2008: Hooray for Kids!

New York State Foster Care and Adoption Conferences

19th Annual Foster Care and Adoption Conference

Thursday, May 8 – Saturday, May 10, 2008 • Albany Marriott

2008 adoption conference
Click to view the Coalition’s 2016 Conference Brochure

Hooray for Kids!, the Coalition’s 19th annual statewide conference, provided an opportunity for everyone in the adoption and foster care community to join in celebration of children and youth. Given the challenges facing parents, family members, and child welfare and related professionals today, we sometimes get stuck on the difficulties of meeting our children’s many needs. The conference was designed to encourage participants to celebrate kids’ strengths, to recognize successes and progress, and to view any glass as half full instead of half empty.

Additional conference features included a half-day Institute, “Mentoring in Child Welfare,” on Thursday afternoon and an inspiring performance by the band “FLAME”; a group from upstate New York made up of people with developmental/physical disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, and blindness.

2008 Conference Workshops and Handouts

The following contains workshop descriptions and links to workshop handouts from the Coalition’s 2008 Foster Care and Adoption Conference. Audio versions of the 2008 Conferences workshops can be purchased with this order form.

1. Can We Fix This Child? – A survival tool kit to help parents and professionals understand the impact of trauma on child development and deal effectively with difficult behaviors. Dee Paddock. Workshop Handouts:


2. Parenting Children with Developmental Disabilities: My Story – The challenges, successes, hurdles, and fears families of children with developmental disabilities must address throughout childhood and into adulthood. Janice Fitzgerald, Parent to Parent of New York State


3. Straight Talk for Kids: How to help children hear and understand difficult information about their past and their birth families by using developmentally appropriate “tough truth.” Maris Blechner, Family Focus Adoption Services


4. Restoration of Parental Rights after TPR – For some foster care youth, permanency may mean returning to birth parents after termination of parental rights. When does it make sense to restore parental rights? Legal issues and case examples considered. Barry Chaffkin, CT Wocat


5. Kinship Care in New York State – What We Know and Where We Want to Go: A profile of kinship families throughout the state and the challenges they face. Recommendations for model practices and solutions to identified challenges. Gerard Wallace, New York State Kinship Navigator


6. Choosing a Good Therapist-Or Becoming One – What essential things do adopted or foster children and their families need in a good therapist? How to know when therapy is needed. Dee Paddock, Workshop Handouts:


7. Recruitment and Retention: Two Sides of the Same Coin – Part I – Effective recruitment methods and the care and feeding of prospective adoptive parents. Zena Oglesby, Institute for Black Parenting


8. Emerging Adulthood: Adolescent Development and Service Needs – How brain development affects adolescent behaviors and readiness for “independent” living. A compelling argument for services and supports for foster care youth even after age 21. Rosemary Avery, Cornell University.


9. Empowered Transition: Moving Children into Successful Adoption – The child and prospective family each have their own advocates and are equal participants in this transition process. Techniques, underlying beliefs, and practical advice for making it work! Jack Brennan, Joanne Ferrante, Lisa Binder, Family Focus Adoption Services. Workshop Handouts.


10. Blogs and Wikis and Lists: Putting Internet Tools to Work for You – How to use new internet tools for easier, more efficient, and more effective communication. Diane Hillmann; Susan Collins, New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children, Inc.


11. Parenting Adopted Teens into Their Adult Years – How does parenting change as children become adolescents? What are the challenges? Techniques to support and guide young adults through challenging times. Dee Paddock. Workshop Handouts:


12. Recruitment and Retention: Two Sides of the Same Coin – Part II – Effective recruitment methods and the care and feeding of prospective adoptive parents. Zena Oglesby, Institute for Black Parenting


13. Loss and Learning: The Impact of Loss in the Classroom – How children’s previous losses affect their ability to be successful in school, and what they need to succeed. Strategies for educating the educators. Joan Clark


14. Xtreme Adoption: Adopting Youth Over Age 18 – No matter how old they are, every youth in foster care needs a permanent family. Parents and the youth over 18 they adopted tell their stories. Panel. Chester Jackson, You Gotta Believe!, Moderator


15. Truth Is Better Than Fiction: Openness in Adoption – Open adoptions, opening a closed adoption, increased openness in adoption… New ways of thinking that benefit kids-and families. Sue Badeau, Philadelphia Children’s Commission. Workshop Handouts:


16. Ages and Stages of Adoption: A Child’s Journey – A tour of child development, focusing on how children perceive their belonging, how and when they grieve, and how they form their sense of self. Holly van Gulden


17. Foster Parent Rights: What is the impact of a new change in New York State law that assures the right of foster parents to attend permanency hearings? What other rights do foster parents have? Margaret Burt.  Workshop Handouts:


18. Finding a Fit That Will Last a Lifetime – What is best practice in matching waiting children with adoptive families? Learn what is most effective in bringing children and families together. Sarah GerstenzangNew York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children.  Workshop Handouts:


19. Becoming Your Own Best Friend and Managing Stress – Some theory and lots of practical advice for how to take care of yourself on the bad days-and the good days! Maris Blechner, Family Focus Adoption Services


20. Family Size in Adoption/Foster Care: How Many Kids Are Too Many? – Considerations of parental resources, family supports, and other issues related to family size in adoption and foster care. How to know when enough is enough. Sue Badeau, Philadelphia Children’s Commission. Workshop Handouts:


21. Living with an Angry Child – Unresolved loss and/or poor attachment can result in angry responses, non-compliance, and rage. Techniques to avoid continual battles, de-escalate rage, and establish a joyful family environment. Holly van Gulden.  Workshop Handouts:


22. Children’s Presence in Permanency Hearings – Judges must now “consult” with children in permanency hearings. How foster parents can encourage effective participation by children and related issues. Margaret Burt.  Workshop Handouts:


23. Considering Our Own Aging: Adoptive Parents Speak – Will our kids be prepared to be on their own when we are at the end of life? What will give us peace when we look back at our whole adoption journey?Panel. Joyce Wilcox, Adoptive Families of Older Children


24. Foster Care to Adoption: Eliminating the “Drift” – How to plan and celebrate the transition from foster care to adoption. Why do foster families need rituals and support as much as “new” adoptive families? Maris Blechner, Family Focus Adoption Services


25. Becoming a Service Detective – How to uncover available services and information resources, understand public and private service systems, and ask for help effectively. Susan Collins, New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children. Workshop Handouts:


26. Keeping Healthy Siblings Healthy – Healthy siblings seldom receive enough attention and support when another child acts out. What are healthy children’s needs in times of crisis? Holly van Gulden. Workshop Handouts:


27. Negotiating Conditional Surrenders – How will new appellate court decisions impact conditional surrender negotiations? How to advocate a good agreement for post adoption birth family contact. Margaret Burt. Workshop Handouts:


28. Youth in Progress: “Getting Solid!” – Current and former foster care youth from the Youth in Progress leadership team explore the different paths they choose to find permanency in their lives. Panel. Joanne Trinkle, Moderator


29. Finding Each Other: Adoptees Search for Birthparents – Both domestic and international adoptees are successful in finding their birth families. A discussion of why they searched and what they found. Panel. Suzanne d’Aversa, Parsons Child and Family Center, Moderator


30. Maintaining Commitment When a Child Can’t Live at Home – Practical help for parents whose children cannot live at home, including maintaining communication, coping with “helpers,” and staying sane. Diane Hillmann


Make sure you sign up for the Coalition’s Newsletter to receive important updates on the upcoming Conference.
Support the Coalition though membership or donations and help us continue this important work.

Want or need more information? Contact us at info@affcny.org or call our main office at (646) 688-4321.

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