20 annual adoption and foster care conference

2009: Commitment Counts!

New York State Foster Care and Adoption Conferences

20th Annual Foster Care and Adoption Conference

Thursday, May 7 – Saturday, May 9, 2009 • Albany Marriott

2009 new york  foster care and adoption conference
Click to view the Coalition’s 2009 Conference Brochure

Commitment Counts!, our 20th annual statewide foster care/adoption conference, focused on multiple commitments – from the state, counties, agencies, caseworkers, and families – to those that they serve and/or care for, in order that children in foster care or who have been adopted can truly thrive.  Nationally known speakers and 30 workshop presenters, selected for their knowledge and expertise, reflected on emotional and professional commitments and assisted participants to gain perspective, increase skills, and learn to appreciate the positives.

Additional conference features included a half-day Institute, “Preparing Adoptive Parents,” on Thursday afternoon and a showing of the  inspiring film, “A Place Between – The Story of an Adoption,” on Friday evening.

2009 Conference Workshops

The following contains workshop descriptions and links to workshop handouts from the 2009 Foster Care and Adoption Conference. Audio recordings can be ordered using this form.

Institute: Thursday, May 7, 2009, Preparing Adoptive Parents 

This half-day workshop, based on a paper developed by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute,  emphasizes the critical importance of preparation, guidelines for what preparation should include, the need for preparation to extend beyond placement and even finalization, and how to help parents accept “hard truths”  Jeanne Howard


1. Preparing Children for Adoption – What can we do to help children move psychologically to an adoptive family? Denise Goodman


2. The “Hardest” Children: Post Adoption Support – What is our obligation to families adopting children with histories of loss and trauma? Lessons from an adoption preservation program in a large Midwestern state provides a template for services. Jeanne Howard


3. Ethical Decision-Making in Adoption and Foster Care – How do caseworkers make ethical choices when there are often conflicting interests? Case examples will be used to structure the discussion in this conversation. Barbara Holtan


4. Working with Kinship Families – Daily lifestyle changes that kinship caregivers, children and birth parents experience and suggestions for working with these families. Wendy Neilson


 5. The Dollar Value of Adoption – A dollar spent on the adoption of a child from foster care yields about three dollars in benefits. An economic model shows where and how these savings occur. Mary Hansen


6. Saying Goodbye: Separation and Loss in Foster Parenting – Much attention is paid to the loss children in care experience. However, we often forget that foster parents also grieve when children leave their home.Donna Cox


7. Educational Planning for Children Discharged from Residential Care – Planning steps that should be taken prior to discharge; students’ rights with respect to re-enrollment in their previous schools; consent for special education and updated evaluations; placements for children with disabilities; and more! Cara Chambers


8. Current Adoption Research That You Should Know About but Don’t Have Time to Read! Learn about the latest adoption research findings in a fun and interactive workshop. Madelyn Freundlich


 9. Wendy’s Wonderful Kids: Early Evaluation Results – An innovative model, funded nationally by the Dave Thomas Foundation, for achieving older child adoption and results of this effort. Rita Soronen and Karin Malm


10. Access to Foster Care and Adoption Records – What does New York State law and policy say about storing foster care and adoption records? Under what circumstances can children who were in foster care or who have been adopted access their records? Michael Neff


11. Impact of Abuse/Neglect on Child Development – How does a history of trauma affect a child’s development? And what can parents do to remediate some of the impact? Denise Goodman


12. Navigating the School-Age Special Education System – The special education referral, evaluation and placement process: relevanttimelines; the law regarding consent for evaluations and services; key players and documents; and how to troubleshoot common problems. Cara Chambers


13. Adoption from a Distance – Children are adopted across state lines every day in the United States. How can we make this work cost effectively for children and families? Maris Blechner


14. Bridges to Health (B2H) – B2H is the first Medicaid Waiver Program in the nation to exclusively serve children in foster care with serious emotional disturbances, developmental disabilities and medical fragility. How’s it working? Mimi Weber and Sherri Romano


15. Hitting the MARC: Establishing Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children – An economic model developed to determine adequate payments to foster parents for the children in their care and its implications for federal and state policy and advocacy. Julie Farber


16. Beneath the Mask: Adoption Through the Eyes of Adolescents – How adoption influences the normal tasks of adolescence: separation from parents, identity formation, and sexuality. Emotional and behavioral issues at home and at school will be addressed. Debbie Riley


17. Psychiatric Issues in Children – Children who enter a family after birth often have psychological scars. And some children are born with a predisposition to mental illness. When should families seek treatment when a child seems depressed or explosive? Dr. Anthony Malone


18. Understanding Child Sexual Abuse – Explore some of the myths and facts surrounding child sexual abuse and get an introduction to this topic. Ron Robinson


19. Foster Care to Adoption – Most children adopted from foster care are adopted by their foster parents – a significant emotional and legal shift for parents and children. How can we give this transition the attention it deserves? Maris Blechner


20. Foster Parent Rights – a Review! What is the impact of a NYS law that assures the right of foster parents to attend permanency hearings? What other rights do foster parents have? Margaret Burt


21. Helping Parents Deal with the Tough Questions – What do children understand about adoption at different developmental stages? And how can parents use this information to share what they perceive to be difficult, negative, or painful? Debbie Riley


22. Developmental Issues in Children – Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Mental Retardation – what are developmental issues and how do they impact a child’s ability to learn and function? How are developmental issues diagnosed and what supports are available for families? Dr. Anthony Malone


23. Different Times, Different Places: A Cross-Cultural and Historical Perspective on Adoption and Foster Care – We can learn from adoption/foster care practices through the ages and in cultures throughout the world. Implications for more sensible, improved practices today. John Sobraske


24. Parent and Child Groups: Learning to Have Fun! A unique post-adoption support group works on building parent-child relationships through fun… and addresses issues at the same time! Priscillia Gore and Michael Jefferson


25. New Placement Options for Children – Several new statues create different legal placement options for children, particularly with relatives. Margaret Burt


26. ADHD: Understand and Celebrate Your Energetically-Gifted ChildAn overview including key symptoms, possible causes, and common diagnostic and treatment methods with practical parenting strategies that build on the strengths of children with ADHD. Helen Shin


27. Healthy Transitions for Youth with Developmental DisabilitiesThe Healthy Transitions curriculum helps youth transition from pediatric to adult health care. Learn from our statewide and national discussions with youth, families and physicians.Jeffrey Tamburo


28. Allegations Happen!Foster and adoptive parents are vulnerable to allegations of maltreatment. Come learn some tips to preventing and surviving this stressful experience. Don Bowersox and Susie Collins


29. Keeping Your Commitment Can we predict whether commitment to a child from a prospective parent will be shallow, conditional, or real? How? What is the impact on our kids when we don’t or when we are wrong?Jack Brennan and Michele Juda


30. Legal Rights of FathersTerminations, Adoptions and Surrenders – a review of father’s rights. Margaret Burt


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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