Pre-conference #1: TBRI

Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) is a holistic approach that is multi-disciplinary, flexible, attachment-centered, and challenging. It is an evidence-based, trauma-informed intervention that is specifically designed for children who come from hard places, such as maltreatment, abuse, neglect, multiple home placements, and violence, but you’ll see that the principles apply to all children. TBRI® consists of three sets of harmonious principles: Connecting, Empowering, and Correcting Principles. TBRI® principles have been used in homes, schools, residential facilities, orphanages, and several other settings. They are designed for use with children and youth of all ages and all risk levels. TBRI® is effective because it is founded in research and theory and is based upon how optimal development should have occurred. By helping caregivers understand what should have happened in early development, TBRI® principles guide children and youth back to their natural developmental trajectory.

Pre-conference #2: Becoming a Serving Spouse

Becoming A Serving Spouse will help couples re-prioritize their marriage by discovering 4 valuable keys to create a healthy and successful marriage.Participants will: a) Reprioritize their relationship with one another, b) Learn how serving one another creates a deep lasting marriage, and c) Discover simple steps to creating longevity and health.

Navigating Sibling Dynamics

Chuck Hagele, MBA

Sibling relationships are complicated. Fostering and adoption make it harder. One child often needs more parent time due to physical or emotional needs. Disrupted age order, arguments about “real” and vying for the attention of exhausted parents make things even more complicated. This session explores steps parents can take to form sibling identity and unity while serving the unique needs of each child.

Out of Home Care for Hurting Kids

Chuck Hagele & Tamara Bolthouse

Your child has a history of trauma. You’ve sought therapeutic services to meet their needs. But your child’s behavior is escalating and nothing is working. What’s next? Is an out of home placement needed? This workshop will address: 1. How do you know it’s time? 2. How to select a program. 3. What’s important as you and your child go through the program? 4. Transitioning your child home.

30 Strategies for Parents of Children with FASD

Karen Anderson

30 strategies for parenting or working with children and adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Understanding the brain differences and the need for alternative approaches, with real-life examples from parents.

Single Parenting – Don’t just survive, thrive!

Molly Ford, RN, MSN, ARNP

Come and make connections with other single foster/adopt parents! We will create a support network, share ideas for making this journey easier, and make some plans for self-care!

ADHD + Impulsivity = Parent Anxiety!

Pam Shepard, LCSW

Information will be presented on how ADHD and impulsivity symptoms intersect with trauma and how at times are misdiagnosed. Complex developmental trauma can look like ADHD, ODD and Impulsivity. Practical parenting tools will be offered to help identify, manage and co-regulate these symptoms. Concrete techniques and strategies will be offered to help parents remain calm and sane!

Lying, Cheating and Stealing! What do I do?

Pam Shepard, LCSW

Children and adolescent brains are actually quite impulsive. Their instinct is to protect themselves and their survival skills take over. Unfortunately, this creates a break in trust between parents and child. As parents we need to respond to our children’s need to protect themselves in a structured but loving and nurturing way. Leveling our response at the behavior and not the child is a TBRI approach that works well for issues like lying, cheating and stealing.

Parents as Agents of Change: Connection and Co-regulation

Paris Goodyear-Brown, LCSW, RPT-S

Foster and adoptive parents can change the world one interaction at a time. As parents learn to become the secure base and the safe haven for the children in their care, children grow in connectedness. This workshop will unpack the underlying needs of children and will include many practical ways that caregivers can provide regulating interactions for their children while becoming better co-regulators themselves.

African-American Hair Care

Tamekia Swint

We will be discussing basics parents need to know about African-American Hair Care including the types and textures of hair for girls and boys and how to care for it. This also includes a hands on demonstration of how to do various protective hair styles followed by a Q/A session.

The Other Four Letter F Word…FEAR

Lisa Jarot, MA

“The path to your greatest potential is often straight through your greatest fear.” -Craig Groeschel
What if we can’t afford adoption? What if we have to wait years to be matched? What if we can’t handle the needs of our child? What if the birthparents change their minds? What if the child doesn’t “feel” like ours? What if others don’t accept him/her? What if open adoption is not what I want? What if I don’t have the support network to parent kids from hard places?
Do you feel called to adoption, foster care, or Safe Families but fear has you crippled? My journey has taken me down several paths I never wanted to travel and I have come out on the other end a different person, I would argue, a better person. However, it hasn’t been without the conscious choice to get uncomfortable and step out in faith many, many times. Throughout the course of our journey to adopt I have come face to face with some of my greatest fears and lived to tell about it. If you are like me and fear has you living in the “what if’s” joins us as we share stories of finding our way through the fear.

Connecting While Correcting

Daren Jones, LMSW

This session will apply Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) to explore strategies for creating a safe, healing environment in which children can learn new successful behavioral skills. By exploring times of misbehavior in the context of a holistic environment, it is possible to actually enhance the parent-child relationship even during “discipline”. This session will explore specific insights and strategies for building a joyful connection while correcting behavior.

Caring For Yourself While Caring For Children From Trauma

Kristin Berry

Caring for children from trauma is hard and it takes a toll on the parent as well. We must learn to care for ourselves so that we can effectively care for our children.

Creating Connections

Jim Claussen, DC

Is your child displaying attachment issues? Does your child have trouble regulating their emotions? Are there issues with sensory processing, sleeping or any food regulated issues? If you answer yes to any of these questions know that you are not alone on your journey. Join Dr. Jim Claussen at this workshop where he will discuss how early neurological programming, including in-utero stimulus effects a child’s brain & nervous system hard-wiring.  You will leave with hands on tools that will help you establish connections with the children in your life.

Ministering To Families In Crisis

Mike Berry

If you’re part of the foster and adoptive journey, chances are, you know someone who is in crisis, or has been through crisis with their family. How do you help? What’s appropriate and inappropriate? In this session, we will walk through key steps to helping families who are in a state of crisis.

How Do I Find Hope When I’m Frustrated, Defeated, And Exhausted

Mike Berry

Hope is a word that can fill you up or leave you defeated (if you don’t have any). But how do you find it on the foster and adoptive journey, especially when you’re in a constant battle with the state, your case manager, therapists, your children, and so much more? We will talk about how to find hope in this session.

Raising Kids with Challenging Behavior

Cindy Lee, LCSW

The most common reason caregivers seek help from professionals is due to behaviors they are seeing in their child. Often they have tried everything and there is no change in behavior and in many cases the behavior has gotten more intense! In this session, we will develop an understanding of many common challenging behaviors and examine some strategies you can use at home to address them.

How Healing Occurs for Children From Hard Places

Cindy Lee, LCSW

Often caregivers and professionals are working diligently to change behavior which becomes the central focus of time in therapy. Indeed, this is a priority – but what about the bigger picture? What does healing look like for children from hard places? It healing possible and if so, how do we get there? This session will address the ultimate goal of healing and what it takes to get there.

What to do in the waiting

JJ Blandford, LCSW

While we enter into the adoption or foster care journey expecting to wait, the length of that wait can at times seem unbearable. Our hope is that in this breakout session, we’ll give you tools to help your season of waiting be purposeful. We’ll be sharing our experiences as mothers who waited to encourage you on your journey.

Is It Sensory or Is it Behavior?

Yvonne Swinth, PhD

Many children who have experienced trauma, who have been exposed to drugs/alcohol in utero or who have a diagnosis such as ADD/ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder have unique behaviors that do not respond to typical behavior management strategies. Often these children have sensory issues that are impacting the child’s ability to respond. This session will provide an overview of sensory issues and some practical strategies to address these issues in the home, school and community.

How Do We Play? Building Play Routines in the Home

Yvonne Swinth, PhD

Play promotes key abilities that enable children to learn successfully and can help develop children’s self-regulation, symbolic thinking, memory, and language — all critical to learning, social competence, and school success. But many children in foster care do not know how to play or come to us with so many needs that it is hard to build play into the family routine. This session will give practical suggestions for play within the busyness of family life and transitions.

7 Lessons From His Word

Michele Schneidler

Foster and adoptive parents wrestle with similar challenges on the foster care and adoption journey. As a ministry leader and foster/adoptive mom for 15 years, Michele aims to share her top 7 lessons inspired by God’s Word that have proven to help many parents through difficult times.

Talking with Kids About The Hard Parts Of Their Story

Michele Schneidler

“Mama, was it drugs that made me sick?” Talking about past trauma brings healing but our child’s narrative has been broken, fragmented and disconnected. This workshop discusses the “whys and hows” of helping a child talk about his history. Walk away with strategies on how to share the difficult truth at various ages and stages.

“If Not Me, Then Who?” Exploring Our Motives for Placement

Andrew & Michele Schneidler

Considering adding more children to your family? Feeling bad about saying no to a placement? Michele and Andrew help families explore motivation, readiness, and long term impact a placement might have on the family. Parents will walk away with practical tools to help make the best decision for their family’s well being. The Schneidlers cover potential warning signs that fuel decisions which could place undue hardship on a current family unit.

Loving The Broken People of a Broken System

Jamie Finn

Foster parenting is an exercise of sacrificial love. As foster parents, we know that we are called to love our foster children, but what about all of the other broken people in this broken system? This workshop will explore Biblical encouragements, real-life experience, and practical strategies for engaging with and, ultimately, loving our foster children’s biological parents, social workers, judges, and other foster parents.

As Real As It Gets

Amanda Barton & Kia Barton

As Real As It Gets ……..Listen in as Amanda and her daughter Kia talk about their experience of being a mixed race family created through adoption 18 years ago. Now a successful young adult, Kia is willing to let you listen in as she tells her story including what her parents did well and what could have/should have been done differently. Topics covered will include everything from hair and skin care, searching for birth family, challenging teen years, dating, attachment and launching into adulthood. Questions for either of them/both of them from the audience will be welcomed.

Engaging your school


FThis panel discussion will focus on basic principles to consider when thinking through the common sensory and emotional needs adoptive children face within an academic context, and how to navigate accessing and utilizing these resources in the school. Listen to the perspectives of parents, social worker, occupational therapist, and principal as they highlight some basic guidelines and leave room for your questions. Specifics to be covered include: common emotional and sensory needs that impact academic functioning (Laura McElwee), how to access services and the difference between an IEP and 504, an overview of social work services (Ryan Hurley), OT services (Linda Neuharth) and overall guidelines for how to best advocate for your children in the school setting (Nathan Jarot).