Child Welfare and Adoption Professionals

Both Sides of the Story: Perspectives on Foster and Adoptive Parenting from Parents and their Kids

Much effort is spent on recruiting more foster and adoptive parents. But what are the characteristics of great parenting and how do we help ourselves and others aspire to this greatness? Come engage in a discussion with former foster youth and their foster/adoptive parents to glean the most important lessons they’ve learned.

(Facilitated by: Johnston Moore, Writer, Speaker, & Advocate.  Joined by: Cecil & Boone Stokes, Fost/Adopt Father & Son; Pam & Trent Taylor, Fost/Adopt Mother & Son; Bishop Aaron Blake & Diego Fuller, Fost/Adopt Father & Son.)

Caring for Children with a History of Sexual Abuse: Eight Skills Caregivers and Parents Need to Know

This workshop will examine nine skills needed by parents, caregivers – anyone who touches the life of a child with a history of sexual abuse.

(Jayne Schooler, Back2Back Ministries)

Church and State Partnerships in Foster Care

Let’s be honest – whether you are a social worker or a member of the faith community, you have a least some reservations about working with “the other side.” Learn from those who have seen great results from these vital partnerships and have lived to tell about it. Hear seasoned veterans talk about initial reservations, successes, and missteps – all of which will help you gain confidence as you move ahead for the sake of the kids. This session is ideal for child welfare professionals, non-profit leaders, and church ministries.

(Tom Lukasik, 4 Kids of South FL; Rhonda Littleton, A Home for Me; Felicia Mason- Edwards, DFPS TX; Ryan Kelly, America’s Kids Belong)

Compassion Fatigue: How to Incorporate Fun into Your Workplace Culture

Child Welfare workers are at risk for compassion fatigue. This training will explore how we can incorporate fun into our office culture, amid the stress of the work. In this workshop, we will share our own journey through compassion fatigue and how play and fun have retained our staff and lifted spirits. Come and be entertained – as well as experience how fun can bring balance to the work! Think “Jimmy Fallon” but on a non-profit budget.

(Anna Thompson & Katie Bass, Olive Crest)

Discipleship and Foster Care

Even though foster care is not mentioned directly in the Bible, it is one of the greatest opportunities for churches to direct a discipleship making movement. Come learn how a Biblical effort in your church, intentionally targeted at child welfare, can produce those who depend more on Jesus. Intentional experiential pathways of deepening opportunities can help put faith into action – while also seeing a transformation of a community. For child welfare practitioners, come learn from experts in faith engagement on how your desire to get more families from churches can lead to the detriment of what is best for the Church.

(Chris Campbell, 111Project)

Parenting Your Child Who May Have an FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)

Many moms and dads who are parenting an adopted or foster child from backgrounds of early trauma and multiple risk factors are struggling with a child who has a disability that falls under the umbrella term of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). In this session, both parents and professionals will learn characteristics of the four diagnoses within FASD, as well as practical application strategies and resources to have a more productive and peaceful home. Parents will be encouraged with ways to maintain the health of their family in the midst of chaotic behavior and how they can develop the stamina for the long haul – meeting their child’s needs well into the adult years.

(Alan & Debra Jones, Parent Invention & Training)

Promoting and Experiencing Joy and Laughter in the Midst of Trauma

Working with children and families from hard places takes a toll. Too often we become so emotionally spent, burned-out, or drained of the hope that first brought us to serve. We need to recognize that we must experience joy ourselves, hold onto it, and then bring that hope to others. Laugh today as you learn the practical, measurable, and tangible value of joy and laughter. See the value personally and recognize the impact on every relationship in your life. Learn how laughter can dramatically and positively influence your family, ministry, workplace, and church. Experiencing joy, celebrating life, and even smiling in the midst of pain and hardship is absolutely essential. It is not a hopeful byproduct of circumstance. It is a necessary and healthy expression of the joy that comes from the hope we have in a God who loves His children. Learn how to avoid being a mirror of the culture – reflecting back the hurt, pain, discouragement, and defeat that you see every day. Instead, identify how to experience joy and strive to bring a smile, warmth, and a spirit of laughter to the world around you.

(Bill Williams & Ryan Stanton, Compass)

Raising Black Children in a Multi-Racial Family

How can you equip your family to battle against the stereotypes and negative impact of society? How can you prepare them for challenges they’ll face beyond your home? How can you help them form a secure racial identity alongside a Godly identity that is larger than race alone? Join this interactive conversation with mothers and fathers and leave empowered with specific guidance and wisdom for your family’s needs.

(Faciliated by: Clarkston Morgan, Our Daily Bread Ministries & Ambassador Consultants. Joined by: LaKendra Morgan; Julian Goodson, Bethany Christian Services & Thoughts of a Foster Dad, LLC; Stacey Goodson, Child Welfare Professional & Foster/Adoptive Mom.)

Shrinking the Problem: Three Simple Ways to Engage “Crisis”

Sometimes the problem feels really big, and our people feel really small. They don’t know where to start, what to do, or if they can really make a difference at all in the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children. And if we’re honest, sometimes as leaders we don’t know what to do or where to start either. In this workshop, you will discover language, strategies, and tools you can use to help your people grasp and engage with the big and complex issues of orphaned and vulnerable children in simple, practical ways. As a leader, you will walk away with a plan of action, a new framework of language, and some clear and simple next steps you can immediately implement in your ministry that will help move your people from feeling paralyzed to empowered. If you have a passion to see more people in your church step into this ministry with clarity and confidence, then this workshop is for you.

(Jason Johnson, CAFO)

Teaching Kids to Bounce Back!

Resilience can be learned – and research shows that it is the key to healing from hard times and for facing future challenges. Join us for “Helping Kids Bounce Back!” – an interactive workshop to learn practical skills and tools for providing childcare programs to kids with emotional and behavioral challenges. You will learn important safety considerations, scheduling do’s and don’ts, and fun activities that teach kids that they can “bounce back” from hard times.

(Deb Lukasiewicz, Finally Home)

The Beauty of Relational Transformation

What, if anything, does beauty have to do with orphan care? So much of life is automatically framed in terms of answering the question, “What is the problem and how do we solve it?” Wired through our experiences, our brains tend to pay attention to the world in this way. This is not unhelpful insofar as it provides one way of interpreting the world as it is, especially when it comes to caring for the orphan. But there is an additional way that the brain longs to attune to the minds of our children that asks instead the question, “What is the next new beautiful thing that you want to create?” This query directs our minds with curiosity to beauty, opening our imaginations toward that which we most deeply long for ourselves and our children. In this workshop, we will explore how, as Dostoevsky wrote, beauty will save the world—transforming our relationships along the way.

(Curt Thompson, Being Known and author of Anatomy of the Soul and The Soul of Shame)

The Cost of Poverty Experience

The Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE) serves as a disruptor of the status quo, catalyst for paradigm shifts, and springboard for collaborative community action in holistically caring for children and families in crisis. COPE was developed with low-income individuals who shared their story to give participants an opportunity to move beyond stereotypes to a deeper understanding of the causes and effects of poverty. COPE gives participants an opportunity to experience simulated poverty firsthand through the eyes of real families. The experiential nature of this training helps churches, communities, and individuals more deeply understand the complexities of poverty. This paves the way for more meaningful and empathic relationships and connections created by working across all levels of engagement with vulnerable families and children.

The Nuts and Bolts of Bridge Building in Foster Care

When a group of churches and local organizations start dreaming together about how to help local child welfare transform foster care in a community, often a bridge ministry is born. These ministries navigate the waters between church and state and fill needed gaps in the local foster care landscape. Whether you are part of an existing bridge ministry, or have something brewing in your community, this workshop will expose you to the primary functions of a bridge ministry and the components you should be considering as you grow. Your guides on this journey are experienced leaders helping to run bridge ministries across the country.

(Jason Weber, CAFO; Andrew Holland, Hope Fort Worth; Lauri Currier, The CALL; Philip Pattison, Foster the Bay; Janet Rowland, Project 1.27; Katie O’Dell, AZ 1.27)

Understanding & Overcoming Childhood Trauma

By better understanding how childhood trauma affects children who have been trafficked, as well as those in our foster care system, we can better instill resilience in our children and teens. This presentation will be geared towards the growing ministry population – including foster parents, mentors, churches, ministry leaders, and missionaries involved in direct care. It is also highly applicable to the advanced population of attendees. We will cover the basics of what childhood trauma entails, what the ACE score is and why it is important to assess, how childhood trauma exponentially increases the vulnerabilities traffickers and exploiters look for, and how resilience can be built in the lives of foster children to greatly decrease the likelihood of exploitation and/or help children and teens heal from past traumas.

(Christa Lynn, One More Child)

Until There’s More Than Enough: What Foster Care Movement Looks Like in Your County

A healthy faith-based local foster care movement involves a lot of different individuals and organizations with a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise. This session will introduce you to the basic philosophies, relationships, and ingredients necessary in local foster care movement building. A team of experts from various entities, who have seen thriving foster care movements start and grow in their own states, will be there to share their insights and answer your questions. This workshop is ideal for child welfare professionals, non-profit leaders, and church ministries.

(Facilitated by: Jason Weber, CAFO. Joined by: Andy Cook, Promise686; Shelly Radic, Project 1.27; Bishop Aaron Blake, Harvest Family Life; Sharen Ford, Focus on the Family; & Kevin Enders, 4KIDS.)