& Training



  Other Training




Sessions and Workshops

General Sessions

Specific session information will be posted April 2017

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

Pre-Conference Session

Specific session information will be posted April 2017

  • Date: July 19, 2017
  • Audience: Parents and Professionals
  • Time: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
  • Location: Hermitage Ballroom
  • Lunch: On Your Own

Pre-conference registration fees are separate from regular conference fees. You can register for the pre-conference session even if you do not attend the rest of the conference.

Check-in starts at 7:45 am CEUs (6 contact hours/.6 CEUs) can be purchased at the end of the session.

2016 Workshops

Specific session information will be posted April 2017.
Below are the 2016 workshops as an example of
what will be presented.


Workshop Period 1
Thursday, August 4
10:45 am – 12:45 pm

1A — Am I OK Now? One Adoptee’s Personal and Professional Recipe for Healing the Adoption Trauma
I am adopted. I grew up feeling like I didn’t fit. I also suffered some significant adverse childhood experiences that compounded the problem. This presentation will describe how I healed personally and what research and current practice say about how to heal trauma. If you want to heal or want to help heal someone like me, come to this presentation.
Ken Huey, PhD, Kaizen Academy, Missouri

1B — More Tools for Your Parenting Toolbox!
Can we ever have too much information or tools to use with our kids? This workshop dives into how to develop an Individualized Parenting Plan (IPP) for your child that incorporates the approaches and strategies gleaned from the wisdom of leading experts in parenting children with special needs and from hard places.
Rebekah Forster-Casey, Strengthening Villages, Idaho

1C — Managing Crisis in the Family
Do your days feel filled with one crisis after another? Would a book written about your life be in the fiction section because no one would believe it? Are everyday activities more complicated for your family? You are not alone! Learn from this mother of eight how to create calm in the chaos. With a blend of common sense and uncommon perspective, gain strategies to rein in your crisis-driven life and take away big ideas and small steps to implement immediately!
Debbie Schugg, Kinship Center, California

1D — The "Empty Nest" Syndrome
The ‘empty nest’ can look very different for those adoptive parents who find their kids need them more after age 18 than they did before they became legal adults. Based on personal and professional experiences, we will share the ups and downs of parenting adopted children through various stage, and will offer survival tips for parents and a realistic look at parenting adults who were adopted.
Claudia Fletcher, Patrick Henry Family Services, Virginia • Bart Fletcher, adoptive parent, Virginia

1E — FASD: Changing Our Approach
Children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol often have behavioral and learning differences that can challenge foster and adoptive families. And typical parenting techniques can make things worse! This workshop will explore the damage done to children by alcohol use during pregnancy and strategies that can increase success for the children in the home, at school, and in the community.
Kari Fletcher, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota

1F — Improving Access to Adoption-Competent Clinicians
handout1, handout2, handout3, handout4, handout5, handout6, handout7, handout8, handout9, handout10, handout11, handout12
We all know the challenges of finding adoption-competent mental health providers for adoptive families. California tackled it head-on with new legislation (AB 1790). This workshop shares the barriers uncovered by a blue-ribbon stakeholders group, recommendations they have offered to remove those obstacles, and strategies being followed to get those recommendations implemented. The workshop will include discussion of funding streams available for adoption-competency training and service provision.
Gail Johnson Vaughan, Families NOW, California • Richard Knecht, California Department of Social Services • Fredi Juni, permanency consultant, California

1H — Tangled: Hair, Race, and Identity
For traumatized children, a sense of normalcy in their new placement can be comforting in the midst of chaos. One way that caregivers can promote healing and build a strong racial identity is through hair care. Participants will gain confidence in taking care of their African American child’s hair. A hands-on demonstration will also provide participants a chance to see the importance of appropriate hair care for African American children in foster care.
Naijean Bernard-Onwere & Easter Spates, Cenpatico, Texas

1I — Adoption Competency: Training Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals
Children and youth who are moving toward or have achieved adoption often have diverse, unmet mental health needs. They are often served by social workers and therapists who have limited understanding of the complex issues around adoption. This presentation will highlight the need for adoption-competency training for child welfare workers and mental health professionals, and provide an overview of two training initiatives: the Training for Adoption Competency and the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative, a web-based program.
Debbie Riley & Dawn Wilson, Center for Adoption Support and Education, Maryland • Anne J. Atkinson, PhD, PolicyWorks, Ltd., Virginia

1J — Foster Care To Adoption: Eliminating The Drift and Saving Adoptions
Is there special recognition needed when foster parents decide to adopt their long-time children to help keep those placements solid? Here is a fresh look, from a long-time adoption advocate and practitioner, at how to plan and celebrate the transition from foster care to adoption. Discussion includes some reasons why foster families need rituals and support as much as “new” adoptive families.
Maris H. Blechner, MEd, LCSW, trainer, consultant, and motivational speaker, New York

1K — #NobodyAgesOut: Housing Doesn’t Solve the Aging Out Problem, Families Do
Discussions around aging out of care typically focus on providing housing and other services to youth we have failed. You Gotta Believe’s Nobody Ages Out movement seeks permanency solutions that prevent aging out at all. Via presentation and panel discussion, presenters will share how to develop a movement that attacks the aging out problem on multiple levels, including direct permanency work, capacity building, and advocacy with child welfare leaders, public officials, caseworkers and stakeholders—with alumni and youth voices at the core of the movement.
Susan Grundberg, Mary Keane & Anni Keane, You Gotta Believe!, New York

1L — Creating a Parent Safety Net for Children in Pain
What hurt children and young people need most from adults is someone to take their pain away. Through an understanding of the concepts of the 3-5-7 Model©, participants will explore their roles as comforters of grief for those who have experienced the traumas of loss in their lives. They 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, MSW, Darla L. Henry and Associates, Pennsylvania

1M — Core Issues for Kinship Caregivers
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.
Allison Davis Maxon, Kinship Center, California

Workshop Period 2
Thursday, August 4
2:00 – 3:30 pm

2A — A Relational Paradigm of Intervention for Adoptive Families
Providing competent clinical care to an adoptee means partnering with the whole family system. This workshop will provide an overview of the clinical needs of adoptees and their families and present a relational paradigm for intervention. This relational paradigm allows the clinician to be responsive to the individual needs of the adoptee while promoting the strengths of the family system to promote success in treatment. The format will include presentation, video example and practical application to build competency for all attendees.
Holli Ritzenthaler & Becky Bernstein, OhioGuidestone

2B — Off the Road Without a Map: Integrating Core Issues of Adoption into Evidence-Based Clinical Practice
Training programs for mental health service providers fall short of preparing clinicians to meet the complex needs of adoptive families. In this session we will briefly review core issues for both adoptees and adoptive parents and siblings; outline critical domains for conducting adoption-competent assessments, recommend specific assessment measures and interview/observation tools; and discuss integrating adoption-competence into evidence-based treatments.
Kate Murray & Felicia Gibson, Center for Child and Family Health, North Carolina

2C — From Bitterness to Joy
Do you ever feel like one child requires a majority of your attention? Do you feel stretched thin or inadequate? Does life feel unfair? Join foster/adoptive parents as they share how to overcome the bitterness that can creep in when you care for children who present serious challenges. The Kendricks will explore tactics for finding balance in life, united parenting, avoiding triangulation, and finding joy in parenting.
Bruce & Denise Kendrick, Embrace, Texas

2D — Post-Adoption Education and Support: How to Reach the Current Generation of Adoptive Families
Pre-adoption education is crucial but can only go so far in preparing families for the reality of parenting children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Just as important, but far harder to implement, is post-adoption support and education. How can we reach families after the adoption is finalized with the information and support they really need? The presentation includes survey results of what families want in post-adoption education and support.
Dawn Davenport, Creating a Family, North Carolina

2E — Lying, Stealing, and Manipulating: What To Do about Challenging Behaviors
Every interpersonal skill needed for us to be successful in creating and sustaining healthy, loving relationships must be learned. Children who have experienced trauma, neglect, and multiple relationship disruptions can develop defensive strategies to avoid interpersonal relationships. These defensive strategies often manifest in challenging behaviors like lying, stealing, and manipulating for which traditional parenting interventions like punishment, loss of privileges, and emotional distance (time-outs) are often ineffective. Learn new strategies to reshape your child’s internal working model and tackle tough behaviors.
Allison Davis Maxon, Kinship Center, California

2F — Getting Your Voice Heard! Using the Advocates for Families First Messaging Toolkit
Kinship, foster, and adoption advocates must raise their voices to get the larger community to understand and support the needs of our children and families. To advocate effectively to policy makers and the general public, it helps to present a unified message about the importance of family-based care and to use language that carefully describes the issues and the people involved. Advocates for Families First wants to aid you in your advocacy efforts. In this workshop we will discuss the importance of respectful, child-first, positive language; crafting the message for a variety of audiences; communication tips, taboos, and strategies; working with the media; and resources you can use immediately.
Kim Stevens, MEd, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Vermont • Jaia Peterson Lent, Generations United, District of Columbia • Jean Fiorito, National Foster Parent Association, Florida

2H — Have You Ever Started a Conversation About Race?
In today’s world, differences of race, class and culture are hot button topics based on a harsh reality of historic discrimination. Biases (big and small) and unhealthy behaviors (obvious and not-so-obvious) are common practices and perpetuate precarious situations. In an effort to encourage a healthy dialog about such realities and discuss how these realities affect families, this workshop will ask a very simple, poignant and necessary question: “Have you ever started a conversation about race?”
April Dinwoodie & Kimberly A. Paglino, Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York

2I — Nonprofit Adoption Agency Management: How to Build a Strong Organization
Operating a nonprofit adoption agency can be a daunting task. There are various layers of responsibility required to ensure the agency is functioning at its optimal level. This workshop will explore multiple areas of nonprofit management including verifiable standards of excellence, mission, governance, leadership, evaluation, fundraising and development, public awareness/engagement, and advocacy.
Pamela Wolf & Elizabeth Carroll, Harmony Family Center, Tennessee

2J — Parental Attachment Styles in Adoption: Assessment Through Post Adoption
handout1, handout2
Knowledge of a prospective parent’s attachment style provides critical assessment data, informs the matching process, personalizes parent training, enables social workers to smooth out bumps in post placement, and guides post-placement interventions. This workshop reviews an application of the adult attachment interview and discusses its use in all stages of the adoption process.
Abbie Smith, Holt International, Oregon • Celeste Snodgrass, Holt International, South Dakota

2K — The Language of Adoption for Older Youth and the Necessity of Relationship Development Matching
Many youth in foster care have a negative association with the word adoption and have misconceptions about the adoption process and relationships in general. Relationship development matching (RDM) can help older children and youth develop the skills needed to form long-standing, reciprocal relationships. By taking a less directive approach during preparation, initial introduction, and pre-placement visits, youth and families are given ample time together to develop a relationship. The RDM process supports both the youth and adoptive family throughout their journey.
Sandra Sertyn & Heather Bollier Yetter, Sierra Forever Families, California

2L — Prevention of Adoption Disruption and Dissolution
This workshop will present the most significant and currently documented factors in whether adoptions will be successful or at risk of disruption or dissolution. The speakers will also discuss a federally funded project in New Hampshire that screens children and families for these risk factors early in the adoption process and seeks to improve child welfare and mental health services to achieve better outcomes for children and families.
Catherine Meister, New Hampshire Division for Children Youth and Families • Kay Jankowski, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Trauma Interventions Research Center, New Hampshire

2M — Open Adoption: Preparing for a Successful Journey
As adoption has moved towards increasingly open relationships between birth and adoptive families, new challenges arise for all members of the triad. This workshop will explore the importance of an open relationship for children and for adoptive families as a whole. The session will also help adoptive parents understand the spectrum of openness in different types of adoption and identify services available to help them initiate, manage, and live with a new understanding and increased sense of comfort with openness.
Rachael Metz & Megan Montgomery, Adoption STAR, Inc, New York

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

3A — Circle of Security Parenting
The Circle of Security (COS) is a relationship-based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children. The COS intervention and the graphic designed around it are intended to help caregivers increase their awareness of their children’s needs and whether their own responses meet those needs. With increased awareness, parents can expand their moment-to-moment parenting choices where needed.
Michelle Hathaway, Harmony Family Center, Tennessee

3B — Clinical Post-Adoption Services Provided Through the ARC Framework
This advanced workshop will demonstrate the use of various therapeutic techniques based on the Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency (ARC) framework. The speaker will discuss eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy, attachment therapy, Theraplay, Trust Based Relational Intervention, parent–child interaction therapy, and the Alert Program.
Kathleen Bush, The Baby Fold, Illinois

3C — 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

3D — Layers of Adoption Support
Families should have an opportunity to choose an array of adoption support services that suit their families’ needs. This presentation offers a number of suggestions for a multi-layered approach to providing post-adoption services to families. Services can include support groups, counseling, parent partners, and more. Presenters will address the challenges of building post-adoption supports and discuss how to work through barriers. Families and professionals are both welcome.
Salena Burden, MSW, Community Based Care Integrated Health, Florida • Simone Aldrich, Devereux Florida

3E — Music as a Method of Behavioral Intervention or Modification
Music is a powerful tool, used for building up or tearing down. In this workshop, we will develop strategies to use musical properties as methods of behavior modification and intervention for children with special needs. Even those without musical abilities should walk away with some helpful tools and techniques for managing difficult or disruptive behaviors with musical components.
Dereik Domerese, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, Missouri

3F — Funding Post-Adoption Services
Presenters will share their states’ experiences with obtaining state and federal funding for post-adoption services. Funding sources include state general revenue, federal Title IV-B, the adoption/guardianship incentive program, and mandates for states to reinvest Title IV-E savings in family support services. Come learn how your state can access, advocate for, and benefit from these funding streams!
Joe Kroll, consultant, Minnesota • Jillian Bonacquisti, Texas Department of Family and Protective Service, Texas

3H — Successfully Recruiting African American Families
In the past 12 years, more than 250 African American families in South Carolina have adopted more than 600 African American children. This workshop will present research conducted in South Carolina demonstrating the importance of pre- and post-adoption support, cultural competence, and religious support in successful recruitment for adoptive families. Using GIS mapping techniques, the session will demonstrate the expansion of successful adoptions based on recruitment by other adoptive parents.
Kathleen Belanger, PhD, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas • Ruth G. McRoy, Boston College, Massachusetts • Joseph Haynes, Adoption Advocacy, South Carolina

3I — Not Just Recruitment – Using Social Media to Develop and Support Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families
We will equip individuals, agencies, and exchanges with information on why they should be using social media to develop and support families, and show them how to do so.
Pat Rhoads, AdoptUSKids, Washington • Nitara Frost, AdoptUSKids, Minnesota

3J — Adoption Through a Trauma Lens
This workshop will focus on the importance of addressing trauma to enhance resilience and permanency for children. It begins with changing the question from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” The session will highlight a review of current findings and challenges and will discuss ways to integrate trauma-informed care into the adoption process.
Julie Flannery, Harmony Family Center, Tennessee • Jan Dick, Family & Children’s Services, Tennessee

3K — From Betrayal to Hope: Moving Beyond Fear to Build Forever Families
For children in the system who are neither reunified nor adopted by their foster families, adoption options can be limited. Terrified and defensive, many of these youth burn through—and burn out—prospective adoptive families. Too often, they end up in group care until they age out without getting the help that they need. Family Focus has developed an adoption readiness program that uses a one worker/one child model that creates a confidence-building relationship and enables these youth to get past their fears of relationships and into families.
Jack Brennan & Joanne Ferrante, Family Focus Adoption Services, New York

3L — Building Your Village: Connecting Hurt Children with Appropriate Services
Identifying the needs of traumatized children and finding supportive, trauma-informed providers can be both difficult and frustrating for caregivers. Often foster and adoptive families do not fully understand the effects of trauma on the development of children or the range of professional assessments and interventions available to help meet their needs. This workshop will cover the need for providers to be consistent, family-centered, and trauma-informed; introduce the seven domains of impairment in children coping with complex trauma; and discuss the types of practitioners that best meet children’s needs in each area.
Allison Douglas, Harmony Family Center, Tennessee

Workshop Period 4
Friday, August 5
10:45 am – 12:45 pm

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, parents and professionals need to develop awareness and sensitivity and to avoid pathologizing the child.
Joyce Maguire Pavao, After Adoption Consulting and Training, Massachusetts

4B — Parenting Kids from Hard Places: An Introduction to Trust-Based Relational Intervention®
Trust Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) is a parenting and intervention model. Based on a solid foundation of neuropsychological theory and research, tempered by humanitarian principles, TBRI® is a family-based intervention for children who have experienced relationship-based traumas such as institutionalization, multiple foster placements, maltreatment, and/or neglect. This workshop will introduce TBRI® and provide practical tools to use when working with children and families.
Jill Crewes & Amanda Purvis, The Adoption Exchange, Colorado

4C — 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 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

4D — Adoption Assistance for Special Needs Adoptions
In this session, you will learn the basics of adoption assistance for children adopted from foster care, including eligibility, benefits, tax ramifications, and more. Participants will receive state-specific information and will come away with concrete strategies to better advocate for adopted children who have been determined to have 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 — Sensible Sensory Solutions
Many symptoms associated with ODD, ADHD/ADD, RAD, PTSD, and other diagnoses can be attributed to sensory processing difficulties. Sensory processing is how we view and experience the world, and adverse early childhood experiences 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.
Meghan Nagle & Kelly Ryan-Schmidt, Three Rivers Adoption Council, Pennsylvania

4F — 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.
Sue Badeau, child welfare speaker/consultant, Pennsylvania • Joe Kroll, consultant, Minnesota • Schylar Canfield-Baber, Voice for Adoption, District of Columbia

*4G — Journey Home Bus Tour (sponsored by Jockey Being Family®)
[5 hour field trip] (must be pre-registered to attend)
Please note: Attendees will meet at 10:15 am to board the bus and will return to the hotel at 3:30 pm Box lunches will be served. Space is limited; registrants will be accepted in order of registration.
Hop on the bus for an experiential workshop!
This special tour was created by several agencies — and is being executed in conjunction with local adoption and foster care agencies in Tennessee — 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 foster care.
Participants will include conference attendees on the journey with key local officials. Conference attendees will both experience the bus tour and simultaneously learn how to design a tour in their own communities. Leaders from advocacy groups, agency decision makers, and anyone looking for a creative way to collaborate and organize in your own community come learn how to bring the experience of foster care and adoption to your leaders.
Oriana Carey, Coalition for Children, Youth & Families, Wisconsin • Lori Ross, Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association, Missouri

4H — Racial Identity Theory: Reflections of a Transracial Adoptee and Implications for Practice and Parenting
Whether you place children in adoptive homes, are a mental health practitioner, a parent, or a youth in a transracial family, this workshop is for you. Understand racial identity through the experience of a woman adopted transracially; learn the current research about transracial placements and identity development; and immerse yourself in personal growth through facilitated exercises. Attendees will gain a greater understanding of what it means to grow up in a family of a different race or culture, and an increased ability to meet the needs of the children and youth they care for.
Kim Stevens, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Vermont • Ruth G. McRoy, Boston College, Massachusetts • Sue Harris, Children’s Services of Roxbury, Massachusetts

4I — All Day, Every Day: A Conversation About Balancing Personal and Professional Intersections in Adoption
Some of the most passionate professionals are personally connected to adoption. How can we better balance the 24/7 world we live in as well as the deep personal connections we share as we continue advancing our individual and collective work without burning out? This roundtable discussion, facilitated by adoption professionals, will explore the benefits and challenges of having a personal connection to the work we do.
April Dinwoodie & Kimberly A. Paglino, Donaldson Adoption Institute, New York

4J — Unpacking the Baggage: Protecting the Family, Child, and Agency
Children who have been traumatized can bring challenging behaviors to healthy families. To ensure the family remains healthy and the child is not re-traumatized, we explore nine areas of the family dynamic to assess issues, behaviors, and events that could influence the ability to parent under stress. Assessing how the family has coped with and resolved past issues assists in determining the compatibility between a specific child and the family.
Kate Cleary, Consortium for Children, California • Margie Shelton, Consortium for Children, Mississippi

4K — 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, but the session will cover other recruitment activities as well. This is an interactive workshop—bring your own most challenging cases for discussion.
Barry Chaffkin & Bryan Hill, Fostering Change for Children, New York

4L — Parenting the Hurt Child
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, help parents retire those tools without guilt, and then will learn new ways to help their child heal.
Regina Kupecky, LSW, Adoption and Attachment Therapy Partners, Ohio

4M — You’ve Searched for Relatives. Now What?
Want to learn how to truly engage with relatives to improve outcomes for youth? Conducting an internet search for names is not enough! Come learn how to find relatives of the youth you serve and what to do once you find them. It is up to us to create connections for youth that will last a lifetime.
Gayle Flavin, Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, Missouri

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

5A — 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 & Bryan Hill, Fostering Change for Children, New York

5B — Effective Attachment Therapy: An Insider’s Perspective
In this 360° view of attachment therapy, Regina Kupecky, a nationally known expert and author in the field, will present alongside a family she helped to find healing from attachment trauma. The parents and their child, who is now an older teen, will discuss their expectations and experience during attachment therapy. Regina will highlight her method and approach, and discuss why she believes it was successful.
Regina Kupecky, LSW, Adoption and Attachment Therapy Partners, Ohio • Sarah & Jeff Jay, adoptive parents • William Jay, student, Illinois

5C — Shifting Our Mindset to Parent Therapeutically
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.
Julie Beem, MBA, Attachment & Trauma Network, Georgia • Bob Burroughs, Attachment & Trauma Network, Kentucky

5D — Post-Adoption, Comprehensive Care Team: A Clinical Model
Presenters will share the University of Chicago’s model of care for adoptive families which is multi-disciplinary, family focused, strengths based, and individualized to meet the family’s needs. Social workers and adoptive parents will gain insight into building a comprehensive care team in their home communities. This includes learning what to look for in a medical provider, understanding the role of medical specialists, and learning how medical care can be beneficial to securing community resources.
Linda Walsh & Shelly Roy, University of Chicago Adoption Center, Illinois

5E — Normalcy: Accessible and Useful Post-Adoption Services
We know that foster and adoptive parents benefit from programs that meet tangible needs: respite, training hours, fellowship, mentoring, or financial aid. Unfortunately, many of these services are delivered in ways that are not accessible to families, have delivery methods that feel abnormal, promote entitled behaviors in the children they serve, or undermine the reunification process. Come learn how to offer impactful resources and support to families in beneficial, normalizing, and accessible ways.
Denise & Bruce Kendrick, Embrace, Texas

5F — Interventions and Strategies for Students with ADHD and Autism
In this workshop a high school student and her mother — an early childhood education specialist — share information to help youth with ADHD and autism succeed in school. Learn strategies for using a child’s strengths and other interventions and adaptations to improve educational success in any educational setting regardless of the child’s diagnosis. This workshop will give hope and help to teachers, parents, and young people who struggle daily with learning challenges.
Mia Crysler, student, Quebec • Kathleen Neault, Association de parents pour l’adoption Quebecoise

5H — 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 & John Ireland, RaiseAChild.US, California

5I — Beyond Recruitment: Developing and Supporting Foster and Adoptive Families
Child welfare systems often struggle to recruit and retain enough foster and adoptive families for children in care. Actively meeting a family’s needs increases their ability to address each child’s unique needs while also strengthening their relationship with your child welfare system. We will present strategies to develop, support, and retain current and prospective families that include the use of data, community partnerships, customer service approaches, and involve the voices of youth and resource families.
Jill Marshall May, National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids, Colorado • Mary Boo, AdoptUSKids, Minnesota

5J — The AdoptUSKids Photolisting: A Time-Saving Tool for Finding Families
The AdoptUSKids photolisting is a free, easy-to-use, time-saving tool that can help child welfare workers find families for children on their caseloads. Recent improvements make it easier than ever to identify families who can meet the needs of specific children, are approved to adopt from foster care, and are actively seeking a placement. This workshop will help child welfare professionals become experts in understanding and using the photolisting to proactively recruit families, particularly for older youth.
Anna Marshall & Juana Dano, AdoptUSKids, Washington • Kathy Ledesma, AdoptUSKids, Maryland

5K — The Importance of Youth Networks
Learn how to develop, promote, and sustain advocacy and support networks for young people who have experienced foster care, kinship care, or adoption. In addition to giving young people the skills to use their voices and talents to advocate for themselves and others, youth networks also provide opportunities for mutual support, raise public awareness, guide practice improvements, and promote change to the child welfare system.
Kayla VanDyke & Christina Romo, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota

5L — Navigating Health Care: How to Plan and Advocate for Adoption-Competent Primary Medical Care
This interactive workshop will introduce a framework for adoptive families to use when navigating the medical healthcare system. The presenters will address practical issues including how to screen primary healthcare professionals for adoption competence, the significance of the health record, communicating with the medical team, special considerations for the hospitalized adopted child, the important interface between the family and the healthcare system, and practical tips for self-advocacy.
Catherine Hamilton, University of Florida • Eileen Dehouske, Santa Fe College, New Mexico

5M — More than a Contract: Building Relationships in Open Adoption
Open adoption is more than adoptive and birth families “holding up their ends of the contract.” It is about working to build a genuine relationship for the benefit of the child. In this workshop, we will discuss the spectrum of openness in adoption and explore how families at all points on this spectrum can enhance their experience by focusing on relationship building at the time of placement and for years to come.
Beth Stahl & Janice Goldwater, Adoptions Together, Maryland

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

6A — Mind, Body, and Spirit: A Sensorimotor Approach to Healing Trauma
This interactive workshop will provide 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!
Sue Badeau, child welfare speaker/consultant, Pennsylvania • Lisa Maynard, SatiVirya, New York • Chelsea Chris Badeau, artist, Pennsylvania

6B — Developing an Intensive In-Home Trauma Treatment Model
Children with early traumatic experiences have complex treatment needs. When these children join foster or adoptive families, complexities increase. Parents search for experts in an evolving field as current research identifies more effective modalities. Learn about an in-home treatment model developed from incorporating many disciplines, methods, and research. Healing Hearts Family Based Service began in 2010 to reduce out-of-home placements, build post-permanency success, and improve foster care placement stability.
Jeff L. Merkert & Faye L. Hall, Jewish Family Service, Pennsylvania

6C — Beyond the Perfect Fit
Parents who embark on their adoption journeys often have an idea of a child who would best fit with their family. Hear from an adoptive parent what happened when she and her partner let go of the idea of the perfect fit and opened their hearts and their home to children from diverse backgrounds and varying degrees of abilities and needs. Also, hear from two of her daughters about being adopted and how embracing the differences and unique qualities of each family member has helped them achieve a sense of belonging and a secure and loving place to call home.
Patti & Precious Rooks, Council On Adoptable Children of Texas • Alexy Rooks, adoptee, Texas

6D — Peer-to-Peer Support
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.
Barb Clark, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota • Phyllis Stevens, Together as Adoptive Parents, Pennsylvania

6E — Understanding and Healing the Sexually Abused Child
This workshop will guide adoption workers to help parents address the needs of adopted children who have been sexually abused. Discover how to help adoptive parents create a healing milieu to counteract the negative impact of past trauma on a child’s psychosocial and cognitive development, and to enhance positive self-esteem. Learn how to help adoptive families become the central force in their children’s recovery.
Wayne Duehn, PhD, University of Texas at Arlington

6H — LGBT Parents and Our Children
LGBT parenting looks like most other parenting, but there are some important differences. We must equip our children to navigate a unique set of challenges in a society that often judges their family unit as inferior. From subtle exclusion to outright discrimination, our children are on the front lines. The presenters will offer practical and humorous advice on how LGBT families nurture self-acceptance and resilience.
John Ireland, RaiseAChild.US, California • Nitara Frost, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Minnesota

6I — Rehoming: Exploring the Darker Side of Adoption
In 2013, Reuters published an investigative report exposing a darker side of adoptions—the practice called “rehoming” in which legally adopted children, mostly international adoptees, were privately placed by their adoptive parents through underground and unregulated custody transfers. Rehoming is categorically different from the legal process of adoption disruption or dissolution. The presenters will explore the clinical implications of rehoming on children as well as applications to consider when working with adoptees and families affected by rehoming.
Melanie Chung-Sherman, ChristianWorks for Children, Texas • Rowena Fong, University of Texas at Austin • Amy L. Curtis, Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, Texas

6J — AdoptOntario Waypoint Roadmap for Child-Specific Recruitment
AdoptOntario uses technology, clinical support, and cooperation with adoption workers in the province’s public and private adoption systems to connect prospective families and children in Ontario foster care waiting for a permanent family. This workshop will outline AdoptOntario’s five-point child-specific recruitment system that is used much like a roadmap to support timely connections of children and families. Discussion will cover data-based outcomes, tools and resources, and lessons learned.
Karisa Farinha & Belinda Fernandes, Adoption Council of Ontario

6K — Following the Love: A Strategy to Find a Permanent Parent and Family for Every Youth
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

6L — Advocating for Your Child in School
Adopted children are at high risk of early childhood trauma and loss issues that can impact them in many ways, including their ability to learn. Parents and educators need to understand these unique needs and how they effect learning and behaviors. Participants will learn how to advocate for what adopted children need at school, effective parent/teacher communication, and successful trauma-informed, adoption-competent strategies.
Melissa Sadin, special education consultant, New Jersey • Julie Beem, Attachment & Trauma Network, Georgia

*Canceled* 6M — Are You Still My Family? Policy and Practice on Post-Adoption Sibling Visitation
This presentation will examine barriers to post-adoption sibling visitation and discuss the damage caused when sibling relationships are not protected. A majority of children in foster care are placed apart from at least one sibling. Some judges prioritize keeping siblings together, while others give it little weight in determining the child’s best interests. The presenter will discuss the harmful effects of ignoring sibling ties, sibling visitation rights advocacy, and how policy change will benefit children and adoptive families.
Dawn J. Post, Esq, The Children’s Law Center, New York

Workshop Period 7
Saturday, August 6
9:00 – 10:30 am

7A — Staying Fresh, Open-Hearted, and Hopeful
Children, parents, and advocates must sustain hope and strength to be successful and happy. More technical information is not useful if you are too burned out to use it. The presenter has spent 24 years in the child welfare fray and is not burned out. What is her secret and how do you find yours? A funny, creative, and inspiring approach to not just keeping your head above water but even sometimes joyfully surfing.
Dawn Coppock, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, Tennessee

7B — The Healing Impact of Facility Dogs
Facility dogs are specially trained service dogs that work with a professional while they assist different populations. This workshop will provide an overview on how facility dogs work with children who have experienced trauma. The presenter will discuss how to best use facility dogs with children in high stress situations, how facility dogs can be used to promote healing, and how the dogs facilitate and enhance the therapeutic process. (In attendance will be Rocklin, a facility dog who works with children involved in the Juvenile Court System.)
Marianne Schroer, Williamson County CASA, Tennessee & Rocklin, facility dog

7D — Using Evidence-Based Services to Promote Permanence and Stability
The National Quality Center for Adoption/Guardianship Support and Preservation (QIC-AG) is assessing which pre- and post-placement services best meet the needs of adoptive and guardianship families. This presentation will examine the root problems facing these families and explore how services can improve outcomes. The speakers will also discuss progress to date in the QIC-AG sites and implications for future research.
Kris Henneman, Spaulding Institute, Michigan • Rowena Fong, University of Texas at Austin • Leslie Cohen, Spaulding for Children, Michigan

*Canceled* 7E — Raising a Child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Perspectives from the Youth, Mother, and Pediatrician
This workshop will provide a unique perspective into raising a young man with fetal alcohol syndrome. Brandan’s pediatrician and mother will outline his journey through the medical and school system, discuss the difficulties children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder face, and provide practical tips for parents. Brandan will talk about the challenges and successes of having fetal alcohol syndrome.
Julia Bledsoe, Center for Adoption Medicine, University of Washington • Julie Gelo, University of Washington Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Clinic • Brandan Gelo, student, Washington

7F — Research + Experience = The Path to Success
As a growing number of child welfare professionals feel the field needs to move beyond its historical “child placement” model, how do we reshape policy and practice to incorporate education, supports, and services that enable children and their families to be truly successful? In this workshop, two experts on adoption, foster care, and child welfare review the research and experience of the last decades, analyze what we’ve learned, and offer the elements of a future roadmap.
Adam Pertman, National Center on Adoption & Permanency, Massachusetts • Ruth G. McRoy, Boston College, Massachusetts

7H — Seven Habits of Successful Transcultural Adoption
Preparation is important for all aspects of adoptive parenthood and even more important for parents considering transcultural adoption. One of the most complicated areas of transcultural adoption is identity development. This interactive workshop will cover seven habits of successful transcultural adoption and how to create the optimal formula for success and affirmation.
Rashun Stewart, VIP Community Services, New Jersey

7I — The Cost of Caring: Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma
While the value of the work we do in child welfare is immeasurable, it also takes a personal and professional toll. Did anyone tell you how difficult this work would be? Or that it would change you? This workshop explores the personal impacts of working in the field and offers tools to combat the long-term effects. Participants will leave feeling validated and reengaged in their work.
Elena Aldridge, FamiliesFirst Network, Florida

7J — Adoption Transitions: Through the Eyes of the Child, Parent, and Professional
From recruitment, to match, to placement, to forever, there are many important roles. This workshop is for prospective parents and professionals looking for ways to successfully transition children into an adoptive home. Attendees will learn strategies and best practices to successfully navigate the adoption transition process. Participants will leave with practical tools for key stages of the adoption journey.
Khalilah Louis, MSW, Saint Leo University, Florida • Sharon Dues & Tanya Johnson-Gilchrist, The Sylvia Thomas Center for Adoptive and Foster Families, Florida

7K — Achieving Independence: Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood
Every year, approximately 23,000 youth age out of foster care, typically without the skills or supports necessary to become self-sufficient adults. Based on extensive research on what these young adults need at their most vulnerable point in life, Youth Villages established the YVLifeSet program, which has helped more than 9,000 young people build independent and successful lives. Workshop attendees will learn how to develop or improve their own programs to help and support youth in foster care gain the skills they need to transition to independent adulthood.
Mary Lee & Joe Goldsmith, Youth Villages, Tennessee

Workshop Period 8
Saturday, August 6
10:45 am – 12:15 pm

8A — For Better or Worse: Relationship Refresher for Couples Parenting Traumatized Children
This training focuses on the impact raising children who have experienced trauma can have on the parent’s relationship. We will discuss strategies to keep the relationship fresh, fun, and supportive. This modified PREP and Within Our Reach curriculum is tailored to the needs of couples parenting children who have experienced trauma to help couples strengthen their relationships and their families and provide their children with the safety, security, and love that they so deserve.
Denise C. (Leffingwell) Rice, MSW, LCSW, LAC, HOPEful Healing Training & Consultation, Colorado • Roxanne Thompson, Colorado State Foster Parent Association

8C — 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

8D — Adoptive Family Camps: Connecting, Healing, and Having Fun!
Today’s families face unprecedented challenges. Demands for our time from work, school, sports, and other activities, make it increasingly hard for families to connect with one another in meaningful ways. Adoptive Family Camps are a unique way for families to heal, grow, and relate in a fun environment. This workshop will provide an overview of adoptive family camps for participants interested in starting their own and will cover the camp’s philosophy, development, objectives, staffing patterns and structure.
Pam Frye, Harmony Family Center, Tennessee

8E — Walking on Eggshells: When the Violent Perpetrator at Home Is the Adopted Teen
Adopted youth sometimes take out their issues on their adopted or foster family. In some cases, that may mean the youth is using threats of violence or actual violence against their parents (especially the mother) and siblings. At times the entire family may feel like they are walking on eggshells, and the teen is holding them hostage emotionally. This workshop will discuss causes as well as treatment options for youth and their families.
Maryanne Mica, private therapist, Missouri

8H — Cultural and Permanency Planning with Extended Family Members
This session will introduce the innovative ways Lalum’utul’ Smun’eem Child and Family Services has used genograms to support Aboriginal children and youth with cultural and permanency planning with their extended families. The topics to be covered include a team approach to finding permanency, responsibilities of the Family Finder, Cowichan Tribes Committee (a unique adoption committee), and how the extended family provides cultural supports for children and adoptive parents.
Kim Grzybowski & Addie Price, Lalum’utul’ Smun’eem Child and Family Services, British Columbia

8J — Managing the Stress of the Adoption Process: Why It Is Essential to Your Children
The adoption process can be one of the most stressful periods of a parent’s life. The presenter will share practical tips, provide resources, teach basic techniques, and discuss how your ability to manage the stress of adoption affects your child. You are guaranteed to leave this session more relaxed.
Brooke Randolph, LMHC, therapist, Indiana

8L — Why does my child have problems making friends? Promoting positive peer relationships.
Peer relationships can be challenging for adopted children who have a history of loss and disrupted attachments. It is important to understand the impact of trauma and loss on the sensory system and the ways it affects children’s relationships with peers. We will discuss strategies to help children feel more comfortable relating to others and learn appropriate social interactions.
Kim Shepardson Watson, LCSW & Nancy Randall, PsyD, East Lyme Psychological Associates, Connecticut

8M — Searching for Yourself… Or Not
Those living in adoption have a lifetime of searches and exploration—inner and outer—as they learn about themselves and their relationships. Many result in some gradation of open adoption. This workshop discusses the complexity of adoption and searching, emphasizing the mandate for access to original birth certificates.
Joyce Maguire Pavao, After Adoption Consulting and Training, 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