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Address

Office Location:

DSS Main Office
​Wallace H. Kuralt Centre
301 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

West Charlotte Location
Valerie C. Woodard Center
3205 Freedom Drive
Charlotte, NC 28208
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Contact

Customer Connection
704-336-3000

​​​Adoption Conference Speaker Bios

Keynote Speakers


Asley Rhodes-Courter Morning Keynote Speaker

Ashley Rhodes-Courter is the quintessential American success story. Born in 1985 to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 she was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve. Despite her ordeal, she excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.”  Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes.   Read More

 

Mark Anthony Garrett

Luncheon Keynote Speaker

Mark Anthony Garrett grew up in the tough inner city of Dayton, Ohio as a foster child and was then later adopted. Throughout his childhood he faced many hardships such as poverty, neglect, homelessness, abandonment and abuse, both physical and sexual.  At 14, he lost his adopted mother to cancer, dropped out of school, joined a gang and was in and out of juvenile jail.  Read More

  

Pekitta Tynes  Afternoon Keynote Speaker

Pekitta Tynes is a professional Comedienne who has been performing stand-up comedy for over 30+ years.  Her forte is the impromptu comedian style performing routines off the top of her head by finding comedy in the immediate observation.  Her quick wit affords her the opportunity to have a different show for each performance.

Pekitta is the author of "Thank God I Was Adopted 'Cause DNA is no Joke!"  Based on her memoirs and journey to how she found her biological family through DNA testing. Pekitta     is Foundling, a Foster Child, and a Late Adoptee. 

 

 Presenters​


Ken Huey Ken Huey After completing his BA in English, Ken Huey received a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Florida State University. He then earned his Ph.D. in 

Marriage and Family Therapy from Purdue University.  Read More

 

 

 

​​​Arleta JamesArleta James Founder and Director of Adoption & Attachment Therapy Partners, LLC been an adoption professional for 20 years. Her counseling center specializes in adoption-attachment-trauma informed therapies needed to enhance the attachment among all members of families built via adoption.  Read More

 
 
Bishop W. C. Martin

For more than twenty years Bishop W. C. Martin has served the community of Possum Trot, Texas as pastor of Bennett Chapel. In 1997, he and his wife, Donna, adopted two children and began a miraculous adventure that has become one of the premier adoption stories in America.

Bishop W.C. Martin is the Founder of Saving a Generation Ministry, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has been recognized nationally for its success in facilitating, supporting,   and undergirding the adoption/fostering of children who have been abused, neglected, & hard to place.  Read More​​


Helen ShinHelen Shin has been working with children and families in the foster care and adoption field for 25 years.  She has worked as a foster care caseworker, adoption specialist, foster family recruiter and training coordinator in NYC.  Helen has been a trainer with the Foster/Adoptive Parent Training Project at the Center for Development of Human Services since 1999.  She is a Master Trainer who conducts Train-the-Trainer workshops for child welfare staff as well as online and classroom trainings on a variety of topics for foster/adoptive parents. 

Lisa Highfield Lisa Highfield has been the Founder and Executive Director of Healing Hearts for 5 years. Lisa spent 13 years working in group homes, secure custody, and with the London and Middlesex Children's Aid Society supporting foster and adoptive families. Lisa strengthens and empowers families to build and transition their adoptive family through the challenges and beauty that arise along the journey. Lisa presents workshops and offers training on attachment, therapeutic parenting, self-awareness and the mind body connection to agencies and foster and adoptive parents throughout North America. Lisa is the Co-Author of The Promise: Truth From the Trenches of Adoption.

Leslie Pate-Mackinnon Leslie Pate-MacKinnon  is both nationally and internationally known on issues that impact families conceived through adoption and third-party reproduction. Drawn to the field by placing her two first born sons for adoption as a teenager her passion is to educate as many therapist as possible. Read more



 Dr. Joseph CrumbleyDr. Joesph Crumbley received his masters and doctorate in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. He is in private practice as a family therapist, trainer and consultant. His clinical experience includes adoption, foster care, chemical dependency, couples' therapy, physical and sexual abuse. His most recent areas of specialization has been kinship care and transracial adoptions.   Read more


 

        


Lauren Reicher-Gordon Lauren Reicher-Gordon is Vice President and Director of Kidsave's Family Visit programs.   In 2000, she joined Kidsave as Program Manager for their Summer Miracles family visit hosting program. In 2005, she began working with Los Angeles County to adapt Kidsave's hosting model to a weekend format for US foster youth and created the Weekend Miracles program.  Read More 

 
   

April DinwoodleApril Dinwoodie is Chief Executive of the The Donaldson Adoption (DAI). As an adopted person, April is a fierce advocate for children and families that are part of the adoption and foster care constellation. Dinwoodie was trans-racially adopted and shares first hand experience regarding challenges within adoption and foster care. She created the specialized mentoring program "Adoptment." She is also a Co-founder and Vice President of the board of Fostering Change for Children, a progressive non-profit that helps drive innovation within the child welfare system. 

Jeanne Preisler Jeanne Preisler is Program Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Social Services in the Child Welfare Section. She coordinates Project Broadcast, the division's efforts to build a trauma-informed child serving system. She has worked in the fiend of child welfare for 16 years.  Jeanne has two daughters-one through foster care and one through a kinship placement.  She is a strong advocate for families, shared parenting and trauma-informed services for children.

 

Heather T. ForbesHeather T. Forbes, LCSW is the owner of the Beyond Consequences Institute and the co-founder of the Codega Foundation. Forbes has worked in the field of trauma and healing since 1999. She is an internationally published author on the topics of raising children with difficult and severe behaviors, the impact of trauma on the developing child, adoptive motherhood, and self‐development.  Additionally, Forbes has a heart for children in the classroom and for finding ways to teach the child that seems "unteachable." Her signature style is to bridge the gap between scientific research and real life application to equip parents, educators, and therapists with practical and effective tools.  Read More


Barry ChaffkinBarry Chaffkin, LCSW has worked in child welfare for over 26 years, directly supervising the reunification of over 900 children with their families as well as finalizing adoption of over 900 children from the New York foster system. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer with Fostering Change for Children, a NYC-based nonprofit that helps children and families in the child welfare system. He is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and coach. He also serves as an adjunct lecturer and field advisor at the Columbia School of Social Work in NYC.

 

Address

Office Location:

DSS Main Office
​Wallace H. Kuralt Centre
301 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

West Charlotte Location
Valerie C. Woodard Center
3205 Freedom Drive
Charlotte, NC 28208
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

Contact

Customer Connection
704-336-3000