16th Annual Spring Child Welfare Conference
Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Time: 10 AM-4:30 PM (registration begins at 9:30 AM)
Location: The ‘M’ Club, TCF Bank Stadium, University of Minnesota (View Map)
Companion Publication: Winter 2105 CW360°, Culturally Responsive Child Welfare Practice
6 Board of Social Work CEHs were available for this event. Please note that individual and group webstream viewers will be directed to fill out an evaluation following the conference. This evaluation must be filled out in order to receive the CEHs.
Morning Keynote Presentations
Family Group Decision Making—Lisa Merkel-Holguin, MSW
Director, National Center on Family Group Decision Making; Assistant Research Professor, Kempe Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics
Lisa Merkel-Holguin, MSW, is the Director of the National Center on Family Group Decision Making and an Assistant Research Professor at the Kempe Center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. She has been involved in child welfare practice, policy, and research for almost 25 years.
Differential Response: A Race Equity Analysis—Annette Semanchin Jones, PhD, MSW
Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo School of Social Work
Annette Semanchin Jones, PhD, MSW, is an Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. Her research is focused on innovative approaches in child welfare that aim to strengthen child well-being. Recent projects include examining the implementation of differential response in child welfare, addressing racial disparities, and promoting relational permanence for youth in foster care. Her research efforts highlight the importance of applying a racial equity lens for new child welfare policies and practices to ensure equitable implementation for all families. Annette also has over a decade of professional experience working with children and families in child welfare.
Afternoon Panel Presentations
Culturally Responsive Approaches to Foster Care and Adoption
Moderator: Priscilla Day
Panelists: LuAnne Lottino, Coordinator, Adoption Program, White Earth Nation; and Sandra White Hawk, Founder and Director, First Nations Repatriation Institute on “Customary Adoption at White Earth Nation”; Stefania M. Agliano, co-founder of I AM Group and adjunct faculty, on “Engaging African American Men: Practice Strategies for Working With Fathers and Young Men in Foster Care”
LuAnne Lottino is an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work after returning to school after her children were grown. She took a position with the White Earth Reservation as the coordinator of the adoption program in January 2000 and worked alongside her director, Jeri Jasken, and Judge Anita Fineday to implement adoption by Tribal practice that does not require a termination of parental rights. This practice is recognized by the State of Minnesota, and the children receive all the benefits of a State adoption.
Sandra White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. She is the founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation Institute (formerly First Nations Orphan Association). First Nations Repatriation Institute (FNRI) is the first organization of its kind whose goal it is to create a resource for First Nations people impacted by foster care or adoption to return home, reconnect, and reclaim their identity. The Institute also serves as a resource to enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners who serve First Nations people. She is an Indian Child Welfare Consultant for Hennepin County’s Indian Child Welfare Unit, the NRC4Tribes, and the White Earth Tribe of Minnesota. Sandra serves as a Commissioner for the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She also serves as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools in Canada.
Stefania M. Agliano, MSW, received her graduate degree at Fordham University and has worked in child welfare services and child protection for over nineteen years. Ms. Agliano is co-founder of the I AM Group and currently works in the field of child welfare in a supervisory capacity. Ms. Agliano has been a contributing member of efforts to eradicate trafficking inclusive of the development of various training curriculums, training hundreds of child welfare staff, law enforcement officers, probations officers, and community providers on the local and national level. Ms. Agliano has co-authored and facilitated youth programming aimed at educating participants on various topics inclusive of sexual exploitation and the impact of institutionalized racism on youth and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Ms. Agliano is an adjunct faculty member and teaches at the college level.
Perspectives on Taking a Culturally Responsive Approach to Family Engagement in Child Welfare
Panelists: Shannon Geshick, Parent Consultant for Child Safety and Permanency, Minnesota Communities Caring for Children (MCCC); Paula Okorafor, MA, Licensed Psychologist; Larene Broome, Parent Coordinator, William Mitchell College of Law Parent Mentor Program; Director, Parent Mentor Network, MCCC
Shannon Geshick is a Parent Consultant for Child Safety and Permanency at Minnesota Communities Caring for Children. She was previously involved in Minnesota’s child welfare system as both a youth and a young parent. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies, fueled by her passion for diversity inclusion and socio-economic opportunities for all. She currently works for the State of Minnesota. She is the Board Chair for MnSTEP (Minnesota Standing Together to End Poverty) and serves on the board of directors for Women of Nations. She is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Nation.
Paula Okorafor, MA, is a Licensed Psychologist and former Hennepin County child protection worker. Paula has spent her career working with children and families, integrating a fluid and dynamic understanding of the vital importance of culturally responsive practice in her work.
Larene Broome is a Parent Coordinator with William Mitchell College of Law Parent Mentor Program and the Director for the Parent Mentor Network at Minnesota Communities Caring for Children. She started out as a parent from the community who wanted the voices of parents to be heard in the child welfare system over eight years ago. The last four years Larene has been on the Parent Leadership for Child Safety and Permanency team, which is a partnership between Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota and the Department of Human Services (DHS) Children’s Trust Fund. Larene is a master trainer and curriculum writer in the Minnesota Child Welfare Training System. Larene has also co-chaired for African American Disparities Committee at DHS. Larene works as an IEP advocate with the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Larene is pursuing her undergraduate degree at Metropolitan State University, focusing on Civic Leadership and Community Development.