Conference Presentations

Click the topic button to jump to those presentations. Click HERE for a print-friendly version of this page. Training hours are included with each Workshop Description; certificates will be issued for each completed course.

Advocacy Between All Partners

Adoption Assistance

Presenter – Josh Kroll

Adoption Subsidy Resource Center Coordinator

Josh has spent 24+ years tracking the adoption assistance programs of all 50 U.S. states.

Workshop Description

In this session, you will learn the basics of adoption assistance for children adopted from foster care. Topics include eligibility, benefits, taxes, and more. Participants will receive state specific information and will come away with concrete information and strategies to better advocate for foster and adopted children with special needs. There will also be an overview of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit.

1.0 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what makes a child(ren) eligible for adoption assistance in their state.
  • Understand what adoption assistance may provide for their child(ren).
  • Increase their knowledge about the negotiation process.

Creating Belonging: Relational Approach to DEI

Presenter – Gaelin Elmore

From foster care and homelessness to playing football in the NFL, I am familiar with adversity in all its forms.

Speaker. Thought Leader. Adversity Revisionist.

Workshop Description

Belonging is directly connected to positive health, career and educational success, and the development of relationships. Foster care, by nature, removes immediate avenues for youth to experience belonging, so it leaves an even more difficult and uphill battle to develop lasting connection. This workshop is geared to help you understand belonging, how it is aligned with DEI, and how to create it for the youth you encounter.

1.0 Hour Certificate

 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand core concepts and key words related to DEI and Belonging
  • Identify ways belonging may not be present in current relationships
  • Brainstorm ways to implement belonging for the youth you encounter

Helping Young Adults with Special Needs Build Skills, Confidence, Friendships, and Community Connections for Independent Living

Presenter – Maedi Tanham Carney

Executive Director, ILO

In 2013, Maedi founded ILO with five other families. Her experience as a single mother for a child with special needs, coupled with expertise as a Certified Financial Planner CFP® helped her establish a program that supports independent living for individuals with disabilities.

Maedi gives monthly presentations to groups of 25-60 paying participants. She also has presented to large organizations in the Washington, DC area.

Workshop Description

Independent Living Opportunities (ILO) is a non-profit that helps young adults with special needs build skills, confidence, friendships, and community connections in their pursuit of independent living.

The results are long-term stability, resilience, and success in everyday life.

ILO’s community PODs enable safe, productive, independent living for adults with disabilities. Our goal is the utmost independence and self-reliance possible, with a safe network of support as it is needed.

.5 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

Networking – Inclusivity

  • Focus on developing meaningful relationships
  • Connect with families

Education – The Full Life Model™

  • Developing a plan
  • Developing daily living skills based on specific needs

Advocacy – Community Based

  • Creating support networks
  • Building community connections

Positive Parenting Solutions

Presenter – John DeGarmo

Founder and Director, The Foster Care Institute

Dr. John 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 Little Book of Foster Care Wisdom: 365 Days of Inspiration and Encouragement for Foster Care Families, 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.

Workshop Description

This session focuses on what Positive Parenting is and how it can be used to best help with acts of misbehavior by children. During this presentation, participants will come to understand what Positive Parenting is, and how it can be used to help children with behavior problems.

1.0 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be equipped with strategies designed to help strengthen their family through Positive Parenting.

Together Supporting the Family: Conflict among the Family Support Team and How to Work Together

Presenter – Tamara Fish

I have a unique perspective on the roles within a family support team. As a child I was in foster care off and on until I aged out of the system at 18. I was adopted at 18 by my last set of foster parents. I then became a social worker and later fostered and adopted my own child. I have worn many hats within the children services and have worked for both private agencies and state agencies. I have 15 years of experience within the field and have developed several partnerships between state and private agencies. I have presented on this specific topic at 4 different conferences and have presented to both state and private agencies on similar topics within the last 5 years.

Workshop Description

Addressing conflict issues between foster parents, Child Protective Services, Juvenile Officers and all family support team members. Overcoming disagreements and how to work together in ways that will best support the families.

.75 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

Participants will be equipped with strategies designed to help strengthen their family through Positive Parenting.

Keeping Relative and Kinship Connections Strong

Surviving Kinship

Presenter – Brittany Reed

As a kid who was once in the Foster Care System and also served as a Kinship Legal Guardian and now an aspiring Self Published author currently wrapping up finishing touches to my manuscript , I would like to offer a different approach on how to be successful when taking on that role. I would like to offer point of views from all aspects. We overcome by the word of testimony and I share my story continuously in hopes of inspiring and changing someones life.

Workshop Description

My workshop will offer fundamentals for a successful Kinship outcome for all children and parents involved. It takes a village to raise a child and learning to depend on others and build a support system is key.

.25 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • Building a Support System as a Kinship Legal Guardian.
  • Broadening the horizon of what a kid in Placement may need beyond a safe home.
  • Helping your biological children to feel comfortable in the situation.

Size Matters

Presenter – Daniel Hall

I grew up in foster care from ages 2 – 5, and was beaten, verbally abused and told I was nothing but a piece of ****! Up until about 15 years ago, I didn’t give a **** about anything. By societies standards I should be rotting in prison. My life was transformed by the Halls, my wife Tina, and my 7 amazing children. Our first placement of two little girls, I was terrified “”HOLY ****, I have to parent this?

Now my wife and I are award winning foster/adoptive parents, I’ve co-trained over 400 inbound foster/adoptive families, and lastly, because the Hall’s showed up in my life, I’m currently developing tech that doesn’t exist in the world. They were the catalyst to the man I would become.

 

COVID prompted me to start reflecting on my life to write my epitaph “”Here lies a man that learned to reciprocate kindness by failing often”” – Size does Matter!

Workshop Description

By societies standards I should be rotting in prison. My story is one of going from severe struggle as a youth to being an inspiring, resilient dad, software engineer and mentor to foster/adoptive parents. I want to help other’s understand how those small victories made such a HUGE impact in my journey.

.25 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • Resilience as a foster youth
  • Resilience as a resource parent
  • Resource parent leadership
  • Easy to implement parenting tips
  • Coping with the thought of not being loved
  • Finding your super powers
  • Trauma takeaways

We Are Not the People Who Are Supposed to Be There, and That’s OK

Presenter – Deborah Ausburn

I was a foster parent with short-term and long-term placements for almost 15 years, and then a stepparent and kinship placement. In all three roles, I had to learn how to be a Plan B parent and encourage my children’s’ s relationships with their biological family. I have written a book about my experiences, titled “Raising Other People’s Children.”

Workshop Description

Children have a strong, almost primal, need to be connected to biological family. No matter how wonderful we are, from the child’s perspective, we are not supposed to be in their lives. Yet we still need to commit to their welfare regardless of whether they will ever accept us in their lives. This workshop will explore how we can recognize that we aren’t supposed to be there, make one-way commitments, set healthy boundaries, encourage them to have the best relationship they can with biological family, and forge a strong relationship as a child’s Plan B adult.

1.0 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • Understand a child’s perspective and not take it personally.
  • Encourage a child’s relationship with biological family while showing them how to set healthy boundaries on the relationships.
  • Learn how to work with family that you don’t like or trust.
  • Learn how to help children build relationships without compromising safety.

The Joys of Being a Foster Parent

Presenter – Teresa Crawley

Co-Presenter – Haley Crawley, Teresa’s 18 year old adoptive daughter

I have fostered over 10 years, adopted 3 children and had approximately 40 to 50 children over the past 10 years. I have 2 grown children and 5 grandchildren. Children are children, birth or not. Raising/taking care of children is a gift not anything taught. The love of children is a must.

Workshop Description

Becoming a foster parent is one of the most rewarding events you will ever come to know. You will have good times and bad times. You will laugh, cry, become discouraged, disappointed and sad-sometimes all at once or with just one child. You will encounter many personalities, strengths and weaknesses. You will be challenged day in and day out. You will learn your child wants and needs. The foster system is a revolving door, you become attached and then you lose your child. The most important thing you will come away with is you have helped a child in need and hopefully teach them to be a strong person and to know nothing is their fault.

.75 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

There will be ups and downs, ends and outs but overall it is very rewarding to be a foster parent. Know you can do this.

Stronger Relationships & Better Communication in Life: Be Your Best Self

Presenter – Gayle Y. Fisher

This workshop explores setting personal boundaries & healing, co-dependency, self-awareness and honesty, my experience, the work of others, and brain research in this area. This workshop is appropriate for those with and without learning differences.

Workshop Description

We will explore ways to improve your personal communication with others: Avoid co-dependency, fear & self-victimization. Better re-direct behaviors. Maximize intrinsic motivation, in-the-flow, self-awareness & honesty in setting personal boundaries.

Honest and transparency is vital in improving relationships which are the foundation of creating trust and intrinsic motivation in the classroom, and in all facets of life. Codependency and self-victimization work in the opposite direction and can be avoided with awareness and self-control.

Ethics, honest and constructive communication are required for collaborative-based, problem-based, and case-based learning.

1.0 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • You will know some tools to use for your inner growth.
  • You will understand better the theories of codependency, passive aggression, self-victimization and positive mental attitude.
  • You will know how to form your personal boundaries, and how to communicate them honestly and authentically.

Mental Health – Service Gaps and Self Care

Caregivers Get Secondary Traumatic Stress Too!

Presenter – Roy Van Tassell

With an over 40-year history in mental health care, Roy has specialized for the last 20 years in child trauma. Roy trains in child trauma for Centene Health and is a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network since 2002. He is an approved trainer for 3 Evidence-based/supported models: Trauma-Focused CBT; CE-CERT for secondary trauma, CARE for Child Adult Relationships and has presented CE-CERT over 20 times for live and virtual audiences including caregivers.

Workshop Description

Mental health professionals have opportunity for training about, and managing secondary traumatic stress (STS) but bio or foster caregivers rarely have a chance to learn about STS or how to cope with its effects. Most STS approaches emphasize “self-care” in the “off-hours” after helping. This training introduces a new evidence-informed approach: Components for Enhancing Clinician Experience and Reducing Trauma (CE-CERT) a skills-based model for all helpers to more effectively reduce the impacts of being exposed to distressful interactions from their helping in real time.

1.0 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • Describe how the willingness to experience negative emotions plays a part role satisfaction
  • List five key skills for managing intense emotions and reducing end of day agitation
  • Have opportunity to commit to one or more skills strategies that will change you engage in your helping role

Effective Self-Care Begins with Healthy Emotional Regulation Skills

Presenter – Faye Hall

Co-Presenter – Jeff Merkert, B.S.

Jeff and I have created and facilitated two specialized in-home treatment programs designed for foster and adoptive families. We have years of training in early trauma, child development, and attachment. We have presented in numerous conferences since 2002 and trained professionals and parents in early trauma. A longer version of a similar training was presented at the PA state conference 2019.

Workshop Description

Daily resource parents share their hearts with the children in their care. Often, these children have histories filled with sad and scary events which they bring to us to help resolve. This requires extraordinary skills to manage our emotions while helping the children with their’s. Learn the four basic emotions, how the body responds to emotions, 6 steps to effectively manage emotions, and reflect on a list of self-care ideas. As we practice new skills, we become a model for the children. Regulating emotions allows us to enjoy life more fully.

.75 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

Audience will:

  • Identify the four basic emotions
  • List the 6 steps to emotional regulation
  • Notice and label how their body responds to emotional distress
  • Select 5 self-care methods to help manage emotional distress

Pathological Demand Avoidance in Autistic Children for Parents and Professionals

Presenter – Melissa Packwood

This presentation is geared to parents and professionals. It begins with an overview of the PDA Autism profile. Then, time is taken to give examples of everyday situations which must be approached differently when children have extreme anxiety or PDA. Time permitting, topics such as school refusal, safety issues, and basic compliance concerns will be addressed. 

Workshop Description

Are you a parent or professional who takes care of children who have Autism? Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is an Autism profile which is characterized by heightened anxiety or panic which causes extreme demand avoidance. Mainstream behavior management techniques are not generally helpful for those with PDA. During this presentation, you will learn strategies to assist with preventing meltdowns and aid in de-escalation of big emotions. You will also learn ways to prevent miscommunications, how to foster a diverse and inclusive environment, and how to encourage participation in self-advocacy.

1.0 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will learn to recognize when PDA may be a reason for behavioral issues.
  • Participants will learn de-escalation techniques.
  • Participants will leave the seminar with tools and strategies to assist them in providing support and teamwork to those with demand avoidance resulting from anxiety.

Strengthening Trauma Informed Care Through Vow Awareness and Education

Presenter – Kathi Sohn

I am CEO of Body Memory Process, LLC and wife of the late David William Sohn, creator of the Body Memory Process. David worked with hundreds of clients over the course of about 30 years to refine vow discovery and release process and to create the unique Body Map. I learned this work over the course of 25 years with David, am editor of ‘Escaping the Labyrinth’ and ‘Your Childhood Vows and Now’ creator of the multi-media course in order to make this valuable work accessible to many. While I have not to date presented this information in this type of forum, I have much speaking experience.

Workshop Description

This workshop will open participants’ minds to a broader understanding of the pervasiveness of trauma in the population, including trauma incurred during time in the womb, during birth, and through the early, formative years. By learning discovery and release processes associated with trauma-induced vows in the general population, foster parents and service providers will gain valuable tools for working with children who have been deeply traumatized by their living conditions. Shareable materials will be provided to teach participants to listen for and release such potentially destructive vows as Nobody wants me, Something must be wrong with me, I’m not good enough and They hurt me. When left unchecked, such vows are the root cause of health and relationships issues.

.75 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • 1. Understand the fundamentals of vow formation.
    2. Learn how to listen for vows during everyday interactions.
    3. Learn the discovery process for identifying a child’s/adult’s set of vows.
    4. Learn the release process for an identified set of vows.

Promoting Parent Partnership

Having Difficult Conversations with Birth and Foster Parents

Presenter – Amanda Cruce

Co-Presenter – Jody Rogers, Lead Parent Mentor

Amanda, Jody & Raven have been a part of the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership for the last 4 years and served as national advocates for parent partnership efforts in their respective states (Florida, California & Louisianna) and national implementation.

Workshop Description

This workshop will highlight the Birth and Foster Parent Relationship Building Toolkits through authentic and complicated discussions between a foster parent and two birth parents. Conversations will include discussions around co-parenting, race and disproportionality, power imbalance and prevention. We will also share our concrete action steps that all caretakers can implement when the session is over.

1.0 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to use the Relationship Building Toolkit in daily practice
  • Participants will have a better understanding of motivational interviewing techniques, how to have difficult conversations, and address issues around race and power structures
  • Participants will be able to implement action steps for future discussions

The Utilization of a Resource Parent Curriculum to Promoting Parent Partnership

Presenter – Rocio Chang-Angulo

Co-Presenter – Zina  Fernandez, B.A.

I am a psychologist who has worked with families and children with multiple traumatic histories.

Zina Fernandez is a parent coach, a foster mother and a great advocate of children’s mental health rights.

Workshop Description

This workshop will focus on the use of a trauma curriculum for foster parents developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). The curriculum is facilitated by a foster parent and a clinician. It is available online at the nctsn, consisting of 8 modules that help foster parents to understand the impact of trauma in children, how to help children regulate their emotions, and how to advocate for their children while practicing self-care.

.75 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • To educate resource parents about the impact of trauma on the development and behavior of children in foster care
  • To provide resource parents with the knowledge and skills needed to:
    • Respond appropriately to the behavioral and emotional challenges of traumatized children
    • Help traumatized children develop healthy attachments
    • Help traumatized children recognize and develop their strengths
    • Help traumatized children develop the coping strategies needed to grow into healthy and functional adults
    • Take care of themselves and seek support from others

Hey Bio Parents! I’m not scared of you!

Presenter – Roze Sharp

Over my eight years of fostering, I have met and worked with dozens of biological parents. Our two adopted sons and one pre-adoptive placement come with their own sets, and those sets with their own challenges. The drug dealer, the addict, the manipulator, the abuser, the racist, the neglectful, the ignorant, the violent, and on-and-on-and IT. DOESN’T. MATTER. We collaborate with them all, because if we can’t give the children in our care the honest statement, while looking in their eyes at the age of understanding, to say “We worked together.”, then we are putting sides in place for them. How unfair is it for us, on top of everything else they deal with, to make them pick? So, no, I am not scared of Bios. I embrace them, chat with them, text with them, have coffee with them, vacation with them, am joyful with their joys and sorrowful with their woes, and I advocate for them fiercely, because the one thing they did not have before their child(ren) was removed, was ME!

Workshop Description

“Hey Bio Parents! I’m not scared of you!” is the basis of promoting parent partnership. So often and too easy foster parents villainize or fear biological parents based on an inconclusive narrative received at placement. We de-humanize them based on our own perceptions of what a “good” parent should look like. Not only is this usually able to be overcome, but it MUST be overcome to promote a partnership with these biological parents. This partnership leads to an unbreakable strength being instilled in the child in care. Working together as partners through the process and showing that united front for the children is how we strengthen families. That strength builds relationships, and those relationships transcend reunification and termination.

.75 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

Attendees will take away from the following umbrella objectives:

  • Understanding Your Own Bias; Conscious and Unconscious
  • How to support parents without villainizing and without fear.
  • Working as partners with Bios to strengthen the child.

How the Narrative of Foster Care is Damaging to Bio Families, Foster Families & Kids in Care

Presenter – Erin Bouchard

Workshop Description

“Would you agree we all love a good story? We root for the hero to win and cheer when the villain falls. But what happens when story isn’t all good?

There’s a narrative in foster care that many cling to. Foster parents are the heroes and biological families are the villain. And like most good stories, we don’t even see how this narrative is woven into our everyday lives. This workshop will address this narrative head on.

I’ll share why it is damaging to kids, foster parents and biological families. Using statistics and what we understand about the brain I’ll challenge the notion that foster kids needed to be saved and highlight the problems that not processing grief causes.

.75 Hour Certificate

Learning Objectives

  • The audience will learn how following the script creates life-long problem for our kids.
  • We’ll learn together why what we have believed to be true about foster care and adoption is causing our kids to grow up to be adults overcome by their trauma instead of adults who have overcome their trauma.
Share This