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.


Workshop A
Thursday, March 30
11:00 am – 12:30 pm

A1 - Collaboration, Resources and Resilience: Family Centered Treatment in Spokane
A team of collaborators have come together to launch a family-centered treatment program with housing in Spokane, Washington in 2017. Based on proven models in Oregon (OnTrack) and Los Angeles (Exodus), Rising Strong will offer a safe, more effective and less costly alternative to removal for families at risk to due substance use disorder. Presenters will look at the project from several angles, and engage participants in an exercise to assess their own community needs and opportunities.  Presentation highlights include:  one parent's journey; the family-centered treatment model; the housing strategy; and successful collaboration efforts.
Presenter(s): Mike Yeaton, Empire Health Foundation, Spokane, WA; Nadine Van Stone, Catholic Charities Spokane, WA; Teri Kook, Family Impact Network, Spokane, WA; and Heather Cantamessa, Spokane County Superior Court Parents for Parents Program, Spokane, WA

A2 - The Making of an Admired Man: Building a Stronger Family
The purpose of this workshop is to inspire and encourage men to understand and embrace the personal Quality, Behavior, Characteristics (QBC) that inspire others to Admire them, as a man. Women will also be inspired by the revelations explored in this workshop. Mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and the like will benefit equally by understanding  the QBC's they can encourage the men in their life to embrace. The presenter has spared no effort in researching existing scholarly and common sense literature on various topics around male studies and leadership.
Presenter(s): Chris L. Hickey, Sr., Admired Man Leadership Insititute, Inglewood, CA

A3 - Behavioral Interventionist Program: Keeping Youth in Homes and Out of Congregate Care
The Behavioral Interventionist Program is an intensive, individualized approach to treatment and support services for the needs of children with severe emotional/behavioral issues, without the need to remove children from their families for placement in congregate care.  Crisis de-escalation and trauma-informed care that a facility offers, done in the home, allows them to better heal.  Mental health needs among children is a great threat to stability and permanency.  For parents trying to create a stable and supportive home, inpatient treatment is a last resort; however, few options exist to support families when behavior/emotional challenges become too much to handle.
Presenter(s): Kelsi Green, FosterAdopt Connect, Independence, MO and Danielle Tomasi, FosterAdopt Connect SWMO, Springfield, MO

A4 - The BraveLife Intervention: Youth Voice + Choice = Opportunities and Challenges
Westchester Building Futures (WBF) is a federally funded, multi-year initiative which seeks to eliminate youth homelessness among at-risk youth with foster care histories. Through WBF’s person-centered, multi-dimensional intervention, The BraveLife Intervention (BLI), WBF is working to transform the way our child welfare, housing, employment and education systems respond to childhood trauma and challenges concerning the transition to adulthood. This workshop will highlight lessons learned in Phase I - Planning and lessons applied in Phase II - Implementation, as well as BLI key processes and outcomes, including but not limited to BLI’s Peer-to-Peer Training Fusion blueprint model.
Presenter(s): Commissioner Kevin McGuire, Westchester County Department of Social Services, White Plains, NY; and Francie Zimmerman and Ruby Rivera, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Washington, DC

A5 - Juvenile Justice Reform in Indian Country:  Best Practices and Programs toward Increasing Use of Non-Detention Alternatives
This workshop will summarize the work of the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA), under the auspices of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAI), to address the disproportionate rate of Native American youth in detention.  The workshop will describe the findings of AAIA’s research about best practices and programs in Indian Country that have proven effective in addressing this important issue as well as the challenges that tribal governments, communities, families, and youth continue to face.  Discussion of opportunities for improving outcomes for Native youth will also be discussed.
Presenter(s): Faith Roessel, Association on American Indian Affairs, Rockville, MD; and Kimberly A. Dutcher, Phoenix, AZ

A6 - New Directions for the Kinship Care: Recommendations for Federal Policy
This panel presentation offers an in depth understanding and discussion on new directions for kinship care practice and policy.  In September 2016, over 35 kinship researchers, advocates, practitioners and policy makers from across the country convened a kinship summit sponsored by the University at Albany, NYS Kinship Navigator, and Child Welfare League of America that produced a White Paper focusing on 6 specific areas for consideration: (1) boundaries of kinship care, (2) the nature of permanency, (3) financial assistance for kinship families, (4) a comprehensive kinship system of care, (5) financing kinship services, and (6) a future research agenda. This panel presentation is an overview of the culmination of collaborative efforts to improve kinship care.
Presenter(s): Mark Testa, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC; Gerard Wallace, New York State Kinship Navigator, Delmar, NY; Eunju Lee, School of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Albany, NY; Charlene Ingram, CWLA,Erial, NJ; and Angie Schwartz, Alliance for Children’s Rights, Los Angeles, CA

A7 - Transforming Organizations to Become SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Gender Expression) Affirming
Child welfare reforms throughout the country are mandating that all children be affirmed, and respected and their families supported. This workshop presentation will address how to transform your agency in becoming affirming and develop programs that will address the needs, well-being and permanency of LGBTQ and gender non-conforming children and their families. This workshop will also discuss the intersection between race, culture, ethnicity and SOGIE and the necessity to address every aspect of each child.
Presenter(s): Vida K. Khavar, Family Builders by Adoption, Oakland, CA

A8 - Bringing the CWLA National Blueprint to Life: Using what we Know Works from Implementation Science
CWLA has been developing an Implementation Guide for the National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare. CWLA has organized the Standards from the National Blueprint using the principles and practices from implementation science to facilitate individuals, organizations and communities use and application to drive improved outcomes for children, youth, and families.  In this workshop session participants will learn more about the NIRN implementation framework and stage-based approach and how it is applied to effectively implement and meet the standards from the National Blueprint. This interactive session will show participants how to use the components of the Implementation Guide in their organizations and communities to build on what they are already doing to achieve the vision of the National Blueprint for all children, youth, and families.
Presenter(s):  Allison Metz, National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) and Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; Nancy Gagliano, CWLA National Blueprint Implementation Guide Advisory Committee and New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Trenton, NJ;  and Julie Collins, CWLA, Washington, DC

A9 - It Takes a Village -- Working With Parents Who Have Intelletual Disabilities and Their Families
The workshop presenters will utilize group discussion, large group exercises, DVD and handouts to provide participants with knowledge of:  identification of parents with Intelletual Disabilities (ID); common identification traits; issues that parents with ID face; research and child outcomes; developing positive relationships and case practice strategies; legislation and legal rulings; and national resources.  Emphasis will be on building on family’s strengths, best practices based on evidence-based programs and research; recent legislation and strategies that address and support child and family well-being.  A parent/self-advocate with ID will provide observations/insight in enhancing services to parents with ID.
Presenter(s): Bernadette Irwin, The Association for Successful Parenting, Timonium, MD; and Susan Jones, United Arc, Turners Falls, MA

A10 - Innovation in Managed Care: The Georgia Families 360 Model
Managed Care Organizations (MCO) have worked with members, families, advocates, and their communities to develop innovative programs improving outcomes for members and efficiently coordinate services. In addition to coordination, the scope of experience and role of MCOs has made it possible to provide additional supports for our members, including resources for the judiciary, schools, and providers. This workshop will explore some of the innovative programs Anthem has developed collaboratively to improve the quality of life for our members aged 0-25 in foster care programs and will provide an opportunity for others to learn more about opportunities to expand the collaborative in their community.
Presenter(s): Thomas Hart, Merrill Friedman and Manny Arisso, Anthem, Inc., Washington, DC; and Mark Washington, The Washington Group, Roswell, GA

A11 - Preparing Youth in Residential Treatment to Contribute to Families and Communities by Increasing Resiliency through Joy Experiences, Mindfulness and Empowered Relationships
Learn how to impact families and communities as a result of increased youth resiliency by integrating joy experiences, mindfulness and empowered youth-adult relationships in youth residential treatment programs. Research has demonstrated that improved protective factors in youth can lead to enhanced interactions and strengthening of families/communities. Youth needing residential treatment are acutely unsafe to themselves and/or others – problems that negatively influence and disrupt homes and neighborhoods. Although residential treatment is out-of-home care, outcomes directly impact families and communities. Post-treatment, youth should have improved capacities to safely engage family/community members allowing each to grow and advance by relying on members’ strengths.
Presenter(s): Brittany R. Pope, Benjamin Kearney and Robert Brian Denton, OhioGuidestone, Cleveland, OH

A12 - Changing the Social Emotional Culture in a Title 1 Public Charter School
The research shows clearly that social emotional learning skills are critical for children to learn to be successful in school and in life.  Studies have shown that these skills are better predictors of success in life than any other factor.  This workshop will allow you to follow along on the journey that a Title 1 public charter school in Texas took to implement an evidence-based, social-emotional learning (SEL) program with their students, families and staff.  Video, data and anecdotal evidence will show the impact of implementation.  Participants will leave with several tools that they can implement immediately to incorporate SEL into their professional and personal life.
Presenter(s): Jennifer Carpenter and Jeniffer Mendez, Lena Pope, Fort Worth, TX; and Rebecca Williamson, Chapel Hill Academy, Fort Worth, TX

A13 - Identification of Children Prenatally Exposed to Alcohol and Other Drugs: Impact of Policy and Practice
Prenatal exposure to alcohol and other drugs can have serious detrimental lifelong effects.  Evidence indicates children in the welfare system with such exposures are often not identified or misdiagnosed. Identification of children with prenatal exposure can be a complex process, but it can be made significantly easier when the child welfare agency and its partners focus on specific policy and practice approaches.  This interactive workshop will: review the relevant effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol and other drugs; present findings of a study looking at polices and practice; and provide suggestions for improving identification of affected children.
Presenter(s): Heather McCann and Jacquelyn Bertrand, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; and Sharon Newburg-Rinn, Children’s Bureau, ACF, US DHHS, Washington, DC

A14 - Georgia’s #Blueprint for Change: The Large Scale Implementation of Georgia’s Comprehensive Child Welfare System Reform Effort
This workshop will showcase Georgia’s #Blueprint for Change, the successful statewide execution of a three “pillared” comprehensive reform effort inclusive of implementation of an evidence-informed practice model, development of a robust workforce and the enhancement of constituent engagement efforts. Particular focus will be paid to their practice model and its key components, inclusive of Initial Safety Assessment and other safety enhancements, Solution Based Casework (SBC), and a culture-building set of Guiding Principles. The presenters will present the successful implementation strategies used to address policy, practices, forms, information systems, tools, agency culture, workforce development, and stakeholder engagement, both external and internal.
Presenter(s): Virginia Pryor, Lee Biggar, Jeff Lukich ,Tripp Jones, Carnella Harvey and Carol Christopher, Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, Atlanta, GA; and Dana N. Christensen, Solution Based Casework Training and Consultation, Santa Fe, NM

Workshop B
Thursday, March 30
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

B1 - Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL) an Evidence-Based Model to Successfully Engage Families
Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL) is currently being used in 13 states and Europe.  This model experiences an 80% successful family engagement rate and an 83% completion rate.  The techniques in the PLL model are used to serve families in danger of experiencing a child(ren) being removed into an out of home placement or families where there is an out of home placement.  Where reunification is the goal, the PLL team works with the biological and foster parent(s) simultaneously for a successful transition back into the home.  Foster parents can use the skills learned and apply them to new foster children that come into their homes.
Presenter(s): Scott Sells, Parenting with Love and Limits, Kansas City, MO; and John Burek, Parenting with Love and Limits, Lakeland, FL

B2 - FFT-Foster Care:  An Evidence-Based Family Intervention for Teens in Foster Care
This workshop provides an overview of an exciting adaptation of Functional Family Therapy (FFT) focused on improving well-being, placement stability and permanency outcomes for teens in foster care. This adaptation includes approaches for caseworkers as well as therapists and can be applied to work with foster, biological or adoptive parents and other kin caregivers. The core of the model is focused on helping teens heal relational trauma through the development and utilization of a strong alliance with a caregiver, which promotes protective factors and achieves better outcomes.  Unique is the use of real time measurement feedback, comprehensive safety assessment, and to integrate youth and caregiver voices into each treatment decision. This workshop will include information and resources on how the FFT-Foster Care model is being developed, implemented and tested in multiple sites and the Care4 feedback system.
Presenter(s): Thomas L. Sexton, Functional Family Therapy, Bloomington, IN; and Vicky Kelly, CWLA Board Member and Former Director, Delaware Division of Family Services, Millsboro, DE

B3 - From Almshouse to Medical Home: The Historical and Current Challenges and Statewide Solutions for Providing Comprehensive Care to Children in Foster Care
Child fatalities highlight gaps in the child welfare system that date to the earliest roots of our current child welfare system. By highlighting two programs, a foster care clinic in New York City and a state-wide initiative in North Carolina, this workshop will span historic and current challenges in child welfare for protecting the health and well-being of the nation’s foster care population. Participants will learn to identify the special healthcare needs of children in foster care and best practices for implementation at the local and state level, including policy solutions for providing comprehensive care in a medical home as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This includes an overview of program development, funding, and evaluation to replicate this program in other states including a state advisory team, local community partnerships, and changes in policy and practice.
Presenter(s): Douglas Waite, The Children's Village, Dobbs Ferry, NY; Leigh Poole Lodder, North Carolina Pediatric Society, Raleigh, NC; and Susan Foosness, Public Consulting Group, Raleigh, NC

B4 - Promising Strategies for Intervention by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families: Intimate Partner Violence Family Assessment Response
This workshop will describe the successful implementation of a new program developed by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to help children, youth, and families impacted by intimate partner violence.  Now in its second year, this promising new program incorporates evidence-based clinical treatments including Fathers for Change with collaborative care management strategies that work to engage all family members with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes and increasing safety for families. Workshop participants will learn about the challenges and opportunities associated with the implementation and evaluation of this program, and of highlights and outcomes identified in the second year of program implementation.
Presenter(s): Susie DiVietro and Rebecca Beebe, Injury Prevention Center, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT; Carla Stover, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; and James Geisler, Child Guidance Clinic for Central Connecticut, Meriden, CT

B5 - Meeting the Needs of Children from Military Families
This workshop will introduce the audience to the specific needs of military and veteran children; how military affiliated children intersect with child welfare systems and special considerations for command involvement.  Research on the specific needs of children of post 9/11 military will be discussed, along with providing clinical assessments and interventions for complex trauma.  At the end of the workshop, attendees will have clear knowledge of the culture of military families, stressors, and current resources.  Workshop attendees will learn how to evaluate and clinically assess military affiliated children along with strategies for program implementation and service delivery for this population.
Presenter(s): Tina Atherall and Folusho Otuyelu, Touro College, Graduate School of Social Work, New York, NY

B6 - Utilizing Parent Mentors to Enhance Child Services and Increase Parent Engagement
This interactive workshop will allow participants to learn how to effectively utilize Parent Mentors to enhance child and family services and increase parent engagement. Presenters will discuss how Parent Mentors can work with parents to develop and adhere to a Children's Service Plan, which outlines child development, child needs, and family goals. This workshop will also discuss how the development of a Children's Service Plans can increase parent engagement, as it allows parents to begin receiving necessary supports as they prepare for reunification and navigate the reunification process.
Presenter(s): Jocelyn Gainers and Tara Doaty, The Family Recovery Program, Inc., Baltimore, MD

B7 - Effective Policy and Practice with Youth Who Commit Sex Offenses
Most youth sexual offending has roots in the developmental characteristics of adolescence and involves a family member or person known to the youth.  And yet we have developed juvenile justice responses that ignore both the impact on families and the principles of adolescent development.  This workshop will discuss research findings and present evidence-based practice and policy recommendations of a recently published study undertaken by the presenters that examined Illinois’ current response to youth identified as sexually offending.  The study involved legal research, research review, data analysis, file reviews, and practitioner input and perspectives.
Presenter(s): Anita Weinberg, Child Law Policy Institute, Loyola University Chicago, School of Law, Chicago, IL; and Lisa Jacobs, Center for Criminal Justice Research, Loyola University Chicago, IL

B8 - Measuring Performance and Improving Outcomes
This session will describe Arlington County's Continuous Quality Improvement initiative to change the focus of program management from the amount of work completed to whether or not children and families are better off.  Presenters will discuss the process used to develop measures for child welfare and the model's impact on key outcomes: preventing out-of-home placements, reducing length of stay in foster care, and increasing family engagement. Presenters will share lessons learned and a step-by-step framework for creating meaningful performance measures in participants' own agencies.
Presenter(s): Lissa Friedman and Michael-dharma Irwin, Arlington County Department of Human Services, Arlington, VA

B9 - Programs, Services and Supports for Informal and Formal Kinship Families: Findings from the KIN-Tech Kinship Navigator Randomized Control Trial
This interactive workshop highlights the findings from the KIN-Tech Kinship Navigator project using a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to test the navigator model with 1,551 kinship caregivers (half formal and half informal). Results showed improved child safety, family benefit program enrollment, and caregiver, child and family well-being outcomes including: improved family support, peer acceptance, prosocial behavior, school engagement, academic competence, family resiliency, concrete support, and parenting as well as a reduction in child injury, bullying by peers, attention problems, conduct problems, social inhibition, and resource needs. Recommendations for practice, research and innovation will highlight the urgent need to promote replication regardless of family involvement with the child welfare system.
Presenter(s): Larry Cooper, The Children's Home, Inc., Tampa, FL; Kerry Littlewood, AAJ Research & Evaluation, Seminole, FL; and Abhishek Pandey, MD  Physician Scientist, Behavioral Sleep Fellow  University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ

B10 - The Challenge: Mind-Body-Spirit
There is overwhelming evidence supporting the positive link between physical activity and positive mindset.  This workshop will explore the integration of body, mind and spirit and the steps needed to identify and create a path to help underserved youth attain their chosen goals.  By combining physical training, academic/career goal setting and a positive group dynamic, youth develop an internal locus of control, understand the positive nature of teamwork and the importance of  inter-dependance, ultimately resulting in personal accountability and positivity. The Challenge focuses on the concept of T.E.A.M. : Together Everyone Achieves More!  This workshop will focus on the challenge to integrate mind, body and spirit when working with marginalized and underserved populations.  In everyday life, critical thinking,  decision making and a strong MIND are important for success. The physical component of the program provides an opportunity to develop participants’ abilities to think under stress.  Additionally, regular exercise has been proven to improve mental health by boosting: self-esteem, confidence and endorphin release, just to name a few.
Presenter(s): Kimberly Rose, Center for Southeast Asians, Providence, RI

B11 - Capacity for Substance Use Treatment and Foster Care Caseloads
In recognition of the growing national problem, Congress has appropriated $1 billion in new funding to states over the next two years for the prevention and treatment of opioid addiction. While unmet need is a primary part of how funds are to be allocated, the relationship between treatment gaps and the child welfare system is not well understood. This study quantifies the relationship between foster care on the one hand, and substance use, opioid misuse, and unmet treatment needs. Indices developed by this study are tracked over the past 10 years and geographically across the United States to identify spatial-temporal patterns which can inform decision-making and resource allocation decisions.
Presenter(s): Gilbert Crouse, Annette Waters and Robin Ghertner, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washingon, DC

B12 - Foxhole Buddies: The Impact of Family Violence on Sibling Groups
Siblings raised in abusive, violent homes adapt to their personal “war zone” and become Foxhole Buddies. The impact of family violence, and further trauma to young siblings caused by separation in foster care, will be explored in a framework of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and offer strategies for better addressing their unique needs.Participants explore interactively by discussing case studies of actual children from the Wichita Children's Home.
Presenter(s): Erin Teeter and Debbie Kennedy, Wichita Children's Home, Wichita, KS

B13 - Ignite Your Spirit – A Model of Indigenous Youth Engagement
This workshop explores ways to support positive Indigenous cultural identity and empowerment through a culturally-safe and strength-based youth engagement process. This interactive session will grow participants’ understanding of youth engagement and creating spaces where youth in care of the government can be honest and feel safe enough to voice their real concerns about their experiences and share their dreams for the future. We will also share how Representative for Children and Youth’s Indigenous Youth Leadership Team created the atmosphere to host a culturally grounded forum for young people to connect, be empowered and make recommendations for tangible changes in child welfare practices and standards, and engaging Indigenous and government leaders to listen.
Presenter(s): Amanda Willis, Dawn Thomas-Wightman and Karmella Benedito De Barros, Representative for Children and Youth, Burnaby, BC, Canada

B14 - Adolescent Portable Therapy: Community Family Therapy for Justice-Involved Youth in New York City
This workshop will summarize and present basic skills of Adolescent Portable Therapy (APT). APT is a brief family and community engagement model developed for justice-involved youth in the New York City area with behavioral health and substance misuse needs. It was developed at the Vera Institute of Justice and since 2014 has been provided by the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES). This 4-6 month therapy model employs techniques drawn from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoeducation, family therapy, and interpersonal skills building. The model provides a justice-specific intervention to youth and families involved in a number of systems.
Presenter(s): Rebecca Linn-Walton, Eric Kolb and Sian Casey, Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), Brooklyn, NY

Workshops C
Thursday, March 30
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

C1 - Building Communities of Hope
Casey Family Programs’ “Building Community of Hope Learning Collaborative” consists of 13 jurisdictions in several parts of the country that are implementing community and neighborhood-based family support services to safely reduce the number of children entering foster care.  While each of these sites utilize a different approach, this workshop will focus on the common elements that have proven successful among all sites. The workshop will highlight the findings from two of these sites that have clearly demonstrated outcomes: Partnership for Strong Families’ Resource Center Model in Gainesville, FL and The Center for Family Life in Brooklyn, NY.
Presenter(s): Julia Jean-Francois and Julie Stein Brockway, Center for Family Life, Brooklyn, NY; Pebbles Edelman and Stacy Merritt, Partnership for Strong Families, Gainesville, FL; Patricia Medlock,Florida Department of Children and Families, Jacksonville, FL; and Paul DiLorenzo, Casey Family Programs, Bala Cynwyd, PA

C2 - Challenges of Integrating, Assimiliating and Sustaining Responsible Fatherhood within the Child Welfare System of Care - The Philadelphia Model
This workshop will emphasize the importance of Fathers in advancing child well-being and explores critical components for positioning children, youth and family-focused agencies to expand capacity to improve outcomes for children by encouraging agency leadership to consider innovative strategies to expand their philosophies, policies, practices, procedures, and protocols to endorse the involvement of Fathers as additional support in the care of their children.  The workshop will be led by Dr. Lynch, former Stoneleigh Foundation Senior Fellow and supported by research finding resulting from the project “The Integration of Responsible Fatherhood within Foster Care Service Delivery and Other Children and Youth Servicing Systems.”
Presenter(s): Dr. Rufus Sylvester Lynch, The Strong Families Commission Inc., Philadelphia, PA; Carmina A. Taylor, Institute for the Advancement of Working Families, Philadelphia, PA

C3 - Clinicians in the Mix: Strategies For Permanency
Despite tremendous efforts, many foster care agencies lack the capacity to effectively intervene, treat, and transition children in foster care ages five and up with complex behavioral challenges to permanent families. This workshop reviews Spence-Chapin’s innovative approach to help NYC children living in foster care transition and remain in permanent families. We’ll review how Spence-Chapin provides case management, comprehensive evidence-based therapy, and engages birth and foster families for the most complex cases. We educate and mentor foster care staff in understanding the psycho-social reasons families enter & stay in the child welfare system.
Presenter(s): Mark Lacava, Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children, New York, NY

C4 - An Overview of the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support
What does it mean to be a quality Family Strengthening and Support Program? Participants will explore the nationally-adopted Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support which integrate and operationalize the Principles of Family Support Practice with the Strengthening Families Approach and its research-based, evidence-informed five Protective Factors. The Standards are designed to be used by all stakeholders – public departments, foundations, community-based organizations, and parents – across different kinds of Family Strengthening and Family Support programs as a tool for planning, providing, and assessing quality practice.
Presenter(s): Samantha Florey, National Family Support Network, Chicago, IL; and Andrew Russo, National Family Support Network, Washington, DC

C5 - Effective Diversionary Programs:  An Overview of Two Successful Models that Deter Youth from the Juvenile Justice System 
This joint workshop will provide an in-depth overview of two distinctly different, but highly effective diversionary models.  Lena Pope based in Fort Worth, TX will highlight their first offender program, Second Opportunity for Success®.  The agency developed model which utilizes evidence-informed components has been implemented with youth and families for 17 years.  Throughout this time, the program has maintained a success rate above 90% - meaning less than 10% of youth commit a new offense after completing the program.  The Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps based in Boston, MA will look at Racial and Ethnic Disparities and Disproportionate Minority Contact within the juvenile justice system.  The RFK Detention Diversion Alternative Program works with medium to high risk youths to ameliorate disproportionality by working in urban courts in Massachusetts with high rates of youth of color. This evidence-based program provides services to youth helping them remain safe in their neighborhoods and to avoid the negative outcomes associated with detention stays.
Presenter(s): Rosa Santiago, RFK Children's Action Corps, Boston, MA; Judge Leslie Harris (retired), RFK Children’s Action Corps Board of Directors; Boston, MA; and  Sonya Mosley and Jana Jones, Lena Pope, Fort Worth, TX

C6 - Strategies Supporting Kinship Families:  Implementing a Kinship Navigator Model, Legal Services, and Developing Collaborative Policies and Practices
National Kinship Alliance members who administer kinship navigator and legal assistance programs will describe how to implement a kinship program, what special legal issues confront kinship families, and how policy advocacy can support your kinship work.  Presenters will describe in detail the various levels of kinship navigator services, ranging from information and refferal, legal and financial assistance, collaborations with child welfare agencies, to specialized services targeting the needs of vulnerable children.  Presenters will also discuss implementation strategies, including engagement with the legal community and policy makers.  This workshop complements the SUNY Albany and CWLA Kinship Summit discussions.
Presenter(s): Gerard Wallace, New York State Kinship Navigator, Delmar, NY; Angie Schwartz, Alliance for Children’s Rights, Los Angeles, CA; Alison Caliendo, Foster Kinship, Las Vegas, NV; and Bob Ruble, Orange County Kinship & Support, Buena Park, CA

C7 - Beyond Best Practices:  Making Safety and Equity Real for Trans and Gender Diverse Youth
While much helpful guidance exists regarding recommended practices for ensuring transgender and gender diverse youth are respected and safe in out-of-home care systems, legal and practical barriers have prevented these recommendations from translating to real improvement in many jurisdictions. Licensing regulations, agency or facility culture, and lack of qualified medical and mental health care providers are just a few of the challenges that prevent youth from being safe, affirmed, and appropriately supported. Presenters will share a fifty state survey regarding related laws and regulations, hear advice from administrators and staff who have made best practice real in their communities, and learn from transgender youth about what made a difference for them.
Presenter(s): Currey Cook, Lambda Legal, New York, NY; and Christina Remlin, Children's Rights, New York, NY

C8 - Using Accreditation Standards to Help Implement the CWLA National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare
CWLA’s National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare presents a vision for the future of child welfare and a roadmap for what organizations should have in place to achieve this vision and improve outcomes for children, youth and families. CWLA sees accreditation as an important component to help implement the National Blueprint principles and standards to achieve the vision. This workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to hear how the three major accrediting entities’ (CARF, COA, and The Joint Commission) standards and their accreditation process can be advantageous to help organizations implement the National Blueprint. The accrediting entities’ focus on a continuous quality improvement approach to enhance supports and offer an effective service array is a key driver for improving outcomes for children, youth and families. Participants will also have opportunity to explore with others how achieving CARF, COA, and The Joint Commission accreditation supports their organization and to consider action steps and strategies for improving their work so children, youth, and families can flourish.
Presenter(s): Leslie Ellis-Lang, CARF International, Tucson, AZ; Grace Perry and Shannon Green,  COA, New York, NY; Darrell Anderson, The Joint Commission, Oakbrook Terrace, IL ; and Julie Collins, CWLA, Washington, DC

C9 - Developing and Supporting Foster and Adoptive Families as Team Members in Child Protection and Trauma-Informed Care of Children: How a CWLA Model of Practice Changed Practice in an Agency Committed to Children & Families First!
Children and Families First is mandated to demonstrate that this is not just our name, it is our commitment.  Therefore, our foster care and adoption program requires that we find and keep resource (foster and adoptive) families who have a commitment, not consumer, approach when having children with loss and trauma histories join their families. To have a strengths-based and sustainable model of practice requires a commitment on the part of agency leadership and staff as well as a commitment on the part of the trainers and consultants who help us look at our work, build on our strengths, and change our policies and practices as needed.  This workshop will: describe the process of recognizing the need to change an agency's family foster care and adoption practices; explain the process of locating trainers/consultants whose values and skills can build on your strengths and meet your needs; demonstrate a 14-steps model of practice to develop and support resource parents as team members in child protection and trauma-informed care of children; identify the challenges in bringing a model of practice through diverse staff levels of learning – from awareness, to knowledge and understanding, to skill application, and to skill acquisition; suggests strategies in working with trainers and consultants to build a trusting relationship; and document the challenges and achievements in a competency-based approach to minimizing trauma and maximizing teamwork for resource families and staff.
Presenter(s): Theresa Broome, Kenya Alston and Amy Facciolo, Children & Families First, Wilmington, DE; Eileen Mayers Pasztor,CWLA, Manhattan Beach, CA; and Donna Petras, CWLA; Lincolnshire, IL

C10 - STEP Data Leaders and Quality Improvement Program: Using Data to Solve Child Welfare's Biggest Challenges
STEP, Striving Toward Excellent Practice, is the nation’s first blended learning experience focused on strengthening continuous quality improvement within child welfare. Through online resources, classroom and coaching, STEP participants develop change initiatives focused on child welfare priority areas geared to increase data-driven decision-making in order to improve outcomes for children and families.  Workshop participants will be provided with an overview of the STEP’s structure, mission, goals, and overall effectiveness. Sponsored by Casey Family Programs, STEP has graduated three cohorts of caseworkers, supervisors, and managers over two years who have developed data-driven change initiatives focused on the agency’s biggest challenges.
Presenter(s): Dominic Cappello, Safety+Success LLC, Santa Fe, NM

C11 - Minimizing Physical Restraint and Seclusion Initiative: Safety You Can Count (On)
This presentation will fully describe the journey of one behavioral healthcare provider with a restraint and seclusion problem.  Through an initiative to manage physically aggressive behavior safely without utilizing restraint or seclusion, a problem became an invention and an opportunity to assist other organizations and schools across the country.
Presenter(s): Kimberly Sanders, Ukeru Systems (a division of Grafton Integrated Health Network), Winchester, VA

C12 - At the Intersection of Education and Healthcare:  School-Based Behavioral Healthcare
Motivational Coaches of America (MCUSA) pioneered a solution that transforms schools. MCUSA integrates behavioral health services on school campuses. The convergence of education and healthcare is innovative, visionary and an essential paradigm shift. By embedding within the school’s hierarchy, MCUSA improves access and improves the school counselor to student ratio. To diminish the stigma of mental health, we are called Motivational Coaches.  Mission is assisting children in overcoming behavioral issues, such as academic underachievement, violent behavior, anger management, bullying, substance abuse, oppositional defiance, stress and low self-esteem. As a network provider of behavioral healthcare, there is no cost to schools.
Presenter(s): Julio Avael, Frances P. Allegra and Paul Rendulic, Motivational Coaches of America, Inc., Doral, FL

C13 - Improving Child Welfare Outcomes For Opioid-Using Families with Medication-Assisted Treatment in the Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team (START) Program
In a recently published study, the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) was found to improve child welfare outcomes for families in the Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Team (START) program in Kentucky.  START is an evidence-informed child protective services (CPS) program for families with parental substance use and child abuse/neglect which helps parents obtain recovery and keeps children in the home when safe and possible.  START partners with addiction treatment providers for quick access to quality services, including MAT.  This workshop will describe the study and provide ideas for effectively using MAT with CPS-involved families, providing copies of the study and an MAT protocol.
Presenter(s): Tina Willauer, Lynn Posze and Erin Smead, Kentucky Department for Community Based Services,Frankfort, KY; and Martin T. Hall, University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work, Louisville, KY

C14 - Contemplative Practices to Promote Well-Being and Self Care
Child welfare workers play a critical role in addressing the complex and multi-layered problem of child maltreatment. Direct exposure to traumatic experiences, human suffering, and familial discord can create an altered sense of self, a breakdown in coping strategies and shifts in psychological, physical, social, and emotional well-being. How we view and treat ourselves shapes how we view and treat the families we serve.  Evidence-based contemplative practices that promote mind and body connections are an emerging area of practice with clients and helping professionals.  This workshop will define and explore contemplative practice strategies to promote practitioner well-being and self-care.
Presenter(s): Michelle LeVere, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC

Workshops D
Friday, March 31
8:45 am – 10:15 am

D1 - Meet Me Where I am At: Meaning-Centered Strategies to Meet the Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care
Drawing upon a strengths-based approach, this workshop will identify specific ways children and caregivers in the foster care system can address life’s challenges by engaging in meaning-centered strategies. Participants will explore constructs such as self-discovery, uniqueness, freedom and responsibility, decision-making, self-transcendence, and creative, experiential and attitudinal experiences. Current child-centered research, professional experiences, and practical advice will be highlighted to illustrate the value and practical application of Logotherapy.
Presenter(s): Cynthia Wimberly, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX; and Monique Mitchell, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

D2 - Sharing Responsibility and Resources for Homeless Families: A Head Start, Child Welfare, and Supportive Housing Partnership
This session will offer creative ways to combine housing, early childhood education, and supportive services to help reduce the need for child welfare placement and reduce school mobility.  The Connection, Inc. has served over 2,000 child welfare families with permanent housing, supportive services, and access to stable employment for over 20 years.  The Connection is now working in partnership with Head Start to quickly identify families within Head Start Centers using an evidenced-based tool called the Quick Risk Assessment for Families to Housing to meet their housing needs even prior to them experiencing homelessness.  This work is aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness as well as the need for child welfare involvement.
Presenter(s): Betsy Cronin, The Connection, Middletown, CT; and Ruth White, National Center for Housing and Community Development, College Park, MD

D3 - Improving Postsecondary Outcomes for College Students from Foster Care
This workshop includes three abbreviated presentations that address a range of strategies for improving the postsecondary educational outcomes for foster youth including: 1) a descriptive analysis of the 22 states that have implemented tuition waivers for students from foster care. Tuition Waivers vary in their eligibility requirements, age requirements and the amount of semesters waivers can be used for. The presentation will also highlight data on the number of students who have received tuition waivers and the cost of the program; 2) the Impact Database (IDB) facilitates information sharing between state child welfare and higher education systems by capturing data about federal and state financial aid awards and extended foster care services as well as individual academic progress and degree completion. Presenters will highlight their state partners’ use of IDB to meet the real and urgent needs of college-bound foster youth and how IDB can inform efforts to measure the impact of policy and investments; and 3) young adults exiting the foster care system face barriers to education, economic security, and personal growth.  Intrinsic campus based services are designed to support young people tackling independence and assist with developmental tasks related to emerging adulthood. This presentation will showcase a Youth in Transition (YIT) grant housed in a university’s Social Work Department.   Presenters will share professional perspective and related skill sets to address the issues and concerns of YIT who tentatively enter adulthood.
Presenter(s): Liliana Hernandez, Children's Bureau, Washington, DC; Angelique Day, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI; Maria Garin Jones and Eileen McCaffrey, Foster Care to Success, Sterling, VA; and Vanessa Brooks Herd, Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, MI

D4 - Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center’s Framework for Dual Status Youth: Changing Lives, Changing Systems
The Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice (RFK National Resource Center) has led new opportunities for reform on behalf of dual status youth using an acclaimed framework that has supported jurisdictions across the country for the past dozen years.  This workshop will provide participants with the most up to date research, field experiences, publications and positive outcomes from local communities that have previously or are currently participating in dual status youth reform and training initiatives.
Presenter(s): John Tuell, Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice,Haymarket, VA

D5 - Kinship Guardianship: Policy Development, Program Implementation and Expansion
The Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) allows federal funds to be used as subsidies to relative guardians. Federal law sets out a framework for subsidized guardianship programs, including eligibility. However, states exercise their own discretion in shaping their guardianship programs.  The presenters examined state statutes and codes from all 50 US states and DC, and surveyed guardianship experts from 49 states and DC. In this workshop, presenters will examine a national scope of state guardianship laws and statutes, review variance in state laws and guardianship implementation practices, and highlight best practices in developing strong state relative kinship and guardianship programs.
Presenter(s): Lydia Killos and Peter Pecora, Casey Family Programs, Seattle, WA; and William Vesniski, School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

D6 - Creating a New Framework for the CWLA Workload/Caseload Standards
CWLA has embarked on a process to not only update its workload/caseload standards but to create a new framework for them that is tied to outcomes for the children, youth and families. CWLA’s caseload/workload standards across the various child welfare services have not been updated for at least 11 years and as long as 22 years and yet many states struggle with caseload sizes that far exceed the current CWLA standards. Administrators indicate that what is missing is a way to calculate what it actually takes to do the various components of the work, using best practices that lead to improved outcomes for the children, youth and families while meeting state and federal requirements. CWLA is doing just that. Come hear results of the preliminary work regarding the new framework and provide your input to what gets created.
Presenter(s): Julie Collins, CWLA, Washington, DC; Vicky Kelly, CWLA Board of Directors, Millsboro, DE; and Matthew Claps and Marqueta Walker, Casey Family Programs, Seattle, WA

D7 - Maladaptive and Problematic Sexual Behavior:  An Introduction and a Path towards Healing
This workshop is a two-part presentation combining an introduction of the behaviors with an evidence-based approach in treatment modality.  The introduction will provide an overview of maladaptive sexual behaviors in youth and how we, as caring professionals, can best intervene with this population.  Presenters will provide information about this population while dispelling the many myths commonly believed about these young people, and will seek to allay fears about working with youth who have sexual histories and highlight the key roles caregivers play in helping these youths to receive the right treatment at the right time.  Participants will also learn about Project SAFeR, a program that works with both parents and children in treating problematic sexual behaviors for children ages 7-12 years, utilizing a cognitive behavioral treatment curriculum model.
Presenter(s): Stacey Lewis, Margaret Cohenour and Christi Weaver, Lena Pope, Fort Worth, TX; and David Reed, Child Advocates, Inc., Indianapolis, IN

D8 - Appropriate Use of Psychotropic Medications in Children and Youth: Understanding the Issues and Making Informed Choices
Consumers, parents, caregivers and clinicians have expressed concern regarding the use of psychotropic medications in children and adolescents in the child welfare population.  A number of scientific articles recently have outlined the increasing role that medications play in the treatment of children, particularly children in foster care and in Medicaid. Some parents note that these medications have made a positive difference in the treatment of their child. Others report untoward side effects, and complain that no psychosocial evaluation occurred before the medication was prescribed, often by a primary care physician. Magellan Health Services has created a number of interventions in our Children’s Champion Program to address this issue.  These interventions have included individual case-specific education for prescribers, the publication of Appropriate Use of Psychotropic Drugs in Children and Adolescents: A Clinical Monograph, publication and dissemination of tools for parents and caregivers on this topic, and the development of a webinar on this topic for practitioners across the country.  These interventions and tools will be shared with participants not only to educate on appropriate use of these medications, but also to teach parents and caregivers important questions to ask of the prescriber when medications are suggested for the treatment plan.
Presenter(s): Gary M. Henschen, Magellan Healthcare, Atlanta, GA; and Pat Hunt, Magellan Healthcare, Turner, ME

D9 - Multi-System Round Tables:  A Recipe for Change in the Texas Child Welfare System
Making and sustaining meaningful change in one of the largest child welfare systems in the country has its challenges, but Texas has developed a strategy that leverages the strong commitment and relationships of its top leaders in child welfare, the legal community, the advocacy community, and its stakeholder community to identify and implement changes.   Through a strong partnership between the Texas Supreme Court Permanent Commission on Children, Youth, and Families and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, members of the child welfare community join together in Roundtables to explore various topics and develop solutions designed to improve outcomes for children and youth in the Texas foster care system.  Through this approach, Texas has experienced positive changes such as more children and families participating in court hearings, improvements to parent/child visitation, quality interventions involving psychotropic medications, and improved educational experiences and outcomes.  As a result of these roundtables, and the commitment of the participants, Texas has been able to affect change in multiple systems, not just child welfare.  And that has truly been the key to success – the recognition of and commitment to the idea that meaningful change must happen in multiple systems if the anticipated outcomes of improved permanency and well-being are to be realized.
Presenter(s): Jenny Hinson, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Austin, TX; and Tina Amberboy, Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission, Austin, TX

D10 - Treating the “Too Acute”: Residential Programming for High Risk Adolescent Girls
Over the course of the last 35 years, female delinquency rates have more than doubled (The Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2013), increasing the need for programs the serve adolescent and adult females. While the need for programming has increased, the availability of resources and research on working with adolescent girls remains scarce. This workshop will provide an overview of one agency’s experience developing programming and staff training for high risk adolescent girls. The use of the youth’s perspective in training development and facilitation will be highlighted.
Presenter(s): Melissa Orazio and Peter Lopenzina, Hillcrest Educational Centers, Pittsfield, MA

D11 - Data-Driven Strategies for Successful Engagement in Family-Focused Substance Use Disorder Treatment
This workshop will detail successful strategies used to provide family-focused substance use treatment services in residential-based and in-home modalities. Strategies include implementation of family-focused and trauma-informed evidence-based practices to address co-occurring substance use disorder and trauma and improve family functioning, stability and cohesion; co-location with other service providers; intensive screening and pre-admission services; and integrated health care services. Strategies are informed by process and outcome data collected by an internal evaluation department.
Presenter(s): Hannah Murfet and Sarah Long, Helen Ross McNabb Center, Knoxville, TN

D12 - An Organization's Transformative Change Approach to Promoting Equity, Inclusion and Justice While Addressing Disproportionality and Disparity of Child Welfare Services to Black Children, Youth and Families
Having Black child welfare-involved children live with their parents, in their own community, is key to advancing excellence given child welfare’s 40-year history of disproportionality and disparity of services to this client group. To tackle this issue, a large, urban child welfare agency is employing an evidence-informed, community change model, using an equity, inclusion, anti-Black racism lens. This workshop details the vertical and horizontal agency barriers and levers used to elicit both small and large gains. The presentation outlines the transformative elements that have underpinned sustainable change related to reducing the over-representation of Black youth in care.
Presenter(s): Nicole Bonnie and Deborah Goodman, Children's Aid Society of Toronto, ON, Canada

D13 - The Center for Healing: Creating a Child Sexual Trauma Informed Agency
Presenters will debut JCCA’s Center for Healing, describing how the program was developed, and the services it provides. JCCA recognizes that many of the youth we serve have experienced child sexual abuse and exploitation: The Center for Healing was established to provide evidence-informed, clinical services to these youth and families; while also providing appropriate training and support to JCCA staff to best address the unique needs of this particular population. Presenters will also discuss future plans for The Center, while encouraging the audience to recognize the need for such programs within their own agencies and/or communities.
Presenter(s): Jessie Boye-Doe, JCCA, Pleasasntville, NY; and David Goldstein, JCCA, Bronx, NY

D14 – It’s a Love-Hate Thing: Partnering with Parents/Caregivers in Child Welfare
If front-line child welfare workers tell you they never struggle with parents/caregivers at their jobs, they’re probably extraordinarily experienced or delusional.  Based on a chapter within the presenter’s third edition of  her book,“Working with Traumatized Children- A Handbook for Healing” (CWLA Press), this workshop will focus on physical and mental conditions parents often bring to the table, and the inherent challenges within the child welfare system that confront both workers and parents.  “Good-Enough Parenting”, “Bonding and Attachment”, and “Parent-Child Fit” will be discussed, as well as strategies to partner with parents.
Presenter(s): Kathryn Brohl, L.M.F.T., CWLA Press Author

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

Meet face-to-face with service providers and professionals that are the movers and shakers for children and families.  Exhibitors will reach CEOs, administrators, workers, researchers, advocates, and other child and family experts who are eager to explore new thinking and new products. As a bonus, CWLA vendors will receive the pre- and post-conference attendee mailing lists for marketing.

Exhibiting is an easy and affordable way to share your company name and products. The exhibit hall is the hub of the conference being located near the workshops and general sessions. Our popular Bookstore is also located in the exhibit hall. Booth Bingo and food and beverage functions drive traffic to and through it!

Past exhibitors include software companies, publishers, brokers, trainers, accreditors, member agencies, and other organizations with a message for child and family professionals and leaders. Exhibiting at CWLA is easy, effective, and rewarding.

Interested in sponsoring the overall conference or the Twitter Board, lanyards, Wi-Fi, or a snack break or meal function?  Check out our Sponsorship Opportunities. We have options for nearly every organization and budget.

Special Events in the Exhibit Hall:

  • Coffee Breaks
  • Networking Receptions
  • Booth Bingo
  • Raffles and Giveaways

Exhibit Fees (per 8′ x 10′ space):

  • $1550 for Premium Vendors (high traffic space)
  • $1295 for General Vendors
  • $1095 for CWLA Member Organizations


    • 8′ x 10′ space with standard booth drapery
    • 6′ x 2′ draped table
    • 2 side chairs
    • A complimentary registration for one exhibit staffer with access to all conference sessions, workshops, and meal functions.
      Additional exhibit staffers must register at a special rate of $395.
    • A 7″ x 44″ booth identification sign
    • Option to purchase tote bag space ($400)
    • List of registrants for pre-conference marketing
    • Post-conference attendee mailing list for one-time use
    • A link to your website from the CWLA Virtual Exhibit Hall
    • Dedicated exhibit hall time, concentrated into three days
    • A 30% discount on all conference advertising

Booth Bingo – Back by Demand! 

Participating vendors will be asked to stamp bingo cards distributed to attendees at registration. Attendees who complete their cards are eligible to win big prizes. The Grand Prize drawings will be held at the final Exhibit Hall event. We will be raffling off gift cards. Please help “sponsor” the cards. To contribute $25, select this option when registering.

Tote Bag Inserts – A vendor exclusive!

  • Cost: $400
  • Limit: one item per bag per vendor

Exhibit Hall Dates & Times (check back for exact times & updates)  

  • Set up: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
  • Dismantle: Friday, March 31, 2017, early afternoon
  • Exhibiting Dates: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – Friday, March 31, 2017
  • Hours of Operation: Dates and times are subject to change without notice.

Registration and Payment:

  • To Exhibit, REGISTER ONLINE. Registering means you agree with the TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
  • Payment in full is due with ONLINE REGISTRATION. Pay by credit card or select “Bill Me” option to receive an invoice.
  • Space will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis beginning November 1, 2015.


Questions?  E-mail

(Check back for Exhibit Hall updates)

Maximize your exposure! Advertise in the conference final program.


  • Full-color advertising!
  • Exhibitors receive a 30% discount on all conference advertising.


  • Reserve final program ad space by February 3, 2017.
  • Submit art by February 20, 2017.
  • No cancellations/refunds after February 10, 2017.
  • All cancellations must be in writing.

Ad Rates and Options

Ad Type Size (Inches) Exhibitor Cost Non-Exhibitor Cost
Sixth Page 2.5 x 4.75 $210 $350
Quarter Page Vertical 3.37 x 4.75 $420 $675
Half Page Vertical 3.75 x 9.25 $840 $1,300
Half Page Horizontal 7.50 x 4.75 $840 $1,300
Full page (no bleed) 7.50 x 10.00 $1,680 $2,500
Full page (bleed) 8.75 x 11.25 $1,680 $2,500
Back Cover (no bleed) 7.50 x 7.000 to 8.000 $2,100 $3,450
Back Cover (bleed) 8.75 x 7.25 to 8.25 $2,100 $3,450

Note: Rates include ad space in the conference final program.

Registration and Payment:

  • To Advertise, REGISTER ONLINE. Registering means you agree with the TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
  • Payment in full is due with ONLINE REGISTRAITON. Pay by credit card or select “Bill Me” option to receive an invoice.


Questions?  E-mail

Can’t be with us in person, but have a message for conference attendees? Send fliers, brochures and other material for our Take-One tables in the Exhibit Hall and/or near Conference Registration.

Cost: $300.00 per set of items

General Shipping Instructions

  • Clearly label all boxes.
  • Ship by traceable means.
  • Leftover items will not be returned.
  • Materials should not arrive earlier than Monday, March 27, 2017.

Registration and Payment

  • For Take-One Exhibiting, REGISTER ONLINE. Registering means you agree to the TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
  • Payment in full is due with ONLINE REGISTRATION. Pay by credit card or select “Bill Me” option to receive an invoice.


Questions?  E-mail

We look forward to seeing you in Washington!