Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System

Conference Agenda: Public Child Welfare Conference

September 24th Session

10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Session

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Advancing Your Skills in Motivational Interviewing

Laura Saunders

Session Description:

This day long institute is designed for participants who have some level of experience trying MI practices within their practice setting. We’ll work together to enhance your current skill set and provide you with tools to utilize in your day to day practice. Through didactic discussion, small and large group work, and audio examples participants will learn about assessing MI practice, giving and receiving feedback and will engage in exercises aimed at improving their usage of this evidence based method.

September 25th Sessions

9:00 – 9:15 AM: Opening Remarks

 

9:15 – 10:30 AM: Keynote

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Myth Busting and Hope: How Addiction Science Can Inform Child Welfare Practice

John Harper

Session Description:

Advances in neuroscience unequivocally support that drug addiction is a disorder of the brain. The question then becomes . . . what can research tell us about the development of a substance use disorder, which will improve our safety assessments for children being cared for by parents abusing or addicted to drugs? This keynote address is intended to illustrate how a more informed understanding of addiction helps the child welfare professional identify how danger threats related to drug use are likely to be manifested in the home. Recent patterns in synthetic drug use will be highlighted with a focus on those drugs most likely to cause a wholesale assault on adult functioning. Myth busting will involve exploring common misconceptions around the use of opioids and cannabis and their presumed effects or non-effects, as the case may be.  Coming full circle, indicators which are harbingers of hope, guideposts for recovery and the most definitive predictor of successful safety outcomes will be shared to guide child welfare professionals in their future interactions with substance using families.

10:45 – 12:15 PM: Workshop Session #1

 

Safety

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Admission is not the Mission: Creating Safety, Even in the Midst of Denial Part 1

Lindley Myers and Courtney Smith

Session Description:

When a parent is denying the impact of their behavior on their children it can be hard to know how to move forward. We all want them to acknowledge the damage that abuse or neglect is causing and see the harm so they have the motivation to change their behavior. Their acknowledgment gives us confidence that they understand the seriousness of their actions. Unfortunately, requiring a parent to admit makes collaboration with parents who deny child abuse or neglect almost impossible. This presentation will give social workers some tools and approaches to apply that allow safety planning to move forward effectively without requiring an admission or a substantiation. This is a two part series.

The Invisible Enemy

Saima Chauhan

Session Description:

This presentation will provide information on addiction and how addiction affects the family system with a primary focus on how parental addiction affects a child.

Keeping Kids Safe When Their Parents are Struggling with Substance Use: From Preventing Removal to Reunification

Alisson Burda, Erin Meiss, and Amanda Taylor

Session Description:

Child welfare workers strive to keep children safe and with their families. Parental substance use creates challenges in planning for child safety. Assessment, understanding, and treatment of parental substance use is key to creating comprehensive plans to prevent removal of children from the home or reunify children who have been placed in out-of-home. In this workshop participants will learn about effective practices in accurately assessing parental substance use, how it affects child safety, treatment needs, and ways to create successful safety plans.

Permanence

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Family Interaction Panel

Angie Beerkircher, Brenda Blanck, Katie Day, Lisa Hankes, Frances Macaulay, Michelle McKeith de Antuna

Session Description:

Family interaction for children in out-of-home care is a key element in knowing how to proceed with permanency planning. Family Interaction sessions can provide child welfare workers with the information necessary to be confident in moving forward with increased contact, unsupervised contact and reunification. Through a moderated panel discussion, these experienced child welfare workers and supervisors will provide information on how to make the most of the Family Interaction sessions for parents dealing with substance use. The panel will discuss how they use Family Interaction to assess safety, protective capacities and behavior change in parents. Panel members will provide examples on effective Family Interaction techniques and answer questions from workgroup participants.

Substance Use and Abuse: Challenges for the Court in Achieving Permanency

Henry Plum

Session Description:

The impact of substance use presents significant challenges for the Courts and Agencies in terms of identifying, delivering and monitoring appropriate services for parents and children. The challenges include balancing reasonable efforts with achieving permanency for children. Developing reunification plans that provide measurable steps to assess safe and realistic conditions for return of the child presents a complex set of issues for all the professionals involved. This session will address issues that include: what constitutes reasonable effort for the substance abusing parents; when is it appropriate to move to termination of parental rights; and what impact do recent legislative changes have on permanency and achieving it in a timely manner.

What Do You Need? Supporting Foster Families & Extended Relative Providers

Peg Cadd, Ericka Copeland-Malone, Tiffany Meredith

Session Description:

Both foster parents and case managers have their lists of what they wished the other knew. This interactive workshop will explore how we can better work cooperatively in the best interest of the children.

Well-Being

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Effective Approaches to Engaging and Supporting Youth and Young Adults

Anthony Alvarado, Douglas Darby and Nadine Machkovech

Session Description:

Interested in learning about some new ways to empower youth and young adults with mental health and substance abuse issues? Rise Together has a data-supported model for youth engagement, and other best practices to support and engage youth and young adults with behavioral health challenges. The purpose of this presentation is to summarize some of the major differences that likely contribute to teenage substance misuse and disorders within urban and rural communities. In addition, we will review effective approaches in urban and rural settings. Finally, we will highlight our novel approach of peer support, and how this approach may be uniquely positioned to address substance misuse and disorders amongst adolescents.

The Invisible Population: Addressing Substance Use and High Risk Behaviors in LGBTQ Youth

Robin Matthies

Session Description:

This workshop will provide an overview of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth risk behavior data to highlight disparities that exist. We will discuss the stressors that LGBTQ youth face and how those stressors strongly impact the likelihood for engaging in risky behaviors, including substance use. Finally, we will have a conversation about how to better support these youth and their families as a preventative measure toward mitigating risky behavior related to identity-based stressors.

Place-Based Predictive Analytics in Child Welfare

Dyann Daley

Session Description:

A review of opportunities for ethical use of predictive analytics in child welfare, a discussion of concerns related to person-based and place-based predictive analytics, and applications for primary prevention, intervention, and foster care quality improvement.

1:30 – 3:00 PM: Workshop Session #2

 

Safety

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Admission is not the Mission: Creating Safety, Even in the Midst of Denial Part 2

Lindley Myers and Courtney Smith

Session Description:

When a parent is denying the impact of their behavior on their children it can be hard to know how to move forward. We all want them to acknowledge the damage that abuse or neglect is causing and see the harm so they have the motivation to change their behavior. Their acknowledgment gives us confidence that they understand the seriousness of their actions. Unfortunately, requiring a parent to admit makes collaboration with parents who deny child abuse or neglect almost impossible. This presentation will give social workers some tools and approaches to apply that allow safety planning to move forward effectively without requiring an admission or a substantiation. This is a two part series.

Hiding in Plain Sight: Substance-Exposed Children

John Harper

Session Description:

Screening for substance misuse can be extremely challenging. The confluence of twin stigmas, child abuse and drug abuse, typically magnifies the minimizing, rationalization and outright denial the child welfare professionals has to sort through when interacting with substance abusing parents. All too often individual and family dynamics become co-opted, resulting in enabling behaviors designed to further support the “Great Cover-Up.” This workshop is intended to train child welfare professionals to focus on specific information and behaviors to see thru and beyond the secrecy and deception smokescreen designed to hide children in plain sight. Additional discussion will explore what information needs to be included to help an assessor complete a substance abuse evaluation and ways the professional evaluation can inform your safety planning and interventions with the family.

Wake-Up Call: Teen Bedroom

Sandi Lybert, Ashleigh Nowakowski and Katie Westerman

Session Description:

Wake-up Call is a life-size exhibit of a teen’s bedroom with more than 20 “red flags” that can signal drug or alcohol use. The bedroom identifies spots where teens may hide drugs, household items that can be used as drug paraphernalia and ways teens try to cover up drug and alcohol use. In addition to learning about the various hiding spots and items that may indicate use, audience members learn about the signs and symptoms associated with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as prevention strategies that can help reduce the chances of substance abuse. The goal of this presentation is to educate parents, teachers, counselors and other adults who are influential in the lives of youth so they know what seemingly innocent items can actually be an indication of substance abuse.

Permanence

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Keeping Kids Safe When Their Parents are Struggling with Substance Use: From Preventing Removal to Reunification

Alisson Burda, Erin Meiss and Amanda Taylor

Session Description:

Child welfare workers strive to keep children safe and with their families. Parental substance use creates challenges in planning for child safety. Assessment, understanding, and treatment of parental substance use is key to creating comprehensive plans to prevent removal of children from the home or reunify children who have been placed in out-of-home. In this workshop participants will learn about effective practices in accurately assessing parental substance use, how it affects child safety, treatment needs, and ways to create successful safety plans.

Separation: The Impact of Caregiver Substance Abuse on Siblings: The Importance of Maintaining Connections

Robbie and Kate Bauer

Session Description:

The bond between brothers and sisters is unique and integral to forming one’s identity – it is the longest lasting relationship most people have, longer than the parent/child or husband/wife relationship. The sibling relationship helps build social skills, gain awareness in conflict resolution and helps to create attachments that reinforce compassion and empathy. Kate and Rob will discuss how substance use leads to sibling separation, it’s negative effects and the importance of maintaining sibling connections.

What Do You Need? Supporting Foster Families & Extended Relative Providers

Peg Cadd, Ericka Copeland-Malone, Tiffany Meredith

Session Description:

Both foster parents and case managers have their lists of what they wished the other knew. This interactive workshop will explore how we can better work cooperatively in the best interest of the children.

Well-Being

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It’s Not Drama, It’s Trauma

Myra McNair

Session Description:

When working with children and their families we cannot ignore the social contexts of historical, cultural and inter-generational trauma. To really understand the effects of historical trauma in the African American community we must seek to understand how slavery continues to frame the lives of the children, families and communities that we work in. We will also explore how systems interact with and play a role in historical trauma and that historical trauma is not always in the past. This workshop will provide a safe place for you to explore and challenge your own biases. This “trauma over drama” framework will equip you in ways that allow you to appreciate the resiliency and strengths of the African American community, and look at new ways to help you address historical, inter-generational and complex trauma.

Place-Based Predictive Analytics in Child Welfare

Dyann Daley

Session Description:

A review of opportunities for ethical use of predictive analytics in child welfare, a discussion of concerns related to person-based and place-based predictive analytics, and applications for primary prevention, intervention, and foster care quality improvement.

Understanding Addiction, Recovery and Culture

Dr. Mark Lim and Brenda Goettl

Session Description:

Review of addiction and what recovery means. How to address issues of addiction within social work practice. Effects of addiction on families with ways to intervene, build structure, and support families. Assisting with relapse prevention planning and understanding versus reacting to relapses.

3:15-4:00 PM: Updates

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eWiSACWIS Updates and CCWIS Roadmap

John Elliott

Session Description:

John Elliott, Deputy Administrator for the WI-DCF Division of Safety and Permanence and Product owner of the eWiSACWIS system, will give an overview of the new federal regulations governing child welfare case management systems, DCF’s efforts to modernize and improve our current eWiSACWIS system and the future development roadmap for the eWiSACWIS system.

4:00 – 5:00 PM: Keynote

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Youth Panel: Reflection on Substance Abuse’s Impact on the Child Welfare and Youth Justice System

Anthony Alvarado, Douglas Darby and Nadine Machkovech

Session Description:

A panel of youth members representing Wisconsin Youth Leadership Teams and Youth Advisory Councils will provide their thoughts on the impact substance abuse has had on the child welfare and youth justice systems, what is working, and what can continue to be improved upon.

September 26th Sessions

7:30 – 8:45 AM: Breakfast

 

8:45 – 9:45 AM: Keynote

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Aligning Actions & Outcomes: Closing the Gap

Mike Kenney

Session Description:

10:00 – 11:30 AM: Workshop Session #3

 

Safety

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Relapse Planning: Understanding the Addiction

Michael McGowan

Session Description:

Addiction can be an ongoing struggle for many people and periodic relapses are not uncommon. Relapse-prevention planning is crucial for maintaining long-term sobriety. It is essential that the individual, family and worker collaborate and trust each other through the process. Working together with the family and using the Principles of Partnership the understood goal is ongoing sobriety and not, as the family often fears, disruption of the family system.

Wake-Up Call: Teen Bedroom

Sandi Lybert, Ashleigh Nowakowski and Katie Westerman

Session Description:

Wake-up Call is a life-size exhibit of a teen’s bedroom with more than 20 “red flags” that can signal drug or alcohol use. The bedroom identifies spots where teens may hide drugs, household items that can be used as drug paraphernalia and ways teens try to cover up drug and alcohol use. In addition to learning about the various hiding spots and items that may indicate use, audience members learn about the signs and symptoms associated with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as prevention strategies that can help reduce the chances of substance abuse. The goal of this presentation is to educate parents, teachers, counselors and other adults who are influential in the lives of youth so they know what seemingly innocent items can actually be an indication of substance abuse.

What Happens to Adult Functioning and Protective Capacities when Drugs Hijack the Brain

John Harper

Session Description:

For years, a paradigm of the addiction treatment community has been that significant drug use has the potential to cause “arrested development” in individuals using psychoactive substances. Assessing child safety without understanding how substance use impairs adult functioning or compromises cognitive, behavioral and emotional protective capacities is a prescription for disaster. Recent advances in brain science related to the mapping of neurotransmitter pathways, particularly the dysregulation of the dopaminergic system provides a physiological, science-based explanation for how arrested development likely occurs and how this new understanding translates to working differently with individuals with substance use disorders. This workshop is intended to provide the child welfare professional with new assessment considerations in order to more effectively interact, assess, and intervene with individuals and families struggling with the unique challenges of substance use disorders.

Permanence

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Building a Village with Safety Networks

Lindley Myers and Courtney Smith

Session Description:

The adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is so well known because of its inherent truth that everyone needs support to be successful. Decades of research has shown that the more interested adults you have supporting a child, the more resilient and successful they will be. Unfortunately, our practice often looks more like “It takes a social worker, one parent and maybe a therapist to raise a child.” This presentation will deepen thinking about how to find, secure, prepare and utilize a network of people who are connected to the child and can help develop and implement a safety plan.

Developing a Culturally-Empowering Programming: Treating the Trauma to Address the Addiction

Patina Park

Session Description:

Violence has been part of the history of this continent since first contact and Indigenous people in the United States have experienced over 500 years of trauma. As a result, high rates of chemical dependency and mental health struggles are common. In order to address this multi-generational trauma, the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center utilizes a culturally-grounded approach to provide safe space and time for women and their families to walk a healing path at their own pace. All programming is grounded in cultural teachings and practices that prioritize the process of working toward a life “in balance” over linear markers of success, such as total abstention from substance use. This workshop will show the approach MIWRC uses to provide culturally-grounded and trauma-responsive programming to address the needs of the community and most importantly accepting all people as our relatives and their needs as they define them as the primary focus.

Substance Use and Abuse: Challenges for the Court in Achieving Permanency

Henry Plum

Session Description:

The impact of substance use presents significant challenges for the Courts and Agencies in terms of identifying, delivering and monitoring appropriate services for parents and children. The challenges include balancing reasonable efforts with achieving permanency for children. Developing reunification plans that provide measurable steps to assess safe and realistic conditions for return of the child presents a complex set of issues for all the professionals involved. This session will address issues that include: what constitutes reasonable effort for the substance abusing parents; when is it appropriate to move to termination of parental rights; and what impact do recent legislative changes have on permanency and achieving it in a timely manner.

Well-Being

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From Roots to Fruits: Generational Family Addiction

Tamra Oman

Session Description:

Working with families who are struggling with addiction, mental health, and trauma challenges us to try to see beyond the situation before us, and encourages us to ask, “what happened that brought us together in this moment?” Ms. Oman will discuss growing up in an environment where addiction, domestic violence, and sexual assault were a part of her “roots”. Without addressing the trauma some of the “fruit” produced was repeating the cycle of addiction and family trauma when she was co-parenting. Ms. Oman, an addiction counselor/human services worker, will share how her own journey as a recipient of services has helped her to become more mindful of how she approaches her work and the individuals she is privileged to walk with. We will discuss using a recovery model, implementing trauma informed/strength-based approaches, exploring resiliency factors, and the incredible power words/language have while working with others.

Tips for Engaging African American Women in Substance Abuse Treatment

Jacquelyn Hunt

Session Description:

This workshop is designed for counselors, therapists, case managers, or other service professionals who work with African American Women/Men and have a desire to look at this population through a multicultural lens. In this workshop you will hear about one service provider’s professional journey to recovery and some things she has learned over her 20 year career working primarily with those of the African American culture as it relates to substance abuse. This will be an interactive workshop and participants will have an opportunity to engage in some self-exploration as well as gain some tips and strategies engaging this population.

 

12:30 – 2:15 PM: Workshop Session #4

 

Safety

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Drug Trends in Wisconsin

Bryan Kastelic

Session Description:

This session will cover the latest information on drug trends in Wisconsin as well as the warning signs users exhibit as a result of taking drugs. Workers are better equipped to intervene and support families when they are informed on the harms and consequences of drug use. SA Kastelic will discuss different effects that drugs have on the mind and body, as well as overdose potential and other key facts that will give workers the background they need in order to connect families with the appropriate services.

Harm Reduction: One Step at a Time

Michael McGowan

Session Description:

Not every person who uses drugs or alcohol can or will quit. Not every person who abuses chemicals needs traditional forms of treatment. With a limited access and availability of treatment resources, there is a need to provide people who use drugs with options that help to minimize risks from continuing to use drugs, and of harming themselves or others. This workshop will discuss how harm reduction information, services and other interventions can help keep people healthy and safe.

ICWA Case Studies

Michelle Gordon

Session Description:

Presenting Case Studies of ICWA cases having gone through the process and how it has ended in a positive result as ICWA has intended. Specifically from other states to the Tribes.

 

Permanence

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30 Days to Family Ohio

Mike Kenney

Session Description:

This workshop will take participants through the exciting implementation of 30 Days to Family Ohio. 30 Days to Family is an intense short-term intervention developed by the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition that features two major elements: family finding and family support interventions. Participants will get to hear insights on the program’s attributes including: finding 80-150 relatives on cases, using GenoPro (a genogram program) and RoadMap to Family tool. We will cover the roles and goals on 30 Days and panelists will share some amazing stories. Participants will get to ask questions about implementation across Ohio, challenges to the work, the program’s evaluation and expected outcomes.

Developing a Culturally-Empowering Programming: Treating the Trauma to Address the Addiction

Patina Park

Session Description:

Violence has been part of the history of this continent since first contact and Indigenous people in the United States have experienced over 500 years of trauma. As a result, high rates of chemical dependency and mental health struggles are common. In order to address this multi-generational trauma, the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center utilizes a culturally-grounded approach to provide safe space and time for women and their families to walk a healing path at their own pace. All programming is grounded in cultural teachings and practices that prioritize the process of working toward a life “in balance” over linear markers of success, such as total abstention from substance use. This workshop will show the approach MIWRC uses to provide culturally-grounded and trauma-responsive programming to address the needs of the community and most importantly accepting all people as our relatives and their needs as they define them as the primary focus.

Three Questions: Family Engagement

Megan Baltz

Session Description:

How big is this child’s family? Who loves this child? Who could love this child? Beyond assuring for safety, caseworkers should ask these questions about children in out-of-home care. This workshop aims to expand the child welfare systems’ approach to engaging relatives by reviewing lessons learned and methods to encourage family participation in permanency planning for children in out-of-home care.

 

Well-Being

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Childhood Traumatic Dissociation as it Relates to Familial Substance Abuse

BJ Nichols

Session Description:

Dissociation is the brain’s ability to help the body and mind survive a traumatic experience. In childhood trauma, the child is often powerless, being harmed by a person or situation so much larger than them and without any ability to escape. Often when there is no means of physical escape the mind is able to escape so as to survive the incident. Children who have experienced early and complex trauma as well as children who have a disorganized attachment style with their primary caregiver are more at risk for developing dissociation. The study of the connection between dissociation and substance use is in its infancy, but it is known that each is a risk factor for the other. In this workshop, you will learn the definition and basic understanding of traumatic dissociation, how it presents in children and theories of causation. You will understand the symptoms of dissociation along a spectrum and begin to understand the intersectionality between complex trauma, dissociation, and substance use disorder within families.

Safety and Well-Being: How am I Supposed to Address Both?

Ellen Smith

Session Description:

Child welfare agencies are charged with assuring the safety, permanency and well-being for the children they serve. Controlling for safety and addressing well-being can be difficult and often requires different strategies and skills. This workshop will increase the knowledge and understanding of safety and well-being and provide participants with a framework that defines the differences between these two concepts as well as where they interest. Participants will be introduced to practice strategies that use teaming and collaboration to address well-being while maintaining a focus on safety.

 

2:30-3:30 PM: Keynote

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The Magic is You!

Tamra Oman

Session Description:

Ms. Oman will use humor, compassion, hope, and love to remind you that what you do matters! You make a difference! She will share a part of her personal and professional journey that brought her to this moment with you. She will encourage you to go back to thinking about the reasons you chose this work, to explore how you are feeling today and to reflect on whether there is anything you would like to be different. During this time you will be reminded that what you do matters and you deserve to have and enjoy the life you are working for. It’s a parallel process. We are an integral part in the process of hope and change. We are reminded we need the same care and support we give to others. You’re it! You’re the Magic! You’re the one’s we’ve been waiting for!