Speakers|Workshops|Lightning Talks

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Keep checking back for updated information on our various speakers, sessions and more!

Monday, April 7 2014

9 am – 10 am – Keynote

Does International Child Sponsorship Work?  A Six-Country Study of Impacts with Dr. Bruce Wydick

Institute: Child, Family and Community Strengthening

wydick.bruce Description: This presentation will cover new research on the impact of child sponsorship.  International child sponsorship is one of the leading forms of direct aid from households in wealthy countries to needy children in developing countries, where we estimate that 9.14 million children are currently supported through formal international sponsorship organizations.  In a study involving original data collection on 10,144 individuals in six countries, we present estimated impacts on adult life outcomes from sponsorship through Compassion International, a leading child sponsorship organization.  To statistically identify program effects, we utilize an age-eligibility rule that was followed from 1980 to 1992 as the program was being introduced into villages in those countries.  We find large and statistically significant impacts from child sponsorship on years of completed schooling, primary, secondary, and tertiary school completion, and on the probability and quality of adult employment.  We summarize early evidence which suggests that these impacts may be due in part to programming that raises the aspirations and self-expectations of impoverished children.

Presenter’s Bio: Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.Areas of research specialization are in the use of econometric, experimental, and game-theoretic tools to analyze the impact of development programs, especially in the areas of microfinance, education, and health. Professor Wydick’s recent work examines the impact of development programs including microfinance, child sponsorship, and animal donation programs. Other recent work studies the role of hope and aspirations in escaping poverty traps. His academic publications have appeared in the Journal of Political Economy, Economic Journal, Economica, Oxford Economic Papers, Journal of Development Economics, World Development, Economic Development and Cultural Change and other journals. His recent study on the impact of child sponsorship has been the subject of stories by the BBC World ServiceUSA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other media outlets. He writes for Christianity TodayPRISM, and is a regular contributor to op-ed columns for San Francisco Bay Area newspapers. His book Games In Economic Development is published by Cambridge University Press, and his forthcoming book about the lives of coffee growers in Guatemala is forthcoming from Thomas Nelson (HarperCollins). Professor Wydick serves as the director of Mayan Partners, a small faith-based non-profit organization working in the western highlands of Guatemala and as faculty advisor for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at USF.


10:15 am – 11:15 am

How early adverse experiences impact later development and behavior.  A guide for evaluation intervention and supporting families with Lisa Nalven, MD, MA, FAAP

Institute: Medical/Nutritional

Lisa-NalvenDescription: This workshop will review types of trauma, their impact, and the interventions to support parents and children who are  dealing with effects of  early adverse life events that may be part of the adoption experience. The childhood behavioral manifestations of early trauma exposure can result in a child who challenging to parent and premature and/or misdiagnosis of ADHD and ODD when a toxic stress reaction involving anxiety and possible PTSD may be a more appropriate.  Professionals who work with these children and their families need to be able to recognize behavioral difficulties within the context of the child’s early life experiences in order to obtain appropriate evaluations, diagnoses and interventions which support the child and family.

Presenter Bio: Lisa Nalven MD, MA is the Director of Developmental Pediatrics and the Adoption Screening and Evaluation program at Valley Hospital.  .  Her practice is dedicated to children who are at risk for or who have developmental issues.  A portion of her practice focuses on children who have been part of the foster care system or adopted internationally.  She was a founding member of the AAP Section on Adoption and Foster care and currently serves on the Executive Committee for the AAP Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care and has been the NCE program chair since 2006.  For the past 10 years, she has been a workshop instructor at the Rutgers School of Social Work Adoption Certification Course.  She has published and speaks locally and nationally about issues in foster care and adoption as well as developmental issues such as autism, and ADHD  most recently contributed to the AAP Trauma Guide and upcoming adoption manual.


Raising Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders with Julian Davies

Institute: Medical/Nutritional

Julian-DaviesDescription: A pediatrician who has worked in a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders clinic for the past 10 years will share the latest research on FASD interventions, as well as practical parenting and teaching tips learned from families and colleagues. This will include information on early intervention, practical sleep/feeding/sensory strategies, positive behavior supports, help for self-regulation and executive functions, medications, educational approaches, and adolescent transitions.

Presenter Bio: Julian Davies, MD, is a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, where he co-directs the Center for Adoption Medicine, and works at the longest-running FAS clinic in the country. His interest in foster care, adoption, and FASD started in Russia, where he started a summer arts and clown camp for Russian orphans. He now has a pediatric practice where 2/3 of his patients were fostered or adopted. Dr. Davies created an online resource for pediatrics and adoption (www.adoptmed.org), has hosted “Raising Resilient Rascals” conferences, and presents on a variety of topics at regional and national venues.


11:30 am – 12:30 pm

The Pre-Adoption Proposal in International Adoption:  An Intriguing and Complex Dialogue with Dr. Cecilia Baxter

Institute: Medical/Nutritional

Baxter, CeciliaDescription:  As the numbers of children available for international adoption decreases and the wait increases, more parents are looking at the medically and emotionally complex children who are available.  These include children who are older, in sibling groups, in waiting child programs, or who have survived natural disasters, or experienced trauma.  This changes many pre-adoption proposals.  This session will review the common medical and social issues these children may have in their background and will look at how this can potentially affect both the child’s and the family’s welfare.

Presenter Bio: Cecilia Baxter BSc.M.D. FRCP(C)  Professor Emeritus  Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta  is a pediatrician and has been seeing internationally adopted children for over 18 years and 11 years ago opened the Edmonton Adoption Clinic , the first international adoption clinic in western Canada.  For over 11 years she has been providing pre-adoption consultations for parents in western Canada and parts of Ontario.  As a member of the Canadian Pediatric Society she is one of the editors of Kids New to Canada, the web based information site for new immigrant and refugee children.  Her and her husband are the parents of two adult children who are domestic transracial adoptees.


Tackling Malnutrition in Institutions and Foster Care: Lessons from the Field in India and Haiti with Zeina Makhoul, PhD, RD

Institute: Medical/Nutritional, Child, Family and Community Strengthening

Zeina-MakhoulDescription: SPOON Foundation and Holt International are piloting a Nutrition Screening System in India and Haiti, which functions as a starting point for identifying and triaging “at-risk” children into care, as well as establishing a nutrition baseline from which to develop and evaluate new nutrition and feeding programs. The audience will hear directly from Holt’s partners from India and Haiti about the feasibility of implementing the nutrition screening system as well results seen to date. Preliminary findings on the nutritional status of children will be shared as well as plans for scaling up the system.

Presenter Bio: Zeina Makhoul, PhD, RD  Zeina is working with SPOON Foundation as a Nutrition Scientist.  She is a Registered Dietitian and has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences with a focus on international nutrition. Her doctoral work included studies on iron deficiency and night blindness in Nepalese pregnant women and birth outcomes. She completed her postdoctoral training at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA where she conducted several research studies investigating the role of nutrition in HIV-associated malignancies in Uganda. She also designed and implemented a nutritional assessment system at the pediatric oncology ward at Uganda Cancer Institute. At SPOON Foundation, she has designed nutrition and feeding assessments and programs in orphanages and foster care systems spanning Central Asia, South East Asia and the Americas. Zeina has worked closely with Holt International and their local partners to design and implement the nutrition screening system that will be discussed in this presentation.


1 pm – 2 pm Keynote

From Research to Programming and Beyond: How Worldwide Orphans used Leading Research to Improve the Lives of Children

Institute: Child, Family and Community Strengthening

DrAnthonySalandyDescription: Dr. Anthony Salandy will address how the organization has taken leading research on child development, institutional care and program monitoring and evaluation and turned it into improved programs for children.  Dr Salandy will outline Worldwide Orphans programs, outline the steps of embedding the metrics into the program including training sessions for youth, counselors, data managers, doctors, nurses, and others involved in the programs.  Finally, Dr. Salandy will address how the organization makes corrections and redesigns programs based on the data they collect.  Dr Salandy will ask the audience to put their problem solving hats on to practice designing programs based on leading research and turning it into strong program for children. The session will use programs from WWO i.e. Toy Library, Granny Program, WWO Academy, Vietnam  Camp, Ethiopia Camp, Haiti Camp and review the design of the metric program and how the outcomes have informed the design and execution of the programs for WWO.

Presenter Bio:  Dr. Anthony Salandy has over 20 years of experience working in the Legislative and Executive branches of the U.S. Government, academia, philanthropy, and international development. He is a skilled researcher and consultant whose work has guided the development of state and federal policies in education, child and family welfare, immigration, public health, and juvenile justice among others. He has worked in Africa, CEE region, East Asia, and the Caribbean on human development and public health projects. He was twice selected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Rust College and a Master’s and Doctoral degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University. He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army.


2:15 – 3:15 pm

International Adoption of the Older Child:  Approaches to Challenging Medical, Developmental and Behavioral Conditions During the First Year Home with Elaine E. Schulte, MD, MPH

Institute: Medical/Nutritional

Elaine-SchulteDescription: This presentation will provide a basic understanding of medical, developmental and behavioral challenges as they pertain to the older, internationally adopted child.  Emphasis will be placed on understanding issues that are particular to children who’ve been institutionalized for longer periods of time.  These issues include medical dilemmas, such as age determination and issues around developmental delay, and behaviors, such as attachment, stealing/cheating/lying, sleeping and eating.  We will also discuss difficulties unique to sibling groups.

Presenter Bio: Dr. Schulte is the Chair of the Department of General Pediatrics and Medical Director of the International Adoption Program at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.  She has worked with internationally adopted children and their families since 1995.  She maintains an active clinical practice, with specific interests in international adoption, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, lead poisoning, immunizations and residency education.  The International Adoption Program includes pre-adoption consultation through eClevelandClinic, travel support, post-adoption screening, ongoing primary care and a multi-disciplinary clinic for development and behavior evaluation, as well as learning needs.  Dr. Schulte is an active member of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services and the American Academy of Pediatrics Executive Committees of the Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care and the Committee on Early Childhood Education.  She has given numerous national and regional presentations and workshops on international adoption at JCICS, AAP, and the Pediatric Academic Society’s meetings.  She is the parent of two daughters adopted from China.


Family Strengthening in a Developing Country Context through Positive Parenting Training with Caroline Bishop

Institute: Child, Family and Community Strengthening

Description: In certain circumstances, unnecessary separation of children from their families can be prevented by ensuring parents or adult caregivers have improved parenting skills and an ability to address specific problems within the household. This session will present highlights from the review of published literature on programs supporting and strengthening child-caregiver relationships (Richter & Naicker, 2013). The session leaders will outline the key elements of a components-based positive parenting training program developed by Catholic Relief Services (CRS).  Observations related to the training of CRS staff and partners from Malawi, Lesotho, Kenya, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Nigeria will also be shared.

CRS staff Caroline BishopPresenter Bio: Caroline Bishop is a Technical Advisor for Health and HIV at Catholic Relief Services with a specific focus on vulnerable children programming.  Her background includes eight years in West Africa, including serving six years as a regional technical advisor for health and HIV.  Ms. Bishop serves as co-chair of the Washington, DC-based interagency OVC Task Force whose purpose is to bring state of the art technical support to individuals and organizations supporting vulnerable children overseas.  Prior to CRS, Ms. Bishop supported research in the US at two major cancer centers and worked with immigrant populations.  She holds a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior and Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES).


3:30 – 4:30 pm

Strategies for Post-Adoptive Success: Parents Collaborating with Schools after Intercountry Adoption with Lisa Albers Prock, MD, MPH

Institute: Medical/Nutritional

Prock_Lisa10.13Description: Case discussions will be used to highlight possible challenges that may impact educational and life success for children following intercountry adoption.  We will review the role of school systems in diagnosing and addressing developmental, emotional and behavioral concerns following intercountry adoption – whether they emerge immediately or years after   children transition to their adoptive family.  Strategies for collaborating with schools and red flags suggesting a need for further independent assessment will be discussed.  Specific strategies for addressing language and learning disorders, autism spectrum disorders and other social challenges, and mood/anxiety or attentional concerns following intercountry adoption will be highlighted.

Presenter Bio: Lisa Albers Prock, MD, MPH is a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital where she directs the Adoption Program and works in the Developmental Medicine Center.  She is also a school consultant for a Massachusetts residential school for children impacted by the state’s foster care system.  She has been working with families prior to, during and following domestic and intercountry adoption for more than 20 years.   Her research interests include the long-term developmental, behavioral and emotional concerns of children impacted by adoption and prenatal substance exposure.  She is a former chair of the AAP Section on Adoption and Foster Care and currently a member of the AAP Council on Adoption, Foster Care and Kinship Care.  She has co-edited several manuals for pediatric providers working with children and families impacted by adoption.


Changing Course for Children: Exploring the Buckner’s processes, outcomes and lessons learned of Foster Care development and systemization in Peru

Presenters: Leslie Chace-Zielke and Margaret Elizabeth McKissack

Description: In 2007 Buckner International signed an Memo of Understanding between the organization and the Peruvian Government to assist the government in developing foster care programs in the country. Prior to this program, vulnerable children in Peru lacked protection, prevention of abandonment, and had limited rights. They were routinely sent to orphanages staying an average of 5 years, many until age 18.   Over the last seven years 44 children have been placed in Buckner foster homes and Buckner’s small team of specialists have taken huge steps in changing the way Peru cares for neglected and abandoned children.  In December of 2013 the Peruvian Congress voted unanimously to make foster care, as proposed by Buckner, part of the official legal code of Peru.  This presentation will outline Buckner’s foster care program, how similar programs can be developed and implemented in countries which lack foster care programs, and how the organization effectively worked with the Peruvian government to create change for children within the country.

MargaretElizabethMcKissackPresenter Bio: Margaret Elizabeth McKissack serves on Buckner International’s Program and Resource Development Team as Vice Counsel for Government and Institutional Relations. Assisting Buckner to expand programs and more effectively serve clients, Margaret Elizabeth builds and manages collaborative efforts with the United States and international governments as well as other institutional partners such as universities and NGOs. Margaret Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American and Iberian Studies as well as a minor in Business Administration from the University of Richmond in May 2006. With a desire to seek justice for children and families, Margaret Elizabeth earned a Juris Doctor degree from Texas Tech School of Law and a license to practice law in the state of Texas in 2010. During her time at Buckner, she has led the organization to win its first million dollar federal grant. The grant allows Buckner to work with USAID in developing a system of family-based care and placing children from a government orphanage in to families. In her role, Margaret Elizabeth works with Buckner’s domestic and international operations teams to engage government collaboration and advocate for change in child welfare systems in the countries of Buckner’s operations.


Leslie Chace-ZielkePresenter Bio: Leslie began her international work with Buckner in 2003 when she participated with the new initiatives in Latin America by providing leadership and management.  As Ministry Development Director for Latin America, covering Guatemala, Peru and Honduras, she worked on establishing relationships with the governments and setting up Buckner NGO new program initiatives. Leslie was involved in the development of the initial stages of the foster care program in Peru, working alongside the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Population where she introduced the Buckner Foster Care Program. She has worked  closely through the years with lawyer Claudia Leon, Director of Buckner  Peru,  and staff  by providing support,  trainings, resources and mentoring.  She has been a spokesperson for Buckner International four times in Latin America,  presenting at the Peru Childcare Welfare Department when the first children were placed in families; twice at RELAF, the Latin America Network for Foster Care, in Argentina and Peru; and at the 2nd International Congress Conference on Residential Care in Peru. Prior to coming to Buckner, Leslie her late husband, Rick and their four children, worked as independent missionaries to Latin America for over 20 years serving in nine countries.


4:45 – 5:45 pm

Groundbreaking Ideas, Approaches and Research: International Adoption Registry; Do Children in Foster Care Receive Appropriate Treatment for Asthma?; and Shared Medical Appointments for Post Adoptive Families (10 min presentations and 10 minute Q&A)

Presenters: Judith Eckerle, Paula K. Jaudes, MD and Linda Walsh

Institute: Medical/Nutritional

Eckerle, Judith

Bio: Dr. Judith Eckerle is a board certified Assistant Professor in the Division of Global Pediatrics, at the University of Minnesota and licensed in the state of Minnesota.  Dr. Eckerle specializes in international adoption and currently works with the FASD diagnostic program at the U of MN.  Each year, she screens >500 children both pre and post adoption and counsels families on the needs of these children as part of her practice.  She works with governmental agencies to advocate for orphans and adopted children both locally and internationally.


Bio:  Dr. Jaudes is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Chicago and a board-certified pediatrician. Since 2005, she has been involved at the national level in policy initiatives on foster care and sits on the Executive Committee of the Council of Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  She is Medical Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS), a post she has held since 1993. She helps ensure that Illinois’ foster children have access to the health services they require. Dr. Jaudes was the first physician in the United States to be named medical director of a state child welfare agency. She has devoted herself to the health and protection of children who are underserved as a hospital administrator, practicing pediatrician and medical researcher, educator, and public servant.


Bio: Ms. Linda Walsh is a board certified family nurse practitioner specializing in pediatric infectious disease.  Her clinical practice centers on the health of children and families.  She plays a key role in assisting families being served in the Adoption Center, with particular emphasis on post-adoption health management for those with infectious diseases.   She received her nursing education at St. Xavier University in Chicago and has been practicing at the University of Chicago since 2004 and has worked within the Adoption Center for the past five years.  Her clinical practice and research focus are on pediatric and adolescent HIV infection, chronic disease, and family coping.  She is an integral member of the Section of Pediatric Infectious Disease.  Working through school systems, including the Chicago Public Schools, she has provided health education instruction to grade school and high school students, with a particular emphasis on HIV.   She is the Clinical Director of the Adoption Center.  In that role, her expertise in infectious disease and immunizations is particularly beneficial to the families being served.  She has provided initial and continuous comprehensive care to 20 HIV positive children internationally adopted from Ethiopia, India, Congo and Ukraine.   Ms. Walsh has been interviewed frequently by the press, both print and television, regarding her role as medical provider to these children. Her research interests have centered on factors that promote medication adherence in children and adolescents affected by chronic disease, such as HIV.  Another area of research interest is with HIV patients as they become adolescents and primary responsibility for their care transitions to them from the parent or caregiver.



Round table round Robin:  Four small Round tables will occur at the same time.  Countries to be discussed are  Guatemala, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Korea, Colombia.


Tuesday April 8, 2014

8-8:45 am


Town Hall Meeting with Council on Accreditation
Tuesday, April 8th, 8-8:45 AM

 COA logo flat no wordsDescription: Do you have questions about Universal Accreditation or the Hague Accreditation/Approval process? Join staff from the Council on Accreditation for a town hall meeting to discuss the Universal & Hague Accreditation, including monitoring and oversight. This will be an open session and all Symposium attendees are welcome to attend, please come with specific questions or join us to learn more! To attend the session, please RSVP by March 28, 2013 to Rachel.k@Jointcouncil.org. Dept of State, USCIS, and NBC will also address Universal Accreditation and other important items during the Intercountry Adoption and the US government session on Tuesday, April 7 from 3:30 – 4:30, hosted by Tom DiFilipo.


8:45 – 10:00 am

Around the World in 60 Minutes – LIVE!  with Tom DiFilipo, President & CEO of Joint Council

tomDescription: This business development meeting aims to provide an opportunity for Joint Council and partner organizations to discuss organizational issues, programs and services, activities, and future developments. It provides informative and educational resources that individuals will be able to incorporate into their future business plans to accomplish a collective future function.

Presenter’s Bio: Tom DiFilipo serves as President and CEO of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services.  As part of his work as a child advocate, Tom has elevated the cause of every child’s right to a permanent family through his travel to 28 countries, testimony before the U.S. Congress, service as a non-profit board member for the Council on Accreditation, Focus on Adoption, Discovery Ministries and Joint Council on International Children’s Services, and through presentations, speeches and guest lectures at over 40 child welfare convenings including the UNROW Human Rights Clinic at Washington University and the Russian Ministry of Education Conference on Child Protection.  Tom also advocates on behalf of children without family care through repeated appearances on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, ROTIV Russia and numerous other media outlets.


10:15 – 12:30 pm

An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare                         Round Table Discussion                          Country Focus: Haiti

Diana Boni and Rebecca Hackworth, Facilitators

An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare Round Table Discussions are sessions in which professionals within the child welfare field can meet to discuss areas RebeccaHackworth2DianaBoniof concern, ways to collaborate and policy changes in a particular region or topic. Through collaboration during these sessions, attendees are able to share knowledge and experience on countries in which they facilitate children’s services. These lively round-table discussions focus on comprehensive approaches to children’s services in specific countries. Attendees will set service goals for the upcoming year. The Round Table Discussions are often some of the most valuable sessions, during which even experienced professionals glean knowledge from their peers in the field.


10:15 – 11:15 am

The Big and Small of it: Differing Views on Improving Program Performance through Monitoring and Evaluation with Dr. Anthony Salandy ( Worldwide Orphan Foundation) , and Monica Czapla (SPOON Foundation)

Institute: Child, Family and Community Strengthening


HoltaTrandafili_WorldVision3Presenter Bio: Ms. Trandafili has been with World Vision since 2001 serving first in her home country of Albania as the manager overseeing program delivery and effectiveness in a specific region, followed by leading the department responsible for design, monitoring and evaluation (DME) of all programs within the country. In 2010, she joined World Vision in the United States focused on providing technical expertise and support for program quality and organizational effectiveness. Ms. Trandafili holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a master’s degree from Eastern University in Organizational Leadership.  Ms. Trandafili is qualified to present on this subject matter because she serves as an evaluator of program effectiveness for the organization and is knowledgeable about the processes, tools and methods involved in program evaluations.




Presenter Bio: Dr. Anthony Salandy has over 20 years of experience working in the Legislative and Executive branches of the U.S. Government, academia, philanthropy, and international development. He is a skilled researcher and consultant whose work has guided the development of state and federal policies in education, child and family welfare, immigration, public health, and juvenile justice among others. He has worked in Africa, CEE region, East Asia, and the Caribbean on human development and public health projects. He was twice selected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Rust College and a Master’s and Doctoral degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University. He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army.


MonicaPresenter Bio: Monica Czapla is presently working with the SPOON Foundation as their Senior Program Manager. For the past five years she has been working internationally as a public health specialist. Her most recent work has focused on designing effective programs in resource-limited settings for increasing accessibility to, utilization and quality of basic social services amongst vulnerable and underserved populations. Monica has a MPH from Tulane University specializing in International Health and Development. Through her international work, she has developed monitoring systems focused on evaluating the effectiveness of public health service delivery programs.


11:30-12:30 pm

“Orphanage Voluntourism: Benefiting Orphans or Volunteers?”    Meghan E Lopez, MSN, FNP-BC

Institute:  Child, Family, and Community Strengthening

MeghanLopezDescription:Almost all orphanages depend on donors for their support and continued functioning. Many orphanages make ends meet through the financial contributions that volunteers bring and the long term relationships that develop through these visits. It is a positive experience for volunteers gain an awareness of the conditions of children outside of family care, frequently in a developing country, and experience the emotional fulfilment of spending time with the children and sharing in smiles and laughter with them. There is no doubt that the children enjoy interacting with the volunteers, however, the long term effect of their presence can be problematic. Does the idea of “Voluntourism” to orphanages do more harm than good?

Presenter Bio: Meghan Lopez, MSN, FNP-BC, Regional Director for Central America for Whole Child International, has more than 13 years’ experience in program development and management, ranging from training rural community health workers, staff training and shift management in a hospital setting, patient education as a primary care provider, relationship development with local national and international partners, and international project development and management. She is passionate about evidence-based best practices for early child development and health promotion across the lifespan. She received her Bachelors in Arts in the Politics of Religion from Dartmouth College, after which she spent four years in the Peace Corps in Paraguay. She returned to the United States to pursue the Master of Science of Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Johns Hopkins University. Meghan has previously lived and worked in Paraguay, studied in Morocco and Haiti, and had assignments in Bolivia, Argentina, Honduras, Guatemala, Ghana, the Philippines, and as an NGO representative to the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations in New York.


1:00 – 2:00 pm Keynote

 Families, Not Orphanages with John Williamson

Institute:  Child, Family, and Community Strengthening

John Williamson Jan 2014Description: To grow and thrive children need more than good physical care; they also need love, attention, and secure attachment. Decades of research and well over 100 years of programming experience point to the simple fact that children need good family care. Influenced by the research of John Bowlby and others, since the 1950’s the United States and most European countries have largely shifted away from residential care to family-based alternative care for their own children. However many individuals and groups in those countries continue to support orphanages in the developing world. Such residential care is more expensive per child than supporting family care, yet the orphanage model has proven remarkably resilient, while family-based alternative care has been slow to emerge as an alternative. In 2010, the Better Care Network published, Families, Not Orphanages by John Williamson and Aaron Greenberg which reviewed these issues based on evidence and practical experience and recommended how to move forward in care reform. There have been significant developments since then, notably, the U.S. Government’s Action Plan on Children in Adversity. This presentation will review and update Families, Not Orphanages, highlighting promising recent initiatives.

Presenter: John Williamson is Senior Technical Advisor for the Displaced Children and Orphans Fund of USAID, which supports programs in developing countries for children who lack adequate family care. He is one of the organizers of the Better Care Network, the Children and Youth Economic Strengthening Network, and the Washington Network for Children and Armed Conflict. He collaborated with Aaron Greenberg to write Families, Not Orphanages, (Better Care Network, 2010). He also wrote “The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of child soldiers: social and psychological transformation in Sierra Leone” (Intervention, 2006. He was an editor and chapter author of A Generation at Risk: The Global Impact of HIV/AIDS on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (Oxford University Press, 2005). He co-authored ) “Psychosocial interventions or integrated programming for well-being?” (Intervention, 2006), Conducting a Situation Analysis of Orphans and Vulnerable Children Affected by HIV/AIDS (USAID, 2004), the Children on the Brink series (USAID/UNICEF/UNAIDS 1997, 2000, 2004), and Action for Children Affected by AIDS (UNICEF/WHO, 1994). He has worked as a consultant on international children’s issues and been on the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Christian Children’s Fund.  He has a master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California at Berkeley.


2:15 – 3:15 pm

Policing Ourselves: What the Adoption Community Can And Should Do About Corrupt Adoption Service Providers a panel discussion lead by Lucy Armistead

Institute: Adoption

LucyDescription:Policing ourselves will be a panel discussion of experts in the field discussion what the adoption community can and should do regarding corruption.   The session will address what happens when corrupt ASPs are ignored utilizing Guatemala and Ethiopia as examples.  It will also address who should be policing the adoption profession and who actually is policing the adoption profession.  Participation from the audience will be encouraged.

Presenter Bio: Lucy Armistead, MA, LPCC has a bachelors in psychology and a masters in counseling. Lucy is the Founder and Executive Director of All Blessings International, Inc., a Hague accredited agency, licensed in Kentucky and Missouri. She has presented at both national and international conferences, received various awards and is frequently interviewed by national news media regarding adoption issues. Considered an expert in US Hague implementation, ethics in adoption and adoption dissolution, Lucy is a published author and has served as an expert witness in US Federal Court.  Additionally, she has held various leadership positions within the adoption community and is recognized for both her compassionate and common sense approach to adoption issues.


2:15 – 4:30 pm

An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare       Round Table Discussion     Country Focus: India

Facilitator- Dean Hale 

Dean Hale An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare Round Table Discussions are sessions in which professionals within the child welfare field can meet to discuss areas of concern, ways to collaborate and policy changes in a particular region or topic. Through collaboration during these sessions, attendees are able to share knowledge and experience on countries in which they facilitate children’s services. These lively round-table discussions focus on comprehensive approaches to children’s services in specific countries. Attendees will set service goals for the upcoming year. The Round Table Discussions are often some of the most valuable sessions, during which even experienced professionals glean knowledge from their peers in the field.


3:30 – 4:30 pm

Intercountry Adoption and the US Government panel discussion

Tom DiFilipo, Host

Institute: Adoption

tomEach year at the Joint Council Symposium, federal panels are held that feature experts on policy and process issues impacting international adoption. Individual panel speakers are represented from the Department of State, USCIS, and the NBC. At the conclusion of each panel, participants will have the opportunity to ask specific questions in a variety of areas. This panel is the most efficient and comprehensive way in which adoption professionals can become educated on the ever-changing policy and procedural areas involved in intercountry adoption.


4:45-6:00 pm

Lightning Talks

For the second year, the Annual Child Welfare Symposium will feature ten five-minute-long presentations in an hour-long round of Lightning Talks (also known as Ignite Talks). This fast-paced session is a great way to present on topics related to your work or avocations, professional or personal, and provides the opportunity to become more familiar with others in the field.  Each presenter has exactly five minutes, using exactly twenty PowerPoint slides that auto-advance every fifteen seconds. The next presentation begins immediately after the preceding one ends. The timing of the slides and each presentation is strictly enforced. The nature of the structure of Lightning Talks ensures that both the presenter and the audience will have fun.


Presenter Name  Lightning Talk Title
Kirby Lindgren A bolt of social. Social media that really works.
Dawn Davenport Post Adoption Education & Support: The Elephant in the Room
Susan Orban and Andrea Stawitcke Be Attachable
Brooke Randolph Food, Allergies, and Behavior
Shelley Steenrod Beyond How Old is She? The Multiple Dimensions of “Age” in International Adoption
Dana Naughton A Different Paradigm: The Intercountry Adoption Experience of Canadian and Dutch adopters’ of US Children
Stephanie Richard Child Labor Trafficking and the Child Welfare System
Nancy Bailey and Colleen Crowley The Reluctant Activist
Nathan Gwilliam Digital Platforms
Kelly Ellison How to Talk to your Families about Money


Wednesday April 9, 2014

8:30 – 9:30 am

Getting it all on the table.  Addressing the anti-intercountry adoption perception with Greg Ramm

Institute: Adoption
Ramm, GregDescription: Often times those who provide intercountry adoption as a service to children in need argue that Save the Children and other international NGO’s have anti-intercountry adoption stances.  At the same time, those organizations often feel that their efforts to combat child trafficking and prioritize in-country family solutions for children in need are resisted by those who provide intercountry adoption services.  In the past, these issues have pitted organizations working with the same end goal in mind – children living flourishing lives in families – against each other.  In this keynote the speaker will address Save the Children’s organizational stance on intercountry adoption, how bridges has been built among leaders of the child welfare community over the last year, and how working together through a spectrum of services to children can care for more children in need.  This session is intended to be an open-dialog, honest, civil among the speaker and the audience.

Presenter Bio:  Greg Ramm is currently Associate Vice President, International Programs, Child Protection and HIV/AIDS in the Washington, DC, office of Save the Children.  From 1998 to 2008 Mr. Ramm worked for Save the Children in different parts of Africa, first as Country Director in the DR Congo and then in Ghana.  During this time he also served as Head for Regional Office for southern Africa and as Regional Director for West and Central Africa, based in Senegal.  From 2009 to 2012 Mr. Ramm served as Director of Global Programs for Save the Children in London.  He is a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Zaire) and has a B.A. in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.


9:45 am – 12:00 pm

An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare                                  Round Table Discussion                                      Country Focus: China

Tina Ji, Facilitator

TinaJiDescription: An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare Round Table Discussions are sessions in which professionals within the child welfare field can meet to discuss areas of concern, ways to collaborate and policy changes in a particular region or topic. Through collaboration during these sessions, attendees are able to share knowledge and experience on countries in which they facilitate children’s services. These lively round-table discussions focus on comprehensive approaches to children’s services in specific countries. Attendees will set service goals for the upcoming year. The Round Table Discussions are often some of the most valuable sessions, during which even experienced professionals glean knowledge from their peers in the field.

Presenter Bio:  Ms. Ji currently oversees all of Barker’s international programs. She has worked in the adoption field since 1992, first with Children’s Hope International in St. Louis, and for the next ten years with Families Thru International Adoption (FTIA). Ms. Ji has extensive experience supervising adoption programs in Asia, Latin America and East Europe. She also developed humanitarian programs in China. In 2001 she started a foster care program in China which currently trains foster parents to care for over 100 children in non-institutional settings. She has also led efforts to help many orphanages improve conditions for the children, including provision of medical care. She is active with Joint Council on International Children’s Services and has also been substantially involved in the Hague Treaty and compliance issues for U.S. agencies.


9:45 – 10:45 am

Approaching the Adoption Process: A Project Management Perspective with Joseph A. Griffin

Institute: Adoption

Griffin, JosephDescription: Too often hopeful adoptive parents feel overwhelmed by the idea of taking on the adoption process. They may attend an information session, request information sheets, or speak with a counselor, but they often feel ill-equipped to truly assess their readiness for the process. The field of project management offers a set of tools to help adoptive parents truly assess their readiness and commitment to begin the adoption process. This presentation seeks to present and apply some of those tools to better equip adoptive parents approach the process in an informed and prepared manner.

Presenter Bio: Joseph A. Griffin, PMP, MBA, MPM, MABE, MACT, is an adoptive father and a graduate faculty member in the Master of Science in Project Management program at Northeaster University’s College of Professional Studies. In addition to teaching and designing courses, Mr. Griffin serves as a mentor to adjunct faculty members and participates in development work to reach out to new students and build key partnerships with business leaders. He is passionate about making a positive difference in the community and advancing the field of project management. Mr. Griffin’s recent publications include the textbook Residential Construction Management: Managing According to the Project Lifecycle and numerous articles related to project management. He is a certified Project Management Professional as well as an active member of the local and international chapters of the Project Management Institute. Mr. Griffin has taught courses related to sustainable enterprise management and has consulted on software development projects.    As both a project management practitioner and educator, Mr. Griffin has sought to apply his extensive knowledge of project management to the adoption process, allowing for a more realistic and better managed approach to completing the process.


11:00 am – 12:00 pm

While Families Wait: supporting and further educating pre-adoptive parents with Judy Stigger, Spring Hecht, and Rhonda Jarema

Institute: Adoptions

Description: Waits for refer or placement are increasing. The age at placement and complexity of challenges are also increasing.  How can agencies both sustain pre-adoptive families and use the wait time to further educate families? What should be taught, and how can agencies teach without incurring unsustainable staff cost or client resistance to the imposition of yet more training?    Drawing on the experiences of JCICS agencies, this workshop suggests research-based content and offers resources for the teaching voices most welcome by parents –those of adopted persons and of parents who have survived the wait. Presenters exemplify those voices.

Judy_StiggercolorheadshotPresenter Bio: Judy Stigger, LCSW, is the Director of Clinical Services for Adoption Learning Partners.org, an interactive adoption and foster-care educational site. Her job and her passion are to make accurate and engaging training and support more available to parents and professionals. A licensed clinical social worker, Judy:   provide counseling / therapy for adopted teens, and adoptive and birth families,  trains and prepares foster / pre-adoptive families, worked in domestic as well as directed international adoption programs, conceived of and is NASW content expert for www.AdoptionLearningPartners.org,   presented at numerous national and local seminars, completed Therapy with Adoptive Families Postgraduate Certification from Portland State University in 2013. She authored a book, Coping with Infertility, plus various chapters and articles, serves on the Editorial Advisory Boards of the Adoptive Families Magazine and is a past president of the Board of Joint Council on International Children’s Services (the organization for international adoption agencies), and received a Congressional “Angel in Adoption” award in 2000.   Judy and her husband are the adoptive parents of two now-grown, special needs and cross-racially placed children. Judy shares what she has learned over the years from the feedback of colleagues, clients and her own family.

headshot2Presenter Bio: Spring Hecht, MSW, is Vice President for Social Services for World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP). She supervises Family Finders and A Family for Me Programs, provides consultation, crisis counseling and on-going support services to families who have adopted, trains staff, participates in WACAP’s Executive Team and approves homestudies. Previously, she has coordinated Public Health research studies and community development projects with diverse populations. She has post-graduate credentials in Trust Based Relational Intervention from Texas Christian University (Purvis & Cross) and Trauma and Attachment-Focused Therapy from Cascadia Training for Professional Development (Gray). An adult adopted person, she brings her professional expertise and personal passion to advocacy and education for women, children and families—especially those experiencing trauma or distress.


Rhonda JPresenter Bio:  Rhonda Jarema, MA     Rhonda Jarema has worked as a counselor and advocate in the fields of international adoption and mental health for more than 30 years. Since her first international adoption of 4 ‘older’ children from Russia in 1995, Rhonda has focused her attention on the international adoption field as a social worker, educator and advocate. She has been the Director of Family Support Services at Nightlight Christian Adoptions since 1998. She has presented at adoption conferences on the issues related to adopting school-aged children and has published several articles related to internationally adopted children. Ms. Jarema is the Hague Coordinator for Nightlight Christian Adoptions. She volunteers for the Council on Accreditation as a Hague Lead Evaluator and Commissioner. She also serves on the Board for ‘Every Child Has A Name,’ a humanitarian aid non-profit, committed to helping the children of the world. Ms. Jarema is married and  adopted 5 children internationally.


1:30 – 3:45

An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare
Round Table Discussion         Country Focus: Ethiopia

DanLauer HollenF_photoDan Lauer and Hollen Frazier, Facilitators

An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare Round Table Discussions are sessions in which professionals within the child welfare field can meet to discuss areas of concern, ways to collaborate and policy changes in a particular region or topic. Through collaboration during these sessions, attendees are able to share knowledge and experience on countries in which they facilitate children’s services. These lively round-table discussions focus on comprehensive approaches to children’s services in specific countries. Attendees will set service goals for the upcoming year. The Round Table Discussions are often some of the most valuable sessions, during which even experienced professionals glean knowledge from their peers in the field.


1:30 – 2:30 pm

Moving Beyond Post Adoption of Yesteryear with Susan Orban & Kristina Berg 

Institute: Adoption

Description: The world of Post Adoption Services is changing.   From a world of once shrouded in secrecy and closed adoptions to open adoption, the world wide web, advances in medical technology post adoption is entering the next frontier.  Come hear about the landscape of services that agencies offer.  This presentation will challenge to think about what your clients need to consider and your role in providing assistance.

Sue OrbanPresenter Bio: Susan Orban has worked in the adoption field for over 20 years and currently works as an Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Adoption Programs of Children’s Home Society & Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.  Sue began her adoption journey when she adopted from Korea in 1980 and is now the proud parent of four children, three adopted internationally and one born to her. Sue began her professional career in 1988 and has developed and/or managed programs in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Sue has a degree in education, which she uses to help families understand the adoption process, options available to them, and preparing families for parenting.


kristina bergPresenter Bio: Kristina Berg is a Senior Program Manager at Children’s Home Society & Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. She has worked in the field for 9 years. Kristina has many friends and family who were adopted, has a strong passion for child welfare and holds degrees in Social Work, Multicultural Studies and Spanish. Prior to her current role, Kristina was an International Adoption Specialist for Guatemala and Ethiopia, developed targeted programming for children with HIV/AIDS and managed the organizations international humanitarian efforts.


2:45 – 3:45 pm

Transracial/Transethnic Adoption: Honoring the Burden and Dignity of Difference with Tara Linh Leaman, JD

Institute: Adoption

Leahman, TaraDescription: Workshop will highlight “Best and can be done Better” practices helping families nurture healthy formation of identity as it relates to transracial/transethnic/transnational adoption. Those considering adopting and/or those who have already adopted across racial/ethnic lines have the burden and blessing of incorporate race, ethnicity, culture, and expressions of identity inside and outside of their homes. This workshop will highlight the importance of moving beyond diversity and achieving multicultural proficiency and authentic inclusion where we live, work and play, as it relates to being a member of a transracial/transethnic/transnational family.

Presenter Bio: Tara Linh Leaman is an African Vietnamese American transethnic adoptee, and knows well the challenges and successes of claiming more than one transformative experience. She is the Co-Founder and Vice-President of AmerAsians Building Bridges Consulting, which provides training and resources that enrich the lives of members of the adoption triad and their allies. Her writings and presentations include The Power of Ambiguity, published in Adoption Today, and a keynote given at the National Press Club in Washington, DC entitled “Adoption in the Media: Why Context Matters.” She has worked internationally and nationally advancing social change, including service as deputy director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a teacher in Johannesburg, South Africa, and currently serves on the board of Holt International Children’s Services, one of the nation’s oldest and largest child welfare agencies, and Holt International Foundation of China. Tara is a graduate of Cornell University and Georgetown University Law Center, and resides in the People’s Republic of Brooklyn. Please feel free to connect with her at: www.linkedin.com/in/taralinhleaman.