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Workshop Descriptions

Back to Schedule-at-a-Glancee

Pre-Session      Session A     Session B     Session C     Session D     Session E     Session F


Emergency Shelter Roundtable Discussion

We invite all emergency shelters to join our roundtable session preceding the start of our annual Child Care Administrators Conference.

Please join TACFS for a roundtable conversation about the use of emergency shelters as part of the current and future child protection system.

Today, emergency shelters are the safety net for the foster care system. Shelters all over the State of Texas care for children, of all ages and at all levels of need, who might otherwise be without a placement.

But what does the future hold? With a state and federal policy, and funding shifts toward therapeutic home-like settings, should shelters adapt to the changing landscape of serving children?

All shelters are invited to share their experiences, challenges, and opportunities for adapting to the changing needs and staying viable as critical providers in the network of care.

This session not approved for CEUs.

Session A General Session

Part 1: Aftermath of the Aftermath: A Discussion about the Immediate and Longer-term Impact of Hurricane Harvey

When Category 4 Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas coast on August 25th, there was catastrophic damage to property and lives. The impact of this storm will be felt for years, but, what will the impact of this storm be on children and families and how has the storm changed the child welfare landscape for months and years to come? Also with these events, agencies are challenged with new operational issues to address staff needs, fund raising, tracking and allocating resources. Please attend this important session to reflect on creative ways agencies responded to the challenges, lessons learned, and discuss the immediate and projected impact, and how we, as a child and family serving community, can prepare for and recover from the impact.

Part 2: Child Sex Trafficking: Responding to This Growing Need

Building on the theme of this year’s conference, we – the community of child welfare leaders – will come together in a general session to have an important dialogue about an issue plaguing young people in Texas: child sex trafficking.

The University of Texas recently calculated that at any point in time there are nearly 79,000 child sex trafficking victims in Texas. We know that they are over-represented in foster care, juvenile justice, and in our runaway/homeless youth populations. We are already serving them but we are not always identifying them and providing the specialized services needed for prevention and healing.

What would happen if we committed to a new collaborative model to meet the unique needs of these severely traumatized children, one to help them embrace their strength as survivors and find stability?

Arrow Child and Family Ministries has been serving this population for five years at Freedom Place and is now part of a progressive collaborative brought forth by the Governor’s Office. The Governor’s Child Sex

Trafficking Team is bringing funding, training, and technical assistance for innovative best practices from across the country to Texas. In collaboration with Child Protective Services, juvenile justice, runaway and homeless youth agencies, medical providers, and law enforcement, new integrated continuums of care are in motion across the state.

Please attend this important session to learn the latest in tools and programs and how can you join this movement.

Presenters: Andrea Sparks, ‎Director, Texas Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team - ‎Office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott; Kim Grabert, Director, Division of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS); Shandra Carter, Executive Director, Freedom Place – Arrow Child and Family Ministries; and Allison Franklin, Survivor Leadership Alliance

Session B Workshops

B1  Using Data and the Path to Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

This session will discuss how to begin one’s journey down the path of being data-informed, how to begin collecting data, why it matters, and how it can be used. The discussion will also center around a perspective from a provider who has fully embraced and invested in being data-informed. Presenters will discuss the value of data and CQI and how it has elevated their practice. 

Presenters: Michael Loo, President and Chief Operating Officer, Upbring; and Jane Burstain, Director of System Improvement, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services;

B2  Preparing Yourselves and Your Community for Community-Based Foster Care

With the passage of Senate Bill 11, the State plans to expand the implementation of community-based care to other areas of the state as a means to address some of the chronic challenges in the Texas foster care system. This model holds great promise to develop a stronger, better coordinated system of care for children in the child welfare system. The model also presents a very different way of “doing business” as providers and as a community. This workshop will provide information learned from the current effort in Region 3b about how providers and communities can prepare for successfully operating in a community-based care model.

Presenters: Wayne Carson, CEO, ACH Child and Family Services; Annette Rodriguez, President/CEO, The Children’s Shelter

B3  It takes a Village to Advocate for the Educational Rights of Special Needs Children in CPS Care

This workshop will feature and overview of the educational rights of children in CPS care. Participants will gain a basic understanding about special education services and what the school districts are required to provide. Emphasis will be on utilizing the “It Takes a Village” approach, to navigate the system, and understand the importance of advocating for special needs children so they can enjoy a successful educational experience as their regular counterparts.

Presenter: Pedro R. Gonzalez, Clinical Healthcare Consultant, Youth For Tomorrow

B4  Residential Child Care Performance-Based Contracting: What’s New and What You Need to Know

Texas Department of Family and Protective Service, Child Protective Services Residential Child Care Contracts Division presents the fiscal year 2018 statewide implementation of performance-based contracting and oversight. The presentation will cover data-driven performance measures, provider risk assessment, enhanced contract monitoring/safety screenings, and provider public scorecard.

Presenter: Sheila Bell, Director of CPS Residential Child Care Contracts, Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)

B5  Supervising for Safety: The Administrator’s Role in Abuse Risk Management

Based on 25 years of extensive research, including root cause analyses of over 4,000 cases of organizational abuse, Praesidium experts have identified eight organizational operations crucial to the prevention and detection of safety hazards, particularly child sexual abuse within organizations. Praesidium will share about these eight operations, the necessity of nurturing a culture of safety for effective abuse prevention, and the administrator’s unique and important role in abuse risk management.

Presenters: Laura Hardin, Praesidium

B6  Adoptions Started Well  LCPAA only

In this session, we will cover the process of making adoptive placements. Taking into consideration the many children available for adoption and their often complex and high needs, this workshop will include topics ranging from full disclosure to pre-placement visitation. With a unique feature of parents disarming fear, building trust, and giving voice for their children. Come learn proven strategies to ensure adoptive placements get off to a great start.

Presenter: Al Blankenship, CK Family Services

Session C Workshops

C1  Where Are You Headed and a Path to Get There

How do you get from where you are to where you want to be? The truth is we are all going somewhere whether we know where that is or not. In this workshop, Chadwick helps his audience identify where they want to go by addressing where they’ve been, being      brutally honest about where they are, asking them where they want to go, and then he helps them create a plan to get there. This is a journey of pain, discovery, honesty, freedom, and hope. Once we address these issues, we will finally have an answer to the question: Where are you headed?

Presenter: Chadwick Sapenter, Former Foster Youth, Author and Motivational Speaker

C2  High Performance Management: Managing Change in the Evolving World of Child Protection

Child welfare organizations are often faced with the forces of change, both internally and externally. However, managing change is often a struggle for organizations leading many change management projects to fail over time. In this workshop, we will provide participants with a framework for managing change within their own organization, and share best practices that will help enable organizational success.

Presenter: Alistair Deakin, CEO, KaleidaCare Management Solutions

C3  Leadership in Developing a Transition Program for Youth Aging Out of Residential and Foster Care

This workshop will provide an overview of one agency’s approach to developing a continuum of care to meet the needs of teens who are transitioning from care and into the community. Participants will be provided with rationale for the program and insight into the need for developing programs to meet the specific needs of each youth. Program areas discussed will include advanced education, aftercare and independent living. Strategies used for helping youth be successful will be discussed and areas of growth and outcome measurement will also be addressed.

Presenters: Jeff Creel, Program Administrator for School and Transition Services, and Christina Gerhardt, Director of Transition Services, Methodist Children’s Home

C4  The FIRST Approach: Bridging the Critical Gap Between Child Welfare and Mental Health Service Provision

Many children in the child welfare system have experienced trauma, but for many years we have lacked a comprehensive model for addressing the trauma in a way that improves the long-term well-being of the child. This presentation will explore the challenges of coordinating and providing high quality, trauma informed mental health services for children in foster care. You will learn about an innovative approach to building a system of care that integrates mental health services with child welfare service provision to support the positive development and functioning of children with high emotional, medical, or special needs.

Presenters: DeJuana Jernigan, Director of Child Welfare and Residential Treatment Services, and Avia Benzion, Program Manager, Mental Health Services, DePelchin Children’s Center

C5  Reaching and Engaging Families and Communities: The Ethics of Meeting Them Where They Are*

If we want to effectively strengthen families and the communities that support them, we must understand them well and adjust our outreach and engagement strategies to align with family and community goals. Learn from the Associate Commissioner of DFPS Prevention and Early Intervention Division about how to use data to understand families and communities, how to work with other community agencies to align goals, and how to become a welcome front door for families. The conversation will center around the ethics of doing this work in a manner that empowers and respects families and communities and makes them the ultimate agent for change.

Presenter: Sasha Rasco, Associate Commissioner for Prevention and Early Intervention, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)

C6  STAR Health Overview with a Focus on Services for High Needs Kids

This workshop will provide an overview of STAR Health supports for children in foster care who have high needs in behavioral health and/or physical health. This session will include overview of STAR Health Complex Case Management, Asthma Health Management Program, Turning Point, Psychotropic Medication Review, Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams, Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Health Management Program, Transplant Program, Diabetes Dual Case Management, Personal Care Services, and other specialized supports. The objective of the workshop is to enable administrators with the knowledge they need to identify supports to children and teens with complex needs and how to access supports through STAR Health.

Presenters: Mary Armstrong, Senior Manager of Training, and Stan Waddell, National Director of Training, STAR Health/Cenpatico


Session D Workshops

D1  The Importance of Judicial Relationships and How to Outreach with the Judicial Branch

Building relationships with the judiciary and participants in the legal system is crucial to every agency providing services to children in the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Yet, relationships between providers and the judiciary are often overlooked and rarely cultivated beyond the court room. This panel will provide insight into the judicial world by sharing how to engage successfully and appropriately with judges and the judicial system. Judge Specia, Judge Rucker and other panelists will share their experiences and tips for how to collaborate on Child Protective Services cases to ensure the best outcome for children and families.

Presenters: John Specia, Commissioner, DFPS, Retired, District Judge, Retired; and Judge Dean Rucker, Regional Administrative Judge, Jurist in Residence, Texas Children’s Commission

D2  Advocacy for Parents: Tips for Involving and Working with the Family

The session will cover how to overcome the hostile community/environment between the birth and foster parents, understanding the response is a result of trauma, listening when no words are spoken, encouraging family engagement for better outcomes for the children being served, and advocating for biological families of children in protective care.

Presenter: Paula Bibbs-Samuels, Parent Liaison, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

D3  CEO Succession Planning and Leadership Development Through Strategic Planning Processes

Successful CEO succession planning and internal leadership development can be greatly enhanced through the strategic planning process. CEO succession planning should not be relegated to the imminent transition of CEO’s but can be enhanced by an ongoing dialogue between CEO and Board leadership via the strategic plan process. Additionally, as a component of the strategic plan process future leaders can be identified and prepared for significant agency leadership roles, including becoming the next CEO.

Presenter: Lynn Harms, Past President, Children’s Home of Lubbock 

D4  A Better Way for Tough Kids: Implementing Building Bridges Initiative Framework in Residential Treatment Centers  LCCA only

Residential treatment for youth in foster care can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Many people find themselves asking “Is there a better way?” The answer is yes, there is a better way to help this population of youth and improve your outcomes. This workshop will cover the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) core principles and the implementation of the BBI framework at Krause Children’s Center. The presenters will discuss the transition to best practices with steps to guide others and outcome data on better ways to work with higher needs youth, restraint reduction, decreasing employee turnover, new employee screening, and budgetary solutions.

Presenters: Jason Drake, Executive Director, Amanda Martin, Clinical Director, and Shelley Evans, Clinical Program Manager, Krause Children’s Center - Upbring

D5  Understanding the Critical Ethical Loop of Direct Practice, Recordkeeping, and Data Collection*

Some might admit we enjoy our direct work with children and families, but not so much the tedium of recordkeeping required. This workshop presents a new way for direct care workers to view recordkeeping and data collection. An interactive and fun presentation will challenge us to see humanity in our data and to recognize just how important that data is to child and family well-being, ourselves, and our agencies.

Presenters: Dr. Pamela Higgins Saulsberry, Director, School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and Dr. Jennifer J. Savage, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM)

D6  Recovering Clents: Seeing Service Disruptions as Opportunities, Not Failures

Providing exceptional service is paramount for a successful organization. But what happens when our service falls short? How do we handle dissatisfied clients? What if the outcomes we want aren’t being achieved? Come learn about Service Recovery and the process of not only restoring our client’s satisfaction, but also strengthening our relationships with them.

Presenters: Bill Porter, Director of Post Adoption and Client Services, and Heather Rogers, Lead Post Adoption Specialist, The Gladney Center for Adoption

Session E Workshops

E1  Residential Child Care Licensing Update – A New Day for Child Care Licensing

Residential Child Care Licensing will provide an update on recent changes, including the impact of legislation from the 85th Legislative Session, and the transfer of regulatory functions to Texas Health and Human Services. This important workshop will provide you with information you need to know about the new day for Child Care Licensing in Texas.

Presenter: Jean Shaw, Associate Commissioner for Child Care Licensing, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

E2  Millennials in the Workplace

We will discuss the varying generations, from the Silent Generation to Millennials and beyond. Experiences and events that shaped the way each generation views success and happiness will be explored. We will conclude by exploring how organizations can embrace the differences and strengths of each generation to work toward a vibrant, flourishing work environment.

Presenter: Betsy Pattullo, Regional Director, Arrow Child and Family Ministries

E3  A Team Approach to Trauma Informed Care 

As more and more children, youth and their families have complicated therapeutic needs, Trauma-Informed work is even more critical. A Team Approach to Trauma Informed Care is a highly interactive training addressing the importance of coordinating services between agencies and organizations in the child welfare field. It also addresses the importance of including youth and caregivers in the team approach to trauma informed services.

Presenters: Michael Migura, Senior Trainer, Foster Care Program, and Mary Armstrong, Senior Manager Foster Care Training, STAR Health/Cenpatico

E4  Effective Transitional Living Services for Youth Aging Out of Care

Participants will learn about the six life skills training classes that are essential for youth to transition out of care successfully to be productive young adults. They will also learn how foster parents play a vital role in preparing youth for transition by teaching and allowing youth to use the skills in the home. Case managers should be aware of the many benefits available to youth who age out of care in regards to education and other services available. The workshop will also discuss how to support successful transition for youth at all levels of care.

Presenter: Shelly Stewart, Long Term Foster Care Program Manager and Permanency Specialist, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

E5  Differences Between Developmental Disabilities (note, this is a newly-added session)

This presentation will cover the diagnostic criteria and differences between Intellectual Developmental Disability (IDD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The discussion will focus on understanding key differences, being culturally sensitive, and working ethically with individuals with special needs, as well as how to advocate and best care for this population.

Presenter: Dr. Shilpa Trivedi, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, Trivedi Psychological Services (TPS)


Session F Workshops

F1  Navigating the Road to National Accreditation

This interactive session will focus on a thorough review of the major phases of the accreditation process and highlight the benefits of becoming accredited, including enhanced revenue opportunities. Learn about the fundamental organizational requirements necessary for accreditation, key participants needed throughout the process, and how to avoid the common pitfalls of accreditation preparation.

Presenter: Jennifer Flowers, CEO, Accreditation Guru

F2  Provider Enrollment for Texas Medicaid and STAR Health

This workshop walks the provider/administrator through the process of Provider Enrollment (PE) with Texas Medicaid and STAR Health. The objective of the workshop is to arm providers and their administrators with the knowledge they need to navigate through the enrollment process in a successful and timely manner, while minimizing deficiencies along the way.

Presenters: Miranda McBride, Provider Relations, Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership; and Miriam De Leon, Director of Network Operations, STAR Health

F3  Let Kids Be Kids: Using Normalcy to Improve Child Wellbeing

Positive wellbeing is essential to the development and growth of children in foster care. Normalcy, such as the ability to participate in social activities, is a strategy that can be employed to facilitate wellbeing and promote appropriate social development for kids in foster care. Participants in this workshop will learn about the importance of normalcy, understand how it affects wellbeing, and will hear from a panel of former foster youth who will share their experiences and insights.

Presenter: Tymothy Belseth, Research Coordinator, University of Texas Austin – Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing

F4  Risk Management Principles for Foster Care and Adoption Agencies

The workshop will outline the legal risk factors associated with foster care placements, and appropriate measures and risk management principles for the agency. The discussion will include wrongful adoption, abuse and molestation, case presentations, insurance coverage needed to protect agency, and more.

Presenters: Phillip Hawley, President, Hawley & Associates, LLC; and Heidi Cox, Executive Vice President, General Counsel The Gladney Center for Adoption 

F5  Beyond Typical: Sexual Behaviors in Children and Evidence-Based Treatment

Since 2014, Lena Pope has collaborated with both local and national agencies to serve a traditionally unknown, underserved and marginalized population of children and families: children with problematic sexual behaviors. This workshop explores typical versus problematic sexual behavior in children and differentiates between common misconceptions regarding children with problematic sexual behavior and what is supported by research. Presenters will share information regarding the evidence-based treatment program provided in Fort Worth at Lena Pope (Project SAFeR) as well as additional resources to support families struggling with problematic sexual behavior.

Presenters: Courtney Landes, Therapist, and Nevart Willborn, Family Therapist, Lena Pope

F6  When the Helper Becomes the Victim: Secondary Trauma in Child Welfare

The stress of being exposed to the trauma history of victimized children affects the emotional and physical health of the child welfare staff and agency. In this interactive training the participants will learn how individuals and the agency can identify secondary trauma, ways to prevent it, and how to support recovery.

Presenters: Keri Cooper, Clinical Director, A World For Children; Rich Capodagli, a Senior Foster Care Trainer, and Stan Waddell, National Director of Training, STAR Health/Cenpatico



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