Workshop presenters donate their time and knowledge to the conference. We are so appreciative of their kindness and ability to share their knowledge and techniques with our families. ******** Thank you! ********

Intro to DCF Involved Permanency Options

     Gillie Hopkins, MSW, is the Permanency Planning Program Manager and Co-Director of Project Family at the Vermont Department for Children and Families, Family Services Division (DCF-FSD).  She has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work from UVM and has worked on behalf of children and families at DCF since 2009. Gillie Hopkins : DCF-FSD :

Who’s In Your Network?

     Tim Hash is a graduate of Marywood University with a Master of Social Work. Tim is currently in private practice therapy in Lyndonville Vermont. Tim has a background of 12 years with Hospice as a bereavement counselor and 13 years of experience working in a residential teen program.

     Barb Hash is a graduate of Phoenix University with a BA in Human Services. Barb currently contracts with the State of Vermont in the role of foster parent support in the St Johnsbury District. Tim and Barb have 30 plus years of experience as a therapeutic foster home and adoptive parents of 9 children with varying degrees of early trauma along with many other challenges. They are often asked to provide trainings for struggling parents in small group settings. As a result of their personal journey, Tim and Barb have a deep desire to see foster and adoptive parents receive the training and support necessary to navigate the difficult work they do.

Brain-Based Behavior Interventions: Coming Back from Upset

     Sara Forward works with Vermont Afterschool, Inc. as the social emotional learning (SEL) project coordinator. Sara is a licensed social worker and has worked as a mental health consultant to public school teams and preschool programs in Vermont. Her previous work experience includes classroom teacher, school social worker, afterschool program director, children’s mental health clinician, and mom. Sara currently supports afterschool teams around the state in social emotional learning and positive behavior management. She has a professional interest in developmental psychology, trauma-informed practice and policy, and attachment-focused family therapy.

Suicide Prevention

     Lance Metayer has been working with at risk youth for more than a decade. In 2015 Lance earned a Master’s Degree in Community Mental Health Counseling from Southern New Hampshire University and is currently pursuing state licensure. Lance works for Northwestern Counseling and Support Services as a School Based Clinician providing therapy and supports to middle school aged youth in two schools in Franklin County. In addition Lance is the Statewide Project Coordinator for Aware Vermont, a SAMHSA grant which has developed a statewide network of Youth Mental Health First Aid instructors to provide YMHFA training to educators, foster parents, and youth servicing adults throughout the state.

Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Special Needs: What Parents Need to Know

     Janice Sabett is a Family Support Consultant with the Vermont Family Network where she works with families of children with special needs to provide information, connections and supports. She is the adoptive mother of three young adults and volunteers with NAMI-VT (The National Alliance on Mental Illness).

     Karen Price is the Director of Family Support at the Vermont Family Network where she has been supporting families of children with disabilities in the area of special education for 14 years. She is the mother of two sons, the younger of whom has an intellectual impairment. As the mother of a young adult with a disability she knows first-hand the importance of being informed about the process of transitioning to adulthood.

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements & the Vermont Adoption Registry

     Wanda Audette, Lund Adoption Director, began her employment at Lund in 1995 after working for 14 years as the Assistant Director of Residential Treatment Services at Baird Center for Children and Families. As Director of Adoption Services at Lund, Wanda, manages all aspects of the Adoption program including private adoption, home studies, post-permanence, search and reunion services, birth parent education, options counseling and budgets. Wanda is co-director of Project Family, the groundbreaking collaboration between Lund and the State of Vermont’s Department for Children and Families to find homes for older children in foster care founded in 2000.

     Christina Shuma has worked in the field of foster care and adoption for over 20 years. In 2000, she was hired by Lund for a, then, new partnership with the State of Vermont that has become known as Project Family. From 2002 – 2016 Christina served as a Post-Permanence Case Manager and Coordinator of the Post-Permanence Program at Lund. In 2016 Christina began working on the QIC-AG project in Vermont as the Site Implementation Manager. Christina facilitates the Vermont Adoption Registry for

Talking it Through: The role of Caregivers and the Court Process

     Joan Rock has been a Resource Coordinator for the State of Vermont for 25 years. After spending 19 years in the Barre Office, she transitioned to Morrisville 6.5 years ago and continues to provide opportunities for caregivers to access training and support year around.

     Erinn Rolland has been a foster parent for over 16 years and has adopted. Erinn is currently the President of the Central Vermont Foster/Adoptive Parent Association. She is also co-chair with our Deputy Commissioner on the Foster Care Committee to improve practice. Erinn is always looking for ways to better support her caregiving peers.

Seeing Me: Joining together to affirm LGBTQ youth

     Amanda Rohdenburg – Director of Advocacy at Outright Vermont

     Lizzy Lyons  – Case Worker at Department for Children and Families

Talking with your adopted or foster child about their complicated history

     Amy Bielawski-Branch is a foster/adoptive parent of two (now) young adults. She is a Training Coordinator with the Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership. Amy has traveled throughout the state teaching the RPC+ 10 week trauma intensive workshop for caregivers and is the creator of the Vermont Trauma Lens Facebook page.

Restorative Practices- How To Make Things Right

     Heather Hobart is the Executive Director of the Lamoille Restorative Center. Utilizing principles and practices of restorative justice, LRC has a long history of successfully engaging clients in the difficult process of taking responsibility for their actions and making change. Heather lives in Cambridge, Vermont with her partner, Eli and their children, Ada and Quinn.

     Greg Stefanski is the Executive Director of Laraway Youth & Family Services. Laraway provides educational and therapeutic supports, including restorative practices, to kids who have experienced trauma and their families. Greg lives in Johnson, Vermont with his wife, Jen and their children, Declan, Cecilia and Ronan.

GLBT Foster Parenting & Adoption : Open Dialogue

Lisa Steckler LCMHC, LADC. She has been a foster parent in Vermont for 23 years and an adoptive parent for 6 years.