53rd NFPA Education Conference

For Foster, Adoptive & Kinship Parents, Friends, Families and Supporters

53rd NFPA Education Conference

For Foster, Adoptive & Kinship Parents, Friends, Families and Supporters

2023 Conference Presentations – A Look Back at Our 2023 Conference

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Schedule Of Events

Friday, June 23rd



1 to 2:30 PM


  • John DeGarmo: “Supporting Foster Parents In Times of Crisis and Stress”
  • Josh Kroll: “Advocacy 101”
  • Jennifer Patrick: “Engaging Family & Friends on Your Parenting Journey”

Birth Parent Relations

  • Chauncey Strong: “Reunification-Birth Parent & Foster Parent Working Together”
  • Jackie Meyer: “But For The Grace of God There Go I”
  • Pamela Mendez: “Co-parenting in Child Welfare, Taking Away the Fear”

Keeping Relative and Kinship Connections Strong

  • Kristen Adkins: “Hope-Informed Parenting”

Mental Health Issues

  • Valarie Grant-Martin: “Connecting With Support, Resources & Training to Minimize the Stigma”
  • Stacey Goodson: “Triple Threat: Teenagers, Talking & Trauma”
  • Edna Davis Brown: “Mind/Body – Practices for Help & Healing”

2:45 to 4:15 PM


  • Tom Rector: “Raising a Foster Child to Thrive”
  • Josh Kroll: “Adoption Assistance”
  • Amanda Cruce: “Strategic Planning for Change”
  • Nicole Cameron: “Fostering Partnerships and Connections Through Transformative Change”

Keeping Relative and Kinship Connections Strong

  • Julie Cooper: “Essential Connections: Maximizing Connection to Minimize Loss”
  • Erin Bouchard: “Strategies for Navigating Relative Connections”

Mental Health Issues

  • Jesusa Jasso: “Taking Care of Self to Make Better Connections”
  • Amy Bates: “When Empathy Hurts”
  • Nichole Stone: “Compassion Fatigue, Burnout and Self Care”
  • Joan Wharton: “Taking Care of Myself – Self-Care”

Friday Schedule

7am – 5pm Registration
7am – 9am Exhibitor Set-Up
9am – 4:30am Exhibit Hall Open
9am – 5pm Silent Auction
9am – 11:30am Rob Scheer “Taking Your Pain and Making it into Your Purpose”
11:30am – 1pm Lunch (Self)
1pm – 2:30pm Workshops
2:30pm – 2:45pm Break
2:45pm – 4:15pm Workshops
4:30pm – 6:00pm Keith Mason Focus Group, “Connect U”

During Lunch, take the opportunity to meet the editor of Fostering Families Today, Sriya Chattopadhyay!

Learn more and print the flyer by clicking below.

Saturday, June 24th



8:30 to 10 AM


  • Lara Bouse: “Seeking Cooperation for Best interests: Adjusting the Mindset to Find Common Ground”
  • Sarah Herrian: “Foster Parent Mentorship; One of the most important programs you can have”
  • Becky Wilmoth: “Yes, the Adoption Tax Credit is for Foster Adoptions”
  • Erin Bouchard: “Helping Foster & Adoptive Parents Navigate Crisis.”
  • Mary McGauhey: “How to communicate so your voice will be heard”
  • Roy Van Tassell: “Touching Safety & Abuse Prevention for Kids”

Birth Parent Relations

  • Victoria Tidman: “Yes, It’s Really That Hard”
  • Madison Dao Whitten:“Building Better Villages: Promoting Birth and Foster/Resource Caregiver Relationships”

Mental Health Issues

  • Julie Cooper: “From Chaos to Calm: Helping Children Learn to Regulate”
  • LeAnn Magre: “A Collaborative Population Health Approach to Lower Psychotropic Polypharmacy among System Involved Youth”

10:15 to 11:45 AM


  • Coleen LaCosta: “F.A.S.T. Supporting Your Foster Homes in the Future!”
  • Justin Black: “Redefining, Rethinking, Reflecting: Developing an Intentional Community Environment for Those Who’ve Experienced Trauma”
  • Josh Kroll: “Adoption Assistance”
  • Sara Clements: “Legislative Advocacy 101: How to Share Your Story so that Lawmakers Listen”
  • Marrisa Sanders: “The Intersection of Child Welfare & Disability”
  • Roy Van Tassell: “Touching Safety and Abuse Prevention for Kids”

Birth Parent Relations

  • David White: “The Life in Limbo Experience: A Deeply Emotional, Interactive Training About Life In Foster Care”

Mental Health Issues

  • Jackie Meyer: “I know how to keep myself healthy but I don’t. Help Me!”
  • Dianne Kostco: “Stop the Struggle: Promoting Well-Being by Addressing Brain and Nervous System Dysregulation”
  • Nick Lawerence: “Harnessing Your Happiness Hormones”

3 to 4:30 PM


  • Tom Rector: “Improving Communication & Relationship with Foster Teens”
  • Josh Kroll: “Adoption Assistance”
  • Maurita McCorkle: “When Love Is Not Enough”
  • Ashley Rae Klinger: “A Shrub Not a Tree – the Family We’ve Grown to Be”
  • Angela Paganelli: “What Foster and Adoption Support Looks Like”
  • Diego Luque: “The Crime in Plain Sight: Human Trafficking, Youth & Prevention Through Education”

Birth Parent Relations

  • Amanda Cruce:“Building Birth and Foster Parent Relationships”
  • Erin Leary: “Successfully Working with Birth Families”

Keeping Relative and Kinship Connections Strong

  • Jennifer Patrick: “We Are Family: Prioritizing Siblings in Care”

Mental Health Issues

  • Stacey Goodson: “Being a Seed Planter”

Saturday Schedule

7:30am – 4:30pm Registration
7:30am – 4:30pm Exhibitor Hall Open
8:30am – 5:30pm Silent Auction
8:30am – 10am Workshops
10am – 10:15am Break
10:15am – 11:45am Workshops
12pm – 2:30pm Awards Luncheon featuring Speaker Rebecca Jones Gaston, “Administration for Children & Families”
3pm – 4:30pm Workshops

Sunday, June 25th

8:30am – 9am NFPA History
9am – 9:30am NFPA Annual Membership Meeting
9:30am – 11am Speaker Jen Lilley with special guest Dr. John DeGarmo: “Importance of Connections”

Conference Concludes

2023 Event – Speaker Spotlight

Rob and Reece Scheer are the proud fathers of five children from the foster care system who arrived at their home with trash bags. Growing up in foster care himself, Rob remembered feeling disposable as a child carrying a trash bag to his foster home, and he wondered how this could still be happening 30 years later.

In 2013, the Scheer family set out on a mission to eliminate the use of trash bags in the foster care system and provide children entering the system with brand new essential and comfort items. To date, Comfort Cases has impacted over 200,000 children in the foster care system.

Rob is currently the CEO of Comfort Cases, traveling the country to share his story and advocate for youth in foster care. He published his memoir in 2018: A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time. Reece cares for their five children at home. They live on a farm in Darnestown, MD with 2 cats, 2 dogs, a bird, 3 goats, several chickens and ducks, and a pig named Penelope.

Rob will be our opening Keynote speaker at 9am on Friday morning.

A star on both the silver and small screens, including the Academy Award-winning film THE ARTIST, NBC’s iconic daytime series “Days of Our Lives,” ABC’s “General Hospital,” and a regular leading lady on the Hallmark Channel, actress/singer/philanthropist Jen Lilley has tackled countless roles throughout her illustrious career.

Truly selfless, she is a foster and adoptive parent herself and is a celebrity ambassador for the child abuse and treatment organization Childhelp, Project Orphans, ECPAT, Olive Crest, The Dave Thomas Foundation, The Thirst Project, The Los Angeles Mission, Oneless, A21, Children of the Night, and the Innocent Justice Foundation.

Jen Lilley’s creative prowess does not end when the director yells cut, she is also a singer and songwriter. Her music exudes the same sultry ferocity of Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, with Phil Spector’s wall of sound treatment via Rosie Danvers and her 50-piece orchestra. ​AXS.com said, “Lilley conjures up the sound of a 1960s girl group and embodies the same essence of Amy Winehouse. She takes a nostalgic twist on a modern song that will remind you of what classic music sounds like and have you longing for the days of Motown.”

When Jen Lilley is not busy in front of a camera, or perfecting her vocals in studio, she can be found hosting her podcast, “Fostering Hope with Jen Lilley” to demystify the foster care system and encourage loving people to get involved in the cause.

She is a true champion for charities. In addition to donating 100% of her music profits to create a neighborhood model of safe loving foster homes, she co-founded Christmas is Not Cancelled, Inc.: A marketing company that raises awareness and funds for amazing causes and nonprofits while giving participants the chance to win huge prizes!

As a teenager, Jen garnered the National Educators Award for her work in Guatemala. She is known for advocating children’s rights and supports charities that focus on protecting children against physical and sexual abuse, human trafficking, and the world water crisis.

Jen will be presenting with Dr. John DeGarmo on Sunday morning in the presentation, ‘“Importance of Connections”.

Rebecca Jones Gaston is the commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, at the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Administration on Children, Youth and Families manages the Children’s Bureau and the Family and Youth Services Bureau.

Before joining the Biden Administration via confirmation by the U.S. Senate in December 2022, Gaston was the child welfare director for the state of Oregon’s Department of Human Services that oversees child protection, foster care and adoption services, a position she held since 2019. During her time as director, Oregon launched a major transformation built on trauma-informed, family and community-centered and culturally responsive programs and services.

Prior to joining the Oregon senior management team, Gaston served as the executive director of the Maryland Department of Human Services’ Social Services Administration with oversight of child welfare and adult services. She has worked in the field of human services and child welfare for nearly 25 years as a social worker, advocate, therapist, consultant and administrator. Previously, she was a director with Casey Family Programs providing technical assistance to child welfare agencies throughout the United States and served as the national campaign director for AdoptUsKids, a collaboration with the Children’s Bureau and the National Ad Council. This major campaign, which she now oversees as commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, continues to help increase the numbers of foster and adoptive families across the country.

A proud mother of two young adults, Gaston holds a degree in psychology from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rebecca will be our Guest Speaker for our Awards Luncheon on Saturday, June 24th.

TEDx Talk and Transformative Speaker. International Expert in Foster Care and Parenting.

Dr. John DeGarmo is a TEDx speaker and an international expert in foster care and parenting. Dr. John and his family have been a foster family for over 60 children who have come through their home. He is a consultant to legal firms and foster care agencies, as well as a speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system.

He is the author of several foster care books, including The Foster Parenting Manual: A Practical Guide to Creating a Loving, Safe, and Stable Home, and writes for several publications. Dr. John has appeared on Good Morning America, COURT TV, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, Good Housekeeping, and more. He can be contacted at drjohndegarmo@gmail, through his Facebook page, Dr. John DeGarmo, or at The Foster Care Institute

Dr. John DeGarmo
The Foster Care Institute

Visit The Foster Care Institute HERE.

Like Dr. DeGarmo on Facebook HERE.

Find Dr. John on Twitter @drjohndegarmo

‘For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in.’
Matthew 25:35 

Dr. John will be presenting with Jen Lilley on Sunday morning in the presentation, ‘“Importance of Connections”.

Advocacy Sessions

How To Communicate So Your Voice Will Be Heard

Trainer: Mary McGauhey


Are you working as an advocate for the children in your care or for their families?Have you ever had calls for help ignored or questions go unanswered? Do you feel like no one listens to what you say or ask? Then this is the class for you!

Fostering Partnerships & Connections Through Transformative Change

Trainer: Ms. Nicole Cameron


The presentation will highlight best practices implemented by the five Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) piloting the Center for Excellence in Resource Family Development (CfE) model. It will include an overview of the CfE model; highlights of training and program supports to resource parents and families of origin; strengthening parent partnerships; Mobile
Response Stabilization Services (MRSS) and program evaluation data. The presentation will further highlight the importance and impact on collaboration and community engagement, equity efforts, share lessons learned, and next steps in the process of developing a workplan for statewide sustainability.

When Love Is Not Enough

Trainer: Maurita McCorkle


I recently wrote a book and am working on publishing it. The book talks about the challenges of supporting young adults and the tools that I have used to over come them. I will have a young adult that has lived with me and has successfully transitioned speak about their experience as well as share stories. My goal is to encourage foster families, young adults and the community on how we can make a difference for this population if we take the time to understand and support them.

SEEKING COOPERATION FOR BEST INTERESTS: Adjusting the Mindset to Find Common Ground

Trainer: Mrs. Lara Bouse


A guided discussion on sorting wants and needs for a child’s best interests. Walk along a proven path used to create accountability for every member of the team working toward success. This session will also include a group exercise (multiple if time allows) that takes a concern or complaint and re-frames it to best meet the needs of a child, or to at least know you’ve done everything you can to affect change.

Helping Foster & Adoptive Parents Navigate Crisis

Trainer: Mrs. Erin Bouchard


When a family is in crisis, it’s often all they can think about, as they move into survival mode. They are focused on the child’s behaviours and frustrations rather than on growth and healing.

But the key to successfully handling crisis in our homes, begins long before we are in a crisis. In this workshop, Erin Bouchard, owner of Trauma Based Parenting and published author, will walk you through understanding your child’s spiral.

She will educate you on all aspects of the spiral. You’ll learn how our kids, due to their early trauma and attachment, so often function at a de-regulated state. She’ll give strategies for managing the spiral, learning the cues of the spiral and crisis strategies.

Yes, the Adoption Tax Credit is for Foster Adoptions

Trainer: Becky Wilmoth, EA


This session will help you understand how the Adoption Tax Credit works, how it can help you, and who qualifies for this wonderful credit. A child adopted from the foster care system and declared special needs, according to the state’s criteria, will qualify for the full amount of the Adoption Tax Credit with little or no expenses necessary. Each state has different criteria as to what qualifies as special needs. The adoption must be final and the credit should be claimed in the tax year that the adoption is finalized. You will leave this session with a better understanding of what documentation may be requested by the IRS and how and when to file for the tax credit.

Supporting Foster Parents in Times of Crisis & Stress

Trainer: Dr. John DeGarmo


This session will focus on the many challenges of crisis and stress that foster parents face on a daily basis. This session is designed for case workers and social workers to better understand the times of stress and crisis that foster parents experience.

F.A.S.T. Supporting Your Foster Homes in the Future!

Trainer: Ms. Coleen LaCosta


An interactive workshop for local FAPAs, licensing, foster support and and others to learn how supporting a foster home during an allegation can help to retain foster homes. F.A.S.T. supports foster parents during allegations. Learn the support process through this traumatic time. How to set up support in your area. Support is essential to maintain our precious homes and this is a great way to support them.

REDEFINING, RETHINKING, REFLECTING: Developing an Intentional Community Environment for Those Who’ve Experienced Trauma

Trainer: Justin Black


This workshop discusses strategies and techniques developed by foster care alumni, Justin and Alexis Black, as they combined the information they’ve learned from healthy foster parents, counselors, advocates, and ultimately their lived experience. By sharing their personal story of overcoming, they discuss the role of a foster parent and advocate as well as the necessary resources to surround themselves with in order to be a positive partner in the lives of the youth themselves. Our goal is to help advocates understand that fostering is a collaborative process for both the youth and the parent. We highlight the components of that relationship as well as the aspect of the community that needs to be formed in a healthy and loving environment.

A SHRUB NOT A TREE – The Family We Have Grown To Be

Trainer: Ashley Rae Klinger


Inspired by the growth of her family and their journey through infertility, adoption, and foster care, Ashley Rae has introduced the Family Shrub and the “shrub not a tree” philosophy as an alternative concept to the traditional Family Tree as a way for ALL families to embrace the growth and intentional blessing of THEIR family and families growing around them. Although their family may grow differently than some, their family, like every family, is planted with a purpose and is equally important as the next. What started as a “legacy project” for her family transformed into a relatable message that families around the world can embrace and apply to the growth of their own families.

A Shrub Not a Tree features a two-part approach to provide children of all ages with a thought-provoking, age-appropriate message that’s easy to comprehend, while also providing adults with additional insight and a deeper understanding of the message and overall mindset behind the concept of the Family Shrub and the “shrub not a tree” philosophy.

Birth Parent Relations Sessions

YES, It’s Really That Hard

Trainer: Victoria Tidman


Foster and Adoptive parents often acknowledge that they expected their journey to be difficult but are surprised at how far reaching the tough days can be. In this workshop we will explore how the most challenging days and experiences with our children may leave us wondering, “I knew this would be hard, but I never knew it would be this hard”. It is that hard, but by sharing, exploring new strategies, and developing tools for coping, parents will have a fresh perspective. Providers who work with our children can also benefit from this interactive workshop. This renewed outlook will leave families and workers with a peaceful and holistic plan to make it through the darkest of days.

But For The Grace of God

Trainer: Jackie Meyer


Foster parents feel anger toward the birth parents who hurt the children in their home Birth parents have abused and neglected them. This work shop will help foster parents have empathy for these parents. They are often neurologically unable to parent. It is not a choice. Foster parents will be given techniques to get past the anger This is interactive workshop and participants will have fun

THE LIFE IN LIMBO EXPERIENCE: A Deeply Emotional, Interactive Training About Life in Foster Care

Trainer: David White


Life in Limbo is experiential learning at its best, as participants take on a foster role. Will you become a child who enters foster care, a parent whose children are temporarily removed, a caregiver, trying to bring some stability, or a community observer, helping out where you can.

Chaos moves to compassion and to solutions that can help each of us improve the state of foster care for children and their families. Join in a memorable, deeply emotional, interactive experience. Limbo is intense. It draws on your heart, takes you to feelings of longing, belonging, joy, and sorrow. You certainly won’t forget Life in Limbo.

Co-Parenting in Child Welfare, Taking Away the Fear

Trainer: Mrs. Pamela Menendez


Co-parenting as synonymous when talking about parents divorcing or unmarried couples separating who need to continue to parent their children even when living in different homes.

In child welfare it’s different in many ways, but the rationale behind this practice is just as important if not more. So what are the differences?

Caregivers are often strangers.

No biological connection.

Separation is not a choice.

Findings of abuse, neglect, or abandonment

Trauma has occurred, experienced by both the child(ren) and
removal parent/caregiver.

New, unknown, scary environment for everyone.

This workshop will be fun and interactive. Attendees will leave with knowledge, skills, and confidence to begin co-parenting in child welfare.

BUILDING BETTER VILLAGES: Promoting Birth and Foster/Resource Caregiver Relationships

Trainer: Niyoshi Mehta


Birth parents and foster/resource parents share the “why” and “how” of building strong relationships with each other to best support their children. Participants will have the opportunity to get direct advice from these living experts on how they can apply best practices in their work through a Q&A or smaller breakout groups after the panel discussion.

1. Understand best practices for engaging with birth families and foster/resource families for meaningful client relationships

2. Be able to promote and nurture relationships between birth parents and foster/resource parents for a more productive, loving environment for their children

3. Learn directly from parents with lived experience on how to best work alongside them

REUNIFICATION – Birth Parents and Foster Parents Working Together

Trainer: Mr. Chauncey Strong


Reunification with their birth family is the primary goal for children and youth placed in foster care, and every year thousands of children are successfully reunified with their families. In order for reunification to be successful, Parents and Resources Families must work well together. This interactive workshop will highlight the importance of reunification, the role Resource Parents play in reunification, and explore successful reunification strategies.

1) Understand the Importance of Reunification and families working together
2) Explore Best Practices that support reunification
3) Understand the history of Reunification Month and why it should be recognized and celebrated

Building Birth and Foster Parent Relationships

Trainer: Amanda Cruce


Join us to hear from members of the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership (BFPP) as they share their experiences in building and supporting meaningful partnerships and discuss how children/youth are more likely to thrive when the important adults in their lives cooperate with each other and share responsibilities and decision-making.
The BFPP is working to promote lasting relationships between birth parents, foster parents, and kinship caregivers to support families and to help child welfare systems prioritize these relationships through culture, practice, and policy. The BFPP is supported by three partnering organizations: the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance, Youth Law Center’s Quality Parenting Initiative, and Casey Family Programs.

> Learn about the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership philosophy and relationship building tool
> Discuss ways the Relationship Building tool can be used to support families long term and in a supportive way from the beginning
>Explore opportunities that participants might have for using the tool in their work

Keeping Relative and Kinship Connections Strong  Sessions

ESSENTIAL CONNECTIONS: Maximizing Connection to Minimize Loss

Trainer: Julie Cooper


Supporting kinship connections is an vital part of caring for children in out-of-home care. This interactive workshop will explore aspects of a child’s identity and discuss connection as an important way to minimize feelings of grief, loss, and separation.

Strategies for Navigating Relative Connections

Trainer: Mrs. Erin Bouchard


As a foster and adoptive parent, one of the most critical aspect of our role is navigating and connecting with biological families.
Our kids who are in foster care and who have been adopted want to know who they look like, they have a strong pull towards their biological family.
As foster parents, it’s easier to write biological families off as “unsafe” rather than get down in the mud and create a connection for our children.
In this workshop, Erin Bouchard, foster and adoptive mama and author of Trauma Based Parenting will teach you why connection to family of origin matters for foster and adoptive kids and youth. And she’ll leave you with the strategies to begin a new relationship


Trainer: Mrs. Kristen Adkins


Why do we discuss trauma but fail to mention hope? Discover how to use the child's past and biological family to create a plan of hope for their future success. This actionable workshop will delve into their adversity and discover how to use those experiences. Create an actionable plan to help your child thrive in their new home while forming evolving connections with their relatives.

Learn to create long-term goals and visualize your child as a productive adult member of society doing excellent and meaningful work. Learn how to create mindset shifts from focusing on trauma to viewing trauma in light of the hope that you possess for your child.

Foster Parents will learn the following:

1. How to create long-term goals and actionable plans to visualize their child as a productive adult.

2. Mindset shifts from trauma toward hope and expectation.

3. Communication skills regarding those long-term goals and plans.

4. With the goals and trauma in mind, create hope while keeping the first family connections relevant and growing.

WE ARE FAMILY: Prioritizing Siblings in Care

Trainer: Mrs. Jennifer Patrick


Participants will discover the evidence-based impact of sibling relationships, how our siblings shape us. and the historical views on sibling relationships in child welfare. Learn about the circumstances that may deem it necessary to separate siblings for a time when they enter foster care, and how agency goals impact siblings in care.

*Why Do Siblings Matter?
* History of Sibling Care in Child Welfare
* What Trauma Research Tells Us
* Together or Separate: The Effects
* Current MDHHS Policy & Practice
* Changing Our Mindsets & Recruiting Practices

**If there are national policies and practices regarding sibling care, I will find them!

Mental Health Issues Sessions

Compassion Fatigue, Burnout & Self Care

Trainer: Nichole Stone, PAHM


In order for foster parents to avoid burnout and compassion fatigue, caregivers and those supporting them need to have an understanding of:What is compassion fatigue and burnout, and related definitions, Symptoms, Assessment, Self Care and Prevention, Post Traumatic Growth.

TRIPLE THREAT: Teenagers. Talking & Trauma

Trainer: Ms. Stacey Goodson, MS


This workshop will explore the behaviors most often exhibited by teenagers and assist in identifying the difference between “normal” teenager behaviors and behaviors that are a result of experiencing trauma. In addition to identifying the differences, this workshop will provide behavior management methods for teenagers that have mental health struggles and behaviors as a result of trauma. Connecting with teenagers is imperative and ideas for how to do this, successfully, will be discussed. If you are a person in the life of a teenager, this workshop is a must attend!

FROM CHAOS TO CALM: Helping Children Learn to Regulate

Trainer: Julie Cooper


Many children and adolescents who have experienced difficult or traumatic experiences struggle with self-regulation. This workshop will look at the brain’s ability to calm down and discuss strategies for teaching children this important skill.

I Know How to Keep Myself Healthy but I Don’t. HELP ME!

Trainer: Jackie Meyer


We have all sat through videos and workshop on self care. But we do not do what we have learned. Then we feel guilty. No amount of will power will get us to do it. This workshop gives specific reasons as to what keeps us doing the wrong things. Techniques will be given as HOW to change permanently. This is an interactive workshop and participants will have fun

Harnessing Your Happiness Hormones

Trainer: Mr. Nick Lawrence


Over time, our hormone levels get affected by many factors in our lives. Stress has the worst impact on us and can negatively impact four happiness hormones (Serotonin, Endorphins, Oxytocin and Dopamine) and one stress hormone (Cortisol).

The workshop focuses on the individual and their hormone levels. Each participant takes a hormone quiz which is based on “hormone deficit.” This means the quiz is based on scientific evidence from people who suffer various symptoms such as depression, anxiety, risky behaviors, etc. The higher the score, the bigger the deficit. The scores get graphed, so each person gets a “picture” of themselves and how well they are functioning. This is an eye-opening experience about the necessity for more consistent self-care.

When Empathy Hurts

Trainer: Mrs. Amy Bates


Secondary Trauma is very real for foster parents and yet rarely talked about, even among ourselves. This workshop will share real life experience from a foster parent of 22 years. You will walk away with simple, concrete and profound ways to make changes in your life to better equip you to deal with the secondary trauma you encounter as foster parents.

MENTAL HEALTH: Connecting With Support, Resources and Training to Minimize the Stigma

Trainer: Rev. Valerie Grant-Martin



Taking Care of Myself – SELF-CARE

Trainer: Dr. Joan Wharton


The Self Care Workshop is designed to enlighten, empower, equip, and protect foster parents from stress, feeling overwhelmed pity tiredness, and burnout. This workshop will: Explore what self-care actually means and how we go about doing that.

The self-care workshop will help families to better understand how self-care impacts our lives. To be able to identify the various areas of self-care in our lives. To give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves after trauma.

Being A Seed Planter

Trainer: Stacey Goodson


This workshop will provide motivation for foster parents through the most challenging times of being a foster parent. Participants will be able to better understand the magnitude of the seeds they are planting in the lives of the children they are caring for. Further, this workshop will help participants understand secondary stress, and how to address it to build their resilience as a foster parent.

Taking Care of Self to Make Better Connections

Trainer: Dr. Jesusa Jasso


This workshop is geared towards acknowledging the importance of wellness in association with making better connections. Taking care of self is not selfish and the sigma surrounding self-care will be reevaluated. Foster parents often care for children who have experienced hardship or are struggling with the impacts of trauma. This can be emotionally and physically draining. Your connectivity to others can be impacted by this stress. It is imperative that foster parents learn to care for self and acknowledge the impact of stress on a person. It is also time to fight against the stigma surrounding mental health and self-care. It is not a cliche or crutch, but an important part of remaining a loving, compassionate, and caring foster parent.

• Learn about wellness and its importance.
• Learn about the stigma surrounding self-care.
• Participate in a card sort activity that will help identify areas needing more attention.

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