in addition to regular conference registration. Lunch is on your own. You can register for a pre-conference session even if you do not attend the rest of the conference. Space is limited, so register early.

Please complete the registration form to reserve your space at one of the pre-conference sessions. Check-in will begin at 8:00 a.m. CEUs (7 contact hours/.7 CEUs) can be purchased at the end of the session.

Pre-Conference Registration Form

 

Session 1: “Permanency for Older Children and Youth: Critical Work Before, During, and After Placement”

Finding a permanent family for older children and youth is no easy task. And the work doesn’t end when a family is identified—in fact, it’s just beginning. This session will focus on important tasks to ensure that children and youth have truly permanent families:

  • finding families for older children and youth
  • including children and youth in the search for family
  • preparing the family for a placement
  • preparing the child or youth for permanency
  • supporting the child or youth and family during the transition into a new family
  • providing post-placement services and support

Please bring a select case to work on during the session (but don’t bring your actual files!).

Presenters:

  • Denise Goodman has been a child welfare professional for more than 30 years, and regularly offers workshops and consultations across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Darla Henry is a social worker, trainer, teacher, and consultant with extensive experience in the child welfare field, specializing in special needs adoption, placement programs, and grief and loss. With a mission to build a path toward healing, belonging, and permanency for children and youth in the child welfare system, Darla created the 3-5-7 Model. Darla is a 40-year social work professional who has provided both public and private social work services, primarily in the field of child welfare.
  • Pat O’Brien is the founder and former CEO of You Gotta Believe! (YGB), a child-placing agency that attempts to prevent homelessness by finding moral or legal adoptive parents for teenagers in foster care before they age out. He continues to work in an advisory capacity with YGB while he serves as a consultant to the child welfare/permanency community. He is also the president of the New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children and the Family Builders Network and vice president of Voice for Adoption.

Session 2: “Creating Trauma-Competent Homes to Nurture Permanency and Attachment”

Three experts will share in-depth information to help parents and professionals understand the impact of trauma, how traumatic experiences affect attachment and permanency, and how to help children heal. They will define complex trauma and adverse childhood experiences, as they explore what research tells us about how trauma affects the brain, child development, and children’s behaviors. Based on both personal and professional experiences with foster care and adoption, the presenters will address how trauma affects a child’s ability to attach and how adoption issues intersect with the effects of trauma. The session will also cover tools, treatments, and parenting strategies that enable children to heal and families to build attachment. Participants will have significant time to ask questions and engage the presenters in discussion.

Presenters:

  • James A. Henry is the director of the Children’s Trauma Assessment Center at Western Michigan University. His professional experience includes more than 17 years as a child welfare/protective services worker, and more than 15 years developing and providing trauma-informed instruction at Western Michigan University.
  • Ken Huey began his career in residential treatment with Provo Canyon School where he started as a therapist after completing his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy at Purdue University. He worked at West Ridge Academy as Director of Clinical Services before founding CALO (Change Academy Lake of the Ozarks) in 2007.
  • Regina Kupecky has worked in the adoption field for almost 40 years as a placement worker, trainer, and therapist for families who are parenting children with attachment issues. She has co-authored Adopting the Hurt Child, Parenting the Hurt Child, and A Foster-Adoption Story: Angela and Michael's Journey. She has also developed the curriculum, My Brother My Sister: Sibling Issues in Foster Care and Adoption.

Session 3: “Improving Services and Outcomes with Older LGBTQ Youth in Care”

While LGBTQ youth too often struggle in social relationships, health, and personal success, youth in substitute care have even greater challenges to safety, permanency, and well-being. This session will emphasize best practices when working with the full spectrum of LGBTQ youth. The day will be devoted to a rich mix of content, experiential role plays, videos, and case studies designed to ensure that professionals and parents attending this session will leave with concrete resources and effective behaviors for their work and families.

Presenter:

  • Ellen Kahn is the director of the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Family Project. She is a leading expert and national speaker on LGBT adoption. She also serves as president of the board of directors of Rainbow Families D.C.
  • Eric Charles-Gallo is the Director of Training at Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association (MFCAA) and part of the National Training team for the All Children All Families program (ACAF) with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). He and his partner Louis are foster and adoptive parents.

Conference Registration Form

Workshops

Workshop Period 1
Thursday, July 24
10:30 am – 12:30 pm

1A — Executive Function: The Next Big Thing
Attachment was the big issue of the 80s, then trauma became the most talked about concern. But perhaps the most important issue is actually executive function, and related areas of impulse control, self-regulation, and coordination of thought and feeling. For many children and youth, these are the biggest challenges and are key to working through attachment, trauma, and many other concerns. This workshop focuses on what executive function is, how to see it, and what to do about it.
John Sobraske, psychotherapist, New York

1B — Coaching Adoptive Parents to Support Children’s Grieving Process: The 3-5-7 Model (handout)
The 3-5-7 Model is a doable, relational practice approach to supporting the grieving process of children and youth who have been traumatized by poor parenting. Adoptive parents are frequently confounded by their children’s behaviors even as they provide stability and a loving parenting environment. This workshop will introduce a relationship coaching model designed to respond to children through the lens of loss and the hurts of their past.
Darla L. Henry, Darla L. Henry and Associates, Pennsylvania

1C — Parenting from the Trenches
See your kids in a whole new light! This workshop offers a toolbox of strategies for parenting children and teens. Topics include developing trust and attachment while helping children learn to manage their own behaviors, building self-esteem, and maintaining sanity. The presenter will give special attention to the unique world of teens.
Denise Goodman, trainer/consultant, Ohio

1D — Creating Thriving Parent Support Groups (handouts: one, two, three)
Learn how to create sustainable, successful support groups for adoptive, foster, and relative/kinship parents. The training will cover the need for a support network, how to budget for and create such a group, and ways to incorporate respite care. The presenters will discuss how and why support groups reduce placement disruptions and strengthen retention and longevity, and they will present the latest research and evaluation techniques. Trainees can expect to leave the training with a stronger understanding of post-adoption services and knowledge to create a successful program in their area.
DeAnna Alonso & Nicole Elliott, Central Missouri Foster Care & Adoption Association • Melinda Nicholson, Family Matters Resource Center, Missouri

1E — FASD into Action: Trying Differently Rather than Harder
FASD into Action is a brain-based approach to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and other neurobehavioral conditions that helps parents and professionals understand the relationship between brain function and behavior. Understanding that children have a problem (rather than that they are a problem) allows adults to shift perceptions, reduce frustration, and contribute to successful outcomes. Rethinking and reframing interpretations of behaviors contributes to developing effective strategies and interventions that support children and contribute to the well-being of parents and professionals.
Karen J. Anderson, certified FASD educator, Missouri

1F — Ten Innovations to Promote Permanency
Following the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, improvement in achieving permanency has been positive but slow. Children are still spending too much time in care and waiting too long for adoption. Come learn about ten changes that would likely improve permanency outcomes, including changing financial incentives, supporting overburdened workers, training parents and caseworkers together, involving families (not just children) in therapy, involving teens in their own permanency planning, improving reunification, and more.
James A. Kenny & Peter Kenny, Indiana

1G — Preparing to Adopt Traumatized Children
Co-authors of The Promise: The Story of an Adoptive Mother and a Support Worker explain what parents might expect when adopting traumatized children and how the experience is as challenging as it is rewarding. The presenters also discuss what attachment looks like, what “normal” behavior is, and the pitfalls parents fall into while trying to heal wounded children. When parents recognize why they want to adopt, this knowledge can provide peace and inspiration during difficult times.
Lisa Highfield, Healing Hearts, Ontario • Christen Shepherd, adoptive parent, Ontario

1H — What My White Parents Didn’t Know…and Why I Turned out OK Anyway
A transracially adopted presenter offers first-hand experiences and practical ideas to address inevitable race and diversity challenges within adoption and foster care. She and an experienced adoption professional co-presenter will explore dating, dealing with racial jokes, and other everyday issues that transracial adoptees face.
April Dinwoodie, Fostering Change for Children and Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York& Barry Chaffkin, Fostering Change for Children, New York

1I — Trauma-Informed Adoption Practice
As the child welfare field learns more about the effect of trauma on children, managers need to better understand how to ensure that their entire agency uses trauma-informed policies and practices. This involves internal agency assessment, strategic approaches to leadership, staff development, supervision, and services to families. In this session, participants will learn how to begin this process, what a trauma-informed adoption program can look like, and how to begin transforming their agency to a fully trauma-informed system. Special attention will be paid to reflective supervision as a trauma-informed practice.
Sue Badeau, child welfare speaker/consultant, Pennsylvania

1J — Empowered Transition:
Helping Older Children Move Into Successful Adoption
A 27-year-old special needs adoption agency shares its extremely successful techniques for moving older children into adoptive families. The child and prospective family are equal participants in the process and they both have their own advocate. Families and children come together in solid permanent family life, and disruptions are at a minimum. This workshop offers both practical advice and the belief system that feeds the techniques.
Jack Brennan & Joanne Ferrante, Family Focus Adoption Services, New York

1K — The Urgency to Recruit at Least One Forever Parent for Every Emerging Adult in Foster Care
This workshop will go over a variety of strategies to recruit lifetime parents for young adults in foster care, including those who are now able to remain in care until their 21st birthday. Strategies covered include connecting with constructive adults who are already a part of the youth’s life, using family finding techniques to identify both biological relatives and other important people from a youth’s past, and providing opportunities for youth to educate prospective and waiting parents about the needs of youth on the brink of aging out of care.
Pat O'Brien, founder, You Gotta Believe!, New York

1L — Working with Foster Children and Foster Families: Bridging the Gap in Training
A foster and adoptive mom and her foster and adopted daughter speak about overcoming the challenges of parenting a child with post-traumatic stress disorder and a significant trauma history. How do you support and advocate for a child who doesn't want you to? How do you explain to your foster and adoptive parents what you really need? This information can help foster and adoptive parents communicate and interact with their children differently and enhance current relationships.
Angela Farmakis, adoptive parent, Wisconsin • Minuette Farmakis, adoptee, Wisconsin

1M — 10 Things Kinship Caregivers Need
For centuries children have been raised informally by kin when their parents were unable to care for them. It is no surprise that a quarter of the children in our child welfare system are placed with kin. But how much do we know about what kinship caregivers need? At the Kinship Center, we’ve been listening to the needs of kinship caregivers for more than 30 years. They have asked us to share their teachings so others may incorporate these insights into program planning, training, resources, and supports for kinship families.
Allison Davis Maxon, Kinship Center, California

Workshop Period 2
Thursday, July 24
2:00 – 3:30 pm

2A — The Legacy of Attachment (handout)
Patterns and states of mind related to attachment are passed down from generation to generation in both birth and adopted children. This workshop will address various adult and child attachment patterns, ways these patterns are assessed in research, their impact on parenting, and how to better understand them in one’s interpersonal relationships.
Karen Doyle Buckwalter, Chaddock, Illinois

2B — How Therapy and Medications Can Work Together
A child with mental health needs benefits most when all members of the mental health care continuum work together. This session will overview the most common psychotropic medications used with children and will explore how parents, therapists, and psychiatrist can all work together for best practice. The presenters will offer basic education about psychotropic medications, including possible side effects.
Suzanne Strathman, pediatric nurse practitioner/ pediatric mental health specialist, Missouri • Susan Peach, Lifeworks Family Treatment Group of Kansas City, Missouri

2C — I Thought I'd Be Done By Now: Parenting Adopted Children into Adulthood
Raising our adopted children was challenging and, now that they are adults, we don’t exactly have the relationship we dreamed about. So now what? How do we find a balance between helping our children move forward and create connections while reclaiming our own lives? In a message of hope, the presenters will provide tips for understanding, parenting, and forging successful relationships with adult children who need some extra help.
Kathleen, Ric, & Maria Benckendorf, Attachment and Integration Methods, Missouri

2D — Learning a New Dance: The Dance of Permanence
Children who have suffered complex trauma and attachment disruptions have emotional and psychological distress that can surface in each developmental stage. Parents and professionals need knowledge and skills to sustain a family through crises that can occur after permanency. Come learn about Pathways to Permanence: Parenting the Child of Loss and Trauma—a permanency-focused, trauma-informed, psycho-educational model designed to support families through the normative crisis stages that occur when parenting children and youth who have experienced trauma.
Allison Davis Maxon, Kinship Center, California

2E — Why Tokens Aren't Working: Effective Strategies for Disruptive Behaviors (double workshop - 3 hour session) (handout)
In this presentation, the speaker will discuss trauma and its impact on the developing child. Using developing brain science, she will explain why children act out in negative, resistant, defiant, and socially inappropriate ways. The session will also introduce and demonstrate solutions that go far beyond tokens and other non-effective behavioral strategies to help children and families heal.
Heather T. Forbes, Beyond Consequences Institute, Colorado

2F — Advocating for Foster, Kinship, and Adoptive Families
Advocates for Families First is a national partnership to help ensure foster, adoptive, and kinship families are able to meet the needs of the children and youth in their care. As part of its work, the initiative promotes and shares policies and practices that encourage placement of children with families and support of those families. Come learn about our collaboration and how you can support advocacy efforts to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families.
Kim Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children,Vermont • Jean Fiorito, National Foster Parent Association, Florida • Jaia Lent, Generations United, Washington, DC

2G — Helping Foster and Adoptive Parents Assess Their Children’s Readiness and Prepare for New Family Members (handouts: one, two)
This workshop will help foster and adoptive parents determine if the children already in their home are ready for a new child or children to join the family. Using research and experience, the presenter will explore how parents can prepare, educate, and support their children as they safely and successfully integrate foster and adopted children into the home. The session will provide a forum to support next steps for families and agencies in meeting the needs of the often-forgotten children in the fostering and adoption process.
Jan Butts, Consortium for Children, Maryland

2H — Recruiting and Supporting LGBT Parents
In this session, the presenter will discuss how RaiseAChild.US both recruits and supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents for children and youth in foster care and adoption. Come learn about successful strategies to find LGBT parents and to support them through the process and after placement.
John Ireland, RaiseAChild.US, California

2I — Funding Youth Permanency Services (handout)
Learn how specialized youth permanency services are being self-funded, expanded, and enriched by documenting, leveraging, and reinvesting savings achieved by moving youth from foster care to adoption. California’s Destination Family Integrated Youth Permanency Mental Health Program provides a case study of best practice, improved permanency outcomes, public/private and interdepartmental collaboration, and long-term sustainable funding.
Gail Johnson Vaughan & Jeff Landre, Mission Focused Solutions, California • Karen Diliberti, Sierra Forever Families, California

2J — Integrating Efforts to Recruit and Support Families for Children
(double workshop - 3 hour session)
In this two-part session, participants will learn effective ways to recruit and support adoptive, kinship, and foster families. First, the speakers will demonstrate the new diligent recruitment navigator and describe tools and assistance available to states, territories, and tribes. Participants will learn to build and evaluate a comprehensive diligent recruitment program. In part two, presenters will explore effective support services for adoptive, foster, and kinship families, including case management, peer support, training, mental health care, and respite. The presentation will conclude with discussion of programs that combine recruitment and support and identify how integrated efforts succeed.
Jill May, National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids, Colorado • Alicia Groh, National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids, Minnesota • Diane Martin-Hushman, AdoptUSKids, Minnesota

2K — Unlocking the No to Adoption
Many foster youth have a negative association with the word adoption and have misconceptions about the adoption process. Come learn about an innovative approach to help older children and youth “unlock the no” to adoption. The presenters have found that taking a less directive approach during the initial introduction and pre-placement visits is helpful in empowering older children and youth to choose adoption or permanency. It is important to change their frame of reference and broaden their ideas so that they can make a thoughtful decision about permanency.
Bonnie Early & Sandy Sertyn, Sierra Forever Families, California

2L — The Use of Social Media by Children in or Newly Adopted from Foster Care
Social media comes with its share of risks for children and teens, and these concerns can be higher for children in or coming from the foster care system. The presenter will help you learn about some of the main social media platforms used by teens, specific risks they might pose (especially for foster or adopted children), and strategies to help your children navigate through this turbulent time.
Pat Rhoads, AdoptUSKids, Washington

2M — My Brother, My Sister: Sibling Issues in Adoption and Foster Care (handouts: one, two, three)
Sibling relations are a critically important, but challenging issue in adoption and foster care. At the same time we honor kinship placements, siblings’ needs are often overlooked. We need to focus on this complex issue as we seek to meet the varying needs of the child, birth family, adoptive and foster family, and agency.
Regina Kupecky, Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio

Workshop Period 3
Thursday, July 24
4:00 – 5:30 pm

3A — The Interrelation of Trauma and Genetics: It’s Not Just Nature versus Nurture Anymore
This session will be a general overview of some of the latest trauma research surrounding epigenetics, which explores how experience shapes the brain and how those experiences are transmitted through a person’s DNA to the next generation. The presenter will share this complex information in a way that the average person can understand, will provide practical applications for parents and practitioners, and will stress the need for trauma-informed care and parenting for all adopted children.
Susan Peach, Lifeworks Family Treatment Group of Kansas City, Missouri

3B — Evidence-Based Treatment for Youth with Sexual Behavior Problems
Child sexual behavior problems can be one of the most challenging behaviors for caregivers. Children with sexual reactivity are not always the victims of sexual abuse. Exposure to family violence and neglect can affect a young child struggling to learn coping and survival skills and can lead to these behaviors. The presenters will discuss the spectrum of sexual behavior in 10- to 14-year-olds, examine which behaviors are concerning, and provide guidelines to define sexual behavior problems. They will also present treatment and strategies to prevent future problems, support the caregiver, and address the child’s history.
Ingrid E. Mürrle, Children’s Institute, Inc., California • Amy Heilman, Children’s Bureau of Southern California

3C — Parenting the Hurt Child (handout)
Parenting a hurt child calls for innovative, creative, and nurturing ideas. Too often, parents can't understand why techniques used to successfully parent other children simply have no effect. This session will explore which parenting tools do not work and why, and help parents retire those tools without guilt. Parents will then learn new ways to help their child heal.
Regina Kupecky, Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio

3D — Keeping the Family Together: Using In-Home Behavioral Interventionists to Avoid Disruptions
Making the decision to place children in residential treatment is a gut-wrenching experience for any family—and is typically undertaken only because effective community-based options that would keep the child at home are not available. This session will describe how one innovative in-home pilot program is keeping families intact and can serve as a model to safely reunify children who would otherwise be in residential treatment.
Kealey Williams & Jay Peach, Lifeworks Family Treatment Group of Kansas City, Missouri

3F — Data-Informed Child Advocacy
Child advocates are often confronted with a lack of data to support their efforts to reform child welfare services. The best advocacy cases are made when hard data and personal stories are combined. This workshop will cover the importance of data, sources of data, how to analyze and present data in an easily understandable way and how to create a child welfare advocacy campaign. Specific examples of data informed child advocacy will be provided.
Joe Kroll, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota • Ruth G. McRoy, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work

3G — Unexpected
This workshop examines the expectations parents and children bring to the adoption and foster care journey and discusses how to bring expectations back in line with a realistic and hope-filled view of the future.
Bruce & Denise Kendrick, Embrace Waiting Children, Inc., Texas

3H *TIME CHANGE!* (was 5H) — An Update on the Indian Child Welfare Act
This presentation will provide a quick refresher on the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, including the reasons for its passage, the reasons for its continued importance, and a summary of the Act’s major provisions. The workshop will also provide an overview of  Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (known in the media as the Baby Veronica case) and a discussion of its implications on future practice with American Indian and Alaska Native children and families in private adoptions and the child welfare system.
Adrian Smith & David Simmons, National Indian Child Welfare Association, Oregon

3I — Heartstrings and Pursestrings: Attracting and Keeping Private Funding for Adoption Programs
Adoption agencies are challenged to expand and diversify their revenue sources to provide the critical services needed by children and families. An exploration of earned and contributed income sources will lay the foundation for this workshop designed to provide a comprehensive look at resource development including annual funds, major gifts, planned giving, grants, and corporate support.
Wendy Spoerl & Bill McGinnis, Adopt America Network, Ohio

3K — Weekend Miracles: An Innovative Approach to Permanency for Older Foster Youth
This workshop will present Kidsave’s Weekend Miracles program, which uses a signature family visit model as a path to permanency for older youth in foster care. The Weekend Miracles program trains families and then matches them with youth for weekend visits. During visits, families help the youth make connections throughout their community, expanding their potential permanency resources. The workshop will show the program’s positive permanency outcomes and explain how Kidsave hopes to replicate the program nationwide.
Lauren Reicher-Gordon, Kidsave, California • Sari Grant, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, California

3L — And Off to School We Go…
While we have begun to change parenting and therapeutic approaches for children who have attachment and trauma issues, we have not addressed these issues in a school setting. Many school children have attachment disturbances due to separation from their parents at an early age. Understanding disregulation and using specific learning strategies in a school setting can increase the child’s sense of safety and eventually improve learning. The workshop will include information from the book Hope For Healing: A Parent’s Guide to Trauma and Attachment.
Mary M. McGowan, ATTACh, Minnesota

3M — Engaging Birth Parents with Dignity (handout)
This presentation will cover best practices when working with parents who may have a range of mental health and addiction issues and who are often angry at the system and take it out personally—and sometimes aggressively—on the worker or resource parent. The speaker will discuss ways to empathize and connect with such parents while working to achieve the best outcomes for their children. Participants are encouraged to bring specific real-world case examples to discuss.
Barry Chaffkin, Fostering Change for Children, New York

Workshop Period 4
Friday, July 25
10:30 am – 12:30 pm

4B — Trauma-Informed Care: Brain, Beasts, and the Failure of Therapy
Adoption is a very survivable trauma. Frequently the adoption trauma is compounded by pre-adoption trauma of neglect and other abuse. This trauma in the developmental attachment window damages the brain. Typically, treatment for this damage has been behavioral or cognitive-behavioral in focus. This is misguided. This presentation will touch on the latest in brain research and early childhood trauma to lay a groundwork for correct treatment of adoptees with a trauma history. The speaker will address neurofeedback, EMDR, transferable attachment, sensory integration, and relational focus as effective treatment methods for trauma issues.
Ken Huey, CALO, Missouri

4C — The Laughter Factor: How to Ease the Stresses, Tensions, and Pains of Parenting and Everyday Life
Laughing is one of the healthiest things we can do when facing the stresses, tensions, and pains of everyday life and parenting in particular. This workshop will highlight how we can bring more laughter into both our home life and life in general, and will make the case that laughter is an essential ingredient in preventing parent burnout for those raising even the most difficult of children. This class will be a lot of fun, but will also offer families and workers concrete ideas about how to use laughter to cope with difficult times.
Pat O'Brien, founder, You Gotta Believe!, New York

4D — Adoption Assistance for Special Needs Adoption
In this session, you will learn the basics of adoption assistance for children adopted from foster care, including eligibility, benefits, taxes, and more. Participants will receive state-specific information and will come away with concrete strategies to better advocate for foster and adopted children with special needs. The workshop will also include an overview of the U.S. federal adoption tax credit.
Josh Kroll, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota

4E — Shifting Our Mindset to Parent Therapeutically
Parenting traumatized children and those with attachment difficulties is very different from “typical” parenting. In this workshop, you will gain a solid understanding of how to shift your thinking and expectations in ways that help your child heal and your family thrive. The presenters will discuss the nature of therapeutic parenting, how and why it differs from typical parenting, the impact of trauma, how to care for yourself while caring for your family, and where to look for help.
Anna Paravano, Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc., California • Julie Beem, Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc., Georgia

4F — Policy Wins for Kids and Families: Building on What Works
With partisan rancor at an all-time high in D.C., many policy solutions to child welfare challenges must be achieved at the state level. This workshop will highlight recent state policy wins, focusing on strategies advocates can use to educate legislators, build on successes, get bipartisan support, and restore hope for children and families involved in the child welfare system.  The workshop will also share assistance available through the State Policy Advocacy Reform Center (SPARC), a national effort to improve outcomes for children and families by building the capacity of state child welfare advocates. 
Rebecca Robuck, ChildFocus, Inc., Maryland • Melanie Scheetz, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, Missouri • Patricia Tennen, Kentucky Youth Advocates

4G — An Adoption for Every Budget (handout)
Many people think they can’t afford adoption because they aren’t aware of the resources available that can make it fit their budget. This workshop offers a detailed review of costs and available financial resources including the costs of different adoptions, included expenses, federal and state credits and exemptions, employer benefits, grants, loans, creative fundraising, and financial family planning considerations. This workshop is appropriate for all pre-adoptive families, families in the process of adoption, post-adoptive families who finalized in the last 12 months and adoption professionals who want to provide their clients with accurate and comprehensive financial adoption guidance.
Amanda Grant, USAdopt, LLC, New York

4I — Multisystem/Multilevel Assessments in the Home Study and Post-Adoptive Services: Let’s Get It Right (**54 page** handout)
This workshop will explore recent approaches to adoption selection and post-adoptive service delivery through a conceptual framework that bridges systemic and behavioral perspectives and techniques. The presenter will argue for multilevel/multisystem assessment procedures that match the system level of the family being assessed, and emphasize that assessments should be based both on what people say and how they behave. This session will include lecture, videotapes, simulations, assessment and problem-solving exercises, skill demonstration, role-playing, and small group discussion.
Wayne Duehn, professor emeritus, University of Texas at Arlington

4J — Hitting the Mark! Targeted Recruitment Strategies
This session will help participants gain skills to design recruitment campaigns that educate their communities about the need for foster and adoptive parents. The speaker will pay special attention to designing recruitment strategies that focus on teens, children with special needs, sibling groups, children of color, and other target communities.
Denise Goodman, trainer/consultant, Ohio

**CANCELED** 4K — Innovative Practices for Achieving Permanency
The Donaldson Adoption Institute has conducted a multi-year study of effective practices for achieving permanency in three countries—Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In this workshop, the presenters outline the study’s findings, offer key insights, and make recommendations based on the research.
Adam Pertman, Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York • Susan Livingston Smith, Donaldson Adoption Institute, North Carolina

4L — Intentional Parenting: Changing Hurdles into Healing
Challenging behavior and hurtful words are some common hurdles adoptive and foster parents navigate every day. But there is hope. This workshop will teach intentional parenting, an innovative strategy that combines removing hurdles, acquiring a new clarity, employing tools and techniques that work in the moment, recognizing your child’s emotional age, and creating a plan to nurture hope for the long journey of helping your child heal. After this session, you will be ready to put your healing plan in place immediately!
Stacy Manning, Hope Connections LLC, Minnesota

4M — Are You Still My Family? Adoption Policy and Practice Surrounding Siblings
The speakers will present the challenges in advocating for sibling visitation after an adoption, and discuss how these visits can support adoption. Once children are adopted from foster care, they generally lose their rights to see a sibling without the adoptive parent’s consent. Presenters will discuss how ignoring sibling ties is harmful to children and counterproductive to providing children with stable, permanent adoptive families. They will examine how to advocate for an adopted child’s sibling visitation rights, and how a change in current policies will benefit both children and adoptive families.
Dawn J. Post, Karen Simmons, & Sarah McCarthy, The Children’s Law Center, New York

Workshop Period 5
Friday, July 25
2:00 – 3:30 pm

5A — One Very Vulnerable Conversation: Lessons Learned about the Impact of Adoption from an Adult Adoptee
Adoption is traumatic. This presentation will discuss trauma and attachment research and highlight the presenter’s specific adoption and early experiences as a template for understanding more global adoptee concerns. Findings and writings from the best attachment and trauma resources will support claims that being adopted frequently causes assimilation issues in early and later life. Many adoptees struggle with feelings of relative worthiness, competence, and belonging, and question their fit in family and society. There are ways to heal such beliefs. The presenter will share some of those methods and resources for addressing the adoption experience.
Ken Huey, CALO, Missouri

5B — Adoption Competency Training: Helping Professionals to Better Support Families (double workshop - 3 hour session)
Learn how different communities around North America are working to improve the adoption competence of mental health and social workers. Representing three different models of adoption-competency training, the speakers will present core elements of each model, explore how the training is being implemented in different places, and engage the audience in discussions of how to improve adoption competency in their own communities.
Diane Martin-Hushman, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota • Kathryn Soden, Adoption Council of Ontario • Salena Burden, Devereux Florida

5C — This Kid Is Making Me Crazy: Understanding the Acting-Out Behavior of Your Adopted Child
In an adoption world where disruption looms all too often, this workshop offers a positive approach for workers and families. Here is a way to make sense of—and deal with—some of the negative feelings adopted children can make their parents feel, and the anger and frustration adoptive parents can feel toward their children. Understanding this dynamic, as well as other key parent-child interactions unique to adopted children and their new families, can help turn a crisis in an adoptive family into an opportunity for true communication and strengthened commitment.
Jack Brennan, Family Focus Adoption Services, New York

5D — You Don’t Have to Do It Alone: Supporting Families after Children Exit Foster Care(handouts: one, two, three, four, five)
The Success Coach Service, the anchor service of Catawba County’s Child Wellbeing Project, provides ongoing support and enhanced case management to families of children who have left foster care to a permanent placement (reunification, relative and non-relative adoption, guardianship, or legal custody). This workshop will discuss how to increase family resilience and how to implement the Success Coach Service to promote placement stability and child well-being.
Chrissy Triplett, Dawn Wilson, & Heather Ball, Catawba County Social Services, North Carolina

5E — The Tao of Parenting Challenging Adopted Children
This workshop uses Taoist principles to describe a low-stress parenting approach to high-stress kids. As parents are able to make this fundamental internal shift, parenting techniques flow more effortlessly, without reactivity, anger, guilt, shame, or stress. This approach helps parents to stay smooth, centered, powerful, and relaxed.
John Sobraske, psychotherapist, New York • Lisa Maynard, Hillside Children’s Center, New York

**CANCELED** 5F — A Changing World: Shaping Best Practices by Understanding the New Realities of Intercountry Adoption
A new report by the Donaldson Adoption Institute examines the profound changes taking place in intercountry adoption. This workshop will examine the key research findings (including that openness between families of origin in other nations and adoptive families in the U.S. is more prevalent than we thought), outline what was learned from interviews with adoption and child welfare officials in 19 countries, and provide recommendations for policy and practice changes to better serve the fast-changing population of affected children and families.
Adam Pertman, Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York

5H *TIME CHANGE* (was 3H) — LGBTQ Youth 101 (handout: one, two)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are sometimes more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience challenges in their lives, such as violence, bullying, and inequality. This session will help you learn LGBTQ-friendly terminology, understand issues facing LGBTQ youth in alternative care, learn how you can make a difference, and identify resources to help you better serve the needs of LGBTQ youth in alternative care.
Eric Charles-Gallo, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, Missouri

5I — Always Have a Plan B—and Other Survival Skills We Need Today!
There are intense pressures on everyone in the child welfare world—adoptive and foster parents, case workers, supervisors and administrators, parent group leaders, therapists, and attorneys. It is more important than ever for each of us to have the skills necessary to survive, keep moving forward, and not burn out. This workshop, presented by a long-time student of stress management, offers some new perspectives and reexamines some old ideas about one of the most important topics of our times.
Maris H. Blechner, Family Focus Adoption Services, New York

5J — Ready or Not: Pre- and Post-Placement Training to Prevent Disruptions (handout)
Placements don’t unravel because a child has a particular level of physical or emotional disability. Placements unravel because the level or type of care needed by a child is not what parents expected. To survive the homestudy and training process, some families discount the likelihood they will face something they cannot manage. Come learn about pre-placement training intended to help families develop realistic expectations and strategies to succeed, and post-placement training that provides ongoing education and emotional support addressing specific issues families face.
Judy Stigger, AdoptionLearningPartners.org

5K — Adopting the Older Child
A couple who adopted two teenagers, one from foster care and another from a dissolution, share their journey of older child adoption. They explore how they have wrestled with all the traditional parenting and placement wisdom from both agency and parental perspectives, and address identification and preparation of youth for placement, expectations, lifelong family support, attachment vs. independence, and more.
Bruce Kendrick & Denise Kendrick, Embrace Waiting Children, Inc., Texas

5M — 30 Days to Family™: A Race to Place Every Child with Kin(handouts: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven)
Want to discover how to identify 150+ relatives in 30 days? Struggling to meet requirements of the Fostering Connections Act? Want to improve the well-being of the children you serve? 30 Days to Family™ helps case managers identify relatives or kin for placement and support within 30 days of a child’s entering foster care. This session will provide an overview of the program, as well as helpful investigative search techniques.
Melanie Moredock, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, Missouri

Workshop Period 6
Friday, July 25
4:00 – 5:30 pm

6A — Parenting My Internationally Adopted Child—What the Agency Didn’t Tell Me (handout)
Parenting children who were internationally adopted presents an entirely new set of issues since little may be known about the child’s past or the history provided may not be accurate.  This workshop will explore issues facing children who have experienced orphanages, foster care, fetal alcohol exposure, or other unknown drug exposure. The speaker will explore grief and loss of language and culture, some language and learning issues that often accompany early life changes, and behaviors that may be new to parents.
Lynn B. Barnett, Mid America Family Treatment Center, Kansas

6C — Dads Talk Adoption
During this forum for dads on the joys and challenges of parenting, two experienced adoptive fathers will facilitate a discussion from a man’s point of view about adoption, foster care, and parenting. With 50 years and 31 children between them, these dads have learned not to take things too seriously—at least not all the time! Bring your questions, stories, and best strategies to share. Get renewed, share successes and challenges, laugh, and more. (Women are not excluded, however the conversation is for men.)
Randy Ross, adoptive father, Missouri • Buddy Stevens, adoptive father, Vermont

6D — Creating Permanency after a Disrupted Placement
Disruption breeds disruption. Children who have been displaced one or more times need to be placed with well-prepared, well-supported adults who can understand how trauma—including the trauma of a disruption—affects a child’s sense of well-being. Parents likely also need help managing challenging behaviors and breaking the cycle of loss. Come learn strategies to manage the many emotions (including your own) involved as you help new parents create a family with a child who has been taught not to trust adults.
Janice Goldwater, Adoptions Together, Maryland

6F — Journey Home Bus Tour (handout)
The Coalition for Children, Youth & Families worked with a number of Wisconsin counties to create a special bus tour to educate government officials and business and community leaders about what it means to be a child entering the child welfare system. Individuals on the bus step into the life of a child and learn not only who does what in this process but also how it feels. Participants overwhelmingly indicated having a better understanding of child welfare and its role in the community as a result of the experience.
Oriana Carey, Michael Heath, & Colleen M. Ellingson, Coalition for Children, Youth & Families, Wisconsin

6G — What the Kids Are Saying: Adoptee Needs
When determining the unique and important needs of adoptees, who better to ask than adoptees themselves? Hear what kids and teens are talking about, what they wish people knew about being adopted, and what they say behind closed doors. Learn from our many years of experience working with kids and teens one-on-one as well as in groups.
Kara Eusebio & Katherine Foley, Spence-Chapin, New York

6H — Honoring Your Child’s Culture (handout: one, two)
When multiracial and multicultural families are formed through adoption, unique challenges and opportunities often arise. Join two transracially adopted adults as they discuss ways to honor your child’s race and culture of origin, as well as the importance of being the bridge into your child’s racial and cultural communities.
Christina Romo, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota • Kim Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Vermont

6I — Ethics in Adoption
With cases such as Baby Veronica and “re-homing” making the news, it is more important than ever for adoption professionals to understand and practice ethical decision-making throughout the adoption process. In this interactive, case-based learning session, participants will be led through discussions of ethical responsibilities related to making thorough assessments, understanding and providing full disclosure, fathers’ rights, children’s ethnic and legal heritage, and other challenging situations. 
Sue Badeau, child welfare speaker/consultant, Pennsylvania

6J — Permanency Planning Mediation (handout)
This workshop will provide an overview of California’s 15-year old Permanency Planning Mediation (PPM) program. Unique to California, the program has seen tremendous success providing timely permanence for more than 15,000 children in foster care. The adoptions are open, with PPM helping to maintain connections between adoptive and birth families through post-adoption contact agreements. Presenters will cover program details, openness in adoption, outcomes, cost savings, and implementation strategies for other jurisdictions.
Kathleen Cleary, Susan Yobp, & Ian Madfes, Consortium for Children, California

6L — Yours for Keeps
This workshop will discuss adoption disruption and dissolution, common factors that lead to parents feeling it is their only alternative, and ways to avoid this outcome. The workshop will focus on the commitment the family has made to each other, and the importance of maintaining the relationship for both parent and child.
Kelly Ryan-Schmidt & Stacia Baraka-Todd, Three Rivers Adoption Council, Pennsylvania

6M — Navigating Birth Parent Relationships after Adoption
This session will look at how social networking has changed the face of adoption, enabling almost any youth with internet access to reconnect with his or her birth family. With lessons from real life, this mother/daughter team will provide examples of how to navigate the relationship between adopted youth and their birth parents to ensure safety for the youth and create healthy shared parenting relationships between birth parents and adoptive parents.
Lori Ross, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, Missouri • Kenneth Ross, adoptee, Missouri

Workshop Period 7
Saturday, July 26
9:00 – 10:30 am

7A — Adoption Psychology 101
What are the core issues in adoption? How are these different from foster care, kinship care, or not being adopted at all? How do these issues interface with, exacerbate, or mask mental health challenges or basic child developmental stages? This workshop will cover the 20 core issues that everyone in adoption needs to know.
John Sobraske, psychotherapist, New York

7B — Adoption Therapy: Effectively Addressing Reactive Attachment Disorder and Trauma
This presentation will outline the principles of attachment and trauma, and explore how they are associated with adoption. The speaker will discuss causes, symptoms, and treatment for attachment and trauma issues affecting children and their caregivers. He will also discuss basic models of brain development and explore both effective and ineffective therapeutic treatments.
Rob Gent, CALO, Missouri

7C — Straight Talk for Kids: Dealing with the Toughest Topics
Successful adoption work includes not only talking tough truth to children, but also preparing adoptive families to speak to their children at different stages in ways that will ensure the children hear and understand the most difficult information. An experienced adoptive parent and practitioner presents a straight talk communication method for working with children and explores both the reasons behind the method and practical techniques.
Maris H. Blechner, Family Focus Adoption Services, New York

7D — Supporting Adoptive Families Online and In Person
Come learn about effective ways to provide adoptive, foster, and kinship care families with information and support—including through a peer-to-peer support network, private Facebook groups, and resource-rich websites.
Ginny Blade, North American Council on Adoptable Children • Phyllis Stevens, Together as Adoptive Parents, Pennsylvania,

7E — Adoptive Parents’ Perspective on Raising a Child with Severe Mental Illness
Adopted children are overrepresented in the mental health system, including residential treatment centers. This session provides results from a qualitative research study in which 24 adoptive families who had placed their adopted children in a residential treatment center were interviewed. The speakers will present the findings, including recommendations from the participants on how to better serve these families.
Erin Boyce, University of Denver, Colorado • Diane Mulligan, Mulligan&Co LLC, Colorado

7F — Speak Out Team Development and Youth Advocacy
Learn how to develop, promote, and support adopted and foster youth public speaking teams. In addition to giving young people skills to advocate for themselves and others, these teams are highly effective in creating a supportive community for youth, raising public awareness, guiding practice improvements, and promoting system change. NACAC’s Community Champions Network has launched a number of youth speak out teams over the past several years—could yours be next?
Nathan Ross, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Missouri • Kim Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Vermont

7G — Managing the Stress of the Adoption Process (handout)
The adoption process can be one of the most stressful periods of a parent’s life. During this session, the presenter will share practical tips, provide resources, and teach basic techniques to manage and reduce your stress. She will also discuss how your ability to manage this stress can affect your child’s ability to process the issues inherent to adoption. You will leave this session more relaxed than when you arrive!
Brooke Randolph, MLJ Adoptions, Inc., Indiana

7H — Building a Strong Racial Identity in African American Children through Hair Care
For African American children in transracial adoption, a sense of normalcy in their new home can be comforting in the midst of change. One way that parents can promote healing and build a strong racial identity is through hair care. In this presentation, which will include a hands-on demonstration, participants will gain confidence in taking care of their African American child’s hair.
Naijean Bernard-Onwere, Cenpatico Behavioral Health, Texas

7J — Making Connections for Permanency: The AdoptUSKids Photolisting
Since October 2002, more than 30,000 approved prospective adopters have registered with AdoptUSKids. This workshop will present information about the characteristics of families currently registered across the country, including summary data about how their child preferences compare with the characteristics of children currently photolisted. The speakers will offer strategies for how child welfare professionals and approved prospective families can use the AdoptUSKids photolisting to make connections for permanency.
Michelle Steinley-Bumgarner & Ruth G. McRoy, AdoptUSKids, Texas • Peter Barbee, AdoptUSKids, Washington

7L — Managing Your Child's Wired and Wireless Devices and Connections
All the new electronic devices that connect to or display information from the web (cell phones, tablets, laptops, iPods, etc.) present risks to children. Come learn what kids are up to online and how to mitigate the risks for your children. The presenter will also discuss how to monitor or restrict social media use to keep children safe. In addition, he’ll offer some great solutions as well as reference materials you can use after the conference.
Bob Larimer, Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association

Workshop Period 8
Saturday, July 26
10:45 am – 12:15 pm

8A — Deflecting Mother Blame (handout)
Skills Needed when Raising Children with Trauma Histories
Why do traumatized kids often treat mom badly? Come learn why this happens and understand what is happening from the children’s perspective. We’ll also talk about you and what happens for you when deflecting this blame. The presenter will help you cultivate skills, rethink expectations, use humor, develop resiliency, and prepare for a healthier lifelong relationship with your children.
Diane Martin-Hushman, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota

**CANCELED** 8B — Two Sides of the Same Coin: Behavior and Sensory Processing
Adjustment disorder, anxiety disorder, sensory processing dysfunction, ADHD, disruptive behavior disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment disorder, autism—regardless of diagnosis, how do you help children or youth with poor coping and poor functioning emerge as the gifted person they are, shift the focus from disability to ability, and provide needed supports? Participants will practice using a positive reinforcement tool to identify and reframe problem behaviors. We will practice identifying strengths and discuss barriers to building future success in job-related performance, relationship building, and daily living skills.
Amy Vaughan, Burrell Behavioral Health, Missouri • Deb Fusek, Family Matters Resource Center, Missouri

8C — You Don’t Have to Love Me to Live Here: Parenting Children who Struggle in Giving Love Back
Children's behaviors are motivated by the acknowledgment and unconditional positive regard they feel from their parents or caregivers. This workshop will focus on understanding how to build the relationship and separate a child's behaviors from the child's concept of self to foster healthy development and healing.
Justin Newkirk, Lifeworks Family Treatment Group of Kansas City, Missouri • Linda Hosman, Ozanam Behavior Intervention Support Team, Missouri

8D — Saving Adoptions One Family at a Time: Crisis Intervention Services
The Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition has created a crisis intervention program for families who are pursuing or who have finalized guardianship and adoptive placements. Using varied techniques and philosophies, the Coalition provides in-home, family-focused, and child-centered services to create and maintain permanency. Come learn about how this program has preserved permanent placements and prevented children from reentering care!
Denise Kelley, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, Missouri

8E — Family Violence: The Impact on Children and How We Can Help
Exposure to family violence can have a lifelong impact on children who has been removed from their biological family and placed in the child welfare system. This session will cover the family violence cycle and the treatment options for children, youth, and their resource parents.
Maryanne Mica, Washington University School of Social Work, Missouri

8H — Building and Sustaining Multicultural Adult Adoptee Support and Resource Groups
Many adoptees come from multicultural backgrounds. Their ethnic and cultural identities are often central aspects of their adoptions, especially if they are adopted by parents of different backgrounds. This session will discuss how adoptee support groups form, change, and grow, and will explore group structure, activities, requested services, and the goals of these support groups. The speakers will also share barriers to success and lessons learned.
Michelle Johnson, 4th Judicial District GAL Program, Hennepin County, Minnesota

8J — Recruiting in Faith
This session will cover some of the basics and nuances in recruiting foster and adoptive families in the faith community. The content will include discussion about how different religions and denominations function to engage with outside organizations, the common terminology and best approach to use when initiating partnerships, and the key faith-based organizations you can work through for recruitment purposes.
Bruce Kendrick, Embrace Waiting Children, Inc., Texas • Tate Williams, GO Project, Missouri

8K — The Teenage Brain: What Parents and Caregivers Need to Know
In this highly interactive session, the presenter will engage participants in a discussion of the unique developmental markers, strengths, and challenges of adolescents as well as how trauma and adverse childhood experiences can affect and derail development. The workshop will offer strategies that support resilience and healing for teens.
Sue Badeau, child welfare speaker/consultant, Pennsylvania

8L — Helping Children Eat Well, Grow Well, and Be Happy 
The power struggles that come with the worry around feeding and weight (hoarding, food obsession, selective eating, sensory issues, food aversion, and more) affect not only your child’s growth and nutrition, but often trust and attachment as well. Understand challenges, address worries, and learn relationship-building strategies that help children be able to enjoy a variety of foods in the right amounts to grow in a healthy way.
Katja Rowell, The Feeding Doctor LLC, Minnesota

8M — 281 Voices: Adult Adoptees Speak on Openness
In one of the largest surveys of adult adoptees to date, 281 adult adoptees were asked to share their experiences with and opinions about birth family members, contact, potential benefits and challenges involved, and much more. Birth and adoptive parents as well as professionals will find what these voices have to say about openness to be informative, poignant, and perhaps even surprising.
Katie Prigel Sharp & Julie Drew, Heart of the Matter Education, Missouri

 

North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106
St. Paul, MN 55114
phone: 651-644-3036
fax: 651-644-9848
e-mail: info@nacac.org
Feedback