2017 Conference Sessions (Sunday)


Sunday, November 5th Sessions

Session Block E
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

E:28 Is There a Minimal Standard of Care?
Dee Wilson

This presentation will be a discussion of the question, “is there a minimal standard of care that can be applied in child welfare decision making?” Despite frequent references to a minimal standard of care in discussions with practitioners, advocates and policymakers, very little has been written in recent decades to clarify this concept. It also appears that anytime a minimal standard of care is proposed that has widespread appeal, the effect is to raise rather than lower the implicit standards public child welfare agencies are actually using. This presentation proposes a minimal standard of care and discusses its application to various child welfare decisions. The presentation also discusses a minimal standard of care in light of high rates of child poverty, domestic violence, community violence and substance abuse in the United States.


E29:  Kicking off our Statewide Shoe Drive!
Corie Dow, Director of Development, WaCASA

Join WaCASA’s Director of Development to learn about our Shoe Drive for Foster Kids! Learn how how you can help achieve our ultimate goal of a new pair of shoes for every child in care. Please bring your creativity, good ideas and willingness to jump in!


E30: What is Normal, anyway?
Jeannie Kee

This session will provide a brief overview of the prudent parenting law, and ways to use this law to help ensure children and youth in foster care are able to experience a more “normal” childhood. We will look at the updated care giver guidelines, “Know Before You Say No” document, and other tools and resources CASA volunteers can use to support those in care.


E31: The Office of the Family and Children’s Ombuds (OFCO)- Working together to improve our child welfare system
Patrick Dowd, JD, Director – OFCO

This workshop will discuss: OFCO’s complaint investigation process; child safety concerns identified through OFCO investigations; social work practice that trigger complaints; and examples of OFCO interventions to resolve complaint issues. This presentation will also discuss challenges facing the child welfare system including: the use of “Hotel Stays”; allegations of foster parent retaliation; and permanency for children in state care- as well as current initiatives to reorganize and improve services to children and families.


E32:  Mitigating The Effects of Toxic Stress and Trauma in Children 6 and under
Mindy Davis, LICSW

Young children have unique developmental needs making them particularly vulnerable to the effects of toxic stress and trauma. Children involved in the child welfare system have often experienced toxic stress and trauma and it is essential that we as professionals mitigate the effects of toxic stress and trauma in their life to positively change the trajectory to overall healthy development. Workshop attendees will obtain the most recent research on the impact of toxic stress and trauma on brain development and provide a framework for understanding the consequences of toxic stress and trauma on children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. Workshop attendees will explore ways to support young children’s healthy overall development, available resources, and treatment for young children who have experienced toxic stress and trauma.


E33: Kinship Placement Families
Shelley Arneson, Children’s Administration & Erika Thompson, Kinship Care Provider

Kinship placements in child welfare have unique benefits and challenges. This presentation will examine what these are and discuss supports and resources for kin as they journey through the child welfare system. Participants will learn:
1. Strategies for supporting kinship caregivers and children placed in kinship care that are unique to the kinship experience.
2. Resources for kinship caregivers in the child welfare system in Washington state.
3. The chance to hear directly from a kinship caregiver within Children’s Administration.

Session Block F
(Sunday, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM) 

F34:  Fostering Connections Beyond Bars – Supporting Children of the Incarcerated, Part I
D’Adre Cunningham, J.D & David Taub, State OPD PRP SW specialist (parent ally)

This training for court appointed special advocates, child advocates, and other professionals engaged in monitoring child well-being in child welfare systems. The program learning objectives are to build competence in supporting and maintaining connections for children of the incarcerated. This session will provide an overview of the social science on the impact of disrupting child-parent contact and the benefits of maintaining visits for children during parental incarceration; will explore opportunities for quality child-parent visits in local and county jails along with visitation and parenting opportunities in WA state prisons; and will review some community based resources for children with incarcerated parents and their caregivers. There will be some facilitated discussion about changes in practice needed to support children of the incarcerated.


F35:  Communication through Writing
Tracey Czar, Pierce County CASA

Sometimes the hardest part of being a CASA is effectively communicating through writing, both in reports and emails. This presentation will help volunteers identify key issues in their cases, write a fact based narrative and connect findings to recommendations so they can advocate for the child’s best interests.
Additionally, CASA will get tips and tricks to writing emails that will be read and responded to.


F36:  Dynamics of Oppression, Part I
Heather Redman, Clark County CASA

As advocates, we constantly work and interact with vulnerable families who are experiencing some form of oppression. Participants will learn a foundational understanding of what oppression is, including how it operates in American society and how individuals and families are impacted. Our goal is that participants will leave this training better prepared to work with the diversity of the families we serve, and will also gain self-reflection skills in order to avoid further perpetuating oppression.


F37:  In Their Shoes: A Foster Parent Panel
Facilitated by Shannon Mead

Join co-founders from the Foster Innovation Lab and a panel of foster parents as they share a glimpse into the foster parent experience. The Lab team will share about the data they collected during their six-month pilot phase, with the panel punctuating the data with personal stories and insights. Bring your questions for this interactive conversation!


F38: Children’s Administration Policy Updates
Toni Sebastion, Children’s Administration

Come hear about Children’s Administration newest policy updates – rules that guide how social workers are expected to perform their role for children and families. Participants will learn about recent roll outs, including parent/child visitation, expansion of concrete goods and shared planning meetings.


F39:  Child Trauma 101
Kathleen Page, Community Educator, Coordinated Care

Coordinated Care’s Foster Care Trauma Training is designed to teach basic knowledge, skills and values about working with children who are in the child welfare system and who have experienced traumatic events. The training provides strategies for using trauma-informed child welfare practice to enhance the safety, permanency and well-being of children and families who are involved in the child welfare system. This material was developed using the Trauma Training Toolkit and Resource Parents Guides developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).

Session Block G
(Sunday, 2:45 PM – 4:15 PM) 

G40:”Fostering Connections Beyond Bars” – Supporting Children of the Incarcerated Parents, Part II

Please see F34 for a full session description.


G41: Tips and Tricks for getting your CASA work done
Tracey Czar, Pierce County CASA

This training will touch on the primary components of the CASA role: Investigation, Advocacy, Monitoring and Facilitation and offer practical tips on how to be effective and get the information you need to effectively advocate for the kid(s) on your case. Participants will learn tips for how to gather information from service providers and other collaterals, tips/ideas for how to effectively with Social Worker and other professionals and tips for effective communication as a CASA.


G42: Dynamics of Oppression, Part II

Please see F36 for a full description.


G43: Answering Your Questions About Preschool Special Education Services
Brian Hays, School Psychologist, West Valley (Yakima) School District

Special education services are available starting at birth, but they are not always widely advertised or accessed. We will cover what services are available to children between birth and kindergarten, how to access them, and what to expect along the way. We’ll talk about misconceptions about preschool services, how to get correct and current information, and how to advocate to get the child’s needs met. Participants will be able to ask questions at any time, and we’ll also have plenty of time for questions at the end. Participants will learn what services are available to children under the age of 6, how to access them, as well as possible roadblocks to access and how to work around them.


G44: Secondary Trauma & Burnout: How To Keep Moving Forward While Staying Healthy
Shannon Mead, Mental Health Intern – Olive Crest

Those who help suffering children can’t help but suffer alongside of them. As you work with children, learn their stories, and fight for their paths through the foster care system, you may be finding yourself feeling depressed and anxious. In this session we will discuss the symptoms and causes of secondary trauma, as well as how to take good care of yourselves in this often-heartbreaking role. Participants will learn important steps for self-care – presenter and participants will work together to develop realistic self-care plans (with an emphasis on being realistic.)