Webinars for Caregivers, Leaders, and Advocates

As part of our capacity building efforts, Advocates for Families First offers a series of free webinars designed for leaders of support groups and organizations that work with kinship, foster, and adoptive families. All are welcome to participate.

To register for upcoming webinars or view a recording of past webinars, see information below. Webinars are recorded, so even if you can’t make attend a future webinar in person, you can benefit from the training. Simply register as though attending and after the session is over, we will send a video link of the recording to everyone who wasn’t able to attend. Paypal

 Upcoming Webinars

To be announced! But while you wait, listen to some of the great webinars listed below!


Past Webinars (available as recordings):

Prudent Parenting: Implementation of the Strengthening Families Act Normalcy Provisions

Recorded October 5, 2016
Webinar slides: handout1
Recording: [Prudent Parenting Recording]

What child doesn’t want to play on a Little League team, go on a school field trip or sleep overnight with friends? What teen doesn’t dream of getting a driver’s license, earning money at a part time job and attending the prom? Many of us can remember how foundational these and similar experiences were in our own formative years, yet these same experiences have often been denied to children in foster care. The recent Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act includes provisions related to “normalcy” for children and youth in foster care, and “reasonable and prudent” decision-making for caregivers. What do these standards mean? How can they be implemented so that children and youth have opportunities to grow and thrive, gaining experiences, skills and memories that will last a lifetime? This session will provide basics about the law and practical guidelines for successful implementation including concrete examples and decision-making tools.

Presented by:

  • Sue Badeau, president of the North American Council on Adoptable Children, 
    nationally known speaker, writer and consultant, has worked closely with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, Casey Family Programs and was the Deputy Director of the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care. Sue and her husband, Hector, have twenty-two children by birth and adoption and have also served as foster parents and kin caregivers.

Improving Messages in Kinship Care, Foster Care, and Adoption

January 13, 2016
Webinar slides: handout1
Recording: [Improving Messaging Recording]

Advocates for Families First is dedicated to improving public perception of kinship, foster, and adoptive caregivers and their children and youth. Too often, media portrayals of this population – whether in the news, TV or movies – are negative. We want to change the messaging around these issues and the language used. We cannot do this alone and invite caregivers, support and advocacy leaders, and others to join us in this effort.

During the Messaging Toolkit webinar, Advocates for Families First staff will provide:

  • a brief analysis of current media coverage
  • tips and tools advocates can use to shape media and public messages in their communities
  • information about how language matters in discussions about foster care, adoption, and kinship care
  • templates and examples of positive coverage

Presented by:

  • Mary Boo, Acting Executive Director, North American Council on Adoptable Children.
  • Jean Fiorito, project consultant for the National Foster Parent Association.
  • Jaia Lent, Deputy Executive Director, Generations United.
  • Kim Stevens, Program Director, Advocates for Families First, a collaboration of North American Council on Adoptable Children, National Foster Parent Association, and Generations United.

Behavioral Interventionist Model: Keeping Children with Extreme Challenges Home for Treatment

October 8, 2015
Webinar slides: handout1
Recording: [Behavioral Interventionist Recording]

Learn about an innovative program currently operating in Missouri that has the potential to revolutionize mental health treatment for kids in the child welfare system who have suffered extreme trauma. Designed by an adoptive parent whose children were in residential care but not getting better, this program is based on her personal approach to “What I need to keep my kids safely at home.” This model is founded on the understanding of the impact of developmental trauma on the brain and the importance of nurturing relationships in the effort to heal. Parents partner with the child welfare agency and their child’s therapists to design a treatment plan which is then implemented with the child in his own home, school, and community.

This webinar explores the program in depth, discusses services, outcomes, and funding options, and the Director of the Missouri Children’s Division shares his perspective on the benefit of this program for the children and families his agency serves.

Presented by:

  • Lori Ross, president, CEO, and co-founder of the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association (MFCAA) – a support and advocacy organization for foster and adoptive families.
  • Tim Decker, director of the Missouri Division of Children’s Services.
  • Susan Peach, LCSW, LSCSW, provides in-home, family-centered clinical services through Lifeworks Family Treatment Group in Kansas City.

Improving Safety, Permanency and Well-Being for LGBTQ Youth

September 23, 2015
Webinar handout links: handout1, handout2, handout3, handout4, handout5
Recording: [LGBTQ Youth Webinar Recording]
Other things Ellen referred to: Genderbread Graphic, online resources

Informative webinar for anyone parenting or providing services for relatives, foster and adopted children and youth. Included will be an overview of what we know about:

  • LGBTQ youth in out of home care
  • the impact of family rejection
  • their struggle for inclusion and safety when in care
  • lack of affirming resource families
  • double-standards applied to behavior, sexuality, etc.
  • the essential role of support and affirmation in helping youth thrive

Presented by Ellen Kahn, Director of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Children, Youth & Families Program.

KinFirst: Making Relatives a First Choice for Children

June 4, 2015
Webinar slides: KinFirst: Making Relatives a First Choice for Children
Recording: [KinFirst Webinar Recording]

Children fare well in the care of their relatives. Compared to children in non-relative care, they have more stability, are more likely to maintain connections with brothers and sisters, and can preserve their cultural heritage and community bonds. Yet placing children with relatives is often delayed or overlooked for children who come to the attention of the child welfare system. The District of Columbia’s Child and Family Services Agency (the public child welfare agency) operates from a “whatever it takes” standard for making safe placement with relatives a first choice for children. Once children are placed with relatives, the stability of the kinship family system is often contingent upon the level of support provided. This webinar will highlight the District of Columbia’s Child and Family Services Agency’s innovative model of identifying, prioritizing, and supporting kinship families for children who come to the attention of the child welfare system.

  • Presented by: Nichole Cobbs-Sterns, LICSW, Interim Program Director and Ana Burgos, LICSW, Program Manager, DC Child and Family Services Agency; and Robert L. Matthews, M.S., Senior Associate, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Transforming the Adoptive and Foster Care Placements of Children through the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise

April 22, 2015

Webinar slides: Transforming Adoptive and Foster Care Placements through NEICE
Recording: [NEICE Webinar Recording]

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) governs foster care and adoption placements across the U.S. It is estimated that states explore ICPC placements for nearly 100,000 children each year, but persistent challenges remain in the implementation of the compact.

In 2013, the American Public Human Services Association and its affiliate, the AAICPC, received a cooperative agreement award from the Children’s Bureau to develop and pilot software to manage and transmit ICPC cases. This pilot, the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE), seeks to leverage state of the art technology to remove barriers to timely foster and adoptive placements by improving the administrative efficiency of the ICPC through an electronic case processing system that exchanges ICPC data and documents across jurisdictions.

In this session, you’ll learn about the pilot and its preliminary outcomes. NEICE is already one of the most successful, innovative, and transformative projects piloted in child welfare in the U.S. in recent years. Preliminary data analysis suggest placement are being processed more quickly and efficiently through the electronic exchange of data through NEICE, which is improving outcomes for children while also producing significant cost-savings.

  • Presented by Marci Roth, project director for the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) for the American Public Human Services Association and by Nicole Dobbins, Executive Director, Voice for Adoption.

Effective Collaboration for System Improvement

February 27, 2015

Webinar slides: Effective Collaboration Slide Handout
Recording: [https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/effective-collaboration-for-system-improvement-2-27-15-12-00-pm.mov]
Handout: Implementing the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183) to Benefit Children and Youth — Questions and Answers

The most effective advocacy efforts are those that bring together both disparate and like-minded advocates, who can speak with one voice. For Advocates for Families First, the ability to unite youth, kin caregivers, foster, and adoptive parents is essential to our success. For others, it may be the missing link to your efforts as well.

In this webinar we will have some courageous conversations about the biases and fears that each of us holds, discuss strategies to diffuse those challenging beliefs, and develop the language and tools for effectively achieving positive change through collaboration.

  • Presented by Kim Stevens, project director of Advocates for Families First, Jaia Peterson Lent, deputy executive director of Generations United and program partner on Advocates for Families First, and Jean Fiorito of the National Foster Parent Association and program partner on Advocates for Families First.

Be Heard! Passage of the Strengthening Families Act Creates Advocacy Opportunities

December 12, 2014

Webinar slides: Be Heard_slides
Recording: https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/be-heard-webinar-recording.mov


Support and advocacy group leaders have both the power and the opportunity to influence system improvements locally with the recent passage of PL 113-183 (HR 4980), the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. Learn more about what this law will do, as well as strategies for informing state implementation to truly support the families you represent. Within the law are both short- and long-term provisions that affect youth in care, kinship caregivers, foster families, and adoptive families. You can make a difference—learn how in this webinar.

  • Presented by Nicole Dobbins, executive director, Voice for Adoption, and Stefanie Sprow, senior policy associate, Children’s Defense Fund. Nicole and Stefanie bring a wealth of knowledge about federal policy and advocacy.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Accessing Funding for Specialized Youth Permanency Services

November 19, 2014

Slides: https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/hiddenslides.pdf
Recording: https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/hiddenwebinar.mov
Roadmap: https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/hiddenroadmap.pdf
Additional handouts: Handout 1 and Handout 2

In the late 1990s child welfare leaders began to challenge the belief that attaining permanent families for preteens and teens was an impossible goal, and model specialized youth permanency services were developed across the country. Sadly many of the projects fell into disuse as initial funding sunset. In many cases, counties and states failed to see that services more than paid for themselves. This webinar corrects the mistaken belief that it is too costly to find families for youth in foster care. We introduce a proven methodology that creates the fiscal capacity for counties and states to provide the specialized youth permanency services needed to achieve permanent families for their youth at no net cost.

  • Gail Johnson Vaughan, M.A., executive director of Mission Focused Solutions, an independent nonprofit advocacy organization providing strategies and solutions to child welfare organizations wishing to increase placement stability and improve permanency outcomes for children in foster care.
  • Jeff Landre, deputy director of Mission Focused Solutions.

It’s Time to Take Better Care of Ourselves!
(How to Handle Compassion Fatigue and Prevent Burnout)

August 27, 2014
Webinar Recording: https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/carewebinar.mov
Slides: https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/time-to-take-better-care-slides.pdf
Handout: https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/taking-care-of-ourselves-handout.pdf

  • A webinar about YOU. Child advocates; kin, foster, and adoptive caregiver leaders; child welfare staff; and youth advocates – we all share the same characteristic. We are always taking care of other people – without always taking care of ourselves.

Presented by Maris Blechner, an internationally known motivational speaker and trainer, and co-founder of Family Focus Adoption Services, a multi-service adoption agency that she led for twenty-six years.

Advocates for Families First Policy Agenda

June 25, 2014
Webinar: https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/agendawebinar.mov)
(The slides are at https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/agendaslides.pdf)

  • In this session participants are introduced to the policy agenda and recommendations of Advocates for Families First. The presenters will explain the benefits to your organization and constituents in joining this national advocacy effort on behalf of foster, adoptive and kinship families and their children. Learn where our mutual interests fit into the current political landscape – trends, opportunities and ongoing advocacy efforts.

Presented by Joe Kroll, executive director of NACAC and Jaia Peterson Lent, deputy executive director of Generations United and program partner on Advocates for Families First (a collaboration of the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the National Foster Parent Association, and Generations United).

Effective Legislative Advocacy Strategies

May 29, 2014

  • In this session participants will be introduced to the successful Florida advocacy effort to create a more supportive and normative growing up experience for children and youth in foster care through passage of the “Normalcy Bill,” which allows for foster and kin caregivers to make prudent parental decisions about activities that their foster and kin children participate in, without having to seek the approval of the child welfare agency. Our presenters will share:
    • The strategic planning process; 
    • Shaping the message;
    • Necessary and effective steps in being “heard” by legislators;
    • Identifying and engaging community partners; and
    • Youth and adult partnerships.
  • Robin Rosenberg, deputy director of Florida’s Children First, Inc.; Geori Berman, coordinator of Florida Youth Shine; and Florida Youth Shine youth members will present the session.

Fundraising for Groups

April 23, 2014

Recording: http://www.nacac.org/FUNDRAISINGwebinar.mov
(The slides are at http://www.nacac.org/FUNDRAISINGslides.pdf)

  • This session is for individuals and agencies who need to raise the necessary funds for expansion and program development. The trainers will help you identify and access funding opportunities that fit your group, learn the components of writing a successful grant proposal, share templates of successful fundraising events, and help you to identify good funding sources.

Developing a Youth Speak Out Advocacy Team

March 25, 2014

Recording: http://www.nacac.org/YOUTHwebinar.mov
(slides at http://www.nacac.org/training/youthslides.pdf)

  • This session is for individuals and agencies looking to expand their advocacy and public awareness efforts in partnership with true experts – the youth who have experienced foster care, kinship care, and/or adoption. Learn the basics of development, promotion and maintenance of public speaking team(s) of adopted/foster/kin youth. Engaging youth and young adults in such a “team” provides an increased sense of belonging while simultaneously giving young people the skills to advocate for themselves and others. Based upon the principles of positive youth development, advocacy teams are highly effective in creating a supportive community for youth, raising public awareness, guiding improvements in practice and promoting system change.

Starting and Enhancing Support Groups for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Families

February 24, 2014
Click Here or go to http://www.nacac.org/PGwebinar.mov
(slides at http://www.nacac.org/training/Groupwebinar.pdf
Handouts at https://advocatesforfamiliesfirst.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/growfactsheet.pdf

  • Are you new to support group leadership? Is your group in need of new energy? Or are you ready to take the next step in your development? If so, this webinar on starting, nurturing, and maintaining support groups for adoptive, foster, and kinship families will provide you with tools and ideas.

Presented by Kim Stevens, project director of Advocates for Families First, a partnership of the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the National Foster Parent Association, and Generations United.