& Training



  Other Training




(2016 Sessions will be Posted in March 2016. Below are Sessions from the 2015 Conference.)

Sessions and Workshops


General Sessions

Thursday, July 30 — Dan Siegel, MD, “Families, Children, and Therapy from the Inside Out"

In Thursday's general session Dr. Dan Siegel, will introduce interpersonal neurobiology as an interdisciplinary approach used to explain the importance of close relationships on the development and function of a child’s growing brain. When adults see the internal world of themselves and of the children they care for—when they use mindsight—children thrive. Caregivers and parents will gain a practical understanding of how mind, brain, and relationships interact to shape how we become who we are throughout a lifetime.

An award-winning educator, Dr. Siegel has a unique ability to make complicated scientific concepts exciting. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. In addition to his psychotherapy practice, Dr. Siegel is on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development; the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center; and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute.

Dr. Siegel is the author of many articles, chapters, and books on interpersonal neurobiology, brain development, parenting, relationships, and well being – including the New York Times bestsellers The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind (2011) with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., which explores the application of the mindsight approach to parenting; Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain (2013), which discusses how brain development impacts teenagers’ behavior and relationships; and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind (2014). Find more information about Dr. Siegel at

Friday, July 31 —Young Adult Panel, “From Struggle to Success"

Friday’s general session features Sixto Cancel, Julia Charles, and Daryle Conquering Bear — three young adults who grew up in foster care. They will share their personal experiences, expertise, and contributions and ideas for bettering the child welfare system.

Sixto Cancel is a NACAC board member and a student at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was named a Millennial Maker by BET and recognized as one of the Top 24 Change­makers under 24 in the country by the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council and SparkAction.

Julia Charles, PhD, has spent the earlier part of her adulthood advocating for foster youth through her work as a volunteer, speaker, and author. Julia hopes to encourage current foster youth to see higher education as an option for creating a successful life after foster care.

Daryle Conquering Bear is a NACAC board member and a strong advocate for youth in care, particularly American Indian/Alaskan Native youth. Daryle is finishing a political science degree through Oregon State University. His motto has and always will be: “Leave no Indian child behind.”

Saturday, August 1—Awards Luncheon and Closing Session by Joe Kroll, “You Are NACAC”

At Saturday’s luncheon, NACAC will present awards to outstanding individuals and organization making a difference in adoption. (See list of award winners.)

Preceding the awards ceremony, Joe Kroll will give the closing session.

Joe Kroll is a child welfare advocate and policy specialist. He served as NACAC’s executive director for 30 years before retiring in March 2015.

Pre-Conference Session

On July 29, Dan Siegel, MD, of the Mindsight Institute will present an all-day pre-conference session. The pre-conference session runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Hyatt. Fees are $100 U.S./$115 Cdn. per person and 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.

Check-in will begin at 7:45 a.m. CEUs (6 contact hours/.6 CEUs) can be purchased at the end of the session.

“Mindsight and Healing Trauma”

Dr. Siegel will introduce mindsight as a powerful tool to change perception and response and help heal the effects of traumatic experiences on the mind, body, and relationships with oneself and others. Overwhelming experiences can impact development, relationships, and brain function including memory and emotion. Participants will learn how to apply mindsight principles to integrate the various domains fractured by trauma and shift from a state of dysfunction to harmony and regulated response.


  • Dan Siegel, MD has a unique ability to make complicated scientific concepts exciting. He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. In addition to his psychotherapy practice, Dr. Siegel is on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development; the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center; and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute. at
    Dr. Siegel is the author of many articles, chapters, and books on interpersonal neurobiology, brain development, parenting, relationships, and well being – including the New York Times bestsellers The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind (2011) with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., which explores the application of the mindsight approach to parenting; Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain (2013), which discusses how brain development impacts teenagers’ behavior and relationships; and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind (2014). Find more information about Dr. Siegel at

2015 Workshops


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

1A — Laughter: How to Ease the Stresses, Tensions, and Pains of Parenting and Everyday Life
Laughing is one of the healthiest things one can do when facing the deep 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.
Pat O'Brien, founder, You Gotta Believe!, New York

1B — Mental Health Interventions for Children Adopted from Foster Care and Their Families handout1, handout2, handout3
This presentation will highlight ways in which evidence-based mental health interventions have been successfully tailored for children and youth adopted from foster care and their families. The workshop will include an adoption-specific psychotherapeutic intervention and examples of prevention and early interventions that address parenting and mental health needs at different developmental stages.
Eugenia Tsao & Jill Waterman, UCLA TIES for Families, California • Larisa Litvinov, TIES for Families—South Bay, California

1D — Supporting Adoptive Families Online and In Person
Parents and professionals are invited to 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, resource-rich websites, and respite care programs.
Ginny Blade, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota • Phyllis Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Pennsylvania • Dereik Domerese, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, Missouri

1E — Shifting Our Mindset to Parent Therapeutically
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Parenting children who have been traumatized 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 other 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

1F — Speak Up! Be Heard! Legislative Advocacy for Children, Youth, and Families
More and more successful advocacy is based on hearing from the collective voices of youth, parents, and professionals in the field of child welfare. Join this interactive, hands-on session to learn more about effective strategies and tips for successful advocacy—both in your community and at the federal and state levels. The presenters will also share the latest federal policy updates and advocacy messages being discussed at the national level.
Nicole Dobbins, Voice for Adoption, District of Columbia • Sue Badeau, child welfare speaker/consultant, Pennsylvania

1G — So Open Minded That Your Brains Fall Out
One of the major developments in open adoption is the inclusion of extended family. Extended birth family can play an important role in building and maintaining open adoption relationships but can also present challenges. This workshop will examine making open adoption plans that identify extended family relationships, discuss how to know and set relationship limits, and explore working together to form a relationship pattern that works for both birth and adoptive parents and the child.
Jennie Painter, Adoption Resource and Counseling Services, Ontario • Pat Fenton, Families in Adoption, Ontario • Gina Viña, Adoption Center of San Diego, California

1H — Ripped from the Headlines: Getting Real about Race in Transracial Families

Two experienced triad members and experts on race, adoption, and transracial family life will discuss the impact of race on children and teens of color in foster care and adoption. Using recent headlines—related to the Washington NFL team’s name "Redskins," the death of Michael Brown, the Black Lives Matter movement, and responses to TV shows like Blackish and Fresh Off the Boat—the presenters will model how parents can confront racism and talk about it with their children in ways that build trust and closeness.
Angela Gee, AdoptCONNECT, California • Beth Hall, Pact, An Adoption Alliance, California

1I — Funding Youth Permanency Services

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 and other forms of legal permanency. Sacramento County’s Destination Family Integrated Youth Permanency Mental Health Program provides a replicable case study of best practice, improved permanency outcomes, public/private and interdepartmental collaboration, and long-term sustainable funding.
Gail Johnson Vaughan & Jeff Landre, Families NOW, California • Bob Herne, Sierra Forever Families, California • Don Nottoli, Sacramento Board of Supervisors, California

1J — 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 focused on teens, children with special needs, sibling groups, children of color, and other target communities.
Denise Goodman, PhD, trainer/consultant, Ohio

1K — Empowered Transition: Helping Older Children Move into Successful Adoption
In this session, the director of an 28-year-old adoption agency will share the agency’s extremely successful techniques for moving older children into adoptive families. The child and prospective family are equal participants in the process and 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 explores the belief system that feeds the techniques.
Maris H. Blechner, MEd, trainer/consultant/motivational speaker, New York

1L — Becoming a Regulated Parent: Creating Sanctuary Amidst Chaos
As caregivers of children and youth with trauma histories, we give and give. But how can we be the conduit to healing for our children if our batteries are running low? Children who have been traumatized in a relationship can only heal in a relationship, and children need and deserve us to be a source of regulation and calm. This session will focus on you—the caregiver and healer—and enhance your journey to becoming a regulated parent.
Denise Leffingwell, Colorado State Foster Parent Association

1M — Traditions of Caring and Collaborating: A Model of Practice for Kinship Care
This workshop shares an evidence-based approach to collaborating with kinship caregivers to discuss and document their ability, resources, and willingness to provide care for their younger relatives. The assessment addresses legal, financial, child behavior, family relationships, fair and equal treatment, access to community supports, and other issues. The presenters will also discuss the dynamics of family relationships for relatives who are considering adoption or who have adopted.
Eshele Williams, Children’s Bureau, California • Eileen Mayers Pasztor, California State University, Long Beach & Child Welfare League of America • Donna D. Petras, Child Welfare League of America, Illinois

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

2A — 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, build self-esteem, and maintain sanity. The presenter will give special attention to the unique world of teens.
Denise Goodman, PhD, trainer/consultant, Ohio

2B — Adoption-Competent Mental Health Services: What We Are Learning and Why it Matters
Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) is an advanced program for licensed mental health professionals that has been replicated in 13 states. The presentation will highlight program features, evidence of the model’s effectiveness, and data on clinical practice changes that have informed development of an Adoption Competent Clinical Services Logic Model.
Debbie Riley, Center for Adoption Support and Education, Maryland • Anne J. Atkinson, PhD, PW Analytics, LLC, Virginia • Edythe Swidler, Lilliput Children’s Services, California

2C — The Top 20 Psychological Issues in Adoption
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 top 20 issues in adoption that everyone needs to know.

John Sobraske, adoption psychotherapist, New York

2D — Effective Support Services for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Families

In this session, the presenters will share research results on effective support services for adoptive, foster, and kinship families. Many organizations are providing comprehensive support services—including case management, evidence-based/informed therapeutic interventions, peer support, training, mental health care, and respite—that help families meet their children’s needs. We will explore themes and commonalities of effective programs, including the use of public/private partnerships, and demonstrate how support services can help families.
Diane Martin-Hushman & Mary Boo, AdoptUSKids, Minnesota • Marie Youngpeter, National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids, Alabama

2E — Parenting Transgender Children and Youth
What happens when the child you believed was a boy insists, beginning at age three, that he is a girl? Or your teenager, born female but always “boyish,” tells you she is transgender, claims a male name, and is horrified at the sight of his growing breasts? These are real experiences for real parents, most of whom are shocked, scared, and confused to realize their child is, or may be, transgender. This workshop will provide a brief overview of gender identity development, the experience of “gender dysphoria,” and best practices for providing care, affirmation, and support for transgender children. Scenarios will include “coming out” as transgender within your extended family, finding medical and mental health services, and navigating a gender transition in schools.
Ellen Kahn, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, District of Columbia

2F — Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards
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This session will present an overview of and engage discussion around a new set of clear, practical model family foster home licensing standards designed to help ensure safety for children in care while also promoting the opportunity for related and non-related caregivers to become licensed foster parents. Advocates are encouraging states to review and compare these standards against their own with a goal to ultimately align their standards with this model.
Ana Beltran, Generations United, District of Columbia

2G — Connections, Culture, Continuity, and Compromise: Bringing Your Child Home
The transition into a new home for an adopted child is momentous. Offered by an adoptive parent, this workshop guides parents around common pitfalls and steers them to beneficial practices for the first year of parenting an adopted child. Topics include practical things parents must do, transformative ways parents can alter their mindsets as they welcome a child, ways to become aware of the child’s fears, and how to incorporate the child’s culture and values into the adoptive family.
Sarah Jay, Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, 5th Circuit, Florida

Cancelled! 2H — Reading Between the Guidelines: An Overview of the Newly Revised ICWA Guidance
In February 2015, the Department of the Interior (DOI) issued revised ICWA guidelines. The last time DOI provided guidance on the implementation of ICWA was in 1979, the year after the act’s passage. The updated guidelines provide clarity on a number of issues that state courts and public and private agencies have grappled with over the past 36 years. This workshop will discuss the guidelines, address major changes, highlight best practices, and conclude with a facilitated discussion about how to foster conversations with state and tribal partners and other legal and social service practitioners about the revisions and the importance of ICWA.
Adrian Smith, JD, National Indian Child Welfare Association, Oregon

2I — Handling Those Fire-Breathing Dragons: How to Keep Stress from Managing Us
A long-term successful manager of stress—both at home and in the office—presents a look at how caring and overstressed people like us can control the fire-breathing dragons in our lives. The presenter will share some theory along with lots of practical hints and advice to take back with you for your own dragon management.
Maris H. Blechner, MEd, trainer/consultant/motivational speaker, New York

2J — Customizing Diligent Recruitment Efforts
This workshop will share insights about a customizable tool for states, tribes, and territories on comprehensive diligent recruitment. The presenters will discuss how child welfare leaders can use the Diligent Recruitment Navigator to develop customized content based on their specific child welfare system’s structure (county- or state-administered, tribal, or privatized) and will share strategies for meaningful stakeholder involvement.
Jill May, National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids, Colorado • Alicia Groh, National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids, Minnesota

2K — The Age of Engagement: Connecting Online to Youth Aging Out of Care
Are government and social service organizations failing young adults aging out of care because they fundamentally misunderstand how to talk to youth? We believe today’s young adults need interactive websites where techniques like quests, badges, videos and mini-games engage them to learn things they need to navigate the adult world. Join us for an idea-packed workshop of tips and techniques to engage youth aged 17 to 20 based on our history with youth engagement and our newly piloted, youth-focused website.
Karen Madeiros & Sam Pothier, Adoptive Families Association of British Columbia • Phillip Djwa, Agentic Digital Media, British Columbia

2L — Prepare for Success: The 10 Crucial Elements of a Successful Adoption
This dynamic workshop will outline 10 important tips for social workers and adoptive families who are planning an adoption from foster care. Topics covered include techniques to empower adoptive families preparing to parent traumatized children, using community resources, and employing self-care strategies. Come learn the steps necessary to achieving successful adoptions.
Sherie Dechter, Kinship Center, California • Sharon Kaplan Roszia, private practice, California

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

3A — How Foster and Adoptive Parents Create a Sense of Safety
Children in foster care and adoption often express their losses through behaviors. Using concepts of the 3-5-7 Model©, the presenter will explore seven skills participants can use to help children and youth grieve their losses. Participants will hear that grief is not a pathology and that survival behaviors change when children and youth in grief are comforted.
Darla L. Henry, PhD, Darla L. Henry and Associates, Pennsylvania

3B — Good in Any Setting: 15 Interventions That Change a Traumatized Brain
This workshop will help parents and professionals find interventions that heal trauma. The treatment world frequently misunderstands behavioral and emotional dysfunction that has trauma at its roots. Unhelpful talk therapy and some behavior modification may actually create more problems than they solve. We will look at what happens to the brain when someone is traumatized at a young age and then delve into 15 proven therapeutic and family interventions that heal.
Ken Huey, PhD, Calo, Missouri

3C — Creating Permanency after a Disrupted Adoption
Disruption breeds disruption. Children who have been displaced 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 parents create a family with a child who has learned not to trust.
Janice Goldwater & Alisha Wolf, Adoptions Together, Maryland

3E — Beyond the Five Senses: Exploring Sensory Processing Disorder
Many symptoms associated with ADHD, ADD, ODD, RAD, PTSD, and other diagnoses can be attributed to sensory processing difficulties. Sensory processing is how we view and experience the world, and adverse experiences in early childhood can make taking in information much more difficult. This workshop will allow attendees to experience sensory processing through hands-on activities and learn new ways to help children meet their sensory needs at home and in school.
Kelly Ryan-Schmidt & Meghan Nagle, Three Rivers Adoption Council, Pennsylvania

3F — Accessing Federal Funding for Post-Adoption Services
The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Stren­gth­ening Families Act of 2014 provides new financial opportunities for states to fund post-adoption services. The revised adoption incentive awards program and mandates for states to reinvest Title IV-E savings in post-adoption, post-guardianship, and other family services provide advocates with funding opportunities. Come learn how your state can benefit from these changes!
Joe Kroll, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota

3G — Preparing Families for Adoption of Children from Foster Care
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This workshop will examine issues in concurrent planning through presentations on 1) impact of TIES for Families pre-placement preparation sessions on family willingness to adopt children with special needs from foster care; 2) LIFT, a unique grief and loss support program for resource families who face reunification with birth family of a child in their care; and 3) a study of the effects of concurrent planning on foster-adoptive parents of infants.
Audra Langley, Eugenia Tsao, & Jill Waterman, UCLA TIES for Families, California

3H — Creating Cultural Permanency through Adoption
Lalum’utul’ Smun’eem Child and Family Services is a fully delegated First Nations Agency that provides a range of child welfare services including guardianship, child protection, and adoption services. This workshop will outline how the agency and the community partner to ensure preserved culture and connections for adopted Native and Aboriginal children and families. We will emphasize creating permanency through adoption, customary adoption, cultural agreements, and how other agencies can best use this model.
Kim Grzybowski & Addie Price, Cowichan Tribes Lalum’utul’ Smun’eem Child and Family Services, British Columbia

3I — Ethics in Adoption
With the Baby Veronica case and re-homing making the news in recent years, it is more important than ever for 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, rights of fathers, children’s ethnic and legal heritage, and other challenging situations.
Sue Badeau, child welfare speaker/consultant, Pennsylvania

3J — The Urgency for Permanency: Best Practices in Recruiting Permanent Families
This presentation shares research findings to help identify best practices in recruiting families for children and youth, especially those facing significant challenges. Explore new ideas to find families for youth with disabilities, sibling groups, and youth who have spent a long time in care. The session highlights innovative ideas to re-inspire your journey in the pursuit of permanency, help you think about new ways to achieve permanency, and rethink old notions of foster care, “disability,” and “adoptability.”
Kimberley Hogan & Sarah Pedersen, Adoption Council of Canada, Ontario

3K — Recruiting and Preparing Families to Support Transgender and Gender-Expansive Children and Youth
Most of us do not fully understand gender identity, gender expression, and the unique needs and experiences of transgender children and youth. What knowledge, skills, and resources do we need when recruiting families for transgender children and youth? What can we share publicly regarding the child’s gender identity? This workshop will provide a brief overview of key considerations for supporting transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth, how to balance the need for privacy and safety with the need for disclosure, and how to educate families so they are able to affirm and advocate for their transgender child.
Ellen Kahn, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, District of Columbia

3L — Hope for Healing: Understanding Trauma and Attachment
When parents say that they have tried everything and are ready to give up, chances are they are dealing with trauma and attachment issues. Children who are afraid to trust can be some of the most difficult to understand and parent, but there are therapeutic parenting practices that make a difference. Come learn more about attachment and how to help your children by knowing how to parent them and how to choose a good trauma-informed therapist.
Mary M. McGowan, ATTACh, Minnesota

3M — Openness—What a Concept!
Although openness in adoption has become the norm, families may struggle with the concept, and birth and adoptive parents may find it difficult to maintain the relationship over time. Parents who adopt internationally or from foster care often think openness is irrelevant to them. Designed for prospective adopters, adoptive parents, and professionals, this presentation will cover openness in different types of adoptions, with a special focus on adoptions from the child welfare system and transracial adoptive families.
April Dinwoodie & Kimberly A. Paglino, Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York

Workshop Period 4
Friday, July 31
10:30 am – 12:30 pm

[canceled] 4A — Understanding Trauma in Foster Care and Adoption
Trauma sensitivity and competence are essential to all those living and working in adoption. While working through issues of loss and trauma of transition, physical or sexual abuse, or neglect, it is necessary for parents and professionals to develop awareness and sensitivity and to avoid pathologizing the child.
Joyce Maguire Pavao, After Adoption Consulting and Training, Massachusetts

NEW WORKSHOP!! 4Z — Finding What Works: Supporting Emancipating Foster Youth
Foster Youth “age out“ of the system at age 21 or before. Essentially on their own to navigate housing, education, and employment, their prospects are often slim. We will explore innovative programs (co-mentoring, internships, and employment readiness) that are proving successful for transition age youth and explore the elements of successful programs that provide support for young people to explore what they want from life, and help them identify paths to get there. A panel of youth who aged out of foster care will discuss the programs that best helped them.
Beth Ryan, Southern California Foster Family and Adoption Agency • Youth Panel

4B — Changing the Script: A Therapeutic Program
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This workshop introduces a therapeutic, facilitated group program that supports adoptive and foster parents, helps them understand their children’s behavior, offers emotional support, and teaches parents that changing how they respond to their child helps their child develop new responses too. The presenters will discuss the program’s theory and education—including how past traumatic experiences affect child development and view of the world—and share the experience of parents and clinicians who have used the model.

Elaine Quinn & Joanne Hoffman, Adoption Council of Ontario

4C — Attachment and Whole Brain Parenting
In an effort to provide parents and professionals with tools and strategies to achieve healthy brain functioning, this session will explore the neurological relationship between the brain and behavioral, emotional, and cognitive functioning. Using cutting edge information from neuroscience research, the presenters will explain how relationships, experiences, and memory can affect a child’s brain development and self-regulation.
Sarai Leeb & Lucy Reyes, Cenpatico, Texas

4D — Adoption Assistance for Special Need Adoptions
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 — The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children
Domestic or family violence not only affects the victim, but also has a major impact on all family members, especially children and youth. Come learn about violence’s effect on children at various developmental stages and on foster and adoptive family relationships. The presenter will discuss what signs to look for in the children and youth in your care and determine the most effective services to help your family.
Mary M. McGowan, ATTACh, Minnesota

4F — Journey Home Bus Tour
The Coalition for Children, Youth & Families has worked with several Wisconsin county agencies 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. Participants 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 to be a child who enters the foster care system.
Oriana Carey, Coalition for Children, Youth & Families, Wisconsin

4H — Adoption Microaggressions
Microaggressions are brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership. The most common are related to race, gender, and sexual orientation, but some are specific to adoption too. Come learn about what these negative experiences look and feel like for an adopted child and for the adoptive family.
Cassandra A. Porter, Favorite Part of My Day, LLC, Indiana • Delores Kennedy-Williams, Lende Consulting, LLC, Indiana • Michael Fleischman, The Golden Mustache Vintage, Indiana

4I — Selecting Safe Families: Multisystem/Multilevel Assessments
handout1 (long! please note if printing)
This workshop will explore assessment approaches to adoption selection and post-adoptive services delivery that bridge systemic and behavioral perspectives and techniques. Effective assessments must address the specific family involved and reflect an understanding of the entire family system. Through video, simulations, assessment and problem-solving exercises, skill demonstration, role playing, and small group discussion, participants will learn about how to implement effective, comprehensive assessments that examine both what people say and what they do.

Wayne Duehn, PhD, emeritus, University of Texas at Arlington

4J — Extreme Recruitment®: Finding Adoptive Homes for Older Youth
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about children languishing in care? Want a way to create real change? Extreme Recruitment® is a race to find an adoptive home for a child in 12 to 20 weeks. Child welfare agencies from around the country have begun to adopt the program’s philosophies and techniques. Come learn about the outcomes of these efforts to replicate the program and how Extreme Recruitment® can get results in your area!
Gayle Flavin, Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, Missouri

4K — The Foundation Family: Why Every Youth Needs a Permanent Parent before Aging Out
While there is a greater call for connections, mentors, and resources for youth on the verge of aging out of care, what youth most urgently need is a lifetime foundation family. The presenter will offer strategies for recruiting families, including using mentors and volunteers to find families, bringing in adults who are part of the young person’s life, and creating opportunities for youth to meet prospective parents. The workshop will also share research findings from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption about child-focused recruitment.
Pat O'Brien, founder, You Gotta Believe!, New York

4L — Rethinking Attachment: Effective, Optimistic Approaches
Far too often children who have lost their birth parents, spent time in care, or been adopted are misdiagnosed with reactive attachment disorder. With insights from an adoptee who was thus labeled, an adoptive parent, and a practitioner, this workshop explores the attachment continuum, presents effective approaches for parenting and clinical practice, and offers realistic, optimistic approaches for connecting to children who have had attachment injuries.
Kim Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Vermont • Amy Heilman & Claudia Felder, Children’s Bureau of Southern California

4M — Ten Things Kinship Caregivers Need
For centuries, children have been raised informally by relatives when their parents were unable to care for them. And about a quarter of the children in our child welfare system are placed with kin. But how much do we really know about what kinship caregivers need? Based on the Kinship Center’s 30 years of experience, this presentation introduces program planning, training, resources, and supportive services unique to families built through kinship care.
Allison Davis Maxon, Kinship Center, California

Workshop Period 5
Friday, July 31
2:00 – 3:30 pm

NEW WORKSHOP!! 5Z — Recruiting and Welcoming LGBT Parents
LGBT prospective parents are a largely untapped resource for foster-adoption parent recruitment. This workshop will educate and promote understanding when recruiting prospective parents from the LGBT community, address cultural concerns and outreach strategies, and provide an opportunity to hear directly from LGBT foster-adoptive parents.
Richard Valenza and John Ireland, RaiseAChild.US, California

5A — From Chaos to Calm—At Home and in the Office
Research and knowledge about trauma and mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders is exploding in the field of neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology. In this seminar, the presenters will explain Emotional Regulatory Healing (ERH), an integrated and whole culture approach to healing of trauma through regulated relationship. Come learn how you can change your practice from the inside out and create positive outcomes for those you serve while maintaining balance in your life.
Janice Goldwater, Adoptions Together, Maryland • Juli Alvarado, Alvarado Consulting and Treatment Group, LLC, Colorado

5B — Hurt Kids, Healing Parents
This training will discuss the latest research and techniques related to assessing, treating, and parenting children affected by trauma. The presenters will address the neurological, developmental, and biological differences between individuals who have experienced trauma and those who have not. They will also explore how parents and professionals can help children heal. After attending the session, participants will have a toolkit of trauma-informed interventions.
Wayne Duehn, PhD, emeritus, University of Texas at Arlington • Kelly Ryan-Schmidt & Meghan Nagle, Three Rivers Adoption Council, Pennsylvania

5C — Youth Voices Matter: What Our Experiences Have Taught Us
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Adoption can be an absolute roller coaster—filled with joys, heartaches, successes, and challenges—and understanding children can feel impossible at times. In adoption, it can be even more difficult to understand the struggles children may face. In this session designed for both adoptive parents and adoption workers, a panel of young adult adoptees will discuss some of the core issues in adoption including the fears that adopted children may have, challenges in teen years, and some ways to support children in adoption and foster care.

Christina Romo, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota • young adult panel

5D — Cultivating and Sustaining Adoption Support Groups
Adoption support groups are an integral part of the post-adoption service array, but sustaining these groups can be challenging. This session offers a number of suggestions about how to address these challenges, including building membership, incorporating teen and children’s groups, and engaging both parents and youth.
Salena Burden, Devereux Florida

5E — Parenting the Sexually Reactive Child or Youth
In this session, the presenters will explore the differences between normal sexuality and sexual acting out. The workshop will help parents understand how to keep everyone safe, ways to avoid under- or overreacting, and how to bring healing to children and youth who are sexually reactive and those who have been hurt.
Monica Cohu & Carol Gloetzner, The New Mexico FIESTA Project, La Familia, Inc.

5F — Advocates for Families First: Support and Advocacy on Behalf of Kinship, Foster, and Adoptive Parents
A partnership of NACAC, Generations United, and the National Foster Parent Association, Advocates for Families First was formed to ensure foster, adoptive, and kinship families are able to meet the needs of the children and youth in their care. To achieve this goal, we help build the capacity of local groups to support and advocate for the families they serve. Come learn how we can help your group advocate for policy and practice reforms.

Kim Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Vermont • Ana Beltran, Generations United, District of Columbia • Jean Fiorito, National Foster Parent Association, Florida

[canceled] 5H — The Transcultural Nature of All Adoptions
In this workshop, the presenter will look at how all families are transcultural, even if they are not transracial. She will explore how to recognize culture and the ways it is integrated or disintegrated when people come together in marriage or adoption. This workshop is for anyone interested in the world of adoption and will leave time for discussion.
Joyce Maguire Pavao, After Adoption Consulting and Training, Massachusetts

5I — Working with Staff to Support Resource Parents as Team Members in Child Protection
This workshop shares strategies to develop and support foster and adoptive parents as team members for child safety, well-being, and permanency. In this program, staff conduct family assessments and work with families after the child’s placement to minimize trauma for children and maximize teamwork among families and staff. Presenters will share specific practice tools used in staff training and supervision.
Cynthia Stogel & Bernadette Boylan, Children’s Bureau, California • Eileen Mayers Pasztor, California State University, Long Beach & Child Welfare League of America

5J — Engaging and Recruiting in Latino Communities
The Latino population in the US has reached more than 50 million. Social service organizations need to be aware of the changing demographics, identify organizational and culturally based barriers, and develop policies that are reflective of the clients in their communities.
Ernesto Loperena, New York Council on Adoptable Children • Maria Quintanilla, Latino Family Institute, California • Sari Grant & Ivonne Crescioni, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, California • Nuemy Madrigal, recruitment ambassador, California

5K — Transitional Age Youth: Where Attaching and Independence Collide!
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Humans have a primary need to attach to others, but in adolescence the primary task is identity formation and individuation. Older youth with a history of trauma often have challenging emotional, behavioral, and cognitive issues related to both their need to connect and a strong desire for independence. Participants will learn about challenges and opportunities in caring for transitional age youth before, during, and after adoption.

Gregory Manning, PsyD, professional trainer, California • Allison Davis Maxon, Kinship Center, California

5L — Piloting a Support Group for Adopted Children and Siblings
The presenters have developed a support group for adopted children and their siblings that runs concurrently with a trauma- informed parenting group. In this workshop, attendees will learn the theoretical framework they used to develop the support group curriculum, specific group activities, practical tips for implementation, and challenges, successes, and lessons learned from the group.
Felicia Gibson, Katie Linn, & Kate Murray, Center for Child and Family Health, North Carolina

5M — 30 Days to Family™: Placing Children with Kin
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Want to learn how to identify 150+ relatives in only 30 days? 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. Come learn how this program has been replicated by agencies within Missouri and can work in your home state.

Gayle Flavin, Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, Missouri

Workshop Period 6
Friday, July 31
4:00 – 5:30 pm

6C — Using Stories to Connect with Your Children
Learn how stories can be used to help children process, learn, and manage situations and feelings. The presenters will discuss several different formats for using children’s stories including children’s literature, adoption life books, and homemade narratives. You’ll have a chance to brainstorm topics to share with your children, so you can add the tool of story­telling to your adoptive parenting toolbox.
Jane D. Samuel, Attachment and Trauma Network, Kentucky • Anna Paravano, Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc., California

6D — Creating a Continuum of Services That Promote Permanency and Provide Family Stability
Child welfare interventions for adoptive or guardianship families nearing disruption often come too late, failing to meet the best interests of children and families. The new National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption/Guardianship Support and Prese­r­vation provides an exciting opportunity to build evidence for promising permanency planning models and post-permanency services. Come learn about the new center and how it will develop and share information about evidence-based models.
Rowena Fong, University of Texas at Austin • Kris Henneman, Spaulding Institute, Michigan • Nancy Rolock, University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee

6E — Understanding Challenging Behaviors and Emotions through a Trauma Lens
Adopted children who have been in foster or institutional care often have a history of difficult experiences that lead to challenges for their adoptive parents. Learn strategies for helping children of all ages to regulate difficult behavior and emotions by first viewing their actions through a trauma lens. This interactive problem-solving session will include activities to help parents improve their relationship with their child.
Felicia Gibson, Kate Murray, & Katie Linn, Center for Child and Family Health, North Carolina

6F — Reshaping Adoption for the 21st Century: Progressing from Child Placement to Family Success
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Over the past few decades US adoption has changed dramatically but laws, policies, practices, and attitudes lag far behind the transformation. We will examine the systemic change, and use research to illustrate ways that practitioners and other professionals, legislators, and policymakers, and parents and guardians can ensure adoption best serves today’s children and families. The issues addressed include the role of the internet, identity formation, race and culture, openness, LGBT families, and post-adoption services.

Adam Pertman, National Center on Adoption & Permanency, Massachusetts • Allison Davis Maxon, Kinship Center, California

6H — Raising Your Latino Adopted Child with Cultural Pride
This workshop will present universal Latino values and offer suggestions on how to integrate these values into family practices, traditions, and parenting.
Maria Quintanilla & Virginia Olivas, Latino Family Institute, California

6I — Fundraising for Groups
From small donations to $50,000 grants, come learn how to raise funds for your group. This workshop will help you you access funds through grant writing, hosting small events or fundraisers, or soliciting donations of money, goods, and services.
Phyllis Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Pennsylvania

6J — A Faith-Based Model for Recruiting and Retaining African American Families
The Bennett Chapel Missionary Baptist Church adoption initiative, which began in Possum Trot, Texas in 1996, resulted in 72 African American children being adopted from foster care. This workshop presents findings from follow-up interviews with the adoptive families and describes a successful model and strategies for recruiting and retaining African American adoptive families from rural, religious communities. The presenters will also offer suggestions for helping adopted youth as they transition into adulthood.
Ruth G. McRoy, PhD, University of Texas at Austin • Kathleen Belanger, PhD, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas

6K — Developing Youth Support and Advocacy Programs
In this workshop, participants will learn why and how to create effective and relevant youth-centered programs, including youth support networks, mentoring programs, and speak out teams. The presenters will explore Alameda County’s Youth Advocacy Program, which offers training and employment support, matches youth with mentors, makes policy recommendations, and otherwise supports youth in care.

Kim Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Vermont • Georgette Todd, Author, California

6L — When Parenting Children with Trauma Awakens Our Own Trauma
When planning on forming a family, we dream of what parenthood will be like and give little consideration to the struggles that will surface. Adopting children who have experienced trauma can force us to confront our own childhood traumas. Awaking unresolved negative messages from childhood can hinder our ability to parent effectively. To help our children heal, we need to lead the way and heal ourselves first and foremost.
Julie Despaties, Adopt4Life, Ontario

6M — 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, Esq., & Sarah McCarthy, The Children’s Law Center, New York

Workshop Period 7
Saturday, August 1
9:00 – 10:30 am

7A — Talking to Kids about Tough Stuff
Children do best when they know the truth about their lives. Sharing difficult information with children is not easy. This workshop will give parents and professionals the tools to discuss the most challenging situations (such as abuse, parental incarceration, death, HIV, incest, and termination of parental rights) to children of all ages. Please bring your own challenging questions to the session. No topic is off limits!
Barry Chaffkin, Fostering Change for Children, New York

7B — Improving Access to Adoption-Competent Clinicians
California’s historic AB1790 created a stakeholders’ group to identify barriers that prevent children adopted from foster care from receiving mental health services by clinicians with specialized clinical training in adoption or permanency issues. The bill also requires the stakeholder group to make specific recommendations on voluntary efforts counties can make to address those barriers. The presenters will share the group’s findings and solicit input on recommendations for addressing barriers.

Karen Gunderson & Sharon DeRego, California Department of Social Services • Gail Johnson Vaughan, Families NOW, California

7C — Mind, Body, and Spirit:
A Sensorimotor Approach to Healing Trauma
This interactive workshop will provide basic information about the impact of trauma on children and secondary trauma on adults. Trauma is experienced in the mind, body, and spirit, affecting the ability to self-regulate and to process thoughts and feelings. Yoga, dance, music, art, spiritual practices, and other ways of connecting to the body help individuals heal. We will demonstrate breathing techniques, gentle movement, mindfulness, non-verbal expression, and meditation to help facilitate healing. Come prepared to learn but be ready to get up, move around, stretch, paint, and be creative!
Lisa Maynard, SatiVirya, LLC, New York • Sue Badeau, child welfare speaker/consultant, Pennsylvania • Chelsea Badeau, adoptee, Pennsylvania

Cancelled! 7D — Adoption Wraparound: Surrounding Families with Support
Come learn about Seneca’s successful adoption and guardianship wraparound program, which uses a team-based approach to help families respond to serious challenges resulting from a child’s trauma and loss history. Through wraparound, a case manager, a parent partner, and other team members help families develop strengths and resources, access services, build skills, and respond to crises. In this session, the presenters will explore how to design and implement a family-driven wraparound process.
Josie Aye Roemhild & Cynthia Allen Reynolds, Seneca Orange County, California

7F — Advocacy Strategies for Post-Adoption Services
This presentation will offer promising, replicable campaign strategies and tools to advance post-adoption services policy reform at the state level. Panelists will share how one state’s action-oriented plan and parent-youth advocacy network made progress toward achieving quality post-adoption services, funding, and oversight. Participants will receive an advocacy campaign blueprint, tips on implementing the campaign, and evaluation techniques to use in their communities.
Georgia Deoudes & April Dinwoodie, Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York

7G — A Fine Line Between Brave and Foolish: The Single Adoptive Parent Experience
What does it really take to be a competent, healthy, and happy single adoptive parent? This workshop explores the joys and challenges of single parenthood by choice. The presenter provides personal and professional insight into the many stereotypes and barriers in the adoption and parenting process and strategies to address them.

Kimberley Miller, Adoption Council of Ontario

7H — LGBTQ Parenting: We Buy Milk Too
While LGBTQ parenting is no different at the “kitchen table” level, helping our children learn to live in a society that subjects them to discrimination and judgment based on their parents requires a unique set of skills. The presenters will offer practical and humorous advice on how to navigate the land mines that our children face on a daily basis.
Eric Charles-Gallo, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, Missouri

7J — It’s Time to Name the Big Adoption Enemy: Consumer Mentality
When we look at why adoptions fail, sometimes we don’t see what’s really close at hand. New families getting ready for adoption need preparation related to the children they are adopting, but also related to the bad advice they may receive and how consumerism in American culture affects their adoption journey. This consumer mentality is the opposite of the commitment mentality that adoptive parents need.
Maris H. Blechner, M Ed, trainer/consultant/motivational speaker, New York

7K — Creating Families for Older Youth through Community Events
Come learn about Kidsave’s Weekend Miracles program from a panel of adoptive parents, adopted youth, and staff. Through the program, families get to know children who need families at fun, youth-centered, interactive events that increase the chances that youth will meet and find the right family for them. The presenters will share personal stories, program logistics, protocols to ensure youth’s safety and privacy, and ways agencies can incorporate such visits into their recruitment efforts.
Lauren Reicher-Gordon, Kidsave, California • Sari Grant, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, California • Gregg Milano & Alex Wexler, parents, Jacob Milano-Wexler, youth, California • Cathy Biggins, parent, Ivyanna & Kirsten, youth in foster care, California

7L — Creating Trauma-Sensitive School Experiences for Our Children
Children in adoption and foster care often have complex trauma experiences and attachment difficulties that interfere with their ability to learn. This workshop—led by an experienced special ed teacher, a school counselor, and an adoptive parent—will define trauma-sensitive schools and give an overview of strategies and activities that teachers and parents can use to help traumatized children feel safe so they can learn.

Julie Beem, Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc., Georgia • Jen Alexander, Hansen Elementary, Iowa • Diane Gennuso, resource specialist, California

7M — Nuestros Ideales y Experiencias Como Familias Adoptivas Latinas
Consistirá en un panel de familias adoptivas Latinas. Compartirán sus experiencias y subrayar la importancia de mantener un apoyo integral a sus hijos o hijas. Así también los asistentes serán informados sobre los detalles del programa de apoyo adoptivo (PAS) patrocinado por el Departamento de Niños y Familias del Condado de Los Angeles (DCFS).
Maria Quintanilla, Virginia Olivas, & Rogelio Hernandez, Latino Family Institute, California • Betty Flores Salazar, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, California

Workshop Period 8
Saturday, August 1
10:45 am – 12:15 pm

8A — Deflecting Mother Blame: Survival Strategies 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 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

8B — New Ways of Working with Traumatized Children and Families in Adoption
This interactive workshop demonstrates new and imaginative ways for mental health professionals to work with traumatized children and their foster and adoptive families. The presenter will share a variety of play-based methodologies and interventions that have proven successful with children six and older. Attendees will learn structured treatment activities, view examples, and receive a detailed handout explaining the goals of treatment, materials needed, and approaches for each method.
Jeanette Yoffe, MFT, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

8D — Strengthening the Forever Home: Post-Adoption Support in Challenging Cases
Recently, there has been a spate of media coverage focusing on the lack of post-adoption services for severely mentally ill children. These children and families certainly need support and their stories are troubling, but children and families in other situations need support too. In this session, the presenters will share recommendations for how all adopted children and their families can and should be supported.
Dawn J. Post, Esq. & Sarah McCarthy, The Children’s Law Center, New York

8E — Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Providing Families with Education, Support, and Hope
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a term for patterns of brain damage and other birth defects that are the result of a child being exposed to alcohol during the prenatal period. Children with FASD can present with behavioral and developmental difficulties that are often incorrectly labeled and inappropriately treated. This workshop will discuss the importance of using the neurodevelopmental framework when parenting or working with children with FASD. This framework helps guide effective strategies and treatment approaches that focus on increasing caregiver understanding, providing support, and offering hope for the future.
Michele Walker-Bauer, PhD, Violence Inter­vention Program Community Mental Health Center, Inc., California

8G — Truth from the Trenches of Adoption and the Need for Support
Based on Christen’s experience as an adoptive mother of four and Lisa’s experience supporting adoptive families, this session shares what parents can expect when adopting traumatized children and emphasizes that healing and attachment are possible. Participants will learn about the critical need for information and support to help form loving families. The presenters will also share practical resources on adoption and trauma.
Lisa Highfield, Healing Hearts, Ontario • Christen Shepherd, The Promise, Ontario • Phyllis Charles, Virginia

8H — Aspectos Legales, Emocionales y Psicológicos a Considerarse en el ámbito de la Adopción
Se informara a los asistentes acerca de las particularidades y dinámicas que dichos aspectos juegan en el proceso de adopción.
Maria Quintanilla, Virginia Olivas & Rogelio Hernandez, Latino Family Institute, California

8J — Beyond Heart Galleries: Social Marketing Recruitment Strategies
How many people see a child’s Heart Gallery photo? How do they take the next step? How do you reach 15,000 prospective foster or adoptive parents within 24 hours? How do you safeguard the child’s privacy? Learn to expand recruitment outreach using Facebook, Vimeo, and secure website profiles. Topics discussed include targeted marketing, Facebook engagement, digital footprints, security concerns, watermarking photos, privacy issues, data tracking, and outcomes.
Beverly Gmerek & Kristi Griffith-Jones, Colorado Department of Human Services

8K — Adoption and Other Options for Teens
This workshop provides a model for teen permanence that includes responding to teen ambivalence toward a permanent family, locating families, making the strongest placements, and supporting the placement. Reassessing birth parents (even after termination of parental rights), relatives, and past connections is the focus, butt the session will cover other recruitment activities as well. This is an interactive workshop—bring your own most challenging cases for discussion.
Barry Chaffkin, Fostering Change for Children, New York

8L — Parent Coaching: Helping Parents Develop Empathy and Promote Healing
The presenters’ experience as adoptive parents of children with challenging behaviors led them to become professional coaches. Using coaching strategies and solutions, they help adoptive families experiencing adoption challenges including trauma and attachment issues. In this session, participants will learn different and positive ways to address behaviors and promote family healing.
Joann DiStefano, GIFT Family Services, LLC, Illinois • Sally Ankerfelt, GIFT Family Services, LLC, Minnesota • Lynn Cooper, GIFT Family Services, LLC, Massachusetts


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