Breakout Sessions

2024 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.

10:20 AM – 11:10 AM

Session 1

Interracial Fostering and Cultural Competence

Rose Hawkins

Parenting a child from a different racial, culture, or ethnic background other than your own requires ongoing learning. This session will explore these concepts, the barriers that exist, and provide ways adults can address children’s needs and help them build positive identities and a sense of connection. It will shed insight on being intentional in creating opportunities for children of color to see and love themselves. Parents will leave with action steps and the knowledge to help encourage a positive racial identity while creating a safe place for vulnerability.

Redefining Rescue – Exploring the Motives and Myths of Becoming a Helper

Shauna Whidden

We will explore the underlying reasons and misconceptions that may motivate individuals to consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent. This session will shed light on the realities of the process and offer insights into what it truly means to become a helper.

Single Parenting Panel

Jess Degenhardt and Katie Fair

Join us for a diverse panel of experienced parents who will shine a light on the specific dynamics single parents face within the foster care community. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the resilience, commitment, and rewards that come with providing a loving, stable home for children in need. Whether you’re considering fostering, a seasoned caregiver, or a professional in the field, this session will offer encouragement and community for those navigating the often challenging path of single-parent foster care.

Depression, Suicide, and Self-harm

Jared Jones

How do depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm connect in the minds of youth? Join us in a conversation about what to look for in youth who struggle with these issues and how you can take steps to help.

Mindful Parenting: Moving from Reactive to Purposeful Parenting

Kelly Hamilton

Join Kelly to discover how personal attachment styles and compassion fatigue contribute to reactive parenting habits. Attendees will gain practical mindful parenting strategies to create purposeful moments of connection to themselves and their children, even in the midst of difficulty.

Building a Trauma-Informed Kids Ministry

Blaine Hamilton

A majority of children entering our churches have experienced some degree of trauma before arriving in our spaces on Sunday mornings. If we can better equip our staff and volunteers to engage children with trauma-informed tools and resources, then they can find the felt safety and connection they need to meet Jesus in our spaces too. This session will cover a variety of training tools and resources to help your church build a trauma-informed children’s ministry.

11:20 AM – 12:10 PM

Session 2

Raising Adults: Making the Safe Transition from Childhood to Adulthood

Reva and Mike Schultz

Foster and adoptive parents often fear the worst as their children are transitioning into adulthood. The risks and statistics for children with a trauma history can be frightening. This session will provide practical tips to help parents gain confidence that they can equip their children to make a safe transition and keep their sanity through the process.

Opening Your Heart & Home: Exploring Options

Gretchen Stanley

Foster Care. International Adoption. Domestic Adoption. Prevention Hosting. These are all great options to open your home to children in need, but how do you know which one is for you? Join us as we take a realistic, unbiased look at the different ways you can open your heart and home to children in need.

Fostering After Adoption

Diedra & Alliyah Smith, and Jennifer Metz

While the majority of foster parents choose to stop fostering after they have adopted a child, some continue to foster. Have you considered fostering after your adoption is final? Join us for a panel of foster parents and former foster youth to discuss the joys, challenges, and complexities of fostering after adoption.

The Journey of Addiction

Moriah Veach and Kristi Easley

In this breakout session, we will talk about the journey of addiction. We will dive into the effects of addiction, both biologically and in relationships. We will provide some practical steps to help you recognize the signs of addiction and give guidance on how to help.

Married on Purpose

Kelly & Blaine Hamilton

Parenting children from hard places is difficult and it can take a toll on your marriage. Join Kelly and Blaine Hamilton as they discuss how to find purpose and intentionality within your marriage. Whether it’s through unpacking your own attachment styles, learning how to manage conflict, or developing intentional patterns in your relationship, you will find encouragement for your relationship as you live on purpose together.

Suffering and the Psychology of Religion

Adam Dell

Psychological studies of thousands of traumatized individuals suggest that trauma survivors are less likely to see God as benevolent (Kosarkova et al., 2020). Additionally, research suggests that trauma profoundly impacts attachment not only with other people but also with God (Granqvist, 2020; Nortier Hollman & Marmarosh, 2023). Attendees will become familiar with the psychological constructs of both positive and negative religious coping and the potential advantages of cultivating positive religious coping. In this seminar, the unique phenomenon of Psalms of Lament in general (and Psalm 22 in particular) will be explored with emphasis on the role of lament in biblical texts. Attendees will learn the basic structure and movement of a lament Psalm and will be invited to explore these themes in professional and personal ways. Various forms of positive religious coping will be reviewed as well as empirical support for tailoring these disciplines for individuals who value spirituality/religion.

1:10 PM – 2:00 PM

Session 3

Ask the Experts: Kinship Care Q&A Session

Jeff Wittman and Terrell Smith

Research indicates that when children can reside with relatives or other familiar connections, it reduces trauma, enhances their well-being, and boosts positive outcomes. However, various obstacles often hinder those providing this type of care. In this session, The Family Connection Network of The Villages of Indiana will share insight gained from years of collaborating with kinship families and youth. Participants will discover available supports for kinship families and explore strategies to elevate overall family well-being. The session will also include a dedicated time for questions and answers.

Trauma 101- Learning to Look at the World from a Trauma Lens

Doshia Fifer

The session will focus on equipping participants with foundational knowledge for working with children who have experienced trauma. The session will include a discussion on how to recognize symptoms of trauma, trauma-informed care, how trauma shapes individuals’ experiences and behaviors.  It will also cover trauma triggers, how to foster empathy, and how to create a safe and supportive environment for trauma survivors.

Building a Noble Legacy of Fatherhood

Larry Smith

This session discusses insights into effective ways men can improve the “Four P’s” – Person, Parent, Partner, and Provider. They are essential building blocks that the Fathers and Families Center addresses to help men become better fathers. This research-based presentation is appropriate for fathers of all ages, ethnicities, educational levels, and economic backgrounds.

Building Psychological Flexibility: Insights from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Adam Dell

In this seminar, attendees will be introduced to the background, theory, and major components of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a transdiagnostic, evidence-based approach to psychotherapy. The six domains of psychological flexibility will be defined & illustrated to include: de-fusion, acceptance, self-as-context, mindfulness, values, and committed action). Some aspects of psychological flexibility will be modeled and attendees will be invited to explore application in personal and professional contexts.

The DCS Adoption Process from A to Z

Grant Kirsh

This session will address how to understand everything in the adoption process- from when to hire to attorney to how to find the right attorney. It will also cover information on adoption subsidies, name changes, new birth certificates, and new social security numbers.

Connection-Based Discipleship: Building Healthy Connections to God and Others

Kelly Hamilton

This workshop uses scripture to examine God’s trauma-informed nature and behavior, and help adults adopt these behaviors into their strategies for interacting with children affected by trauma. Foster and adoptive parents, as well as other involved adults are empowered with healthy practices to spiritually guide children toward healthy connections to God, themselves, and others.

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