2019 National CASA/GAL Conference

Better Together: Building Stronger Families to Change Children’s Lives
June 1, 2019 through June 4, 2019 Atlanta, GA Hyatt Regency The Annual Conference is a highly-anticipated event that brings together people from throughout our national network of nearly 950 programs. Joining us each year are also staff of direct service organizations, social workers, judges and members of the legal profession, corporate leaders, researchers, funders who are committed to our joint cause, and more. Keynote speakers who are leaders in their field will inspire you to take action on a certain issue. In workshops that follow each speech, you'll join with experts, colleagues, and people with lived experience in child welfare to discuss issues in detail and learn just which actions have been most effective in addressing them. Throughout the conference the common theme will be supporting children and their families--whether biological, kin or guardianship, foster or adoptive--with the understanding that the importance of family in a child's life cannot be overstated. This year’s conference will focus on building stronger families to achieve better outcomes for children. It's an opportunity for those committed to serving our most vulnerable children to learn more about: - supporting children and families involved in the child welfare system; - the role of reunification, kinship care, guardianship, foster placements and adoption; - achieving safe, permanent placement for children; - the importance of strong families in successful outcomes for children; - the issues facing children and families today; and - how the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act—which allows federal funding to pay for services to prevent children’s removal from their families—intersects with CASA/GAL volunteers’ important work. Attendees will also benefit from countless opportunities to meet with and learn from others who care as much about the CASA/GAL mission as they do. Online Registration is now closed; however, you may register on-site at the registration desk.

Schedule

  • 31 May
  • 01 June
  • 02 June
  • 03 June
  • 04 June

Registration open

08:00 AM 01:00 PM

CASA/GAL Facilitator skill building: Training of facilitators - REGISTRATION FULL

12:30 PM 05:00 PM

Registration open

01:30 PM 08:00 PM

Registration open

07:00 AM 07:00 PM

CASA/GAL Facilitator skill building: Training of facilitators - REGISTRATION FULL

08:30 AM 04:30 PM

State Director meeting - by invitation

08:30 AM 04:30 PM

Local Program Director meeting

09:00 AM 04:30 PM

Exhibitors / Marketplace / Bookstore Open

12:00 PM 05:00 PM

Opening welcome reception

05:00 PM 06:00 PM

Morning flow yoga

05:45 AM 06:45 AM

Continental breakfast

06:45 AM 07:45 AM

Registration open

07:00 AM 07:00 PM

Opening Plenary session I

08:00 AM 09:45 AM

James & Patrice  Comey

Victoria  Rowell

Exhibitors / Marketplace / Bookstore Open

08:00 AM 05:00 PM

Book signing, Victoria Rowell

09:45 AM 10:00 AM

Victoria  Rowell

Birth and foster parent partnerships: Strengthening families and improving outcomes

10:00 AM 11:15 AM

Corey Best

Amanda Williams Cruce

At the crossroads: The intersection of child welfare and immigration

10:00 AM 11:15 AM

CC Cristina Ritchie Cooper

JN Jennifer  Nagda

Tom C.  Rawlings, J.D., M.ST, CWLS

Strengthening families through the ICW lens with protective factors

10:00 AM 11:15 AM

Karan Kolb

WT William Thorne

Trauma informed systems of care: Creating a culture of well-being

10:00 AM 11:15 AM

RD Rachel Davidson, J.D.

SH Sharon L. Hill, Ph.D.

The intersection of domestic violence and the resolve of families

10:00 AM 11:15 AM

LB Linda Bratton Haynes

CC Chelsea Catlin

NP Nora  Polk

Supporting commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) on the journey to coercion-resilience

10:00 AM 11:15 AM

EH Emily Hollerbach

RT Rachel  Thomas

Governance leadership: Closing the generation gap on boards

10:00 AM 11:00 AM

ER Elizabeth Runkle

Sunday Plenary session II

11:30 AM 12:15 PM

Chadwick Sapenter

Lunch and Networking on your own

12:15 PM 01:30 PM

Sunday Plenary session III

01:30 PM 02:30 PM

Jelani Freeman

The Honorable Mary  Landrieu

Understanding addiction: Squirrel logic

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

Brad  Lander, PhD, LICDC-CS

Care and custody inside a broken system

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

Martha Gershun

Governance leadership: Fundamentals of good leadership

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

ER Elizabeth Runkle

Family first prevention services act: Opportunities and implications

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

TD Tim Decker

Mitigating the effects of the trauma of addiction within the family system

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

JB Jen Bellot

TK Trish Kinkle

Working with people in active addiction

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

Brad  Lander, PhD, LICDC-CS

Parental visitations, substance abuse and the impact on permanence

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

AB Amy Bailey, LMSW

Sharing strategies that work: Supporting families and children impacted by addiction

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

Martha Gershun

Supporting the mental health of babies of parents struggling with addiction: Safe babies court

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

JG Jerice Glanton

SH Susan  Herrod

JO Jill Overton

Governance leadership: Board recruitment, orientation and engagement

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

ER Elizabeth Runkle

Broken Places film featuring a panel discussion moderated by Jelani Freeman

06:30 PM 08:00 PM

Jelani Freeman

Continental breakfast

06:45 AM 07:45 AM

Registration open

07:00 AM 07:00 PM

Monday Plenary session I - Ask Dr. Steve Perry

08:00 AM 09:00 AM

Dr. Steve Perry

Exhibitors / Marketplace / Bookstore Open

08:00 AM 05:00 PM

Rural affinity group workshop

09:15 AM 11:00 AM

Urban affinity group workshop

09:15 AM 11:00 AM

Suburban affinity group workshop

09:15 AM 11:00 AM

Tribal affinity group workshop

09:15 AM 11:00 AM

A walk in their shoes: Using virtual reality technology to improve empathy

09:15 AM 11:00 AM

SB Steve Boyle

FF Frederick Ferrer

Governance leadership: Boards and fundraising: Improving board fundraising effectiveness

09:15 AM 11:00 AM

CC Christal M. Cherry

Monday Plenary session II

11:15 AM 12:00 PM

Ron Clark

Lunch and Networking on your own

12:00 PM 01:15 PM

Book signing, Ron Clark

12:00 PM 01:00 PM

Ron Clark

Monday Plenary session III

01:15 PM 02:30 PM

Jarrett  Krosoczka

Book signing, Jarrett Krosoczka

02:30 PM 02:45 PM

Jarrett  Krosoczka

Supporting the educational needs of children: The importance of education advocacy

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

HG Happi Grillon

AH Alex Hiatt

Building families through community engagement and emergency assistance

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

KD Karrie Duke

CE Crystal Elijah-Davis

Supporting grandparents raising grandchildren

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

Bette Hoxie

Eugene C.  Vickerson

A youth perspective: Supporting youth engagement as a CASA

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

Rosalina Burton

Johnathan LeGrande

Overcoming barriers to mental health issues for children in foster care

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

LB Lynn  Barrieau

RZ Robb Zarges

Trauma and brain science: Changing the way we work with children and families - part I

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

DR Debra Ross

Branding fundamentals

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

Kyle Curtis

Joan Jungblut

Sara Macfarlane

Jacqueline Meason

Governance leadership: Building & implementing strategy

02:45 PM 03:45 PM

ER Elizabeth Runkle

Supporting the educational needs of children: The importance of education advocacy

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

HG Happi Grillon

AH Alex Hiatt

Building families through community engagement and emergency assistance

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

KD Karrie Duke

CE Crystal Elijah-Davis

Supporting grandparents raising grandchildren

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

Bette Hoxie

Eugene C.  Vickerson

A youth perspective: Supporting youth engagement as a CASA

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

Rosalina Burton

Johnathan LeGrande

Overcoming barriers to mental health issues for children in foster care

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

LB Lynn  Barrieau

RZ Robb Zarges

Trauma and brain science: Changing the way we work with children and families - part II

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

DR Debra Ross

Branding fundamentals

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

Kyle Curtis

Joan Jungblut

Sara Macfarlane

Jacqueline Meason

Governance leadership: Conflict resolution, getting along in the work place

04:00 PM 05:00 PM

ER Elizabeth Runkle

Awards of Excellence Gala with featured speaker Rodney Bullard

06:30 PM 09:30 PM

Rodney D.  Bullard

Judge Capizzi

Continental breakfast

06:45 AM 07:45 AM

Registration open

07:00 AM 12:30 PM

Tuesday Plenary session

08:00 AM 09:20 AM

Bryan  Stevenson

Exhibitors / Marketplace / Bookstore Open

08:00 AM 12:00 PM

Advocating for children with incarcerated parents

09:30 AM 10:30 AM

JB Jerry Bruce

There is no “I” in team: A presentation about multi-disciplinary approaches to working with child trafficking victims and survivors

09:30 AM 10:30 AM

HJ Heidi Jackson

AS Alexis Scurry

Adolescent advocacy: Strengthening youth through relationships

09:30 AM 10:30 AM

SS Shelley Smith

KW Kimberly Wagner

Supporting our youth to reduce their entry into the juvenile justice system

09:30 AM 10:30 AM

EB Erica Byrne

MS Macon Stewart

Child-friendly visitation policies when a parent is incarcerated

09:30 AM 10:30 AM

SM Sue Maly

RZ Robb Zarges

Rural networking circle

10:45 AM 12:00 PM

Urban networking circle

10:45 AM 12:00 PM

Suburban networking circle

10:45 AM 12:00 PM

Tribal networking circle

10:45 AM 12:00 PM

Volunteer networking circle

10:45 AM 12:00 PM

State Leadership Networking Circle

10:45 AM 11:45 AM

Governance Leadership Networking Circle

10:45 AM 11:45 AM

Registration desk closes

12:30 PM 01:00 PM

Get Involved

Sponsors

Exhibitors

Speakers

Conference Costs

Info Desk

AB

Amy Bailey, LMSW

Child Welfare Program Director
CASA of Ottawa County
Amy Bailey is the child welfare program director for Arbor Circle, and in that capacity she oversees the CASA of Ottawa County program. She is a licensed master’s level social worker who also works as a private practice clinician in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With over 17 years of experience working within child welfare and with diverse family types, she believes that families hold within themselves the power to heal and overcome obstacles. As social workers and CASA Volunteers our responsibility is not to “fix” families, but it is to walk alongside of them and ensure their stories are told in a way through which they can learn and grow from their experiences.

02 June

LB

Lynn Barrieau

Assistant Director
CASA Project, Inc.

03 June

03 June

JB

Jen Bellot

Associate Dean and CASA Volunteer
Academic Practice Integration at the Jefferson College of Nursing

02 June

Corey Best

National Parent Consultant
National Alliance of Children's Trust
Corey B. Best is first, a dedicated father. He is originally from Washington, DC and now resides in Florida. This is where Corey began his transformation into leadership training, systems building, family engagement, race equity, promoting protective factors, social equality for fathers and highlighting “good enough parenting” for those impacted by the child welfare system.

Mr. Best is commonly known as leader and skilled facilitator that brings a combination of lived and professional experience as he organizes for child welfare and human service systems improvements. His innovative style and approach has led him to receive the 2016 Casey Family Programs Excellence for Children’s Award. Most recently, he has been appointed to a Board position with Alia Innovations and is an integral part of the growth and innovation committee. This work has allowed Corey to take leadership to the next level. His perspective is that a leader must have a set a values and behaviors that embrace diversity, shared power and social contribution to see lasting changes in our child welfare system.

Through his involvement with re-building systems that are responsive to family engagement and optimal child and family development, Corey is Certified in the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Fund’s Bringing the Protective Factors to Life in Your Work, various trauma-informed modalities and hosting of Community Café conversations. He has also served as a Technical Assistance Consultant for Georgetown University’s Adaptive Leadership team with a focus on social equality, organization change, family engagement and exploring Mental Models. Corey is an active member of the Birth Parent National Network (BPNN) and has taken a lead role in helping to educate BPNN members, child welfare leaders and other key stakeholders about the Family First Prevention Services Act and its benefits to families. In short, Corey’s mission is to positively impact the lives of children, families and communities through safe and equitable relationships.

02 June

SB

Steve Boyle

CEO
Epic Immersive Labs

03 June

LB

Linda Bratton Haynes

Judge
DeKalb County Juvenile Court, Gregory A. Adams Juvenile Justice Center
Judge Linda Bratton Haynes was born in upland, California. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Finance and Management at University of North Carolina Charlotte in 1980. After completing her degree, she became a Personal Banker with Wachovia Bank, where she was named Personal Banker of the Year. She obtained her law degree from Georgia State University School of Law in 1986. Immediately after law school, she became the second African American to hold the position of law clerk in the Georgia Court of Appeals. In 1988, she practiced law with the firm of Franklin, Moran and Boyle. She developed a bankruptcy division for the firm and went on to manage her own successful law practice. In 1998, she was appointed to the DeKalb County Juvenile Court. January 1, 2016, she was appointed to a 3 year term as Chief Judge of the Court. During her tenure, she developed the Truancy Awareness Prevention Program (TAPP) that has successfully assisted in reducing truancy in the DeKalb County Schools and has been successfully adopted by other jurisdictions in Georgia. She also developed and presides over the first Juvenile Drug Court in DeKalb County. It has been recognized as the most efficient run Juvenile Drug Court in the state of Georgia. As Chief Judge, she developed practices and procedures with the Department of Juvenile Justice to reduce the overcrowding in their facilities by half. In her first year as Chief Judge, she developed a policy of no shackling of children in DeKalb County. In 2018, the state Council of Juvenile Judges voted to remove shackling in all juvenile courts. She expanded the DeKalb County Juvenile Court by lobbying the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners for an additional judge to efficiently process cases. In 2017, CASA appointed her to the first National Judicial Leadership Council. In 2018, the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges (NCFJCJ) appointed Judge Haynes to a national committee to assist on developing policy, legislation and practices to fight the opioid crisis in our country.

Judge Haynes is a Member of Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges, National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges, DeKalb Lawyers Association, DeKalb Bar Association, Leadership DeKalb Class 0f 2008, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. and Vice president of A Dancer’s Heart Inc. She is recipient of the Women in Progress Award, Camp Jewell House Award, HTIM Humanitarian Award, Atlanta Center Healing Award, Positive Growth Community Engagement Award and numerous other community awards. She sits on various committees and boards throughout the county and state. She has been featured on WSB TV, AJC and other various media outlets for her work in the community and advocacy for children’s rights. She is the mother of four adult children and three grandchildren.

02 June

JB

Jerry Bruce

Director
Georgia Court Improvement Project

04 June

Rodney D. Bullard

Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A, Inc. and Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation/Author
Chick-fil-A, Inc. & Chick-fil-A Foundation
Monday, June 3 - Awards of Excellence Gala

Rodney Bullard leads Chick-fil-A’s community engagement, philanthropic and sustainability strategy. His first book, Heroes Wanted: Why the World Needs You to Live Your Heart Out, contains inspiring stories to help readers demonstrate life-changing compassion, understand courage and make brave choices every day.

Bullard, who previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney and a White House fellow, has received numerous awards for his service, including the Department of Justice Director’s Award, Duke Law Young Alumnus of the Year (2016), and the Most Admired Atlanta Non-Profit CEO (2017). He was named one of the 500 Most Influential Atlantans in 2018, and was granted the lifetime honor of being named an "Outstanding Georgian" by the Georgia Senate (2019).

Bullard is an alumnus of the Air Force Academy, Duke Law School, the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

His speech at the Awards of Excellence Gala—at which we will recognize CASA/GAL heroes nationwide—will describe surprisingly simple but powerful ways each of us can impact others and create a legacy of service.

03 June

Rosalina Burton

Young Leader
FosterClub
"Sometimes it feels like you are climbing up a mountain and you don't have the right shoes, every step you take forward, you slide back two more." This is how Rosalina 'Rosie' Burton, a former foster youth of San Diego, California, describes her transition out of foster care at age 19. Having experienced 23 moves and 15 school changes during her 12 years in care Rosie began advocating for child welfare reform at the age of 15. Rosie has collaborated with organizations such as the Clinton Foundation, FosterClub, and National CASA. She is currently employed as a Behavioral Specialist at a residential facility for foster youth and with the Federal Government as a NYTD Reviewer Coach. Rosie contributes her success to the many supporter adults in her life; the first of which was her CASA Dawna who opened her up to a world of endless possibilities and unconditional love. For this reason, Rosie continues to be involved with her local CASA program through a panel called "The Real Word," speaking, moderating and co-facilitating the training of new speakers. In fall of 2019, Rosie will transfer to a four-year college and obtain her BS in Human Development before entering graduate school to pursue a Doctorate degree. She hopes her research on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Cognitive Development will improve the lives of children in care and beyond.

03 June

03 June

EB

Erica Byrne

Executive Director
Voices for Children

04 June

Judge Capizzi

former President of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and a member of the National CASA/GAL Association’s council of advisors
Monday, June 3 - Awards of Excellence Gala Emcee

Judge Capizzi, past president of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and a member of the National CASA/GAL Association’s council of advisors, was elected as a Montgomery County, Ohio juvenile court judge in 2004. He previously served as an acting judge for Dayton Municipal Court and in private practice for over 25 years. Judge Capizzi is admitted to the Ohio and federal bar. He received his J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law, and a B.A. from Saint Bonaventure University. Judge Capizzi was the proud recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Dayton School of Law in 2015 in recognition of his distinguished service to the community and to the law school.

Judge Capizzi has overseen the growth of Treatment Court and the implementation of a Juvenile Mental Health Court and Family Mental Health Court. He led the initiative to create the Evening Reporting Center in partnership with Mt. Enon Baptist Church, implemented the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative, initiated the Pro Se Services program to help those clients that choose to file legal documents without attorney representation, and strengthened the Court’s Reclaiming Futures and Natural Helpers programs to better serve youth and their families.

Judge Capizzi also led the Court into the 21st Century technology-wise and streamlined the hearing process by implementing more efficient case action procedures, including the process through which attorneys and parties receive their court entries in hand at the conclusion of each hearing

03 June

CC

Chelsea Catlin

Family Support Assessor
Positive Growth Inc.

02 June

CC

Christal M. Cherry

Senior Consultant
Georgia Center for Nonprofits

03 June

Ron Clark

Founder
The Ron Clark Academy
Known to many as "America's Educator," Ron Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, a two-time New York Times Bestselling author, the subject of a television movie and the founder of The Ron Clark Academy. Ron is regularly featured on network and cable television (The Today Show, CNN and Oprah,) and was dubbed by Ms. Winfrey as her first "Phenomenal Man."
Ron Clark brings charisma, energy and devotion to the education profession. Ron pioneered innovative projects in rural North Carolina working with minority students in a low wealth area. His highly effective programs garnered national attention and led to a White House invitation to be honored by the President of the United States.
Ron Clark's personality is marked by a sense of challenge and adventure. Upon watching a television piece chronicling low test scores and the lack of teachers in inner-city New York, Ron packed his car and moved to Harlem. After being warned by the principal that his class was the least disciplined group she had seen in years, Ron prepared himself by visiting the home of each student before the first day of school. Ron Clark involved his students in projects in the city and state, and his "low achievers" soon began to excel; and by the end of the year, their scores were higher than the "gifted" classes in his district.
In 2003, Ron Clark released the New York Times Bestselling book "The Essential 55" which includes his 55 expectations of students - as well as all individuals - young and old. Ron's second book, "The Excellent 11," was released in August 2004 and further captured the attention of parents, educators and students alike.

03 June

03 June

James & Patrice Comey

Author/CASA Volunteer/Foster Parents
Patrice Comey, a member of National CASA’s board of trustees, is a former elementary school teacher and Peace Corps volunteer with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. She currently serves as a CASA volunteer in Fairfax, VA. Her service to children is also informed by her experience as a therapist and as a mother of five.

James Comey led the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2013 to 2017, after serving as the U.S. Deputy Attorney General and in other roles in the public and private sectors. He taught at Howard University as the King Endowed Chair in Public Policy, and is currently teaching a leadership course at his alma mater, the College of William and Mary.

The Comeys served as licensed foster parents in Connecticut from 2011 to 2015. They are loving godparents to their first foster baby and still babysit him on a regular basis. In addition to sharing their experience as foster parents and with local CASA programs and National CASA, the Comeys will speak about the importance of service to others.

02 June

CC

Cristina Ritchie Cooper

Program Director
Immigration Projects ABA Center on Children and the Law
Cristina Ritchie Cooper is a Senior Attorney with the ABA Center on Children and the Law. Since joining the Center in 2010, Cristina has provided training and technical assistance on a number of issues, including hearing quality and judicial decision-making, permanency planning for youth in foster care, and effective implementation of federal law and policy. She also develops ABA policy through the Center’s collaboration with the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk. With the Center’s Immigration and Child Welfare Project, Cristina supports courts and agencies working with immigrant families in or at risk of entering the dependency system, and child welfare and immigration attorneys who seek to understand their clients’ legal needs in both fields. Prior to joining the ABA, Cristina provided direct legal representation to children and youth the Bronx, NY, and Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Princeton University.

02 June

Kyle Curtis

Group Creative Director
R&R Partners
Kyle Curtis is Group Creative Director at R&R Partners and an expert on social and behavior change marketing. His work for substance abuse prevention, transit, and drunk driving have become nationally-recognized industry best practices.

03 June

03 June

RD

Rachel Davidson, J.D.

Director
Office of the Child Advocate

02 June

TD

Tim Decker

Senior Fellow
Annie E. Casey Foundation

02 June

KD

Karrie Duke

Director of Volunteer Programs
Jackson County CASA

03 June

03 June

CE

Crystal Elijah-Davis

Older Youth Specialist
Jackson County CASA

03 June

03 June

FF

Frederick Ferrer

CEO
Child Advocates of Silicon Valley

03 June

Jelani Freeman

Appellate Attorney
Department of Veterans Affairs
Jelani Freeman is a community leader, attorney and inspirational speaker who has dedicated his life to serving children. His commitment to kids grew from his time in multiple foster homes, shelters, group homes and juvenile facilities. Jelani Freeman entered the foster care system in Rochester, NY at the age of 8, when his mother was no longer able to care for him and he spent the majority of his youth in care before he aged out of the system. Driven by his determination to be a voice for voiceless children, Jelani has worked for multiple agencies that serve youth, including the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, where he served as the architect of many of the Department’s positive youth development programs. Jelani has spent his career working in government, starting with a Senate internship for Hillary Clinton in 2003, which propelled him to speaking about his personal story at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Jelani earned a law degree from Howard University School of Law in 2010. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from SUNY Buffalo and a Master’s degree in History from American University. Currently he works as an Appellate Attorney for Department of Veterans Affairs. He serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in D.C. and sits on the Boards of the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE), the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) and the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals (OEA). Jelani was also a longtime Board member of the Barker Adoption Foundation, D.C. Child Fatality Review Committee (CFRC) and the D.C. Mayor's Advisory Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect (CCAN).

02 June

02 June

Martha Gershun

Writer and Consultant
MG Consulting
Martha Gershun is the author of Care & Custody: A Novel of Three Children at Risk, detailing the plight of three siblings in the child welfare system and the CASA Volunteer who fights valiantly to find them a safe, permanent home. In 2017 Gershun retired as Executive Director of Jackson County CASA (Kansas City, MO), one of the largest CASA agencies in the country, advocating for more than 1,250 children each year. She also served as a Board member of the Missouri CASA Association and the National CASA Association.

Gershun has over 35 years of leadership experience with non-profit organizations, start-up ventures, and Fortune 500 corporations. She served as Executive Director for Reach Out and Read, a national non-profit that helps bring books and a love of reading to children living in poverty in all 50 states. During her tenure, the organization was honored with Fast Company’s Social Capitalist Award as one of the nation’s most innovative, entrepreneurial, and effective non-profits. Today she consults to a wide variety of non-profit agencies in the arts and human services, helping with strategic planning, organizational development, and fundraising.

Gershun is a passionate, persuasive public speaker who speaks often about the dangers facing children in the foster care system. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Kveller, and The Kansas City Star.

Gershun earned an A.B. cum laude from Harvard University and an M.B.A. with First Year Honors from the Harvard Business School. She also holds a graduate diploma in Economics from the University of Stirling, Scotland, where she was a Rotary International Fellow. In September 2018 Gershun donated a kidney at the Mayo Clinic to a woman she met through a newspaper story.

02 June

02 June

JG

Jerice Glanton

Safe Babies Court Magistrate
Davidson County

02 June

HG

Happi Grillon

Executive Director
CASA of Philadelphia County

03 June

03 June

SH

Susan Herrod

Program Director
CASA Nashville

02 June

AH

Alex Hiatt

CASA Education Decision Maker Program Supervisor
CASA of Philadelphia

03 June

03 June

SH

Sharon L. Hill, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Georgia State University

02 June

EH

Emily Hollerbach

Support and Growth Specialist
Ending the Game
Emily Hollerbach is the Support and Growth Specialist with Ending the Game. She is a personal survivor of sex trafficking and is passionate about identifying and unrooting shame from sexual exploitation, fostering sisterhood through survivor community, and education. Her desire is to see survivors of trafficking and CSE become empowered and free from the destructive beliefs that once imprisoned them, about both themselves and about others, and ultimately see them fulfill their destinies. She has previous experience in administration and program management, and a bachelor’s degree from WSU. She is a strong communicator and leader and enjoys taking a teamwork approach to everything in life.

02 June

Bette Hoxie

Grandparent
Generations United and Project Healthy Grandparents
Bette Hoxie has over 36 years of experience as a birth, foster and adoptive parent and is currently raising her grandsons. Bette has been taking care of her grandson Joe since shortly after his birth, when Bette’s son—Joe’s father—and his girlfriend were neglecting their child and were deemed unfit to take care of him. Although child welfare attempted to intervene, they stepped out of the picture because Bette had already indicated she would apply for guardianship. Bette has provided care for her grandson without any financial support because she intervened prior to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services taking custody of him. However, she does receive Medicaid benefits for him. She eventually obtained long-term guardianship through the probate court, and her son and grandson’s mother were thankfully amenable to this plan.

As Bette’s grandson has several developmental delays, she has taken an active role in his education and health needs. Importantly, Bette has learned firsthand just how crucial support services and resources are for kinship caregivers raising children with special needs. Bette has extensive experience working with foster parents, being one herself. In her time working for the Maine Foster Parent’s Association (MFPA) Liaison Program, she noticed the lack of support services and resources for kinship caregivers. Although kinship care is important for increasing child protection and wellbeing, kinship caregivers only accounted for 3% of the MFPA formal assistance and child placement work. The majority of kinship families, Bette learned, lived outside of the formal foster care system, with the caregivers forced to manage challenges largely on their own. Raising her grandson, Bette has also experienced the often isolating hard work and resilience that goes into kinship care. Receiving little financial support and information, Bette had to “go it alone,” more or less, in ensuring her grandson had access to the educational and therapeutic services he needed.

Despite his earlier challenges, Joe is doing well, now in college and aspiring to work in forensics and law enforcement.

Recently, Bette got guardianship of another of her grandsons. She is working with his mother as she copes with addiction and mental illness. She also took in her former foster son, his wife, and their infant son when they were in danger of losing custody of the boy due to their opioid usage. They have been drug free for over a year and have since moved into their own home.

Bette started Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine & The Kinship Program (AFFM), serving as its executive director for 20 years before retiring in 2017. The organization grew out of her desire to be able to better support her grandson and to help other kinship families in Maine. AFFM assists kinship caregivers in accessing services and resources and provides parental training programs and support groups. Bette also serves on multiple advocacy committees for kinship care, including the Community Partners Project and the Maine Kinship Advocacy Network. Through her work to increase support systems for kinship families, Bette wants people to view kinship care not as a burden, but as the blessing it truly is. Although retired from her role as executive director of AFFM, Bette continues to work in her community helping families affected by the opioid crisis.

03 June

03 June

HJ

Heidi Jackson

Victim Services Unit
Richland County Sherriff's Department

04 June

Joan Jungblut

Corporate Media Strategy Director
R&R Partners
Joan Jungblut is a seasoned media professional with 25+ years of experience in paid media strategy and execution for hospitality, travel, entertainment, healthcare and financial clients. Currently Corporate Media Strategy Director at R&R Partners, Joan also teaches the media planning & buying course at UNLV.

03 June

03 June

TK

Trish Kinkle

Program Manager
CASA of Philadelphia

02 June

Karan Kolb

Director of Social Services
Indian Health Council
Karan Kolb is a member of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians. She is the Social Services Director at Indian Health Council Inc. overseeing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) program for a seven Tribe consortium and is responsible for the delivery of many programs under the realm of social services Karan has over 27 years of experience working with Tribal Governments and families in the areas of family preservation, court advocacy and reunification services as well as parenting and child welfare. She has developed the ICWA program by building communication and collaboration with partnerships with county, universities and tribal agencies championing the need for prevention services and training to tribes. Karan has participated in San Diego County’s System Improvement Plan (SIP) and California State Disproportionality projects which included strategies aimed at reducing the number of Native American children in the child welfare system and improving the outcomes for Native foster children. She is a member of 7th Generation, a workgroup of various child welfare and community partners working together collaboratively to improve child welfare services for Native children and their families. She is involved with Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children or (CSEC) Collaborative and Initiatives and served as a board member of the Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition representing the Rincon Tribe.

Karan serves as a Community Advisory member for San Diego State University School of Social Work and has been recently appointed as the delegate for tribal consultation with the state of California. She is a member of the ICWA state workgroup and participant in the California Indian Family Task force through the California Attorney General’s Bureau of Children’s Justice. She serves on the Native American Research Internal Review board and a Tribal Liaison for California State Covered California. Most recently she is a collaborative partner with the John Hopkins Pediatric Infant Care Collaborative with Indian Health Services implementing ACEs training and Trauma Informed Care throughout the health services as a Co-Director of the Prevention and Early Intervention Team and Interdepartmental Case Management Team crossing care into all departments.

She earned her MA in Psychology with the University of the Rockies. She is the mother of 2 children and has an 8 year old granddaughter.

02 June

Jarrett Krosoczka

Author/Illustrator
New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and a deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores. Titles include several picture books, his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, and the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels. He also recently launched a new story arc in the Jedi Academy series with Star Wars™: Jedi Academy: A New Class.

His most recent book, Hey, Kiddo (Oct 2018), is a graphic memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive. Hey, Kiddo was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Krosoczka will share his experiences being raised by grandparents and dealing with addiction in his family.

03 June

03 June

Brad Lander, PhD, LICDC-CS

Clinical Psychologist
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Dr. Brad Lander is a Clinical Psychologist and Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor who has worked in Columbus since 1979 in a variety of chemical dependency and mental health positions. Dr. Lander graduated With Highest Distinction and Phi Beta Kappa from Purdue University, and received his Masters and Doctorate degrees from The Ohio State University in counseling psychology. Dr. Lander first began working in the treatment field as a mental health therapist in the community mental health and VA systems. He began specializing in chemical dependency in 1985. In 2001, Dr. Lander became the Clinical Director of Addiction Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center more commonly known as Talbot Hall. Dr. Lander serves as a board member and faculty with The Ohio State University Institute of Addiction Studies. He has received the
President’s Award for Outstanding Service in the Field of Substance Abuse and the 2010 Excellence in Community Health Education Award.

02 June

02 June

The Honorable Mary Landrieu

Former U.S. senator and President, Board of Directors Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
Mary Landrieu, a former member of National CASA’s Board of Trustees, started her career in public service in 1979, when she was elected to the Louisiana State Legislature at the age of 23—the youngest woman to ever be elected. For eight years, she successfully championed causes related to women and children, flood protection, and education reform. In 1987, she was elected State Treasurer, and served with distinction for two terms.

In 1996, she became the first woman from Louisiana elected to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, the Appropriations Committee, Chairman of the Small Business Committee, and Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she became known as a tireless advocate for her home state. She also helped establish, and co-chaired, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, and is a founding member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Among Landrieu’s other notable accomplishments in the Senate were the passage of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the landmark Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, the Israel American Energy Alliance, and the RESTORE Act—the single largest one-term environmental investment in the Gulf Coast in the history of the nation.

Landrieu will share her experiences as an adoptive parent, and speak to the importance of adoption as an option for children who have experienced abuse or neglect.

02 June

Johnathan LeGrande

Young Leader
FosterClub
Growing up in the inner city of Pittsburgh; Johnathan entered the Pennsylvania foster care system during his fifth grade year of school at the age of 11. His transition into the foster care system was due to unfit parents and unstable living conditions. Johnathan and his younger siblings endured both physical and mental abuse at the hands of their biological parents. However, being fortunate enough, Johnathan and his five younger siblings were able to live with relatives to avoid from being separated. Nevertheless, John experienced both pros and cons while living with his relatives. Being the eldest out of his siblings that went into kinship, John was left out of multiple family events and was stuck typically babysitting. Johnathan soon grew unhappy with his living situation, so he started spending less time at home and more time in the gym, and volunteering with church events. Over time, Johnathan would stay nights and weeks at his mentors, pastors and coaches house to find that sense of structure that he missed out on.

Through the few supportive adults that took him in and guided him, Johnathan was able function like any of the other kid at school. He actively participated in the church choir, piano lessons, basketball, football, crew, wrestling, JROTC, and his school’s forensics program. With the help of these same supportive adults, Johnathan recognized his God-given gift of athleticism at a young age and used it as a tool to earn a full athletic scholarship to attend and play basketball in college!

Becoming a legal adult during the summer of his freshman year; Johnathan had the responsibility to find housing on his own. However, with the help of his supportive adult network, he soon started working and transitioned into an independent living program. Johnathan finished school at Carlow University majoring in Corporate Communication with a minor in business. Johnathan is known by his friends to be an athlete, gentlemen, and someone who loves music.

CASA Experience: Although Johnathan didn’t have a CASA himself, he knows, firsthand, the value of supportive adults who can help young people achieve normalcy and build their social networks.

03 June

03 June

Sara Macfarlane

Director of Brand Strategy
R&R Partners
As Director of Brand Strategy, Sara Macfarlane combines the art of insights with the science of marketing. Her work integrates the “big picture” findings from planning, research and analytics into a holistic plan to move the needle and engage consumers. Her work has also helped launch or rebrand clients in the areas of healthcare, technology, transportation, utilities, travel and hospitality, education, and NGOs.

03 June

03 June

SM

Sue Maly

Associate Supervisor
CASA Project, Inc.

04 June

Jacqueline Meason

Account Director
R&R Partners
Jacqueline, a fourteen year account management veteran, is the lead for R&R Partners’ brand management services in their Denver office. She has experience spanning numerous industries including non-profit, transportation, healthcare, travel and tourism, consumer product goods and many others. She was recently sworn in as a CASA volunteer and was just assigned her first case.

03 June

03 June

JN

Jennifer Nagda

Policy Director
Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights

02 June

JO

Jill Overton

Safe Babies Court Coordinator
Davidson County

02 June

Dr. Steve Perry

Educator, Speaker, Author
Widely respected by grassroots community members and internationally renowned leaders as an educator, social worker and public speaker, Dr. Steve Perry’s charismatic and compelling voice is an inspiration.

Dr. Steve Perry has opened three schools, helped Steve Harvey write his book Jump, has spoken in over 79 communities and completed his sixth book, Transparenting, in the beginning of 2018. In 2019, he is working on his fourth school for local youth, with Sean "Diddy" Combs as an investor pledging 1 million dollars. His impact is profound and varied, and shows no signs of slowing down.

The word most often used to describe Dr. Steve Perry is passionate. His authenticity is a welcome addition to any discussion rooted in improving children's lives and the community. His skills are hard-fought and gained from his rough childhood all the way up through his graduation from an Ivy League school.

Dr. Steve Perry has been featured on MSNBC, Fox, CNN, Al Jazeera, TV One, BET and NBC as well as on the Oprah Winfrey network in multiple shows. His courage and piercing insights provide a fascinating perspective that is not often found in public discourse. Dr. Steve Perry’s daytime talk show, "Breakthrough with Dr. Steve Perry," aired on Fox in early 2019.

Dr. Steve Perry is the voice of a generation, a people's champion who has been fighting for disadvantaged children and families for 30 years. Passionate and surprisingly funny, Dr. Steve Perry is a man worth listening to.

(www.drsteveperry.org / Dr. Steve Perry)

03 June

NP

Nora Polk

Judge
DeKalb County Juvenile Court

02 June

Tom C. Rawlings, J.D., M.ST, CWLS

Director
Georgia Division of Family and Children Services
Tom C. Rawlings was appointed in February 2019 by Governor Brian Kemp to serve as Director of the State Division of Family and Children Services, where he supports the efforts of over 8,000 DFCS employees who protect Georgia’s most vulnerable children and assist the state’s struggling families. He previously served as Interim Director of the agency under Governor Nathan Deal. Prior to joining DFCS, Tom served as Georgia’s Child Advocate for the Protection of Children and helped lead efforts to improve our state’s child protection system. Governor Deal appointed him to the Office of the Child Advocate post in January 2017, and he also served as the Director of that agency from 2007-2010 under Governor Sonny Perdue. An honors graduate of both Duke University and the University of Georgia School of Law, he earned his Masters’ degree from Oxford University with distinction in International Human Rights Law. From 2000-2007, he served as the first full-time juvenile court judge in the Middle Judicial Circuit, where he oversaw juvenile justice and child protection cases in five counties. After serving his first term as the state children's ombudsman, Tom and his family moved to Guatemala in 2010, where he directed a child sexual abuse prosecution and treatment team as the country director for International Justice Mission. Certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children as a child welfare law specialist, Tom is a former Fulbright Senior Specialist in Law and is the author of Georgia Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: Policy, Practice and Procedure, updated regularly. A native of Sandersville, Tom and his wife, Kay, now live in Atlanta and have three sons.

02 June

DR

Debra Ross

Instructional Services Coordinator
Georgia State University School of Social Work Professional Excellence Child Welfare Training Collaborative
Debra has been working in Social Services for over 25 years and has a variety of child welfare experience in the public and private sector. During her early professional career, Debra worked at the Department of Children and Family Services in two states where she supported efforts to reform child welfare practices, crisis intervention and provided specialized case management services. More recently, she has served as a program manager on four state contracts in which she was responsible for marketing, program evaluation, quality assurance, web-based learning and training, for families and their children. She developed, presented and managed numerous workshops to help support the continuing training need of foster/adoptive parents across the state. Because of her creative approach and innovative strategies in the field of Social Work along with years of child welfare experience, Debra has been invited to present at both the Federal and State level. Debra holds a degree in Sociology from Fisk University and a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University.

03 June

03 June

Victoria Rowell

Award-winning actress, producer, international lecturer, advocate, and the New York Times bestselling author
Victoria Rowell is an award-winning actress, producer, international lecturer, advocate, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Women Who Raised Me, (HarperCollins), an inspirational memoir that details her rise out of the foster-care system through the stories of the incredible women who lifted her up in different ways.

Born in Maine, Rowell was raised in foster care for the first eighteen years of her life. The love, guidance, and support of her foster families instilled in her the confidence and drive to succeed. At eight years old, she received a scholarship to the Cambridge School of Ballet, through the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. After a successful career as a professional dancer, Rowell pursued modeling and went on to grace the pages of Seventeen, Mademoiselle, and countless other magazines, before choosing to become an actress.
Since then she has established a remarkable career in both television and film. An Emmy-nominated actress, and the recipient of seven NAACP Image Awards, her credits include the television series Diagnosis Murder, and The Young and The Restless. Her films include Home of the Brave, The Distinguished Gentleman, Dumb and Dumber, Eve’s Bayou, and Feast of All Saints. Rowell executive produced, directed and co-wrote Emmy-nominated and most-watched original dramedy series, The Rich and the Ruthless, which is launching its third season in summer 2019. She also co-executive produced several UPtv Christmas holiday movies for Uplifting Entertainment Network. She starred in the UMC Original Series Jacqueline and Jilly which addresses the opioid addiction crisis. Rowell will also guest star on LIFETIME’S, Pride and Prejudice which will air on June 1st.

Never one to forget her origins, even amidst success, Rowell has been able to use her celebrity status to gain a voice for foster children. Recognized by 193 members of Congress for advocacy on behalf of education, arts, foster and adoptive youth, parents and social workers, she directed The Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan charity for twenty years, funding fine arts scholarships and college stipends. After fifteen years of collaborative service with The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a charitable arm of United Parcel Service endeavoring to build better futures for disadvantaged children and families in the United States, Rowell became an ambassador for the Carrie Steele Pitts Home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rowell has received honorary doctorates from the University of Southern Maine and Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts. She was awarded the United Nations Association USA- Pacific, Los Angeles Chapter Award in recognition of her contributions in education, human rights and world peace. Rowell has received multiple civic awards, including the National (Elizabeth Catlette) Award for Exceptional Service to Youth, The Betty Shabazz/Child Welfare ‘Dove Award’, The Sojourner Truth Black Education & Cultural History Award, The Whitney M. Young Jr. Special Award, the Court Appointed Special Advocates - Dallas, Texas Award, and the 100 Black Men Chairman’s Award.

Rowell’s messaging is one of survival, inspiring hope, remembrance, leadership and reciprocity.
Rowell has two adult children, Maya and Jasper. Her production company, Days Ferry Productions, is located in Los Angeles, California.


02 June

02 June

ER

Elizabeth Runkle

Senior Consultant
Georgia Center for Nonprofits

02 June

02 June

02 June

03 June

03 June

Chadwick Sapenter

CEO
Sapenter Corporation
Chadwick Sapenter is a former foster kid turned serial entrepreneur, best selling author, and motivational speaker, currently Chadwick is the CEO of the Sapenter Corporation which has interest in insurance, media, and real estate. Chadwick has spent the last decade as a speaking to youth in foster care helping them find their purpose in life and showing the adults who work in Child Welfare how to make meaningful connections and that a little encouragement can go a long way. 

After thousands of talks Chadwick realizes the best way for him to help is to share his story in experiences with passion, authenticity, and to provide resources and solutions that can be easily implemented. When he is not speaking Chadwick is home in Austin, TX spending time with his wife,four sons, the youth in his non profit Central Texas football Academy and more likely than not eating bbq.

02 June