Monday, October 24, 2022 - 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Session B

B1 Redefining Leadership: The Makeup of an Intentional Leader in Child Welfare

Presenters: Justin and Alexis Black, Foster Care Alumni and Best-selling Authors, Redefining Normal

As professionals in the child welfare system, it is a duty to lead and provide opportunities for the youth we serve. Diligent work is required in order to restore confidence in youth and families and progress toward a more optimistic future. As leaders in this space, we must be able to teach and exemplify healthy strategies of communication, along with displaying methods of resourcefulness. Foster care alumni and best-selling authors of “Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat the Odds and Discovered Healing, Happiness and Love,” Justin and Alexis work to support professionals in their leadership journey of persevering through the barriers that the child welfare system offers. This session will equip attendees with the ability to nurture leadership skills and abilities for the families and youth they serve. 

B2 Youth Suicide Risk and Assessment

Presenter: Nicole Klasey, Consulting Psychologist, Klasey Consulting LLC

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth aged 15-24. It’s crucial for social service and behavioral health providers to learn how to assess suicide. Providers will learn what to do if a youth endorses suicidal ideation and how to foster protective factors.  Many traumatized youth struggle to regulate their emotions and may make suicidal threats so it’s crucial for providers to discern if a youth is suicidal, and if so, how to intervene. Proper intervention is necessary to effectively support youth. The workshop will include lecture, small group discussion, large group discussion, and multimedia.   

B3 Components of a Therapeutic Residential Treatment Model - Helping Hand Home for Children Model for Healing

Presenter: Christopher Janawicz, LCCA, Director of Residential Services, Helping Hand Home for Children

This presentation will highlight all the various program areas that make up Helping Hand Home for Children’s model for healing and show how it contributes to the whole model. Areas covered range from Philosophical Approach, Attachment Theory practices, Safe and Therapeutic EBI, and Establishing a culture of teamwork and support.Attendees will learn how they can apply the principles and practices of Helping Hand Home for Children’s therapeutic residential treatment model to design and implement policies and practices in their own organizations that promote safety, healing, and wellbeing of children and staff.  

B4 Foster Care Rate Modernization

Presenters: Anna Marshall, Project Coordinator, Foster Care Rate Modernization, and Kaysie Taccetta, Finance Manager, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Attendees will learn the history of why the foster care rates are being modernized and why it is important to establish a well-defined service continuum that meets the needs of the foster care population. Attendees will learn how the new foster care rates and service continuum recognizes and compensates caregivers and providers for delivering high-quality services to our foster children, as well as how stakeholder input informed the project. 

B5 Creating Belonging for Youth in Care

Presenter: Gaelin Elmore, Former Foster Youth, Speaker, Facilitator, Lived Experience Expert, Gaelin Speaks

Through large and small group discussion, activities, and stories, providers will walk away from this breakout with fresh perspective and ways to create belonging for the youth you encounter. We are all on our own journey to belong to a family, a group of people, or both. What separates foster youth from everyone else is that, for one reason or another, their most immediate and safest bet to belong (their family) is no longer available to them. The deepest desire for every foster youth can be simplified into two categories: 1. To be back with the people they believe they belong with (their family). Or 2. To find a family, place, or group of people, in which they belong to. In order to create a space where youth can find belonging, we must start with understanding belonging. Only then can we focus on implementing. In this breakout, while continuing off the CARE model, we will work to obtain a baseline understanding of belonging and begin brainstorming ways to implement belonging for youth in care. Through large and small group discussion, activities, and stories, walk away from this breakout with fresh perspective and ways to create belonging for the youth you encounter.  

B6 Making Unadoptable Unacceptable

Presenters: Brie Lusheck, Senior Manager of Business Development and Government Relations, The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption; Randy Neff, Vice President of Permanency, 2INgage; and Katy Bourgeois, Vice President of Systems Advancement, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services

In response to more than 20,000 youth each year aging out of foster care in the United States, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption launched its signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® (WWK) in 2004. WWK is an evidence-based, child-focused recruitment model created to help find families for those children most at risk of aging out of care. In this session, child welfare professionals will explore the current expansion of WWK across Texas. In conjunction with state and local SSCC (Single-source Continuum Contractor) leadership share information regarding expansion of the child-focused recruitment model including readiness and initial implementation considerations and lessons learned. Finally, we will discuss the next steps in continuing to scale the WWK program across the state.

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