Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
April 26 – 29, 2018

Click on image to review Registration Program


The 2018 National Conference, Advancing Excellence in Practice & Policy: Building Resilience in Changing Times, will highlight how organizations are advancing excellence in child and family services in changing times. Conference presentations will feature evidence-informed/evidence-based programs and practices and their related policies and tools that lead to the successful implementation of the CWLA National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare.

The conference will build on learning and examine how organizations in the United States and globally are responding to changes in funding, policies, and client needs through advocacy, community organizing, and service change; demonstrate the resiliency in organizations, families, and communities in response to changing times; and lay the groundwork for transitioning to CWLA’s second century of service in 2020.

This exciting conference is a prime opportunity for you to reconnect with your practice and policy colleagues from around the country and to interact with national-level representatives who are focused on improving outcomes for children, youth, and families. It is designed to encourage cross-system, cross-sector, and local to national communication about some of the most pressing issues related to children and families.

The conference will feature a pre-conference session focused on critical policy issues facing child welfare; Advocacy Day activities; special learning opportunities for public sector staff members; five full conference plenary sessions on current issues; workshops, poster sessions, and learning labs; and an extended learning opportunity in our two-day Training Institute.

The uniqueness of the CWLA National Conference is that it provides an opportunity for people from every state; public and private providers from child welfare and other fields of service; corporations, advocates, educators, youth, and family members to come together and share learning based on our common vision of a better future for all children.


  • Experience exceptional learning
  • Hear outstanding presentations
  • Meet your Members of Congress
  • Make YOUR voice heard—Promote child welfare policy priorities
  • Network with colleagues and peers
  • Advance excellence in child and family services
  • Share ideas and wisdom on responding to change
  • Learn about resiliency in organizations, families, & communities
  • Visit monuments & attractions in our nation’s capital

We look forward to seeing you April 26 – 29 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.

Contact us for assistance.

The Conference is Fast Approaching! Register Today

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Thanks to our conference sponsors for their generous support!

At-a-Glance Schedule

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

11:00 am – 5:30 pm

12:30 pm – 5:30 pm
National Advocacy Leaders Convening

Thursday, April 26, 2018

7:00 am – 5:00 pm

8:15 am – 10:15 am
CWLA Members-Only Leadership Session

10:30 am – 12:45 pm
Opening Plenary Session

1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Capitol Hill Visits


1:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Public Sector-Focused Workshops A

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Public Sector-Focused Workshops B


5:15 pm – 7:15pm
Dinner Plenary Session

7:15 pm
Dessert Reception in the Exhibit Hall

Friday, April 27, 2018

7:30 am – 5:30 pm

7:30 am – 8:30 am
Annual Meeting Breakfast

7:30 am – 8:30 am
Breakfast in the Exhibit Hall

8:45 am – 10:15 am
Plenary Session

Friday, April 27, 2018 (cont.)

10:30 am – 11:30 pm
Learning Labs

11:45 am – 12:45 pm
Learning Labs

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Lunch in the Exhibit Hall

2:15 pm – 3:45 pm
Workshops C

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Plenary Session

5:30 pm
Networking Reception in the Exhibit Hall

7:00 pm
Special Session – Documentary Film & Discussion

Saturday, April 28, 2018

7:30 am – 2:30 am

7:30 am – 8:30 am
Poster Sessions Breakfast

8:45 am – 10:15 am
Workshops D

10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Workshops E

12:15 pm – 2:00 pm
Lunch Plenary Session

2:15 pm – 6:00 pm
Training Institute Sessions

Sunday, April 29, 2018

8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Training Institute Sessions

9:00 am – 1:00 pm
PRIDE Model of Practice Learning Collaborative Strategies Exchange

Plenary Sessions

The 2018 National Conference Plenary Sessions will be panel presentations to share and discuss current issues for the field of child welfare.  Join us to hear from experts and leaders about these important topics and efforts for advancing excellence and building resilience in changing times.

10:30 AM – 12:45 PM

This plenary session brings together national leaders to share their knowledge about the critical issues in Congress that will impact child welfare and children and families. Come learn about the current issues and policies that all of us need to be aware of so that we can speak up for children and families who are vulnerable.

A panel of young people affiliated with United We Dream, one of the largest immigrant youth-led community organizations in the country, will share an update on current efforts related to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) immigrants.

Congressperson Karen Bass, a member of Congress representing California’s 37th District and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth will share the latest on Capitol Hill action and what we all can do to make a difference.

5:15 PM – 7:15 PM

This plenary presentation will provide innovative ways to build and sustain the child welfare workforce, including effective workload supports, changes to leadership at all levels, strategic recruitment and retention, and worker resiliency and well-being. Speakers will address special supports ranging from caseload/workload protections to the use of technology.

FACILITATOR: Julie Collins, Vice President, Practice Excellence, CWLA

Allison Blake, Ph.D., L.S.W., former Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Children and Families, and CWLA Board of Directors
Sylvia Deporto, Deputy Director, Family and Children’s Services, City and County of San Francisco Human Services Agency
Linda Spears, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families

8:45 AM – 10:15 AM

The primary goal of this plenary session is to demonstrate the potential for research to honor, respect, and give voice to community—​that is, to show how research can complement rather than compete with practice wisdom and community expertise. A second goal is to illustrate how research can facilitate opportunities for learning and improvement and generate evidence that is responsive to the needs and culture of a local community. The presentation will also highlight how researchers’ skills and expertise can deepen the understanding of the communities and families served by providers, reveal under-appreciated resources that can be more effectively leveraged, and identify ways to move toward better outcomes for children, youth, and families.

Margarita Alegría, Ph.D., Chief of the Disparities Research Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Professor, Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Paul Elam, Ph.D., President of Public Policy Associates, Incorporated
Allison Metz, Ph.D., Director, National Implementation Research Network (NIRN), and Senior Implementation Specialist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kimberly DuMont, Ph.D., Senior Program Officer, William T. Grant Foundation
Kevin McGuire, Commissioner, Westchester County (NY) Department of Social Services
Allison Blake, Ph.D., L.S.W., former Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Children and Families, and CWLA Board of Directors

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

While much progress has taken place over the last decade to address the mental health needs of children i n general and in particular those at risk of or involved with child welfare, there is still much more that needs to be done in order to achieve the CWLA National Blueprint vision of all children flourishing. Advances in other fields such as neuroscience and implementation science, and such issues as the continuing substance use in this country—in particular the current opioid crisis— compel us to continue to try new approaches and find workable solutions. Plenary presenters, who are leaders at the federal and national level, will address what they see as the emerging issues that we will need to be paying attention to and addressing going forward.

FACILITATOR: Eileen Elias, Chair of the CWLA Mental Health Advisory Board

Matthew Biel, MD, MSC, Co-chair of AACAP's Health Promotion and Prevention Committee and Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical Center
Justine Larson, MD, MPH, MHS, Senior Medical Advisor, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Elaine Stedt, MSW, Director, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children’s Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACF/HHS)

12:15 PM – 1:45 PM

As children and families are met with new and emerging challenges in our changing society, the field of child welfare must harness developing strategies and technologies to respond effectively to support the healthy development of children, families, and communities. This final plenary session will identify common themes and draw upon the research, approaches, and strategies presented through earlier plenary sessions to create a new vision and way forward for child welfare to achieve its mission and promote resilience.

Alex Morales, President & CEO, Children’s Bureau of Southern California, and CWLA Board of Directors
Vicky Kelly, former Director, Delaware Division of Family Services, and CWLA Board of Directors
Deborah Wilson Gadsden, Training Specialist, Family Design Resources, Inc.

Check back soon for more details on the plenary sessions and presenters.

Workshops, Learning Labs & Poster Sessions


Wednesday, April 25, 2018 • 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm

This special pre-conference event will build on our recent activism and work with CWLA members and leaders. Participants will receive the latest updates from Capitol Hill and have an opportunity to engage in important policy discussions about the legislative challenges and opportunities in these changing times. The Convening will feature several panel discussions and speakers on the vital issues coming before Congress in 2018. Panelists will include key legislative staff from the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.

Of particular focus will be discussion of legislative proposals to address the impact of the opioid epidemic on child welfare, the Administration’s 2018 positions and priorities for child welfare, the impact of the latest health care initiatives—especially regarding the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid—and the range of budget cuts and appropriations. The Convening will wrap up with instructions and discussion on going to Capitol Hill—which is conveniently just a few minutes’ walk from our conference venue.

Featured Speakers:

Jerry Milner, D.S.W.
Associate Commissioner, Children’s Bureau
Acting Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families

Senator Todd Young (R-IN)
Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions) Committee
and Subcommittee on Children and Families

Thursday, April 26, 2018 • 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Join Us for Advocacy Day 2018 and Go to the Hill!

CWLA members and conference participants will have an opportunity to take what they have learned from the National Advocacy Leaders Convening on Wednesday afternoon and information from the Thursday-morning policy plenary to go to Capitol Hill and meet their Senators and House Members. This year, we are providing a dedicated time to go to Capitol Hill. The conference hotel is a short distance away from Capitol Hill offices—just a brief walk to reach your Senators and Representatives.

The most important thing you can do while you’re at the conference is to promote child welfare priorities on Capitol Hill! In these alarming times of budget cuts, devastating health care proposals, and a range of legislative challenges affecting children—from home visiting, to CHIP, to CAPTA, to the Social Services Block Grant and potential changes to foster care, adoption and kinship care—it is more important than ever to make your constituent voice heard. CWLA staff will provide instructions and information so that you can set up meetings with your members of Congress and Senators before you come to Washington. Meeting with your members of Congress or their key staff is incredibly important—especially in times like these, with the opioid epidemic impacting children and families and 2018 being the first full year of the new administration’s legislative agenda. Even if you don’t meet with members of Congress themselves, their staff members are their closest advisors and can heavily influence decisions. Value every moment with them!

In 2017, CWLA was in the fight: the Affordable Care Act, Home Visiting, CHIP, Medicaid block grants, budget cuts, and much more! What will the fight be in 2018? Block Grants? Cuts in Child Welfare funding? Cuts to your children’s funding?

Your Voice is Powerful When You Deliver it in Person!

Training Institute

The two-day Training Institute offers an extended learning opportunity for conference attendees. Select the “Premium” Full Conference Registration to participate in an additional day and a half of exceptional educational offerings. The Training Institute sessions will provide you with an opportunity for in-depth learning on some of today’s most relevant topics. Participants should select both a Saturday and Sunday training session when registering. Lunch will be provided on Sunday.

2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

The Value of Accreditation: Moving Your Agency toward Excellence and Meeting the Accreditation Requirement in the New FFPSA
Accreditation provides agencies the opportunity to make a commitment to excellence and best practice standards by providing quality services and effectively managing resources. The recent approval of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) means that it is a critical time for leaders in public and private child welfare agencies to examine what it will take to be accredited, especially for the new category of Quality Residential Treatment Program (QRTP). While there are many questions surrounding the QRTP requirement in the new legislation, and while everyone is awaiting further clarification and guidance from HHS, now is a good time to hear from the three major accrediting bodies named in the legislation.

In this session, you will learn how CARF, COA, and The Joint Commission—accrediting entities for this important out-of-home service—will respond to the increased demand for accreditation over a short period of time depending on the number of states that decide to opt into the FFSPA. Learn how each entity will be working with and helping agencies such as your own, as well as interfacing with public child welfare agencies around the FFPSA requirement. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to hear from all three of the major accrediting bodies, gathered in the same room at the same time. Even if you are not a provider of congregate care, you will want to attend this session to inform your decision-making regarding accreditation.    
Facilitator(s): CWLA Board Members – Allison Blake, former Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Trenton, NJ; and Joseph Costa, CEO, Hillsides, Pasadena, CA
Trainer(s): Leslie Ellis-Lang, Managing Director, Child and Youth Services, CARF International, Inc., Tucson, AZ; Julia S. Finken, Executive Director, Community Behavioral Health Care and Psychiatric Hospitals, The Joint Commission, Oak Brook, IL; and Grace Perry, Senior Accreditation Coordinator for Public Agency Accreditation, Council on Accreditation, New York, NY

Using the 3-5-7 Model® to Improve Child Well-Being: Fidelity and Implementation Management
Children and youths engaged with the child welfare system can experience grief and loss because of trauma, broken relationships, and inadequate attachments. Interventionists are often challenged to implement effective strategies that help youths to reestablish trusting relationships and to promote overall psychological well-being. The 3-5-7 Model®, a strengths-based approach that empowers children, youths, and families to engage in grieving and integrating significant relationships, is an evolving scientifically based model. In this session, participants will learn about the 3-5-7 Model®. A multifaceted learning approach is used to impart critical lessons about model implementation, coaching, training, supervision, and evaluation.
Trainer(s): Dr. Ramona Denby-Brinson, Associate Dean for Research, Arizona State University, College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Phoenix, AZ; Dr. Darla Henry, President, Darla Henry & Associates, Inc., Harrisburg, PA; Stephanie Hodge Wolfe, Program Director, Darla Henry & Associates, Inc., Harrisburg, PA; Dr. Keith A. Alford, Director, Syracuse University, School of Social Work, Syracuse, NY; and Efren Gomez, Visiting Researcher, The Brookings Institution, Center on Children and Families Economic Studies, Washington, DC

Technology and Teen Suicide
Advancements in technology and social media have brought the world closer in many ways. For some, their online presence is directly related to social status and peer acceptance. When faced with rejection, many users are turning to injurious behavior often resulting in suicide. This training will explore ways to identify and reduce risks associated with social media and suicide, particularly for children in child welfare. The intended audience for this training includes administrators, supervisors, direct service workers, and caregivers of children and youth in care.
Trainer(s): Marcus Stallworth, LMSW, CWLA Training and Development Specialist, Naugatuck, CT

Becoming Trauma-Informed: Moving from Awareness to Action
Exposure to traumatic stress is increasingly understood as a public health issue with far-reaching consequences for individuals and society. Impacts are seen in the behavioral health, physical health, homelessness, child welfare, and justice systems. Awareness of the effects of trauma has led to a call to adopt a trauma-informed approach organization- and system-wide. In a trauma-informed agency, all aspects of a service delivery system—from how the workforce is trained to what procedures and policies are adopted—are designed to promote resilience and healing for service users, providers, and organizations. Participants in this training will have the opportunity to learn about: a framework and process for adopting a trauma-informed approach program- or organization-wide; individual and organizational strategies for providing trauma-informed care; and an instrument that measures current capacity in trauma-informed care at an organizational level.
Trainer(s): Kathleen Guarino, LMHC, Senior TA Consultant, American Institutes for Research, Washington, DC

Rural Community Models for Recruiting, Retaining, and Supporting African American Families who Adopt
Although African American youth represent 14.5 % of the U.S. child population, they represent 23% or 24,312 of the 111,820 children waiting to be adopted in the U.S. foster care system. Most state and local agencies are challenged to find permanent families for these waiting children. Often, recruitment of African American families is primarily focused on urban communities. However, this training session will focus on the successful adoptions of hundreds of African American children by African American families living in rural communities in South Carolina and Texas. Specifically, the presenters will focus on findings from a recent study that identified agency, community, spiritual, and familial factors that led to these successful placements of more than 700 African American children from foster care. This hands-on training will provide strategies for developing innovative, community-based models to expand options for achieving permanency for African American children and will include exercises related to the recruitment, retention, and support of families for all children.
Trainer(s): Kathleen Belanger, MSW, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Social Work, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches TX; Joe Haynes, Adoption Advocacy, Spartanburg, SC; and Ruth G. McRoy, MSW, PhD, Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professor, Boston College School of Social Work

Including Fathers in Service Delivery to Children and Families to Ensure Their Well-Being
The Fatherhood Engagement Training Institute will highlight fatherhood empowerment strategies that reinforce the importance of improving the well-being of children and families. The session will feature presentations on topics that contextualize and operationalize responsible fatherhood approaches within the context of the CWLA National Blueprint.  Participants should expect theoretical and practical solutions to better incorporate fathers within the children and families well-being framework.

The session will include a focus on:

“Next Level Thinking Part I – Changing the Culture”
Optimizing your service delivery and broadening your reach: What does it mean to be an Accredited Father Friendly Flagship Agency (3FA)?

“Next Level Thinking Part II – Leveraging Resources and Research”
Lessons from the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement

This Fatherhood Engagement Training Institute is for educators, researchers, and other human service practitioners from across the nation who are committed to including fathers throughout the lives of their children and the family’s involvement with supports and services. Workshop E14 is a precursor to this session.  Attendees will benefit from both sessions independently.
Trainer(s): Dr. Rufus Sylvester Lynch, The Strong Families Commission Incorporation, Philadelphia, PA; Karen Andrade-Mims, UIH Family Partners, Trenton, NJ; Victoria Bennett, Episcopal Community Services, Philadelphia, PA; Folasshade Laud-Hammond, Turning Points for Children, Philadelphia, PA; and Commissioner Scott Lekan and James Murray, Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Washington, DC

SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 2018
8:30 am – 3:00 pm

Neighbors Helping Neighbors to Reduce Child Abuse and Neglect: How We Are Doing and How We Can Do Better
Almost 25 years ago, the U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) said that a strategy to eliminate child abuse and neglect must ensure neighborhoods are “safe havens” for children and families since “child maltreatment in a neighborhood is often tied to the quality of life in that neighborhood.” Further, the Advisory Board said that addressing CAN requires contributions from many stakeholders, including health, law enforcement, mental health, social services, education, housing, transportation, and the communities themselves. While the Advisory Board did not specifically use the words “social determinants of health” (SDOH), their approach clearly includes addressing them. The Advisory Board also stated that families, communities, and youth should be empowered to identify their needs and identify solutions.

This training will help formulate answers to the following questions:

  • How are we doing in addressing the social determinants of health in order to eliminate CAN?
  • How can we do better, particularly with regard to empowering communities and youth?

In this session, participants will be provided:  an analysis of data on child abuse and neglect (CAN) and CAN fatalities and recommendations from fatality reviews as a way of identifying critical SDOH and how they have or have not been recognized or addressed; and a few examples of how different sectors (law enforcement, education, child welfare) have worked with communities to solve their problems and how youth themselves have been a powerful force for change.

This training will engage participants in: critical conversation around the challenges and solutions to address the social determinants of health in the prevention of CAN; assessing how the recommendations of their fatality reviews (child death review, domestic violence fatality review, fetal infant mortality review) could assist in addressing the SDOH; and identifying three new strategies that could be implemented to engage communities and youth in preventing child abuse and neglect and the most tragic outcome: fatalities.
Trainer(s): Liz Oppenheim, JD, Vice President, Hyzer Group, Arlington, VA

Youth Involved with Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: The Power of Partnership in Building Youth and System Resiliency
Youth who touch both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, also known as “dual status youth,” are among the most vulnerable served by each system. Those working with these youth recognize the challenges inherent in serving children who often have high needs, significant trauma, and tenuous or largely absent support systems. Systems are strained by these challenges, and youth are suffering the consequences, as demonstrated by poor outcomes in both adolescence and adulthood. The Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice has developed a framework for addressing these challenges and promoting collaboration between agencies that together can achieve what no single system can alone. In this training, staff from the RFK National Resource Center will provide dynamic guidance on the tools, approaches, and recommended practices to improve outcomes for this population of youth, thereby strengthening the systems and agencies serving these valuable young people.

The session will include child welfare practitioners who have successfully built partnerships with their juvenile justice counterparts and witnessed the establishment and strengthening of a true alliance in serving these highly vulnerable youth.  Participants will engage in interactive discussions and activities to explore the benefits and challenges of collaborative work on behalf of the youth involved in child welfare and juvenile justice, and will leave with knowledge, tools and a roadmap for strengthening their agency or organization’s ability to serve dual status youth.
Trainer(s): Jessica Heldman, Associate Executive Director, RFK National Resource Center, Boston, MA; and Melissa Blom, Manager, Children Youth and Families Division, ‎Outagamie County Department of Health and Human Services, Appleton, WI

Protecting Our Children: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
What is human trafficking—also known as modern day slavery—and what is domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST)? The biggest concern for those combating human trafficking in the United States is helping US- born youth in DMST. This training will give professionals and caregivers the skills and tools needed to recognize the signs of DMST, and to engage and protect the children involved. The training is interactive and uses scenarios, group discussion, and videos to demonstrate how to address DMST.

The training, based on the CWLA curriculum Protecting Our Children: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Training for Out-of-Home Care Professionals, utilizes a train-the-trainer model designed to equip participants to engage others in learning how to identify, report, and prevent DMST in the community at large and in out-of-home-care settings (family foster care, residential facilities, drop-in centers, homeless shelters, juvenile justice settings, aftercare programs).
Trainer(s): Emily Wampler, MSW, LSW, Protecting Our Children Curriculum Author, Columbus, OH

Quality Improvement: A Roadmap to Measuring Change
9:30 am – 3:00 pm
(please note start time)
Quality improvement provides a framework for measuring organizational performance and the impact services have on clients served. As organizations respond to changes in policies, funding and an increased need for services, creating an environment rooted in data-driven decision-making is critical. This training will demonstrate how quality improvement is a catalyst for successful achievement of strategic goals and program outcomes. It is designed to help organizations develop a comprehensive approach to a quality improvement process that will advance an efficient, effective service delivery system and enhance organizational capacity to deliver quality services. Learn about developing specific client outcomes, logic models and improvement plans as key components of measuring progress.
Trainer(s): Kerry Deas, LMSW, Quality Improvement Manager and Grace Perry, LMSW, Senior Accreditation Coordinator for Public Agency Accreditation, Council on Accreditation (COA)

Be sure to check back regularly for updated information regarding additional training sessions!

National Awards

CWLA to Honor Journalist, Social Work Professionals, and Nonprofits at National Conference - 2018 Awardees Announced

2018 National Conference Award Winners

CWLA is pleased to accept National Award nominations for our 2018 National Conference. The CWLA National Awards program is designed to encourage excellence and innovation in serving children and families who are vulnerable and to acknowledge the various stakeholder groups that are committed to advancing excellence in child welfare. We are especially interested in honoring youth and/or young professionals and organizations that embody the principles of the CWLA National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare, which has a critical focus on advancing child welfare services that are linked to and operate in partnership with families and communities.

We are seeking to identify the exceptional individuals and organizations that positively impact our work in child welfare, deserve this national level recognition, and will serve as a role model to others.

Selected nominees will be invited to attend the conference and receive their recognition in person.  Nominations should be submitted by February 9, 2018.

The 2018 National Conference Awards include:

Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism on Behalf of Children and Families – This award honors journalists in both print and broadcast who have provided constructive, informative reporting that advances awareness, understanding, and action to meet the needs of children and families who are vulnerable. Submissions should include articles, editorials, columns, videos, etc., in support of the nomination. Links to online articles and videos are acceptable.

Congressional Advocate of the Year – This award honors a member of Congress who has provided leadership on behalf of children and families who are vulnerable and achieved demonstrated policy or funding improvements related to services and supports for children in the child welfare system. This selection is made in partnership with the CWLA National Commission, but ideas for awardees can be submitted by CWLA member organizations.

Cassaundra Rainey Youth Champion Award – This award honors a young person (age 26 or younger) who is/was under the auspices of the child welfare system and is actively involved in improving outcomes for children and youth as a volunteer or young professional. If the nominee is a young professional, the nomination should demonstrate that they have gone above and beyond the requirements of the job, and one of the testimonial letters should be from their supervisor detailing their meaningful contribution to the field of child welfare. Nominations must be made by a CWLA member agency.  The award is named in memory of CWLA Vice President, Cassaundra Rainey, who was a passionate youth advocate.

CWLA National Blueprint Champion for Excellence – This award honors a CWLA member organization that has demonstrated innovation and excellence in the delivery of programs and services for children and families, and/or accomplished successful community partnerships and collaborative efforts to advance improved outcomes for children and youth utilizing the principles of the CWLA National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare.

We would also like to recognize CWLA member agency accomplishments during the conference and in the coming year as we build up to our 100th anniversary. CWLA members are encouraged to share any significant milestones or achievements for your agency or staff that we can shine a spotlight on (i.e., employee’s 30 years of service, agency’s 75th anniversary, youth/family success stories, etc.). Videos are welcome.

Award Nomination

Interested individuals should submit a completed nomination form and statement addressing how the nominee exhibits the awards overall vision and description, and if applicable, embodies the principles and vision of the CWLA National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare.

Nominators may also submit additional materials, including newspaper clippings, printed materials, photos, testimonial letters, etc., to support the nomination.

Nomination forms and supporting materials must be received by February 9, 2018. Electronic submissions are required. Email nominations to CWLA Member Services at

Selection and Presentation

The CWLA Conference Awards committee will review nominations and select the award recipients by March 2, 2018. All awards will be presented during the 2018 National Conference.

Hotel & Travel

Conference Location and Accommodations

Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill

400 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 737-1234
Conference Room Rate:  $249

Hotel Reservations

Hotel reservations must be made directly with the hotel. You can reserve by phone at 1-888-421-1442 or online at Hyatt Reservations. Room availability and special rates are guaranteed only until April 5, 2018, or until the space is filled.


The closest airport to the conference is Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). A map of the area, driving directions, and ground transportation options are available at Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.


Join us as a Conference Sponsor and enjoy networking with hundreds of the most influential experts and service providers for America’s children, youth, and families. NEW this year is an exciting mobile event app that assures increased impressions and exposure for sponsors and exhibitors and will maximize attendee engagement with you. Review the Conference App Sponsorship options. There is an opportunity for every business and budget!

Make a lasting impression on child and family experts and advocates. Become a conference sponsor or sponsor a special event, food function, or conference item. For more information, please contact


  • Company logo and name billing on conference signage
  • Inserts for conference tote bags
  • Company logo on sponsor page in conference final program


  • Exhibit booth discount (50%)
  • Quarter-page ad space in the conference final program

SILVER SPONSORS - $15,000 (All the above AND)

  • One-time use of the pre- and post-conference attendee mailing lists
  • Half-page ad space in the conference final program
  • Exhibit booth
  • Acknowledgement from the podium during a General Session
  • Recognition in five conference e-blasts

GOLD SPONSORS - $25,000 (All the above AND)

  • Add-On Eligibility (see options below)
  • Company logo on CWLA conference material and on CWLA website
  • Full-page ad space in the conference final program
  • Special recognition in five conference e-blasts

PLATINUM SPONSORS - $50,000 (All the above AND)

  • Webinar opportunity
  • Two “specialty advertisements” in CWLA’s The Networker, our twice-monthly e-news brief
  • Upgraded exhibit booth (Premium)
  • Company logo on conference tote bag
  • Full-page ad space in the conference registration program (mailed to 13,000+ mailing list)
  • Special recognition in ALL conference e-blasts
  • Discounted Add-Ons (25%)

SPONSOR ADD-ONS (For Gold and Platinum Levels Only)

  • PATH TO EXCELLENCE - $5,000 (per day)
    • Company name, logo, and booth number on floor arrows from front door of hotel directly to your exhibit booth, featured outside of the exhibit hall entrance (first come, first served)
  • KEYS TO EXCELLENCE (two options):
    • Key Cards - $3,000 - Company name/ logo (your design and message) on all attendee hotel key cards
    • Adhesive Cell Phone Wallet - $5,000 - Company name/ logo (your design and message) on all attendee souvenir adhesive cell phone wallet for key cards/credit cards

COFFEE/SNACK BREAK SPONSORS - $10,000 (four available)

  • Exhibit booth discount (50%)
  • Quarter-page ad space in the conference final program
  • Company logo and name billing on meal function signage


  • One-time use of the pre- and post-conference attendee mailing lists
  • Half-page ad space in the conference final program
  • Exhibit booth
  • Acknowledgement from the podium during a General Session
  • Recognition in five conference e-blasts
  • Company logo and name billing on meal function signage
  • Exclusive sponsor for conference box lunch (ONE available)


  • Company logo on CWLA conference material and on CWLA website
  • Full-page ad space in the conference final program
  • Special recognition in five conference e-blasts
  • Four breakfast or lunch sponsorships available


  • Webinar opportunity
  • Two “specialty advertisements” in CWLA’s The Networker, our twice-monthly e-news brief
  • Upgraded exhibit booth (Premium)
  • Company logo on conference tote bag
  • Full-page ad space in the conference registration program (mailed to 13,000+ mailing list)
  • Special recognition in ALL conference e-blasts
  • Acknowledgement during reception champagne toast
  • Exclusive sponsor for opening reception (ONE available)


  • Exclusive sponsor of conference charging station
  • Company logo and name billing on charging station signage
  • Quarter-page ad space in the conference final program

CONFERENCE WI-FI - $5,000 (two available)

  • Company logo on Wi-Fi cards distributed to attendees with password


  • Company name and logo on business card flash drive/USB


  • Company name/logo on conference name badge lanyards


  • Exclusive sponsor of conference Zumba class
  • Company logo on water bottles for all class participants

Exhibiting & Advertising

We look forward to seeing you in Washington!

Register now for the best conference rate.