2018 Conference Sessions (Friday)


Friday, November 2nd

Session Block A
(12:00 PM – 1:30 PM)

A1:  An Overview of ICWA Laws and Regulations*
Lori Irwin, JD (King County CASA) and Kaycee Looney, JD (Yakima County CASA)

This session will focus on Washington’s Indian Child Welfare laws, with a brief overview of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. Come prepared to put what you learn to practical use in small group discussions of scenarios specific to the CASA role.

*Required for those attending the ICWA Institute.


A2:  Identifying and Supporting Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth
Debbie DuPey, Victim Advocate, Educator and Researcher, LCSNW

This workshop will explore the dynamics and challenges of trying to identify and support children who are being sexually exploited.  It will cover the vulnerabilities, dynamics and necessary system partnerships.  This session will include a Q & A, plus video clips.  Participants will learn about, identifying at-risk use; grooming tactics of exploiters; settings where exploitation takes place and what it looks like; short and long-term needs of exploited youth; how to develop strong collaborative partnerships and prevention efforts


A3:  Improving the Lives of LGBTQ+ Youth: Lessons from the Pilot Implementation of the Protocol for Safe & Affirming Care
Nicholas Oakley, Senior Projects Manager, CCYJ

How can we improve our services and supports for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth? This workshop addresses this question through reflecting on the lessons learned from the pilot implementation of the Protocol for Safe & Affirming Care—a guide for systems professionals on how to better serve LGBTQ+ youth. We’ll focus on basic lessons for creating safer and more affirming environments, as well as the resources available to you and the youth you serve. Participants will acquire a basic understanding of or review key terminology and concepts related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression and a basic understanding of some of the common experiences of LGBTQ youth involved in child welfare systems.


A4:  Trauma 101
Zia Freeman, MA, LMHC, Community Educator, Apple Health Core Connections

What is trauma?  The training answers this question by defining trauma, how trauma affects children, and what caregivers can do to assist children.  The presentation will heighten the caregiver’s awareness of children’s cues so they will know what to expect and how to respond when a child experiences trauma triggers.  Participants will also leave with practical tips and suggestions that can be used when advocating for infants and toddlers.


A5:  Making the Most of Parent-Child Visitations (Family Time)
Jacob D’Annunzio, JD; OPD Kelly Warner King, JD Court Improvement Training Academy

This training will provide participants with an understanding of the importance of parent-child visits in the path to permanency. This training will explore how decisions are made regarding the level of supervision and the role of the worker, parent, caregiver and visit provider. Participants will be provided with tip sheets to enhance the parent-child visit and encouraged to participate in an active discussion about this very important topic. Participants will learn:
o Role of visitation in maintaining the parent-child relationship during out-of-home care
o Overview of visitation law
o Children’s Administration visitation policy including considerations for level of supervision
o Strategies on how to enhance parent-child visitation


A6:  Understanding the pathway and impacts of FAR (Family Assessment Response)
Amy Boswell and Ericka Russell, DCYF

Historically, a CPS investigation has been the only response by DCYF when there was reports of alleged maltreatment. The FAR program allows DCYF to use a different approach to some families with allegations of child abuse and neglect. Services may be provided to families without a formal determination of abuse or neglect. The goal of FAR is to increase efforts to identify, build, and coordinate formal and informal services and supports that respond to the families self-identified needs. This workshop will focus on pathways of the FAR program and what interventions may occur. We will also review the details of why DCYF may have to file on some of these cases.



Session Block B
(1:45 PM – 3:15 PM)

B7: Relative Search & Native American Inquiry Referral (NAIR) Process*
Debbie Gomi, MSW, Relative Search & Native American Inquiry & Referral (NAIR) Program Manager, DCYF

It is important for children to maintain their personal and cultural identity, especially in times of separation from their parents and other vital family members. The Relative Search and Native American Inquiry Unit works with families and tribes to keep connections to family, relatives and their community during times of separation due abuse or neglect. Relatives are encouraged to participate as integral members of the child and family support system. You will learn how CASA’s can encourage and support this work on behalf of the child in addition to what resources are available to Kinship Care providers.

*Required for those attending the ICWA Institute


B8:  Is this Safe? Best Interests Advocacy Through a Safety Lens (Part I)
Rob Wyman, JD Co-Director, Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA)

The ABA Safety Guide for Judges and Attorneys in Dependency Cases provides a concise and practical structure into which facts related to child safety, parental capacities, and reasonable efforts can be applied.  Using the Guide promotes a focus on safety from the beginning of a dependency case, through case planning and disposition, and on to reunification and other permanency decisions.  A continuous focus on safety requires an understanding of the difference between safety planning (when can children return to their home) and case planning (when the court and department end their oversight); and draws attention to conditions of return that are clear and understood.  Based on concepts similar to the safety framework used by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the Safety Guide should help litigants and the bench provide and analyze information in a clear and consistent manner, making the court process more understandable and predictable for families.

B9:  Rethinking Normalcy for Youth in Care
Jeannie Kee, Alumnae of foster care & advocate

Let’s start rethinking the way we look at normalcy for children and youth in foster care. In this session, we will look at the prudent parent standard, and ways to use this law to help create normalcy opportunities for the youth for whom we advocate. Through story sharing the audience will learn the impact normalcy has on foster children’s current and future lives. And, by offering practical tools and resources to assist child welfare professional, foster parents, and foster youth to help promote normalcy.


B10:  Resiliency
Zia Freeman, MA, LMHC, Community Educator, Apple Health Core Connections

This presentation will provide information on how to foster resilience in children.  We will review research from Ann Masten and Laurence Gonzales to guide discussion. This training looks at factors that effect resilience, the human adaptive process, ways to successfully cope with trauma, and the 12 steps of successful survivors.


B11:  Why Did They Do That?  Understanding the Roles and Responsibilities of the Participants in the Child Welfare Legal System
Legal representatives from OPD, CASA, OCLA and the AAGs office

An interactive presentation highlighting the roles and responsibilities of the participants in the child welfare system.  Participants will learn and receive a better understanding the jobs and ethical duties of other participants in the system and will help CASA’s see how the adversarial parts of the child welfare function and know when conflict makes sense within that system and when it does not.


B12:  The ins and outs of the DCYF Home study process
Rebecca Taylor, DCYF /Licensing Division Program Manager

This session will discuss the home study process and potential barriers. If a CASA understands the need for a home study and the process, they can assist in encouraging applicants to participate in the process and helping to identify whether or not a home study has been completed.

This presentation will include information about the following:

  • Why and when home studies are required
  • The referral process and timeframes
  • Home study forms
  • What is included in a home study
  • Adoption updates
  • When families don’t participate in the home study process
  • Home study denials

Session Block C
(3:30 PM – 5:00 PM)

C13:  The ICWA Institute: Putting it all together
Laura Lee Bentle, Chair, WaCASA ICWA Institute Committee, Pierce County CASA

Congratulations to the newest ICWA Institute CASA volunteers! This session will focus on pulling all the information learned over the past two days into clarity and to plan for our future.

• Defining the role of the CASA in an ICWA case
• Practical application with ICWA case scenarios
• Planning for the future
• Gratitude for the journey you are starting and time for questions

*Required for those attending the ICWA Institute


C14:  Is this Safe? Best Interests Advocacy Through a Safety Lens (Part I)
Rob Wyman, JD Co-Director, Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA)

For full session description, please Session B8 above.


C15:  When Does Foster Care Do More Harm Than Good?
Dee Wilson, MSW

This presentation discusses research studies regarding foster care outcomes and recently published reports regarding the characteristics of foster children/ youth in Washington State to argue that foster care for behaviorally troubled school age children often does more harm than good.  Information regarding use of hotel placements, 24 hour placements, multiple placements, misuse of psychotropic medications and exits to “other” rather than a completed permanent plan for school age children and youth is discussed.  Information from other states regarding older foster youths’ self-report regarding their experiences of abuse and neglect in foster care and residential care is discussed.

This presentation will also offer recommendations regarding what is required in Washington State to transform foster care into a safe and therapeutic experience for behaviorally troubled children.


C16: Whole Brain Parenting
Zia Freeman, MA, LMHC, Community Educator, Apple Health Core Connections

Whole Brain Parenting introduces participants to the functions of the brain, the effects of the brain’s mirror neurons, and how the brain hemispheres’ impact specific behaviors.  This training uses the teachings of Dan Siegel, MD.


C17: Child and Family Service Review (CFSR) Report out and Action Planning (staff only)
April Potts, DCYF

Washington State has just recently received its federal audit of our child welfare practice.  Spoiler alert – we have areas that we can improve on.  Come and here a brief overview of how and what we were evaluated on and provide input into how we can improve our child welfare prior to Washington State’s response for improvement to the Feds.

* Highly focused toward CASA Program Staff


C18: Beyond Best Interests: What must be proven to terminate parental rights
Carissa Greenberg, JD, AAG, Wa State Attorneys’ General Office

This workshop will give an overview of the legal requirements for termination of parental rights, how a CASA’s testimony/investigation relates to these elements (in support or opposition), common appeal issues arising from trial, and a case law update.  CASAs will leave with a better understanding of the legal elements for termination of parental rights, how CASA testimony relates to these elements (beyond merely the best interests of the child), and what makes an investigation strong for trial and for appeal.

 Click here to view Saturday’s workshops