Presenters: John Kelly, Co-Executive Director, Fostering Media Connections; Katie Olse, CEO, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services
The footprint of traditional daily newspapers has shrunk since news became a high-velocity world that largely takes place online and on our phones. But a new generation of nonprofit newspapers and websites, along with specialty blogs and other sources, have expanded the number of eyes on the social safety net in Texas, including efforts to keep children safe and families supported. This session will cover raising awareness of child welfare issues and best practices, what lessons can be learned from other states, and how local and state media coverage impacts the culture and environment in which community organizations operate. Participants will learn how their organization can partner with nonprofit newspapers and websites to help grow communities that are well-informed about child and family policy and the critical role child and family-serving organizations play in keeping kids safe.
Presenter: Susan McDowell, Executive Director, Lifeworks
Leaders of high performing service organizations are increasingly called upon to take wider roles in reshaping local community systems, including those addressing child safety and homelessness. However, aligning your organization to create and support systems change can be a daunting journey. Susan McDowell, CEO of LifeWorks will discuss critical issues of organizational change and leadership in this process through the lens of LifeWorks leadership in Austin’s movement to End Youth Homelessness.
Presenter: Dawn Davenport, Executive Director, Creating a Family
Parent support groups, both in-person and virtual, are an effective way to support and retain foster, adoptive, and kinship families, and support residential settings. Join us to explore ethical considerations and innovative solutions for designing, implementing, and sustaining parent support groups. Participants will learn about the different types of parent support groups, what makes a high-quality, ethical support group (the answer may surprise you), how agencies can sustain parent groups, and avoid facilitator burnout to build lasting connections.
Presenter: Arnold Lee Valdez, BA, LCPAA, TBRI Educator, Director of Family Care Services, DePelchin Children’s Center
Many of us have lived through traumatic experiences and especially lately, many of these experiences are shared among us (the pandemic, February winter storm, Hurricane Harvey, etc.). This presentation will provide a foundational understanding of trauma and its developmental, behavioral, and emotional impacts as it affects us all and especially children who have been abused and neglected. A brief overview of brain development will help participants understand how the neurobiological effects of trauma negatively impact a child’s ability to develop healthy attachments, to learn, and to function on a daily basis. Strategies will be shared that caregivers can use to help guide these children back to their natural developmental trajectory and equip them to move toward positive outcomes in their adult lives, while learning to recognize and understand their own trauma.
Presenters: Rosa Pittman, Clinical Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Youth Villages, and Youth with Lived Experience
All of us need to feel personal connection with others and to be supported in a variety of ways. In this session, young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood will talk about what building connections with peers and adults was like before, during, and as we are coming out of the pandemic. They will share the successes and barriers they faced in building long term supportive bonds and information about how programs like Youth Villages’ LifeSet helped build skills to sustain these bonds.
Presenter: Jamerika Haynes-Lewis, Founder, Clever Jam Communications
This session will share skill-building activities and knowledge that will benefit child welfare professionals who are working with black girls and adolescents in the foster care system can use. Through research and storytelling, foster care alumna Jamerika Haynes shares how societal stereotypes impact black girls and adolescents in the system. Attendees will learn about the significance of these experiences and what they can do to best serve girls of color during and after foster care.