2019 Session Descriptions



OPENING GENERAL SESSION - 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

A Vision for Child Welfare and Texas
We are honored to once again welcome Jerry Milner, Acting Commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, and Acting Commissioner for Family and Youth Services Bureau. Commissioner Milner will share his vision for child welfare and how Texas is a key player in shaping our nation's success, as well as his impressions of how Texas fits in with the national child and youth services landscape. He will also share the latest information on the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) and efforts being made to advance policies and resources to support state child welfare organizations.
Presenter:  Jerry Milner, Acting Commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)

My Bag, My Home
During Roy’s My Bag, My Home keynote presentation, he will share his personal story of growing up as a homeless teenager. Roy was able to leave the streets only to return to them as an activist after graduating from Hardin Simmons University in 2009. Roy will share his personal message of hope, perseverance, forgiveness, and the value of being both a mentor and a mentee. Roy has recently (2018) released his first published memoir Homeless By Choice. The book is about his journey and the mentors that have made a difference. It’s designed as a teaching tool to help continue Roy’s message of hope and inspiration. 
Presenter: Roy Juarez, Jr., Speaker, Author

SESSION A - 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

A1  Communications Strategies for Child Welfare
Effective communications can elevate the work of a community organization, improve community engagement, and relay important information in a crisis. In this session, participants will have the chance to learn from and ask questions of state leaders in media, communications, and public affairs. The workshop will include ideas to better promote the work and news of your organization, such as: developing a communications plan; establishing relationships in the media; and ideas for incorporating social media. Additionally, this session will provide guidance on supporting your organization through effective communications in an emergency or crisis. 
Presenters: Andrew Barlow, CEO, Overflow Communications; Enrique Marquez, Principal, Marquez Public Affairs; Jamie McCormick and Katie Olse, CEO, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services

A2  Program Evaluation: Getting to the Heart of the Matter
There is an important balance in program evaluation between uncovering important truths around your agency’s work and wrapping those truths in a story that gets to the heart of your agency’s values. The presenters will walk through the steps of program evaluation, providing concrete examples and illustrating steps to take and strategies to apply when developing an effective and objective program evaluation plan. Throughout the presentation, they will weave together truth and story to help distinguish your agency and the good work you are doing.
Presenters: Kelly Stepura, Vice President and Director of Research and Evaluation, and Luanne Barr, PMP, Senior Business Analyst, OmniCare Institute
A3  Inclusion, Engagement, and Collaboration: Foster Care and Adoption as a Support (Not a Substitute) for Family  LCPAA ONLY
The need for a strong relationship between children and their birth families does not cease when a child enters foster care or begins the journey toward adoption. On the contrary, it is at these critical points when strengthening that relationship becomes of the utmost importance in ensuring safety, permanency, and wellbeing. Instead of working as adversaries from a place of distrust, foster/adoptive families can and should work closely with birth families toward ensuring the best possible outcome for any child that has come into care. In this session we’ll hear about innovative new efforts to facilitate better and more productive relationships between foster/adoptive families and birth families, including work being done by the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services and University of Texas-Austin through their Texas Permanency Outcomes Project (TXPOP), the Settlement Home for Children and the Adoption Collaborative of Central Texas, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Parent Collaboration Group in Region 1. 
Presenters: Megan Zellner, Foster and Adoption Program Director, The Settlement Home for Children and The Adoption Collaborative of Central Texas; Paula Bibbs-Samuels, Parent Liaison for Region 1, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Julie Smith, Foster Parent; Kristin Finan, President and CEO, Carrying Hope; Jolynne Batchelor, Research Associate, Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing; Michelle Hansford, Outreach and Care Coordinator, Santa Maria Hostel; Jesse Booher, Vice President for Policy and Innovation, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services

A4  When DMST Survivors Are Pregnant and/or Parenting: How to End the Cycle – One Family at a Time
Through first-hand experience and evidence-based programming, this session will focus on how to help Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) survivors who are pregnant and/or parenting. SJRC Texas will show how the organization’s approach leads survivors to healing and thriving, not only for themselves but for their babies as well. The presenters will dissect the trauma informed continuum of care approach used by SJRC Texas that addresses the emotional, physical, psychological, and developmental needs of child sex trafficking victims and their children in a setting that is conducive to children and youth who have been repeatedly victimized through sex trafficking.
Presenters: Carlye Dupart, Chief Operating Officer, and Tara Roussett, Chief Executive Officer, SJRC Texas  

A5  Lessons for Child Welfare – Prevention and Community Based Care
Prevention programs have forged the path for community based services in the child welfare system. The “whole family” model seeks to serve not just the child, but the family and the work of voluntary engaging vulnerable families requires community-based systems of referral and support that includes schools, health care clinics, churches, housing projects, and other sectors where families live, work, and access services. How has prevention built their networks, intersected with other systems and effectively prevented child protection intervention? Information and lessons learned will help foster care, family preservation and other direct services will be shared to help pave the path for Texas.
Presenters: Sasha Rasco, Assistant Commissioner for Prevention and Early Intervention, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Christopher Greeley, MD, MS, FAAP, Section Chief, Public Health & Primary Care, Baylor College of Medicine & Texas Children’s Hospital; Dorothy Mandell, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health Science Center, Tyler & Population Health UT System; Lauren Zbyszinski, Ph.D., LL.M., Inter-Agency Deputy Director of Early Childhood, Division of Early Childhood Education, Texas Education Agency

A6  Education Ethics in Foster Care from K-Higher Education*
This session explores education ethics as it relates to foster youth and adults formerly involved in the child welfare system. Topics that will be explored include: K-12 and higher education liaisons and their roles; post-secondary education benefits; education laws and regulations; and best practices for supporting foster youth and adults formerly from foster care in their education needs.
Presenters: Dr. Sheila Bustillos, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services

A7  Cutting Edge Tools: A Technology Showcase
Working with children, youth, and families is reliant on human interaction and relationships, but technology can enhance our work by bringing efficiencies and helping us solve problems. This workshop will feature a rotating showcase of the latest and greatest in technology that can support your mission and enable your staff for success. Software, tools, and other innovative technology will be on display and presented for you to learn about what’s cutting edge and available in the world of human services. 
Presenter: Jaqi Sloan, The Burke Center for Youth; Amy Lowrey, Miracle Foundation; Kristin Atwood, Binti; Paul Epp, Foster Care Technologies; Thea Ramirez, Adoption-Share

SESSION B - 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

B1  Updates from Residential Child Care Licensing and Residential Child Care Contracts  
Residential Child Care Licensing (RCCL) will provide an update on recent changes, the upcoming regulatory standards review, implementation of legislation, and other changes. The Residential Child Care Contracts Division will provide updates on performance-based contracting, procurement plans and other changes on the horizon. Please note that contract and RCCL changes will also be discussed at the agency leadership panel on Wednesday, October 2nd.
Presenters:  Amber Krause, Director of Field Operations,  Residential Child Care Licensing, Texas Health and Human Services; and Cristina Guerrero, Director of Residential Contracts, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

B2  Enriching Staff Proficiency: Building a Framework for Long-Term Investment
Trauma wise care is considered a best practice in child welfare and is becoming the expectation for residential and foster care services. The implementation and sustainability of trauma wise care can be challenging with a variety of models to choose from and the daily demands of operating an organization, while providing high quality care for children 24 hours a day. Come learn alongside Methodist Children’s Home as we share our successes with enriching staff proficiencies and long term investment of trauma wise care. In this session attendees will attain practical tools for supporting best practices; gain insights for increasing staff and foster parent investment; reflect on your agency’s implementation of trauma wise care; and create an action plan for sustainability.
Presenter: Rebekah Powell, Program Specialist, Methodist Children’s Home  

B3  Working with Kinship Families: Road to Permanency and Beyond  LCPAA ONLY
This workshop is about the specific challenges working with kinship families. This session will focus on Monarch Family Services’ success in overcoming barriers to achieve the goal of permanency (adoption or permanent managing conservatorship [PMC]) for the children in their care. With growing emphasis on the importance of kinship care, this session will help provide information about how to successfully focus on kinship care as a lasting and successful permanency option. 
Presenter: Dr. Valerie D. Jackson, Chief Strategist Officer, Monarch Family Services 

B4  Implementation of the Family First Act in Texas: Assessing the Service Provider Landscape
Understanding the current capacity and characteristics of substance abuse, mental health, and parent training services in Texas is critical to the state’s implementation of the Family First Prevention and Services Act. This session will review the current status of the legislation, with a focus on the evidence-informed services that will be eligible for federal funding support under the new law as well as opportunities for service providers in Texas. Preliminary findings from a statewide survey of service providers will be presented, and a discussion panel of child welfare stakeholders will explore the benefits and challenges of the law’s requirements around evidence-based programs and services. 
Presenter: Dr Monica Faulkner, Research Associate Professor, Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin and the Director and co-founder of the Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing; and Dr. Erin Espinosa, Senior Researcher, National Council on Crime and Delinquency; Jesse Booher, Vice President for Policy and Innovation, and Jennifer Lawson, Director of Research and Evaluation, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services    

B5  Beyond Background Checks: Screening and Selection Best Practices for Assessing Abuse Risk
Screening and selection is the first line of defense for protecting clients and your organization from abuse. Many organizations rely heavily on background checks, but there is a wealth of information to leverage from other critical components of the screening and selection process when assessing abuse risk in employees, volunteers, and foster parents. Praesidium will discuss abuse prevention best practices that assess abuse risk during the application, interview, and reference check process. Come learn how to enhance your organization’s current screening practices.
Presenter: Laura Hardin Aceves, LMSW, Account Manager, Praesidium

B6  What’s in It for Me? Designing Client-Centered Programs that Leverage Theory of Change to Deliver Value  
A foundational element of program design and evaluation is the creation of a comprehensive theory of change, which defines the linkages between program activities and the anticipated and aspirational impact of service delivery. The challenge becomes how to integrate the theory of change into operational processes to achieve the desired outcomes. Integrating theory of change with the LEAN tool of value-streaming promotes intentional, client-centered programs that deliver direct and indirect value and measurable outcomes. In this session, participants will learn how leverage these two tools in tandem to clarify programmatic vision, ensure that the value added to clients is central to program operations, and engage in meaningful continuous quality improvement.
Presenters: Danielle Owens, BBA, MBA, MPT, Chief Program Officer, and Liz Schoenfeld, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer, LifeWorks

B7  A Necessary Discussion: Promoting Racial Equity in Our Child Welfare System
The child welfare system exists to serve families and protect children in need, but it is commonly understood that there are racial disparities throughout. Many embrace an ideal of being “color blind,” of not seeing race, ethnicity, or culture. The reality is that this approach and language can be barriers to honest race equity conversations, or that it may overlook the reality of the children, youth, and families we serve. Join us for a thoughtful and relevant discussion regarding race, ethnicity, and culture in child welfare system. 
Presenters: Sheila Craig, Director, Substance Use Disorder Programs, Texas Health and Human Services Commission; and Virginia Flores, LCSW


**Executive Leadership Track: This track is intended to support executive management and organizational leaders.
***Trauma-Focused Track: Trauma informed care focused track sponsored by The Maconda Brown O'Conner Trauma Institute

SESSION C - 8:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

C1  Leaving It Better When You Leave – Succession Planning for Agency Leaders**
The projected departure of key staff and leadership through retirements, resignations, and internal promotions makes succession planning one of the most critical areas to get right. Unfortunately many organizations are getting it wrong. In this practical and proven approach, participants will learn a simple, four-step process for ensuring continuity in key functions when seasoned leaders retire or leave for other reasons.
Presenters: David Biemer, Adjunct Professor, Texas State University, and Rolando Garza 

C2  Fostering Trauma Informed Care: A Look into the Implementation of Integrated Mental Health to Support Healing the Foster Care Environment***
DePelchin Children’s Center has developed and implemented mental health services within the foster family and some adoptive families to support the recognition, education, and healing around trauma and secondary trauma. With the implementation of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy initially, DePelchin has expanded upon the approaches to include a wide array of wraparound services, skills building, and family therapy to ensure that most all potential clients have adequate services that are tailored to them and their new fostering environment. This workshop will take a look into the process by which we were able to implement the services, the impact it has had thus far, and future plans for continuation of services.
Presenters: Shalonvia R. Gundy, MA, LPC-S, Program Manager, and Lynne Spiwak, MA, LCPAA, LCSW, CBIS, Regional Director for Child Welfare Services, DePelchin Children’s Center

C3  Getting Ready for Single Child Plan of Service  
This workshop will reintroduce the goals and intent of the single child plan of service initiative, directed in SB 11, to enable streamlined and well-coordinated service planning for children and families in the foster care system. Participants will learn about the objectives of the single child plan of service, their role in accessing the plan of service in IMPACT through external access, and the plans for full implementation. This session will include a discussion around the cultural and philosophical shift as well as practical information related to successful implementation. 
Presenters: Carol Self, Director of Permanency, Cristina Guerrero, Director for Residential Contracts, Peggy Cope, Division Administrator for Contracts, and Paul Busby, Permanency Program Specialist, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services 

C4  Families First: Keeping Focus in the New Normal
Whether youth are being served in- or out-of-home, service providers face challenges in the implementation of family-centered models. The challenge can be near impossible when the youth is in residential care with limited access to family. Using field research from actual families, presenters will share how PLL is designed to work with the adolescent and their family (bio parents, kinship and/or foster parents) before placement or from the first day of placement to provide the treatment and skills need to safely maintain the health, safety and well-being of the youth with their family.
Using implementation science and case examples from the PLL | Parenting with Love and Limits model implementation, participants will learn how to engage stakeholders in the implementation process from the first stages of planning through ongoing fidelity reviews. Workshop will include applied learning from both the model development and provider organization perspectives to demonstrate implementation as an ongoing process involving decisions, actions and lessons learned over the life of a program. 
Presenters: John Burek, CEO, and Alison Blodgett, Director of Operations, Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL)

C5  The Value of a Continuum: Serving At-Risk and Child Sex Trafficking Victims
Communities are working to meet the needs of runaway and homeless youth as well as youth identified as victims of child sex trafficking. A continuum of services is needed ranging from residential to drop-in and advocacy supports. Are you considering serving child sex trafficking victims? Are you interested in learning more about working with trafficked survivors? Then this presentation is for you. This panel will discuss the process of developing a program for child sex trafficked youth. Presenters will provide their agency’s research data accumulated in the last two years for review. They will discuss the lessons learned and provide a list of basic best practices when working with the sex-trafficked survivor population. 
Presenters: Julie Strentzsch, Ph.D., LPC-S, Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, and Alan Schonborn, Associate Director, Texas Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team

C6  The View from the Bench: Judicial Perspectives on Creating Normalcy for Children and Youth in Foster Care
Engaging in normal, age-appropriate activities and experiences is a critical component of healthy child development. However, experiencing abuse or neglect and being removed from family to foster care is not “normal.” Although foster care may be safer for a child or youth, cultivating normal childhood experiences while in DFPS conservatorship is a challenge. The goals of the child welfare system related to normalcy include managing risk, giving children the opportunity to act like children, and encouraging the development of a child’s interests and strengths. This presentation will include the judicial perspective and address how normalcy is defined, why normalcy is important, youth voice as it relates to normalcy, barriers and solutions to providing normalcy, the attorney’s role and duties in understanding and advocating for normalcy, and the judge’s role in ensuring normalcy is considered and achieved.
Presenter: Tina Amberboy, Executive Director, The Children’s Commission; and The Honorable Peter Sakai, Judge, 225th District Court

C7  Updates from STARHealth  
STARHealth is the insurance plan for children and youth in the foster care system and a valuable system partner. What services are available? How can agencies better use STAR Health? How can caregivers and agencies better access available services? This session will provide answers to these questions as well as updates on CANS assessment, quality of the tool and the output of recommendations that it can generate, as well, how to incorporate the findings to facilitate treatment planning as a placement provider. 
Presenters: Lorraine Martinez, CEO, STARHealth; Elizabeth Kromrei, Director of Services for Child Protective Services,  and Roberto Rodriguez, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Laura Jackson, Subject Matter Expert for the STAR Health Medicaid, and Clara Almaguer, STAR Health & Behavioral Health Program Specialist, Texas Health and Human Services Commission; and Dr. John Lyons, Chapin Hall

SESSION D - 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

D1  Creating a Healthy Organizational Culture**
Child welfare organizations are faced with many challenges in providing impact-producing results for children and families. Organizations face high turnover, continual struggles for funding, and intense regulatory oversight that can create havoc for employees and overall culture. Based on the book “The Advantage” by Patrick Lencioni, this workshop will make the case for transforming your organization’s culture and unleashing the power of your most valuable asset…gung-ho employees. 
Presenter: Scott Lundy, Chief Executive Officer, Arrow Child and Family Ministries

D2  Trauma Professionals S.O.S.***  
This workshop will explore and discuss the importance of self-care for professionals working with trauma survivors and its impact and connection to burnout, vicarious trauma, and quality of care in professional role. 
Presenter: Shameitra Green, LMFT, Psychotherapist

D3  Maximizing Medicaid Services through Access and Delivery
Working with children and youth with higher and more acute mental health needs requires knowledge about available Medicaid services and expertise in accessing and delivering these services. The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute is Texas’ premiere organization helping to break down barriers and enhance the delivery of mental health services to children and adults. This session will focus on helping organizations understand the value of and process for becoming a credentialed Medicaid mental health services provider. And, it will help organizations access those services in their communities for the children, youth, and others they serve.
Presenters: Monica Thyssen, Senior Director of Health Policy, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

D4  Enhancing Treatment Services: How to Effectively Treat Complex Trauma for GROs  LCCA ONLY
Meeting the needs of children and youth with complex trauma requires very specialized treatment services. Knowing what works and how to apply those programs to the children in your care is important. In this session, attendees will learn from experts who have proven methods to help treat children and to help move children in residential settings toward permanency. With the increasing focus on effective interventions and coordinated care, this session will provide practical guidance and best practices for you to carry back to your organization. 
Presenter: Chris Janawicz, Director of Residential Services, Helping Hand Home for Children; and Melody Garcia, Director of Residential Services,The Refuge for DMST 

D5  Your Voice is Heard: The Office of Consumer Relations and the Foster Care Ombudsman  
The Office of Consumer Relations and the Foster Care Ombudsman offices are resources available to ask questions, get information, and resolve complaints. Each office has a unique role to serve within the system. Come learn about the functions of both offices and how you can better utilize these resources in your organization. Each office will provide information about trends they’re seeing, common complaints and ways to maximize their offices. 
Presenters: Vanessa Hoke, Program Specialist, and Shanna Schuelke, Program Specialist, Office of Consumer Affairs, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; and Mahiri Moody, Foster Care Ombudsman, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

D6  Youth Voice: Best Practices for Intersectional Work with Youth
This session will focus on youth identity development, building empathy, and raising awareness about the barriers youth and young adults face as they transition to adulthood. Participants will gain a better understanding of the youth in foster care perspective and action steps to ensure their agency utilizes this perspective. Participants will also learn how youth voice can improve permanency outcomes, agency climate and culture, civic engagement, and the “bottom line” (time, energy and money).
Presenters: Cortney Jones, Executive Director, and Carolyne Rodriguez, Board Member, Change 1

D7  How to Create Lasting Engagement of Parents in the Child Welfare System
Presenter will provide valuable information from their own lived experience on what every level of service deliver can do better and is already doing well. They will also provide feedback from the families they have worked with throughout their years as parent liaisons. This information will provide insights into the best ways to work together for the best chances of reunification.
Presenters: Monique Gonzalez, Parent Liaison Region 8, Parent Collaboration Group/Parent Informing Parents; Jose Alvarado, Parent Liaison; and Kimberly Hill, CPS Community Initiative Specialist, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; 

LUNCHEON GENERAL SESSION - 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Do You Believe in Magic? The Ordinary Magic of Resilience Is to be Believed
The message of resilience is one of hope and promise! For professionals working day in and day out to support some of our most vulnerable children and families, the hopeful message of resilience provides us with the strength, optimism, and the ability to “keep on keeping on.” Resilience is not only important for the children and families we serve but is equally important for those working in human services — YOU! Join Susan Damico, Director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, as she shares what she calls the “ordinary magic” of resilience and provides concrete tips and tools that you can start using today to support the resilience of the families you serve, the teams you support, and yourself.
Presenter: Susan Damico, Director, Devereux Center for Resilient Children

Executive Level Leadership in Challenging Times** 
As executive leaders, our attention to detail on all matters – and the time, insight and energy to handle them – is assumed. That’s why we “get paid the big bucks,” right? Not so fast… The end result could be that while we might be holding down the fort, we’re not taking enough time to recalibrate and reload and learn something useful from each other. And, we may never achieve the best we can be because we haven’t planned that path into our routines. Bottom line, we can all benefit from more time with each other discussing how to manage our boards, cultures, innovation, change, crisis, and our personal evolution as leaders – it’s more than just about rates! Angelo McClain PhD, our keynote speaker for the inaugural Executive Leadership Luncheon, has a lifetime of experience from a young man in placement at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch, to becoming the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, to his current role as CEO of the National Association of Social Work. His array of experiences has given him a very unique and important first-hand perspective on leadership challenges today!
Presenter: Angelo McClain Ph.D., CEO, National Association of Social Workers

SESSION E - 1:50 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.

E1  Reflections on Leading the Nation’s Largest Child Welfare System – A Discussion with DFPS Commissioners** 
Please join a reunion of past Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ (DFPS) commissioners on one stage for the first time ever. Widely considered state government’s toughest leadership job, they will share insights to the agency and the significance of the role. Each of these leaders faced challenges, unpredictable events, and also success and achievements during their tenure as Commissioner of DFPS. What lessons did they learn as leaders? What do they wish they would have known? How do they see the future of this job and the agency? Please join us in welcoming Commissioners Hine, Chapmond, Cockerell, Heiligenstein, Specia and Whitman in a look back and forward. 
Presenters: Former DFPS Commissioners Jim Hine, Thomas Chapmond, Carey Cockerell, Anne Heiligenstein, John Specia, and Hank Whitman; Katie Olse, CEO, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services

E2  Creating Caring Connections*** 
Many children in the foster care system have lived through traumatic experiences. This presentation will provide a foundational understanding of child trauma and its developmental, behavioral, and emotional impacts on children. Starting with a brief overview of brain development, that will help participants understand how the neurobiological effects of abuse and neglect negatively impact a child’s ability to develop healthy attachments, to learn, and to function on a daily basis. It will share strategies that caregivers can use to help guide these children back to their natural developmental trajectory and equip them to move toward positive outcomes in their adult lives.
Presenter: Arnold Lee Valdez, BA, LCPAA, TBRI Educator, Program Manager, Statewide Recruitment and Training, DePelchin Children’s Center

E3  Strategies for Becoming a Resilient Leader
Adults who dedicate themselves to caring for children and managing programs that support children and families know this to be true — this effort can be extremely rewarding and also challenging. This presentation is designed to introduce leaders to a framework of resilience that can help make a big difference in the health and wellness of adults who care for young children. Resilient leadership is the term used to describe those leadership behaviors that help others withstand crisis, adapt to, or rebound from adversity (George Everly, Johns Hopkins University). Leaders will use the Devereux Resilient Leadership Survey (DERLS) to reflect on ways to support resilience in those that they manage. This presentation provides many opportunities to learn and develop meaningful and resilience-building strategies for staff based on the research-informed items on the DERLS. Finally, leaders will have an opportunity to reflect on their own resilience and explore strategies to build their personal bounce.
Presenter: Susan Damico, Director, Devereux Center for Resilient Children

E4  A New Approach to Measuring Progress and Performance
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Division of Systems Improvement uses data, continuous quality improvement practices, and analytics tools to proactively track, analyze, and understand performance. This supports DFPS leadership in improving outcomes for their contractors. This workshop provides an overview of the conceptual framework and operational approach to developing and using contracts data and performance measures to obtain the optimal outcomes for clients.
Presenter: Adam King, Division Administrator of Contract Performance, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services 

E5  Texas Building Bridges Initiative: Youth Led Permanency and Transformational Partnerships
This workshop will highlight the Texas Building Bridges Initiative (TxBBI), which is a partnership between Texas System of Care, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the University of Texas at Austin, and participating residential treatment providers across the state. The workshop will feature an overview of the Building Bridges Initiative best practices and the technical assistance offered through TxBBI.
Presenters: Kisha Ledlow, Texas System of Care Project Director, Texas Health and Human Services Commission; Jenny Hinson, Director for Placement, Child Protective Services, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; and Cory Morris, Texas System of Care Community Development and Training, University of Texas at Austin 

E6  Feats from the Field: Ethically Changing the Game without Breaking the Rules*
We all enter the child welfare field with a passion for making a difference for children. There are often best practices that may be missed while we are tracking rules, protocols, and service plans. Many child welfare professionals feel they are checking boxes or blindly following a mandated template. This interactive workshop will encourage practitioners to expand their view of options available for each client, offering alternative ways to interact with stakeholders such as birth families, state workers, medical professionals, the legal system, and others, during a child’s journey through the child welfare system. We will examine legal, ethical, and out-of-the-box ways to approach all elements of the system for the benefit of each child. Let’s look outside the proverbial box of assigned routes in a case, seek alternatives which may better serve families, push for better outcomes for children, and enhance the work experience of committed child advocates trying to help children.
Presenter: Heidi Cox, Vice President and General Council, and Joy Barnes Majors, New Beginnings Supervisor,  The Gladney Center for Adoption

E7  Fundraising: Whose Job Is It Anyway?
In this interactive session, learn about how to utilize your staff, board, and volunteers in connecting others to the mission of your organization. Participants will learn how to develop an effective fundraising plan that will bring in sustaining support and long-term investment. Participants will also learn about simple cultivation strategies that make a lasting impact. 
Presenter: Keri McDonald, President, Keri McDonald Consulting

SESSION F - 3:40 p.m. to 5:10 p.m.

F1  Good Governance: Bylaws, Board Selection and Onboarding Tips** 
This workshop will demonstrate the importance of having updated Bylaws, as well as establishing an effective Board. Bylaws are the framework for how your organization is governed, and they must be reviewed regularly, updated as needed, and utilized by the Board. Selecting and onboarding new board members is similar to hiring and onboarding new staff. It requires assessing the agency’s needs, selecting talent to meet the changing needs, and investing time in preparing the new member to become a productive board member.
Presenter: Mark Melson, Chief Executive Officer, The Gladney Center for Adoption 

F2  Implementing Trauma Informed Principles across Treatment Modalities*** 
Building trauma informed programing means not only understanding the effects of trauma but how to intertwine trauma informed practices into all aspects of your treatment program. In this hands-on learning experience, we’ll look at how Spirit Reins (a unique 125-acre ranch that serves as a trauma treatment center) uses the principles of safety, regulation, and relationship building as guiding principles in their trauma informed treatment practices and programs.
Presenters: Rhonda Smith, Founder and Executive Director, and Keri Cooper, Clinical Director, Spirit Reins 

F3  Accreditation and FFPSA – QRTPs and What It All Means  
This interactive panel discussion provides a dynamic overview of the benefits accreditation delivers for child welfare organizations along with what it takes to become a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) under the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). Participants will learn about the fundamental organizational requirements necessary for accreditation, how to navigate the process and tactics to avoid common pitfalls. Panelists include representatives from CARF, Council on Accreditation (COA) and The Joint Commission, who will explain everything you always wanted to know about accreditation but were afraid to ask. In addition, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) will participate in a discussion with participants to gather information about what your organization would need to become a QRTP and questions for Texas organizations to help inform the State’s direction for FFPSA implementation. 
Presenters: Jennifer Flowers, Chief Executive Officer, Accreditation Guru, Inc.; Leslie Ellis-Lang, CARF International; Zoë Hutchinson, Council on Accreditation; Yvonne Rockwood, The Joint Commission; and Kristene Blackstone, Assistant Commissioner for Child Protective Services, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

F4  The Intersection of Child Sex Trafficking and Sexual Abuse within African American Communities
This workshop will provide an in depth review of the commonalities and vulnerabilities that contribute to the growing statistic of child sex trafficking and sexual abuse victims within African American communities. This workshop will strive to reshape biases and misperception of African American child sex trafficking victims. Participants can expect to review historical context and collateral implications of sexual abuse/trauma of African American individuals with the aim to remedy the consequences of silencing sexual abuse in African American communities.
Presenter: Shelia Kirksey, LCSW, Clinical Director, Jonathan’s Place 

F5  Growing Therapeutic Foster Home Capacity
Texas is not alone in our need to grow foster home capacity that can meet the therapeutic needs of children and youth. Therapeutic foster care capacity is not easy to grow but is something Texas will rely on heavily to help serve children exiting residential treatment centers (RTC), and with the State’s new Treatment Foster Care (TFC) Program, will prevent children from ever needing RTC or psychiatric stays. This session will feature three Child Placing Agencies (CPA) currently offering Treatment Foster Care. They will share insights about TFC, tips for growing your own CPA’s capacity to serve therapeutic children, and ways we can help kinship caregivers serve children with higher needs. The session will also provide national perspective on therapeutic foster care. 
Presenters: Jenni Lord, Chief Executive Officer, Chosen Care; Renay Crouse, Executive Vice President, The Bair Foundation; Scott Lundy, Chief Executive Officer, Arrow Child and Family Ministries; and Bill Lund, Chief Executive Officer, CK Family Services  

F6  Adapting Foster Care Capacity to Better Work with Children and Youth with Unique Needs  
This session will cover how to best support youth in the child welfare system who have unique needs such as intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD), lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth (LGBT), hearing and/or sight impaired youth so children can reach their full potentials. This session will also focus on lessons learned and a review of current provider culture as well as a foster parent panel that will provide further insight into how they became caregivers for these unique populations, resources that assisted them while also debunking myths and fears.   
Presenters: Wendy Bagwell, Capacity Building Specialist, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Jon & Shelly Bergeron, Foster and Adoptive Parents; Lauryn Farris, Regional Coordinator, Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT); and Mary Mendez, Therapeutic Foster Parent

F7  Serving Crossover Youth: A Collaboration between Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
Youth who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems often have complex needs and unique challenges. In 2012, Bexar County launched a partnership between Child Protective Services, the Probation Department, and court system stakeholders aimed at improving collaboration and coordination for youth involved in both systems. This presentation will give an overview of the data from the initiative, as well as challenges and successes.
Presenters: Janisa Hodges, CPS Conservatorship Program Director, Julian Apolinar, CPS Conservatorship Program Director, Maricela Morales, Deputy Chief Probation Officer - Intervention & Education Services, Ralph Almaguer, Unit Supervisor at Bexar County Juvenile Probation


SESSION G - 9a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

G1  High Performance Management: Building a Change Competent Organization
As a leader, you are challenged to lead your organization through almost constant change. Regulations change, the workforce changes, financial pressure change, technology changes, and the understanding of best clinical practices change. Much of the current literature and resources focus on how to help you navigate through a particular episode of change, with the underlying assumption being that your organization can return to “normal” culture and process afterwards. The reality is that you need to lead your organization to thrive during constant change. This workshop will educate attendees on ways to build a culture that allows them to lead more effectively through change. We will examine hiring practices, training protocols, and decision-making frameworks that give organizations the best opportunity to thrive during a fast-paced world of constant change. 
Presenter: Alistair Deakin, Chief Executive Office, KaleidaCare Management Solutions

G2  The Impact of a Trauma-Informed Model of Care in Families
Chosen Care has created a coaching model of parental support that includes trauma-informed parent education, therapeutic resources, and peer mentoring for caregivers of foster and adopted children. Clients receiving six months or more of this model of care are reporting less stress, improved behaviors in their children, and hope for the future. This presentation will describe how the program operates, what is necessary to make it work, and why the model has been successful.
Presenter: Staci Thomas, Director of Programs, Chosen Care, Inc. 

G3  Mentoring Youth Matters: Creating Effective Mentoring Programs for Youth
Join us as we explore the power of mentoring and learn from two organizations who have developed highly successful programs, THRU Project and Good Samaritan Community Services. Both organizations will share lessons learned and best practices for building a successful mentoring program, including how to recruit, train, and match mentors to mentees. In addition, youth will share their personal stories and the impact that mentors had on their lives.
Presenters: Elaine Andries Hartle, CEO/Co-Founder, Chris Lopez, Programs Manager, and Robyn Parker, THRU Project; Jennifer Cook, Chief Program Officer, Marvin Whitt, ABC Coordinator, and Benjamin Soriano, Former Participant, Good Samaritan Community Services; Rachel Naron, Volunteer Services Coordinator, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

G4  Keeping the Faith: Partnering with the Faith Community to Serve Children and Families
During this interactive workshop, participants will hear from Texas CASA, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), and the Family Restoration Coalition about why your organization should consider partnering with the faith community. Participants will also gain an understanding of how to effectively partner with communities of faith to better serve children and families in the child welfare system. Learn about potential challenges to partnering and hear stories of success that have ultimately reunited families. Also, hear more about the vision to bring the ministry of child welfare statewide and how your organization can connect to this important work.
Presenters: Felicia Mason-Edwards, Division Administrator for Faith-Based Programs, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Dennise Jackson, Statewide Recruitment Officer, Texas CASA, and Jay Foulkrod, President, Family Restoration Coalition

G5  Community Based Care in Texas – What’s Ahead?
Community Based Care (CBC) is expanding in Texas. While the performance outcomes are similar for all Single Source Continuum Contractors (SSCC), the strategies and approaches each SSCC uses to achieve this performance will vary according to the resources, needs, and needs of every community. In this workshop, participants will get a status update from the leadership of the four SSCCs in Texas and hear how each SSCC is designing a unique approach to delivering quality foster care services in their own community. And, they will look ahead and next steps for each CBC area and ways network organizations can be ready. 
Presenters: Wayne Carson, Chief Executive Officer, ACH Child and Family Services / Our Community-Our Kids; Michael Redden, Chief Executive Officer, New Horizons; Brandon Logan, 2INgage; Annette Rodriguez, Chief Executive Officer, The Children’s Shelter / Family Tapestry, Tom Blythe, Chief Operating Officer, and Diane Carver, Vice President of Children and Family Services, Saint Francis Ministries; Ashleigh Wilkes, Executive Director, A World for Children; Dr. Carla Johnson, Executive Director, Kids First, Inc.; Dr. Julie Strentzsch, Chief Program Officer, Roy Maas Youth Alternatives 

G6  Supporting Families and Youth with Motivational Interviewing: An Introduction to the What, Why and How of It
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a widely recognized evidence-based practice (EBP) that is a collaborative approach toward holding conversations that strengthen a youth’s motivation and commitment to change. However, implementing MI within an organization can be complex. If staff who will be implementing MI believe it is not effective for the youth they support and/or if they do not feel confident and competent in the model, it will not be as effective as the research suggests it can be. After participation in this session participants will be able to (1) identify what MI is and what it is not (explore the myths and facts of MI), (2) understand how it can be used to improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care, (3) understand the fundamental opportunities and challenges for implementing any evidence-based practice, and (4) identify key considerations for implementing MI within their organization.
Presenter: Erin Espinosa, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, National Council on Crime and Delinquency

G7  Engaging Fathers in Social Services: How to Meet the Ultimate Challenge
Fathers are one of the most underserved populations in many child and family agencies. The purpose of this workshop is to help agencies provide effective outreach strategies to engage fathers in social services. Participants will learn core fathering skills to help men become successful parents. This workshop will also introduce resources to help agencies provide a “father friendly” environment. The presentation will also address challenges and solutions in working with incarcerated fathers, single father,s and military fathers.
Presenter: Vincent Duran, President/Chief Executive Office, Boys and Girls Country of Houston 

CLOSING GENERAL SESSION - 10:50 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
A Conversation with the DFPS and HHSC Executive Leadership Panel
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and Health and Human Services Commission’s (HHSC) executive leadership team will provide an overview of their agency priorities and goals, as well as updates on planned and current initiatives underway and how Texas child and youth community organizations can take part. This interactive general session will allow for you to ask questions, learn valuable information, and hear the latest and greatest directly from our state’s leadership. Whether you’re interested in hearing about child abuse prevention, foster care, treatment or permanency services, adoption, behavioral health, or more - this session is an annual highlight of the Conference. 
Presenters: Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and Texas Health and Human Services Executive Leadership Teams -Trevor Woodruff, Acting Commissioner; Rand Harris, Chief of Staff; Jim Sylvester, Associate Commissioner for Child Protective Investigations; David Kinsey, Chief Financial Officer; Kristene Blackstone, Associate Commissioner for Child Protective Services; and Sasha Rasco, Associate Commissioner for Prevention and Early Intervention, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Jean Shaw Associate Commissioner for Child Care Licensing, Texas Health and Human Services