Breakout Sessions

2023 Sessions and Topics

Breakout Sessions Schedule

There are three sessions throughout the day where you get to pick the session/topic you’d like to sit in on. View the different topics and speakers below for each session.

10:00 AM – 10:50 AM

Session 1

Adoption Positive Language and Inclusivity

Sarah Pfleeger

In this session we will dive into stereotypes, origins of phrases, nuances of family, and talk about practical steps to take against insensitivity when it is witnessed. Group participation is encouraged and discussion is built and attendees will walk away with an awareness of what different families look like and how our ingrained narratives frame our interactions.

Cultural Awareness in Your Home and Beyond

Clarkston & LaKendra Morgan, Justin & Alexis Black, and Wilbert & Khadija Fobbs

Join a panel of professionals with lived experience for a discussion on how to help the children we work with develop a positive cultural identity. Participants will receive guidance for how multi-racial families can engage their adoptive and foster children’s immediate mental, physical, and spiritual needs.

Current Foster Care Trends

David Reed

Indiana’s need for high-quality, committed, and well-trained and supported foster families continues to be high as the Department focuses on improving placement stability and safety for kids in foster care while helping to facilitate timely reunification whenever possible. This session will focus on foster care trends throughout the state and how our communities can best help meet the needs of these vulnerable youth. Data and research on the importance of high-quality foster care will be shared with time left for questions and conversation on this important topic.

Leading Well at Your Church

Brandy Baumann & Casey Getzin

Leading a ministry, whether as a volunteer or church staff, is hard and sometimes confusing. This breakout session will focus on giving leaders tangible tools that will help them to grow in leading a FAM (Family Advocacy Ministry). Whether you are new or experienced in this ministry, this session will help provide ideas to overcome the obstacles many of us face while leading in the church.

The Impact of Trauma

Mike & Kristin Berry

In this session we will dive into how trauma changes the brain, impacts behaviors, disrupts attachment, but most importantly, how caregivers can work to build a healthy attachment and cultivate a home of healing and restoration.

11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

Session 2

Adoption is only the Beginning

Mike & Kristin Berry

Sometimes parents see finalizing an adoption as the end of a long process, but it’s really just the beginning. In this session we will share insights and strategies caregivers need to know and implement post-adoption.

Crucial Conversations: Working with Birth Parents

Takkeem Morgan

We’re reaching a tipping point in child welfare and you can make a difference through connections with biological families. Join a former foster youth for a discussion on the opportunities for birth and foster parents to work together and reimagine a future where we link arms to change the narrative and build families where everyone thrives.

Hard Conversations with Your Kids

Darren & Stacey Gagnon

Often, children who have experienced trauma face additional challenges and as they get older they recognize that their lives don’t look like their friends. They go to therapy, have caseworker visits, complicated biological family situations, difficulty in school, and experience things that trigger their behaviors. Sometimes it can feel like the deck is stacked against them and navigating the questions they ask about why their life looks different can be hard. Join us for a discussion on how to handle these questions in age-appropriate ways and walk with our kids through the grief that comes from experiencing trauma.

Proven Support for Foster, Adoptive, and At-Risk Families

Panel Moderated by Amy Jo Fox and Lindie McElroy

Nationally, 50% of foster parents quit after their first year or their first placement. Care Communities have proven to retain up to 90% of those foster parents, helping them foster longer and stronger. A Care Community is a team of 6-8 committed volunteers who come alongside foster and adoptive families, providing practical, emotional and spiritual support. Come learn more, including first hand experience from those who have served on and been served by a Care Community.

Where Do I Fit?

Larry May & Laura Mobley

Do you want to make an impact in the lives of vulnerable children in Indiana, but aren’t currently called to being a foster parent or high capacity volunteer? Do you want to make a difference right where you are? Join us to learn how you can leverage your business, workplace, or church to serve those involved in foster care.

12:50 PM – 1:40 PM

Session 3

Hope for the Wounded Heart & Body

Haley Hast

When a child experiences sexual abuse it impacts normal childhood development and unresolved trauma can impact an individual throughout their lifetime. However, significant healing can happen by addressing the trauma, supporting the child, and providing the resources that they need. In this session we will discuss types of abuse, the impact on the brain, and how to identify trauma reminders and symptoms. We will look at common behaviors associated with sexual abuse and provide practical ways you can support a child at any age who has experienced trauma.

It Stops with Me: Addressing Generational Trauma in Foster Care Settings

Calvalyn Day

Even in the best-case scenarios, children and families involved in the foster care system have likely experienced direct trauma. But what about the wounds that we don’t have a story for? Generational trauma, or trauma that is passed down through physical, emotional and relational methods within a family bloodline, shows up in many ways. Often, there is no direct story that can be shared, but the impact is still felt. Your home can be a turning point for an entire generation. In this workshop, you will explore:
· What is generational trauma?
· How does generational trauma show up in the foster home?
· How can you support the child in your care while respecting the family of origin?

Risky Behaviors

Darren & Stacey Gagnon

Scared kids do scary things, like lying, cutting, drug use, aggression, stealing, defiance, self-harm…does this raise your blood pressure? If so, this is the session for you. When we work with children from hard places, we will often see them act out in maladaptive behaviors. This session will explore where some of these behaviors come from and how best to handle them. If behaviors are a means of communicating a need, then we should be able to see past the behavior to the need.

There’s More to Success than Love & Jesus: Practical Tips for Bringing Children from Hard Places into Your Home

Mike & Kristin Berry

So often caregivers are unprepared for the realities of trauma when they begin the foster or adoption process. And then reality hits. You love deeply but you need more than that. You need insights and strategies to successfully parent. In this session that’s precisely what we’re going to discuss.

Understanding Your Legal Rights as a Foster Parent

Grant Kirsh

Are you unsure what your legal rights are as a foster parent? Do you want to advocate for the child in your home but not overstep? Join us for this session where we will cover foster parents’ rights as it relates to the CHINS, TPR, and adoption cases.

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