Foster Parent Recognition Day Registration
Session One - 10:00am to 10:45am
1A. How to Stay Calm in Chaos: Breathing and Relaxation Techniques
Description: We have all experienced hectic periods in our day and in our lives. Our head may ache, our shoulders might be tense and our stomach may be in knots. What if peace and relaxation were only a few breaths away? Why not stop by this workshop and explore an effective way to de-stress and find the relaxation that sometimes eludes us. Facilitator: Chief Judge Chandlee Kuhn, Family Court of Delaware
1B. Parenting Traumatized Children: Practical Strategies and Developmental Considerations
Description: Many children in foster care have been the victims of repeated abuse and prolonged neglect and have not experienced a nurturing, stable environment during the early years of life. Such traumatic experiences are critical in the short-term and long-term development of a child's brain, and we see the impact of these experiences in the way they behave every day. Parenting these children can be challenging in many different ways. What do these behaviors mean? What are the best ways to handle my child’s difficult behaviors? Why does the 8 year old in our home seem to act more like a 4 year old? How do we parent this child and how can we help our child catch up? These are excellent questions and answers are needed if foster parents are to successfully navigate the foster care journey. Facilitator: Dr. Sally Barker, Ph.D, Division of Family Services Office of Evidence Based Practice.
1C. Foster Care Isn’t Forever: Permanency Options
Description: Foster care is temporary and every child has the right to a permanent and stable home, preferably with his or her own family. When a child is unable to return home safely, the Division of Family Services (DFS) will actively seek another permanent family setting for the child. This workshop will discuss the legal options for permanency from the legal and federal perspective and the supports available for the child and permanent family. Facilitators: Kelly Ensslin, Esq - Office of the Child Advocate and Moira Dillon, Division of Family Services.
1D. Street Drugs: New Information for A New Era of Street Drugs
Description: The presentation will cover the following: what the drugs look like, the different names it may be called, and the effects and legal consequences. In addition, compelling stories are told by a local New Castle County Police Office, a Paramedic, and none other than a local parent, Mrs. Marie Allen; Author of “Dope Help”, who shares with the audience how this life threatening drug affected her and her family. It is especially designed to alert parents and our children about the deadly effects of heroin and to eliminate all stereotypical views of what a “heroin addict” looks like. Facilitators: New Castle County Police, New Castle County Paramedic, and a local parent.
Session Two - 11:00am to 11:45am
2A. The MY LIFE Program: Supporting Grief and Relationship Building Work
Description: MY LIFE is about helping children & youth heal by creating a safe environment, responding to expressions of feelings, and promoting the building and re-building of relationships. This workshop will present an opportunity for participants to experience the world of traumatized children and families and offers insight to effectively support their healing processes. Facilitator: Darla Henry, Ph.D, MSW, MRS, Darla L. Henry & Associates.
2B. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: 8 Magic Keys
Description: Parenting is one of the toughest, but most fulfilling jobs in the world. Parenting children with special needs, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), brings its own set of challenges. Many parents of children with an FASD are adoptive or foster parents. Some knew about FASD when they welcomed their children into their family, while others did not. In any case, information is the key to success in raising children with an FASD. Learning about FASD can help parents understand how their children are affected, which parenting strategies work best, and how to get services and support. For people who want to adopt or foster a child with an FASD, knowing the facts can help them make an informed decision. This presentation will provide an overview of FASD and provide some tips for parenting children and youth prenatally exposed to alcohol. Areas covered will include the Eight Magic Keys strategies and parenting keeping in mind the primary cognitive deficits associated with FASD. Facilitator: Dr. Heather Alford, Office of Evidence Based Practice and Margaret Watchorn, MSW, foster and adoptive parent.
2C. Managing or Dealing with Investigations: Responding to He Said, She Said
Description: Has a teacher, child or birth parent ever made an allegation or complaint against you? If not, have you wondered, “What would I do if that were me?”. Come to this workshop and explore strategies which may reduce the impact of investigation on you and your family. Learn about the process, and find out how foster parents can play a part in minimizing the incidents of allegations of abuse. Facilitators: Michael Sullivan, Assistant Regional Administrator.
2D. Transform the Moment
Description: Eric Tyler Anderson— America’s #1 illusionist & motivational speaker for the human services industry. In addition to being the author of the top selling book “The Magic of Attitude”. He has been featured on CNN, NBC, FOX, & CBS television programs. Eric was also personally selected to perform at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball during President Barack Obama’s inauguration. He regularly entertains and speaks at conferences around the world. He lives everyday of his life as if nothing Is impossible and empowers foster parents and youth in foster care to do the same. He is a living example of “art imitating life”. Facilitator: Eric Tyler Anderson.
Session Three - 1:45pm to 2:30pm
3A. Tears, Tantrums, and Teachable Moments: Understanding and Managing Children’s Reactions to Visitation
Description: Visitation can be distressing for children in foster care and their foster parents, who are left trying to manage these reactions. Children can react before, during, and long after visits, but rarely can they really communicate what is underneath those reactions. This workshop will help participants see this better through the eyes of the children and then begin to sort out differences of traumatic versus attachment reactions. Practical suggestions to help in the preparation, hand-off, and post-visitation period will be discussed. Together, we will find ways to support this process and, in so doing, promote healing. Facilitator: Dr. Vicky Kelly, Director of the Division of Family Services.
3B Hope Through Humor
Description: In foster care, humor pays! How many times have you thought you were at the end of your rope and then you thought about something funny and started to laugh? It is really hard to stay angry while laughing. Fostering is very hard work. We need to laugh more so we can take care of ourselves and be better parents to our kids. If we can find humor in things that would usually irritate or upset us, our load lessens and our anxiety eases. This workshop will provide ideas about how to have more humor (not sarcasm, but humor) and fun in our families. Facilitator: Joyce Webb, Prevent Child Abuse Delaware.
3C. TOP Initiative: Understanding the Behavioral Needs of Children
Description: Foster and adoptive parents play a critical role in helping children and teens become successful adults and now a new tool known as the Treatment Outcome Package (TOP) is available to help. TOP is an evidence based tool that can help social workers, foster parents, and other professionals better understand the behavioral needs of children leading to better service and treatment interventions. The workshop will provide a preview of the tool’s benefits and results as well as a demonstration of the tool itself. Facilitator: Sue Murray, MSW, Office of Children’s Services Administrator, Division of Family Services, and Lisa Paine-Wells, Senior Project Director, Kids Insight.
3D. Court is in Session
Description: For some “the court experience” can be intimidating and overwhelming. Gaining a better understanding of what is expected of you as a foster parent can ease anxieties. Knowing what to expect at a particular court hearing and how you can best prepare can make all the differ-ence. This training is designed to give you an overview of the different court hearings that you will likely experience as a foster parent and it will also provide firsthand information on what judges would like to hear from you, the foster parent. Facilitator: Family Court Judge Mardi Pyott, State of Delaware.
Session 4: - 2:45pm to 3:30pm
4A. Grief and Loss: It’s Hard to Say Goodbye
Description: It isn’t easy to say goodbye. We tell you to love your foster children like you do your own, but we also tell you to help prepare them for permanency. At some point, your foster children will most likely return to their biological family or they will transition to an adoptive home. When they leave your home, you will experience the stages of grief and loss. This training will review the stages of grief and loss so you will know what to expect and provide strategies to deal with these feelings of loss. Facilitator: Mary Lou Edgar, MSS, LCSW, A Better Chance For Our Children.
4B. Social Media: The 411 on Communication Today
Description: An interactive workshop where parents learn the ins and outs of the social media their kids are knowing. We will be discussing the positives, the negatives, and everything in-between. Parents will have the opportunity to learn about and interact with their kids’ favorite apps. Special focus and attention will be given to how phones and social media affect youth relationships with peers and parents. Facilitator: Patricia Dailey Lewis, Deputy Attorney General, Director -
4C. Take Care of Yourself
Description: The primary instruction you receive in an airplane flight crisis is to first place your emergency mask on yourself before attempting to assist another individual. The same holds true for handling unanticipated foster care challenges, urgent complications, and potentially disastrous situations. You must be able to first take care of yourself before you can effectively take care of foster youth. This interactive workshop will provide various techniques designed to prevent care exhaustion, and others that provide renewed replenishment if care burnout has occurred. Facilitator: Ingrid Johnson, Progressive Life Center Foster Care Parent.
4D. ESP: The Next “Grade of Parenting
Description: Statistics show us that children in foster care will face many more challenges than their counter parts in the areas of physical health, mental health and education. For children with disabilities these challenges are magnified many times over. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has ensured that every child with or who is thought to have a disability must have a “parent” who can act on her behalf. In the case of foster children a “parent” may be defined as what you may have heard referred to as an Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP). In this training we will explore the role these ESPs play in the educational life of our foster children, what value it serves to have the foster parent become an ESP and if they don’t, how the FP can support the ESP assigned to the child. Facilitator: Kathie Herel, Parent Information Center of Delaware.