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
Talking to Kids About Tough StuffPresenter: Barry Chaffkin
Children do best when they know the truth about their lives. Sharing difficult information with children is not easy. This workshop will give parents and professionals the tools to discuss the most challenging situations (e.g. abuse, parental incarceration, death, HIV, incest, and termination of parental rights) to children of all ages. Please bring your own challenging questions to the session. No topic is off limits!
Engaging Birth Parents in Kinship Placements and AdoptionsPresenter: Dr. Joseph Crumbley
This workshop will focus on 1) identifying the barriers and challenges to engaging birth parents; 2) developing strength-based approaches to minimizing these barriers; 3) formulating motivational approaches to elicit the birth parents involvement; 4) identifying the roles and tasks of birth parents in assisting their children in adjusting to and accepting kinship care; 5) facilitating the tasks and interactions between relative caregivers and birth parents in order to stabilize the placement or adoption.
What My White Parents Didn't Know…and Why I Turned Out OK AnywayPresenter: April Dinwoodie
Trans-racially adopted presenter shares first-hand experiences and practical ideas when faced with inevitable race, diversity and identity challenges within adoption and foster care. The workshop content includes: extended family and community dynamics, the importance of caring for hair and skin, navigating relationships/dating and overall perceptions and assumptions faced by trans-racial adoptees. This workshop will be an open discussion guided by a transracially-adopted presenter.
Development Trauma: The Root to "Bad" Behavior Presenter: Heather T. Forbes
Exposure to trauma during the most critical developmental years of a child's life can have a profound and life-long impact. All too often, children with traumatic histories do not meet the typical developmental milestones and unfortunately, it goes undetected. It simply looks like a child being disrespectful, forgetful, disobedient, or worse. An adopted child's history is typically plagued with multiple layers of chronic and prolonged abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect. The result is "Complex Trauma" and from a parenting perspective, the multiple challenge faced on a day in and day out basis can be overwhelming. This session will breakdown the complexity of our children's issues and explain why our children do the things they do. There really is a logical reason, most of which comes from looking at it from a developmental perspective. Strategies and solutions for helping our children rebuild the areas of their development that are deficient will also be offered.
Keeping The Promise: Going The DistancePresenter: Lisa Highfield
This workshop prepares families to meet the challenges of raising adopted children. Grief, anger, and acting out behavior are not only to be expected, but a path to healing and a sign of growth. Attachment is discussed, both how to create bonds and assuring parents that it is entirely possible for children, including older children with attachment issues, to form loving, healthy relationships with caregivers. Parents' unrealistic expectations, both of themselves and of their children, while misjudging negative behavior as a reflection of their parenting ability, rather than as a sign of healing, A key component of this workshop is the concept that parents are the key to a successful adoption, not the children, their behavior, their background, or what's in their file. Parents learn about their own emotional triggers and emotional responses and how to spot them. Children are our best teachers, and by allowing them to trigger us, bringing up our old wounds, we are able to grow as people. Parents will learn the importance of self-care, of avoiding vicarious trauma, and discover that they can enrich their own lives just as much as they help their children. Parents will be reminded of why they originally wanted to adopt, enabling them to reflect and center themselves when the going gets tough. Lisa will equip parents with the knowledge to heal their children and meet their needs, rather than trying to "fix" them. Those in the adoption profession will learn first-hand what it is truly like to parent traumatized children, and how to support struggling families.
Trauma-Informed Care: Brain, Beasts, and the Failure of Therapy Presenter: Dr. Ken Huey
Adoption is a very survivable trauma. Frequently, the adoption trauma is compounded by pre-adoption trauma of neglect and other abuse. This trauma in the developmental attachment window damages the brain. Typically, treatment for this damage has been behavioral or cognitive-behavioral in focus. This is misguided. This presentation will touch on the latest in brain research and early childhood trauma to lay a groundwork for correct treatment of adoptees with a trauma history. Neurofeedback, EMDR, Transferable Attachment, Sensory Integration, and relational focus will be addressed as treatment modalities that show efficacy with such trauma issues.
Welcoming a New Brother or Sister by Adoption: From Navigating New Relationships to Loving FamiliesPresenter: Arletta James
It is challenging to parent an adopted or foster child with an early trauma history AND meet the needs of the typically-developing children. If you are concerned about the impact of fostering or adopting on developmentally healthy children, this workshop will be of help to you. Discussion starts with the expectations of the children already present in the family prior to the family accepting the placement of a new child. This is followed by post-placement issues: family fun, time management, "life isn't fair", grief and loss and positives! The workshop concludes with strategies to help each family member forge strong relationships. The content of this learning activity is enhanced via the video, Supporting Brothers and Sisters in which 14 typically developing brothers and sisters share their experiences of living with foster/adopted siblings.
Saving a GenerationPresenter: Bishop W. C. Martin
Bishop Martin shares a roadmap to social transformation by demonstrating how his tiny church adopted and forever changed the destiny of 76 at-risk children. Allow him to share with you how your congregation can assist with solutions-based partnerships with government agencies.
Being Trauma-Informed Can Strengthen Families-Learn More About Resources in NCPresenter: Jeanne Preisler
Traumatic stress in childhood can cause impairments in emotional, behavioral, physical, and developmental functioning. Additionally, adverse experiences in childhood have been connected with illness, high-risk behaviors and death in adults. An important tool for addressing emotional and behavioral concerns for children and their caregivers with a trauma history is recognizing how their experiences have impacted their beliefs about themselves, adults who care for them, and the world around them.
This training is designed to provide useful information about the innovative trauma-informed, post-adoption resources in North Carolina and to get participants thinking in a more trauma-informed way. Participants will learn how childhood trauma impacts human beings throughout the life span and learn ways they improve the well-being of those affected by trauma.
Motivating Change in Three Little WordsPresenter: Ashley Rhodes-Courter
(Based on her award-winning International and New York Times Bestselling memoir, Three Little Words)
Born in 1985 to a single teen mother Ashley was placed in foster care at the age of 3. Most of her 14 placements were abusive and overcrowded. In one home, 16 people lived in a small trailer where the children were regularly beaten, neglected, verbally assaulted, and starved. Another foster parent became a convicted pedophile. At one point, she was also placed with an alcoholic relative that was shot twice in front of her.
After spending almost ten years in the system, Ashley was finally adopted from a group home when she was twelve. Instead of seeing herself as a victim, Ashley has used her experience to find the strength to accomplish incredible things. She became a New York Times Bestselling author by age 22, holds a Master's Degree in Social Work, ran for Florida State Senate at age 26, created and heads a non-profit organization, and she has been a foster parent to more than 20 children. In this inspiring workshop, Ashley will show audiences how to overcome their own personal and professional challenges to accomplish more than they ever thought possible.
Connecting the Dots: Adoption and the Modern FamilyPresenter: April Dinwoodie
In today's world, the landscape of the American Family is rapidly changing; families built through assisted reproduction technology, transracial families, and families headed by gay and lesbian parents are just some examples of families in the 21st Century. In this presentation, we seek to draw analogies between all that we have learned from the adoption experience to help better guide today's modern parents and professionals. This presentation will discuss the research base in this area while also including a diverse panel of individuals who reflect diverse parenting experiences.
Life is Therapy: Embracing Negative Moments as Healing MomentsPresenter: Heather T. Forbes
The majority of interventions for children are done outside of the home, in a controlled and regulated environment. While great work can be done in such settings, adopted children often only demonstrate their most difficult behaviors within the context of their home. Additionally, they often present outside the home as well‐adjusted, engaging, and likable children. "Raw" moments seen at home are rarely, if ever, seen in the offices of clinicians nor are they easily recreated during these treatment sessions. The result is that the chaos continues in the home, despite out of home interventions. Learn how to embrace these challenging times within the home as "healing moments" and become empowered as a parent instead of "walking on eggshells." This will be an interactive and emotionally intense session with powerful exercises and role plays. Participants will leave saying, "Now I get it…now I understand how to put science into action!"
One Heart Can Make a Difference- What Children Need to Succeed Presenter: Mark Anthony Garrett
Mark Anthony Garrett is a past foster/adoptive child with wonderful insight on how this experience greatly impacted his life. Mark will speak about his own experiences, including how he overcame the many hardships and obstacles that were placed in his path. The primary focus of this message is on how every person, despite their situation, has the power to positively influence and impact the lives of others. One heart can truly make a difference if we are focused on making it happen. Furthermore, this session will explore internal and external factors that are critical in a child's success and overall self-esteem. Mark will address aspects of family support, self-fulfilling prophesies, mentoring, resiliency, praise, goal setting, vision, and a plethora of other techniques and strategies designed to aid children in empowering themselves for a better life.
This workshop prepares families to meet the challenges of raising adopted children. Grief, anger, and acting out behavior are not only to be expected, but a path to healing and a sign of growth. Attachment is discussed, both how to create bonds and assuring parents that it is entirely possible for children, including older children with attachment issues, to form loving, healthy relationships with caregivers. Parents' unrealistic expectations, both of themselves and of their children, while misjudging negative behavior as a reflection of their parenting ability, rather than as a sign of healing, A key component of this workshop is the concept that parents are the key to a successful adoption, not the children, their behavior, their background, or what's in their file. Parents learn about their own emotional triggers and emotional responses and how to spot them. Children are our best teachers, and by allowing them to trigger us, bringing up our old wounds, we are able to grow as people. Parents will learn the importance of self-care, of avoiding vicarious trauma, and discover that they can enrich their own lives just as much as they help their children. Parents will be reminded of why they originally wanted to adopt, enabling them to reflect and center themselves when the going gets tough. Lisa will equip parents with the knowledge to heal their children and meet their needs, rather than trying to "fix" them. Those in the adoption professional will learn first-hand what it is truly like to parent traumatized children, and how to support struggling families.
One Very Vulnerable Conversation: Lessons Learned on the Impact of Adoption from an Adult Adoptee
Presenter: Dr. Ken Huey
Adoption is traumatic. This presentation will offer framework of trauma and attachment research from which to begin our discussion. It will then highlight the presenter's specific adoption and early experiences as a template for understanding more global adoptee concerns. Findings and writings from the best attachment and trauma resources will be used to buttress claims that being adopted is frequently causative of assimilation issues in early and later life. Specific core beliefs must be challenged if an adoptee is to move beyond the adoption question of relative fit in family and society. Those core beliefs of relative worthiness, competence, and belonging drive destructive behavior in many adoptees. There are ways to heal such beliefs. The presenter will share some of those methods and resources for addressing the adoption experience. The presentation will be emotional on numerous levels.
Welcoming a New Brother or Sister by Adoption: From Navigating New Relationships to Loving FamiliesPresenter: Arletta James
Ethics in AdoptionPresenter: Leslie Pate-MacKinnon
A look at the various ways that ethics are inadvertently or purposely overlooked. Working through the adoption process from a decision by the birthparent or a child's removal from the home, it is important for the professional to avoid compromising ethical situations. When adoptive parents come into the picture there is another set of ethical decisions to be upheld. The ethical considerations relate to each step in the process and each person involved. Just like adoption, ethical behavior covers the life span.
Presenter: Lauren Reicher-Gordon
This workshop will present Kidsave's Weekend Miracles program, which uses the Family Visit Model to achieve permanency for older foster youth. It will highlight how the program achieves permanency for youth who are open to or ambivalent about adoption, and will explain how the program engages adults who may not be ready to foster/adopt but want to make a difference in a child's life. The presentation will discuss replication opportunities of the program nationwide. The workshop will include a testimonial from a parent who met her child through Kidsave's Weekend Miracles program. The program operates in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. This workshop is meant to inspire administrators and social workers of child welfare and foster family agencies alike to consider incorporating family visits into their adoption recruitment efforts for older youth.
Dealing with Quibbling SiblingsPresenter: Helen Shin
Based on the bestselling book "Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too" by Faber and Mazlisch, this fun and interactive workshop will challenge the idea that constant, unpleasant conflict among siblings is natural and unavoidable. Parents will learn practical, easy to use techniques to help children deal with their negative feelings about each other, avoid inadvertent comparing, treat children individually not equally, and promote an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competition in the home.