2019 PAFCAF Conference Session Descriptions

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Monday, February 25, 2019


Charles D. Barnett Address

2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Michelle Madrid Branch, Founder of Everything Adoption

Michelle Madrid Branch, this year’s keynote for the Charles D. Barnett Address is an author, speaker, entrepreneur, international adoptee, and global advocate for women and children, specializing in the areas of adoption, foster care, abandonment recovery, and identity reconciliation. During her session, she will be sharing her own personal story of foster care and international adoption. With transparency, she’ll express how the judgments and the negative labels that came with that experience impacted her life for many years. She’ll share the moment in Ethiopia—while adopting her daughter—that ultimately set her free from shame. A moment that urged her onward to a greater way of being and of serving: a vision she holds for every person of foster care and/or adoption.

Michelle’s mission is to ensure that the adoption community is heard, seen, valued, respected, and understood, which she achieves through her various work. In addition to being the founder of Everything Adoption, she hosts “The Greater Than” podcast, is the recipient of the 2004 Congressional Angels in Adoption Award, was inducted into the New Mexico Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006, and received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women by Governor Bill Richardson.


Session 1

3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Clinical & Mental Health

Creating an Environment for Successful Behavior Modification

Gissell Cravener & Amber Bochette, Crosswell Homes

This presentation will address five areas necessary to create a positive environment to successfully manage challenging child and adolescent behaviors in residential settings. These five areas include: fostering a healthy relationship, creating a supportive environment, establishing rules and expectations for behavior, guidelines for teaching self management and exercising discipline, and recommendation for the use of consequences.


Direct Service

Successful Transitions to Adulthood

Terri Pope, & Rebecca MasseySouth Carolina Department of Social Services

In this session, attendees will learn about services available through the Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transitions to Adulthood and the changes in the program brought by the new Families First Legislation. They will also learn about specific needs of youth aging out of care and the role care providers play in helping ensure successful transition.


Direct Service

The Connection of Child Maltreatment and Juvenile Justice: An Approach to Reducing Disproportionate Minority Contact

Stephen Scoff, Lew Rogers & Erik Drylie, Children's Law Center

Research has shown that children who have been abused or neglected are more likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system and, once involved, often receive differential treatment, are more likely to penetrate the system further or to re-offend. Because minority children are overrepresented in the child welfare system, this phenomenon contributes to disproportionate minority contact in juvenile justice. This interactive session will provide an overview of South Carolina’s juvenile justice system, address the prevalence of dually-involved youth, and examine racial disparities in child welfare and juvenile justice. We will also explore the risk factors associated with dual involvement and learn to shift practice toward developing protective factors.



Strategic Planning: A Prerequisite for Successful Mission Fulfillment  

Jennifer Flowers, MBA, Accreditation Guru, Inc.

Strategic planning is fundamental to fulfilling the mission of every nonprofit organization. A strategic plan is a ‘living’ document that serves as an essential roadmap to the future. This session will highlight the key elements of a comprehensive strategic plan, those that should be involved in the development process, why strategy is key in today’s competitive environment and the value of creating a “plan to plan.”


Policy & Research

Advocacy 101: A Guide to South Carolina Legislature

Amber Barnes, McGuire Woods Consulting & Megan Branham

This session will focus on the legislative process in South Carolina as well as the key players involved. It will highlight relevant committees, legislation of interest, and attendees will leave with an understanding of the need to develop relationships with members of the South Carolina legislature in order to help advance child welfare issues in the state.



Now I Understand! Using Emotional Intelligence to Strengthen Families  

Alex Swire-Clark, The Rapport Advantage

Communication today is challenging. Between text messages and social media, we’re losing the art of meaningful conversation. All family members, and people in general for that matter, want two things: 1. To belong and 2. To be understood. With insights into emotional intelligence, parents and their children can understand how each other think and view the world. This knowledge opens lanes of communication that wouldn’t otherwise exist. This session will help you understand how YOU communicate, how others communicate, and give you strategies to help "speak another person’s language."


Tuesday, February 26, 2019


General Session/Nancy K. Perry Address

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.

Dr. Keith Bailey, Ph.D., Training Director, Harmony Family Center

Dr. Keith Bailey, this year’s keynote for the Nancy K. Perry Address, has over 25 years of experience working with children and families in the child welfare system, serving 15 of those years at the Holston United Methodist Home for Children in various positions.

He later served as a consultant for the University of Tennessee’s Social Work Office of Research and Public Service. During his position within the office, he trained Department of Children’s Services’ (DCS) staff and foster parents, developed curricula, and offered technical support for DCS. Dr. Bailey also served as Curriculum Coordinator for the University of Tennessee, developing the curricula for the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

For the past two years, Dr. Bailey has served as the Training Director for Harmony Family Center, under the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. He also is a professionally certified Trainer for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention through Cornell University.


Session 2

10:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.


Clinical & Mental Health

Living in Harmony: The Application of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics in Adoptive Home and Therapeutic Camps

Dr. Keith Bailey, Harmony Family Center

This workshop features information on how Harmony Family Center uses the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), developed by Dr. Bruce Perry and the ChildTrauma Academy, to work with adoptive families who are at risk for adoption disruption or dissolution. The NMT is a developmentally sensitive approach to understanding and intervening in the impact of pervasive developmental trauma and neglect. NMT’s main concepts and the use of the Assessment and Clinical Practice Tool to inform the therapeutic approach with adoptive children and their families, both in their homes and at family camps will be discussed. Also, the use of the NMT concepts to guide therapeutic camp activities for vulnerable children in the community and for those served by the child welfare system will be presented.


Direct Service

Dynamics of Rape Culture: Understanding the Connection between Violence in Media, Pornography, and Youth Understanding of Sexuality

Kayce Singletary & Rachael Luff, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands

This session will provide a space for participants to discuss and critically evaluate how the dynamics of interpersonal and sexual violence, media, and the pornography industry shape our perspectives of sexuality. Using this analysis, participants of this session will examine the impact of these perspectives when responding to perpetrators and victims of violence. Using multidisciplinary research, this session will provide participants with the knowledge and skills to combat the effect of violent pornography and sexual exploitation in youth in the digital age when implementing prevention education with youth.



Attracting and Supporting Older Foster Youth through Competency-Based Career Pathway Online High School

Dr. Howard Liebman, Smart Horizons Career Online Education

In this session, participants will join Dr. Howard Liebman, Superintendent of Schools, for Smart Horizons Career Online High School, a competency-based, career pathway high school program that specializes in re-engaging older foster youth back into the educational system in partnership with community-based organizations around the United States. Learn how a competency-based, career pathway high school model is a promising vehicle for working with older foster and helping them prepare for the world of work.


Policy & Research

Best Practices for ICWA and Native American Families Within Tribes

Marcy Hayden & Erica Canady, South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs

What is ICWA? Who does it apply to? What are culturally appropriate case management strategies? These questions and more will be answered during this session. Attendees will learn the basics regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act and best practices for working with Native American Indian families and tribal communities. Attendees will also be exposed to utilizing traditional and cultural teachings and learn how to utilize support theories and implementation of culturally appropriate programing to create positive support systems.



Leading with Results: Driving Change

Sarah Quirk & Matt Hembree, Lutheran Services Carolinas

With performance-based contracting becoming more and more prevalent in child welfare work, showing results is becoming increasingly important. Results are important not just with compliance but affecting change. In this session, participants will learn how to lead with results to become more efficient; drive change within their organization; lean on data and outcomes to drive their programmatic decisions and direction; and seeing one organization’s journey to become a more results-based organization.


General Session/Lunch

12:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Dr. Alexandra Karydi, Program Director, South Carolina Department of Mental Health Suicide Prevention Office

Dr. Alex Karydi, LMFT, LAC, CSAC, is a licensed therapist that has focused her research on the impact of minority stress on LGBTQI populations. She has a Masters in Clinical Psychology, a Ph.D. in Clinical Sexology, and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy.

She has served the Richland 2 School District as a therapist and with the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) as an evaluating psychologist with the designation of the state Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) youth coordinator. Currently, she is the Program Director for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health Suicide Prevention Office, a community movement to end suicide in South Carolina.  She has been working with kids and their families throughout her travel since 2000.

Participants will leave the session with the ability to recognize risk factors and warning signs, as well as how to institute protective factors. The goal of the presentation is to instill hope by empowering communities with knowledge and encouraging them to combat stigma, collaboratively.  


Session 3

2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.


Clinical & Mental Health

Understanding and Leading Children on the Autism Spectrum

Tonya Hayes, Sprout Pediatrics

One in 59 children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD);  it is vital that we know the characteristics of ASD as well as research-based strategies in leading them to a full life experience as we care and nurture them. This session will outline basic characteristics of persons with Autism, provide videos to illustrate the spectrum of these characteristics as well as helpful strategies to use when guiding and leading children with ASD. We want to support all children to not only survive in daily living situations but thrive as a  productive member in their home, community and school.


Direct Service

ASK About Suicide to Save a Life: a Youth and Young Adult Suicide Prevention Tool

Dr. Alex Karydi, South Carolina Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative

This session is for adults who interact with youth or adults at risk for suicide. The program provides participants with an overview of the basic epidemiology of suicide and suicidal behavior, including risk and protective factors. Participants are trained to recognize warning signs—behaviors and characteristics that might indicate elevated risk for suicidal behavior—and how to intervene with a person they think might be at risk for suicide. Using role-playing, participants practice asking other participants about suicidal thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Participants are trained to respond to someone expressing direct suicidal communication by seeking emergency care. Participants are also trained to gather more information about a person’s risk and take action consistent with that risk if they identify a person who is not acutely suicidal.



Collaborating for a Successful Transition

Chamlee Loscuito MSW & Vernon R. Hayes, Hope Center for Children

In today’s changing child welfare landscape the demand for creative public/private partnerships is essential to building a successful service array for children and families. Collaborative efforts are needed to develop a successful transition plan that enhances services and produces good outcomes for children and families.


Policy & Research

Families First Act and Accreditation: Everything You Need to Know

Leslie Ellis-Lang, CARF International & Zoë Hutchinson, Council on Accreditation with moderator, Jennifer Flowers, Accreditation Guru

The Family First Prevention Services Act, as well as pending legislation (Family Based Care Services Act), requires accreditation for congregate care providers and child placing agencies. This panel workshop will provide attendees information about accreditation including the fundamental organizational requirements, key individuals to include throughout the process and how to avoid the common pitfalls of accreditation preparation. The panel will feature participants from two of the three accrediting bodies for agencies approved under Family First: CARF and Council on Accreditation (COA) and will be moderated by Jennifer Flowers, Accreditation Guru.


Behavior Modification – The ABCs of Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Modification Plan Development

Dr. Edward Toyer, Select Health: Integrated Behavioral Health Department

This session will focus on describing the basic components of the behavior modification process, including behavior assessment, intervention planning and implementation, crisis planning and outcome monitoring, and reporting and translating those components into a simple but comprehensive Behavior Modification Plan. South Carolina Department of Human Health Services (DHHS) Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Services medical necessity criteria for Behavior Modification (H2014) will be reviewed during this session as well.


Session 4

3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.


Clinical & Mental Health

Building Resilience in Children who Have Experienced Trauma

Ebony Young, Unique Interventions for Youth

Behavioral and emotional responses to trauma are not all the same, making it difficult to identify children that have experienced trauma, along with build resilience in those children. These responses vary depending on the child's age, personality, the type of trauma experienced. Trauma has the ability to cause long lasting effect on children that has the ability to follow them throughout adulthood. During this session, understanding of how resilience is developed, tools to develop resilience and ways to reduce any more trauma will be demonstrated to participants.


Direct Service

Drug Endangered Children - Caught in the Crossfire of Substance Misuse and the Opioid Epidemic

Michelle Greco, Greenville Health System Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health and Advocacy & Candice Lively, 6th Circuit Solicitor’s Office

This session will provide participants with an overview of Drug Endangered Children (DEC) in South Carolina and the impact of the opioid crisis on children. Participants will learn of the growing crisis in South Carolina through sharing of data and trends seen related to opioids in relation to child welfare, abuse and neglect, injury, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), toxic stress and impact on future health, wellness and success. Challenges, barriers and opportunities to the identification, prevention and coordination of care for DEC will be discussed in this session. Participants  will also be provided guidance on what professionals working with children can do to increase awareness and education about DEC in their agency and community, practical steps to take to address DEC through policies/protocols and training, and how the community can collaborate for a unified and coordinated response.



CEO Roundtable

Paula Fendley, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Palmetto Association for Children and Families & Bethany Vause, Executive Director, Lutheran Services Carolinas and President of the Palmetto Association of Children and Families Board of Directors

This session is designed specifically for executive directors and CEOs of provider agencies. The focus will be on current issues facing providers and will give executives an opportunity to network and receive important updates on policy and legislative matters.  This time is allocated for Director – level Association members.”


Policy & Research

Improving Permanency Practice: What We Can Learn from Foster Parent Experiences of Pre-adoptive Placement Disruption

Dr. Kori Bloomquist, Winthrop University

Adoption is the permanency plan for approximately one-quarter of all children in the U.S. foster care system. Currently, there are more than 120,000 children living in out-of-home care awaiting adoption due to pre-adoptive placement disruption and disruption prior to finalized adoption. This session will present data and findings from in-depth interviews with foster parents in a Midwestern state who lived through a pre-adoptive placement disruption as well as emerging research from foster parents in South Carolina. The findings from the study will be discussed throughout this session.



Out of Home Abuse and Neglect

Louise Cooper, South Carolina Department of Social Services

This session will discuss current policies and processes used by South Carolina Department of Social Services to investigate OHAN-related complaints.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Session 5

9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.


Clinical & Mental Health

Treatment Foster Care (Family Vistas model) and Home-based Treatment  (Family Centered Treatment model) to Enable Successful Reunification

William Painter, The Mentor Network & Vicki Ochoa, The Mentor Network

Family Centered Treatment® - an evidence-based model of home based treatment -  and Family Vistas® - a best practice and evidence informed treatment foster care, combine to successfully achieve reunification. This session will describe the effective merging of shared parenting and home based treatment components necessary for successful reunion. This session will address components of successful reunion, the process for honoring the family of origin, some typical barriers with practical tools to overcome them, and a process for engaging biological parents and foster parents in the process.


Direct Service

Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

Jessica Hill, Children’s Law Center

This training will equip mandated reporters with the relevant laws regarding their role and responsibilities as mandated reporters. Participants will learn who mandated reporters are according to South Carolina law, statutory requirements and protections, signs of possible abuse and neglect, and when to make a report.



A Collaborative Approach: Creating a Family Engagement Services Community

Emma Schmitt Galligan, National Youth Advocate Program, Cathy Milless, National Youth Advocate Program, Shaneka Mcdaniel-Oliver, South Carolina Department of Social Services

& K. Jill Aquino, South Carolina Department of Social Services

Since 2009, the South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) has implemented a number of family engagement strategies to strengthen families natural support systems and promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of South Carolina’s children. Today, nearly 10 years later, SCDSS partners with the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) to provide an array of integrated family engagement services that includes Family Finding, Family Team Meetings, Family Group Conferences, Follow-up Family Group Conferences and more! This session will detail the progress of family engagement strategies to date and the highly necessary involvement of professionals and other community stakeholders. The session will also share an assessment tool utilized for Family Group Conferences to assess and engage the non-familial systems and supports with whom a family is connected.


Policy & Research

Life in Limbo: Experience What a Child in Foster Care Feels

David White, Fostering Great Ideas

Would you like to step into the shoes of a child who enters foster care, or become a biological parent who loses physical custody, or become a foster parent, doing your best to help a child in need? The children pick their age (and their parent), bonds are formed, and disruption occurs -- all within this experiential learning breakout session. The primary goal of this session is for attendees to develop empathy for children in foster care and their families.


Policy & Research

Adoption Law in South Carolina

Tim Harbeson

This session will discuss the current status of the law as it pertains to statutes and court processes governing adoptions in South Carolina. Attendees will have a general understanding of the highlights of the state, private and relative adoption processes including Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) issues.  This is a training event and no legal advice will be given during the workshop.


Closing General Session

10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Frank Crawford

With 40 years of progressively responsible human services work in North Carolina, 14 years with the Mecklenburg County Court System, eight years doing casework with children/youth referred to the court system, and six years doing supervisory work including overseeing probation caseloads of some 400+ youngsters, Mr. Frank Crawford has extensive experience with youth.

He also served four years as Administrative Director and later Interim Exec Director of The Children's Law Center in Charlotte, a non-profit law firm representing abused, neglected, and delinquent children in the court system. In 1992, Mr. Crawford accepted the Executive Director position of Youth Homes Inc of Charlotte, a non-profit child welfare agency serving children in residential programs. After retiring in 2014, he developed a small and selective consultation practice working with agencies around strategic planning, board development, and facilitating staff retreats and workshops with a focus on inspiring the important work that child welfare staff do.

In this general session, ""The Other Ten Commandments...Finding Humor and Passion in the World of Human Services," professionals will be challenged to dig deeper into why they chose to do this work and why they drive to work every day.



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