New York's Foster Care and Adoption 2013 Conference

2013: Possibilities!

New York State Foster Care and Adoption Conferences

24th Annual Foster Care and Adoption Conference

Friday, May 10 – Saturday, May 11, 2013 • Albany Marriott

2013 possibilities new york  foster care and adoption conference
Click to view the Coalition’s 2013 Conference Brochure

Child welfare is a challenging field, but one where the possibility of progress inspires us all – whether on the implementation of statewide policy to improve families’ lives or on the individual level where a child getting herself independently dressed for school can fill a parent with joy. The Coalition’s 24th annual conference, Possibilities!, offered participants an opportunity to become current on law and policy; learn new skills and strategies to work with families and children; and provide parents and professionals with tools and encouragement to explore possibilities for change.

The conference offered the most current research and practice information via dynamic, nationally known keynote speakers and experts in child welfare and related fields in 30 different workshop presentations.


2013 Conference Handouts

The following contains workshop descriptions and links to workshop handouts from the Coalition’s 2013 Foster Care and Adoption Conference. To order audio recordings of the speakers and workshop presentations, please click here.  

1.  So Much Anger! – Most  children  from foster care  placed for adoption are filled with negative feelings. What is the common experience that  all adopted children  share and how  can understanding those feelings help parents deal with inevitable acting  out behaviors? Maris Blechner

2.  Attachment in Regulatory Disorders – This overview  of attachment will discuss the role of attachment in behavioral and regulatory disorders. Parents and professionals will learn strategies to strengthen the attachment relationship. Karyn Purvis

3.  Triangles  of Change – This workshop focuses on the various  life altering  changes that  the child, birth parents and adoptive parents must commit to making,  in order  for permanency to be achieved for the child. Rachel Gulley-Firorello and Latise Hairston

4.  From Foster Care to Adoption: Navigating the Foster Care Adoption Process – Parents and agencies need to work in close collaboration to make the transition from foster parent to adoptive parent a timely, positive experience for kids. Jenai Belton Jones

5.  Unadoptable is Unacceptable – Learn about the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s signature child-focused model to finding families  for children  waiting  in foster care  including  the recently developed training  curriculum. Jackie Wilson

6.  Navigating the School-Age Special Education System – The special education referral,  evaluation and placement process: relevant timelines; the law regarding consent for evaluations and services; key players and documents; and how  to troubleshoot common problems. Emily Murphy

7.  Brain Development in Regulatory Disorders – This workshop will center on understanding brain chemistry and neurotransmitter testing to enhance therapeutic approaches, including research-based insights on how  to disarm fear that  drives  aberrant behaviors. Karyn Purvis

8.  Visit Coaching – This interactive workshop presents Visit Coaching, a method where staff  partner with birth parents to focus on meeting children’s needs during  visits. Erica Brunelle and Barbara Jaklitsch

9.  Motherless Parenting – Many single  men  and many  gay couples who  adopt get emotionally and morally loaded questions about the absence of a mother for the child. Are there answers? Frank Ligtvoet

10.  Respite Services: AdoptUSKids’ Lessons Learned from Mini-Grants – AdoptUSKids  provided grants to 120 parent support groups over a five-year period for respite services. Come learn the characteristics of the 60+ grantees who  have sustained the services after  the grant  period ended. Kathy Ledesma

11.  The Healing Power of Stories – Cancelled

12.  Behavioral Change in Regulatory Disorders This workshop will introduce Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, a holistic  model that  provides caregivers with powerful insights for understanding misbehavior and appropriately guiding  their children  to healthy, new behaviors. Karyn Purvis

13.  School Stability for Children in Foster Care – Why do children  in foster care  frequently switch schools even  though OCFS, OCA and the State Education Department have  published joint guidance on this issue? Learn why school stability  is crucial to success and how you can advocate for kids to stay  put!  Emily Murphy

14.  Reaching Kinship Families: A Collaborative Approach – The presentation will describe a recently awarded federal demonstration project to link kinship  families  to local services in five upstate counties and how  its success could  lead to a replicable model. Gerard  Wallace

15.  Real Life Heroes  and the HEROES Project – Participants will explore  use  of creative arts  and the heroes metaphor in trauma treatment and Parsons HEROES Project, an integrated trauma and attachment-focused learning collaborative. Richard Kagan and Joanne Trinkle

16.  Transracial/ethnic Adoption: Honoring the Burden and Dignity  of Difference – This workshop will focus on helping  families  nurture a healthy  identity  that  moves beyond diversity  to the achievement of authentic multicultural proficiency. Tara Linh Leaman

17.  I’m Talking – Why Can’t You Hear Me? – Anything we accomplish happens because of communication. Come  learn the ten commandments of communication parents and professionals can use together to open ears  and possibilities for change. Maris Blechner

18.  What About Dad? Creating  Space for Birth Fathers  in Adoption Stories – Come learn about the impact of fantasies about the unknown birth father on attachment and identity development, as well as how  to co-create an adoption narrative that  includes the fantasized birth father. Jeannine Zoppi

19. Reducing Trauma When Removals are Necessary – Explore the potential impact of trauma on children placed in the foster care  system through a guided imagery experience and learn strategies for minimizing trauma and working  with birth and foster families. Kelly Varamogiannis and Alisha Grant

20.  Negotiating a Good  Conditional Surrender – What terms should be included in the surrender of a child in foster care?  What about the enforceability of terms? Margaret Burt

21.  Financial Wellness for Adoptive and Foster Families – This workshop will provide  parents with up-to-date information on tax regulations related to claiming foster or adoptive children, the adoption tax credit, financing college, and saving/investment basics. Carol VanValkenburg

22.  Making Families  Safe  for Child Victims of Sexual Abuse – Learn about the signs, symptoms and treatment of child sexual abuse victims.  What needs to be in a safety plan to keep  the child safe  from future  abuse will also be discussed. Andres Torrens

23.  Behavioral Medicine & Medication Therapies This presentation will review basic  concepts of behavioral medicine and how  medication therapies are used to manage many  of the problematic symptoms associated with some of the more  common diagnoses. Brian Cowles

24.  Laughter for the (Mental) Health of it! In this workshop you will experience how  laughter can bring joy and alleviate  some of the stress, tension, and pain that  life sometimes brings when parenting or working with children  who  have  experienced trauma. Pat O’Brien

25.  Help, I have  been  reported to the Hotline! Sometimes foster and adoptive parents are called  into the CPS Hotline.  Learn what  parents should consider if this happens, and legal options when parents seeking helping services fear reports. Margaret Burt

26.  Play to Your Family Strengths with  Homemade Family Board Games – An introduction to positive relationship building  and managing family dynamics as well as a hands on game building  experience using  a sample family.  Be prepared to work with glue,  paper, stickers, and other  creative materials to create your own  family game! Ida Jeltova

27.  Understanding Boundary  Issues with  Children In Care – Boundaries enable us to distinguish where “I” ends and “you” begins both  emotionally and physically.  This workshop will explore why children  in care  often  have trouble with boundaries and what  we can do to help create healthy  ones. Donna Cox

28.  Adoption and Social Media: Keeping  Communication Healthy -Social media is a new  forum  that  can provide  both  positive and challenging experiences. Before  using social  media as part of your adoption journey,  it is important that  you educate yourself  on the pros  and cons of such a venture. Michelle Fried

29.  Parent Group Cracker Barrel: 3 Sessions in One! – Learn from the experts! Parent group leaders from across the state will provide hands-on strategies your group can employ to inform and support foster and adoptive parents in your community. Linda Finerson, Karen Kelley, Erica Marquardt, and Paul Willenbrock

30.   Suspended Judgments in TPR Cases – Courts  can order  a suspended judgment on a termination case – a “second chance” for the birth parent(s). When this might be a good idea and what terms should be considered? 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 or call our main office at (646) 688-4321.

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