Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
March 29 – 31, 2017


Click image to view Conference Program.

The CWLA National Blueprint vision is that all children will grow up safely, in loving families and supportive communities, with everything they need to flourish and with connections to their culture, ethnicity, race, and language.  To achieve this vision, we are called to move from theory to implementation, and to share successful practices, tools, and resources that meet the needs of families, communities, and systems and contribute to improving outcomes for children and families.  The 2017 CWLA National Conference, Advancing Excellence in Practice and Policy: Highlighting Successful Strategies to Address the Needs of Children, Youth, and Families was a prime opportunity for America’s new administration, influential service providers, leaders, advocates, youth, and families to meet and promote excellence in policy and practice toward today’s critical topics and their effect on children, youth, and families.

The conference featured evidence-informed/based programs and practices, and related policies and tools that lead to successful implementation of practices, services, and programs, resulting in improved outcomes for children, youth, and families—and that are most likely to generate positive attention in the public policy context.

Thanks to the speakers, presenters, and attendees who joined us March 29 -31 at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC.  We hope to see you again in 2018!

Check out the conference photos and CWLA members can access conference presentations and resource materials on our “Members Only” website.

Thanks to our sponsors for their support!

At-A-Glance Schedule

Wednesday, March 29

7:30 am – 5:30 pm              Registration

9:00 am –12:00 pm             Policy Seminars

12:15 pm – 2:15 pm             Lunch Plenary

2:30 pm – 5:30 pm              Super Sessions

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm              Welcome/ Networking Reception

7:30 pm                                     Documentary Film: The Face of Kinship Care

Thursday, March 30

7:30 am – 5:30 pm              Registration

7:30 am – 8:45 am              Annual Meeting Breakfast

7:30 am – 8:45 am              Breakfast in Exhibit Hall

9:00 am – 10:30 am           Plenary Session

10:30 am – 10:50 am         Break in Exhibit Hall

11:00 am – 12:30 pm        Workshops A

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm           Lunch/ Exhibit Hall/ Poster Session

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm             Workshops B

3:30 pm – 3:50 pm             Break in Exhibit Hall

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm             Workshops C

5:45 pm – 6:30 pm             Networking Gathering/ Exhibit Hall

Friday, March 31

7:30 am – 8:45 am              Breakfast in Exhibit Hall

8:45 am – 10:15 am            Workshops D

10:30 am – 1:30 pm            Super Sessions

10:30 am – 1:30 pm            Social Media Training

1:45 pm – 3:00 pm              Lunch Plenary

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm             Sex Trafficking Training

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm              Special Sessions

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm              Reception

Plenary Speakers

             Dr. Monique B. Mitchell

Monique B. Mitchell, PhD, FT, is an interdisciplinary professor in the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina, and an international scholar in the Enhancing Life Project. In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS), Dr. Mitchell served for six years as the state research director for the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) data collection and the Voices and Visions of SC Youth in Transition longitudinal research study, exploring the experiences, perspectives, and outcomes of youth transitioning out of foster care. During this time, she developed a nationally recognized methodology that has helped South Carolina and other states approach youth with sensitivity, establish meaningful relationships with them, and ensure that they’re being heard. She has also served as the facilitator and program director for the SCDSS state youth advisory board, Go Out and Learn Life (GOALL), and the SC NYTD state youth advisory panel.

Dr. Mitchell is passionate about illuminating and enhancing the lived experience of children and youth in foster care. Her research focuses on life transitions, grief, loss, meaning-making, and self-empowerment, and she is regularly invited to present this child-centered research at state, national, and international conferences. Her specific expertise involves consulting with children, youth, and invested parties in the child welfare system to inform policy and practice and to develop resources and curricula that serve children and youth in foster care. Dr. Mitchell’s recent publications include, The Neglected Transition: Building a Relational Home for Children Entering Foster Care, from Oxford University Press, and the forthcoming Living in an Inspired World: Voices and Visions of Youth in Foster Care, from CWLA Press.

Josh Shipp is a former at-risk foster kid turned teen advocate. His TV series Teen Trouble (A&E / Lifetime) documented his work with teens in crisis. He is the author of The Teen’s Guide to World Domination, named a CNN Young Person Who Rocks and was listed on INC. Magazine’s 30 under 30 list.

Josh helps adults understand teens, and teens understand themselves.  He’s spoken at universities such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT and UCLA.  He is a recognized teen expert for media outlets including MTV, CNN, FOX, The New York Times, 20/20 and Good Morning America.  He’s worked with groups of parents, educators and mental health professionals, and has spoken to more than two million teens live.

His ultimate goal is to help as many young people as possible. He trains other speakers through Youth Speaker University and his online mentoring program for teens A Year of Awesomeness has a world-wide reach. His free email newsletter offers exclusive strategies to reach, teach and parent teens.

Josh had a challenging childhood and bounced around in many different foster homes, until he had a handful of caring adults reach out to him. He now strives to pass this knowledge on and be that caring adult for kids like him.  Josh says, “Every kid is ONE caring adult away from being a success story.”

                       Josh Shipp

                       Dr. Allison Metz

Allison Metz, Ph.D., is a developmental psychologist, Director of the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN), and Senior Scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Allison specializes in the implementation, mainstreaming, and scaling of evidence to achieve social impact for children and families in a range of human service and education areas, with an emphasis on child welfare and early childhood service contexts. Allison’s work focuses in several key areas including: the development of evidence-informed practice models; the use of effective implementation and scaling strategies to improve the application of evidence in service delivery systems; and the development of coaching, continuous quality improvement, and sustainability strategies.

Allison currently directs several national initiatives to build the capacity of major philanthropies and intermediary organizations to support jurisdictions in using evidence to improve outcomes for children and families. These initiatives include the Partnership to Build Implementation Capacity for Child Welfare with Casey Family Programs; the Healthy Places North Carolina Initiative with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; and the Effective Implementation of Early Childhood Evidence-Based Home Visiting Statewide.

Allison serves on several national advisory boards and is an invited speaker and trainer internationally. She is Co-Chair for the Global Implementation Conference, a part of the Global Implementation Initiative. Allison is co-editor of the recently published volume Applying Implementation Science in Early Childhood Program and Systems.

Capitol Hill Activities

The CWLA 2017 National Conference will be the first significant gathering of child welfare advocates and professionals on Capitol Hill since the start of the new Congress and administration. This provides an excellent opportunity to deliver a strong, emphatic message that it is unacceptable to eliminate or weaken the child welfare continuum of care, from prevention to permanency.

All conference participants will have access to trainings and briefings on the issues at hand. All relevant materials will be provided, including talking points, position statements, fact sheets, maps, and instructions. Up-to-the-minute updates on the latest status of legislation will be provided.

The conference hotel is only two blocks from the Senate office buildings and just a few minutes’ walk from the House buildings. This year, we will take advantage of this proximity by encouraging attendees to schedule Capitol Hill visits throughout the course of the conference rather than restricting them to a single block of time.


Super Sessions

Wednesday, March 29
2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

This super session will focus on strategies to strengthen adoption including:  enhancing the understanding and training of professionals who are called upon to assist families post adoption; examining strategies that can facilitate and strengthen adoptions through community partnerships, including partnerships with the LGBT and faith-based communities that can be adapted by adoption agencies and exchanges; and how to use important tools such as ACE’s that can assist both families and professionals to better understand and apply their understanding of child brain development.

This super session will explore collaborative and integrative approaches used by a wide variety of agencies and their community stakeholders to create innovative services and supports to give children, youth, and families the best opportunity for success. These collaborative efforts range from prevention-related initiatives to ensure infants and young children have the best possible start to interventions for special populations of children and youth who are part of the child welfare system. Information on these successful collaborative efforts and the effective strategies used will be shared, along with lessons learned.

This super session will examine strategies to address needed child welfare services, and advancing and funding these services. Approaches and strategies from four efforts will be highlighted. These presentations will help provide perspective for a review and discussion of recent federal funding, its history, and the future outlook of child welfare financing.

This super session will address the challenges, effective strategies, and best practices for culturally responsive services for unaccompanied children and refugee minors in three key areas: outreach to and preparation of the sponsors to ensure effective care for and integration of the children; working with those who enter child welfare; and best practices and resources to ensure the protection of the children who are ordered or voluntarily decide to return home. This will be an interactive session with case studies and opportunity for brainstorming solutions to challenges experienced by participants.

This super session will explore examples of how leaders from child and family organizations made the decision to collaborate in order to better respond to the needs of children, youth and families.  The examples address collaboration at the program and system levels.  The presentations are designed to give agency leaders the opportunity to discuss strategies that will help them position themselves and their organizations for continued sustainability, relevance and impact.

Resource Parent Development and Support
This super session will feature successful strategies to develop and support resource (foster and adoptive) parents. In addition to presenting strategies to find and develop families who have the ability, resources, and willingness to be team members in child protection and the trauma-informed care of children, creative approaches to ongoing development and support of resource families will be highlighted. The importance of implementing a model of practice for the development and sustained service of resource parents, as well as positive outcomes for children, youth, and families, will be demonstrated.

This super session will feature presentations that illustrate some of the key topics from the new special issue of CWLA’s peer-reviewed Child Welfare journal about ways to improve the use of research within child welfare. The super session will be facilitated by Kim DuMont, co-editor of the special issue. Generating the research that is required to establish an evidence base, selecting the evidence base so that it meets local needs, and building the technical infrastructure and funding required to establish an evidence base are some of the topics that will be addressed.

Youth Development
Many youth involved in the child welfare system transition to independence and adulthood without command of the life skills, adequate supports, and preparation for challenges faced by young adults. This super session focuses on successful programs and strategies that engage and assure that youth have what they need to achieve educational and employment success, secure and maintain stable and adequate housing, build financial capability, and develop self-advocacy skills. The session also provides an opportunity to hear and learn about effective program designs, collaborative strategies within and across organizations, and approaches specifically designed to engage and create opportunities for youth competency and development.

Friday, March 31
10:30 am – 1:30 pm

This super session will focus on strategies to strengthen adoptions in areas of greatest need, including race, diversity, and older and special needs youth. In addition to highlighting strategies to achieve successful adoptions, participants will learn about post-permanence approaches that can sustain adoptions. Issues to be addressed include both pre- and post-placement services and interventions to address challenges that may threaten the “permanence” of the adoption, including mental health needs and sibling and other familial attachment relationships.

Homelessness and Housing
This super session will address the link between lack of stable housing and contact with the child welfare system. It will include a presentation of select projects that are designed to increase housing stability for fragile families and a review of policy and system changes required to address this issue.

Human Trafficking
An unknown number of children and youth are trafficked for sex and/or forced labor, and human trafficking has become increasingly present within the United States and other countries. This super session will focus on the trafficking crisis within the United States and the effect on its children and youth. You will learn of successful collaborations and strategies that assist exploited children and youth. The session will also provide multidisciplinary approaches with the courts, attorneys, government agencies, and community partners working toward the survival and healing of these youth.

This super session will explore lessons learned from multi-year, evidence-based projects that were designed to strengthen families that are vulnerable.  Issues related to scaling, fidelity, and service quality will be discussed in the session.

This super session will provide an opportunity to hear from a panel of leaders about the interrelationship between poverty, race/ethnicity and child abuse and neglect, and to develop strategies to respond.

This super session will focus on successful strategies to build and sustain a competent child welfare workforce. Strategies that have proven effective in strategic aspects of workforce development will be presented, including: equipping the workforce to promote cultural responsiveness; implementing evidence-based practices to respond to the impact of trauma; building leadership capacity of new child welfare workers; and building and sustaining teams that increase staff retention, satisfaction, and performance.

Youth Engagement
This interactive super session will examine a number of key issues in child welfare through the lens of young professionals with lived experience. Topics discussed will include normalcy for youth in care, trauma, youth and alumni in transition, permanency, and post-permanency. The intent is to improve the engagement of youth in their well-being and lifelong connections.

Training Opportunities

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Social Media Training
Friday, March 31
10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Social media, technology, and the internet have an impact on today’s society. Due to experiences of trauma and loss, children and youth in care face increased vulnerability for inappropriate and risky online activity. An examination of the impact of social media and technology on today’s society, including its influence on young people’s perceptions of reality, reveals significant risks for the unaware. This training provides information on areas where children and youth, particularly those in out-of-home care, are increasingly vulnerable and, thus, need proper education and supervision. These topics include internet safety, cyberbullying, media marketing, the impact of music on values and behavior, and desensitization to violence via video games. Risk factors will be identified and realistic strategies to protect youth will be presented.

This training utilizes a variety of learning methods that are aligned with the principles of adult learning. Multiple opportunities will be provided to gather information, share experiences, utilize self-assessment, and practice skills.

Protecting Our Children: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Training
Friday, March 31
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

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 U.S.-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).

Training Fees:

With Conference Registration:
One Training (Social Media or Sex Trafficking) – $65
Both Trainings (Social Media and Sex Trafficking) – $100

Without Conference Registration:
One Training (Social Media or Sex Trafficking) – $95
Both Trainings (Social Media and Sex Trafficking) – $165

Hotel & Travel Information

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 make reservations by calling the Hyatt Regency at 1-888-421-1442 or online at Conference Hotel Reservations. Room availability and special rates are guaranteed only until March 7, 2017, or until the space is filled.


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


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

Platinum Sponsors — $50,000

  • Overall conference sponsor, with four complimentary conference registrations
  • Company logo on CWLA conference material and on the CWLA website, (sponsor will be flagged as a Featured Partner)
  • Webinar opportunity
  • Special logo and name billing on signage
  • Acknowledgement from the podium during a General Session
  • Full-page ad space in the conference registration and final programs
  • Two “specialty advertisements” in the CWLA Networker, our twice-monthly e-brief
  • Logo on conference tote bag
  • Premium exhibit space
  • One-time use of the pre- and post-conference attendee mailing lists
  • Tote bag insert
  • Logo on the sponsor page in the conference final program and conference webpage

Gold Sponsors — $25,000

  • Company logo on CWLA conference material and on the CWLA website,
  • Two complimentary registrations
  • Special logo and name billing on signage
  • Logo on conference tote bag
  • Acknowledgement from the podium during a General Session
  • Full-page ad space in the conference registration and final programs
  • Exhibit space
  • One-time use of the pre- and post-conference attendee mailing lists
  • Tote bag insert
  • Logo on sponsor page in the conference final program and conference webpage

Silver Sponsors — $15,000

  • Special logo and name billing on signage
  • Acknowledgement from the podium during a General Session
  • Half-page ad space in the conference final program
  • Discounted exhibit space
  • One complimentary conference registration
  • Tote bag insert
  • Logo on sponsor page in the conference final program and conference webpage


Bronze Sponsors — $10,000

  • Special logo and name billing on signage
  • Quarter-page ad space in the conference final program
  • Tote bag insert
  • Logo on sponsor page in the conference final program and conference webpage

Snack/Coffee Break — $7,500

  • Special logo and name billing on signage
  • Logo on sponsor page in the conference final program conference webpage
  • Tote bag insert

Business Card Flash Drive/USB – $5,000

  • Name and logo on business card
  • Logo on sponsor page in the conference final program and conference webpage

Conference Wi-Fi — $3,000 (multiple available)

  • Special logo and name billing on signage
  • Sponsor logo on Wi-Fi card distributed to conference attendees with password
  • Sponsor logo on Wi-Fi login page
  • Logo(s) on sponsor page in the conference final program and conference webpage

Friends of CWLA — $500+

This sponsorship covers general underwriting expenses that are needed to host this conference. A perfect add-on for conference vendors.

  • Special name billing on friends page in final program
  • Tote bag insert

Exhbiting & Advertising

We look forward to seeing you in Washington!