Families Like Mine Conference 2020

Conference Presentations

The speaker will use music, humor, and monologue to encourage participants along their kinship journey.

About the Presenter
Jeanette M. Willis is the Executive Director of AAOCOC.

She has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, with more than 20 years of special needs targeted child recruitment and adoption experience. She is a skilled speaker and presenter with extensive knowledge of the One Church One Child faith-based adoption recruitment model. Jeanette is experienced in faith-based collaboration, parent and youth training, program planning and development, research, and evaluation.  She is certified in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Special Needs Adoption, and PRIDE Train-the-Trainer. Mrs. Willis holds a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, La.  Mrs. Willis is also a retired Captain, US Army Medical Corps. Jeanette has been married to Joel for 25 years strong; they are biological, adoptive, and kinship parents of four children and one grandchild.

This webinar will explore mental health and wellness for youth in kinship placements. Overlapping mental health conditions will be briefly noted before diving “below the surface” of problematic behaviors to understand what might be contributing to certain emotional/behavioral concerns. Ways to support positive social-emotional development will be considered and web-based/community resources will be highlighted to support families who wish to seek additional support.

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About the Presenter
Samantha Wilson, Ph.D., IMH-E® IV, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the division of Child Development at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  She is the Director of the International Adoption Clinic at Children’s Wisconsin and has been licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in Wisconsin since 2008.  She provides support to families at all stages of their adoption journeys, including pre-adoption education, initial consultation following a child’s entrance into the family, school-age assessment, and trauma-informed child/family therapy.  Dr. Wilson is currently credentialed within Wisconsin as an Infant Mental Health Mentor (Level IV – Clinical) and is recognized as a Wisconsin-based state trainer for Trauma-Informed Child-Parent Psychotherapy. Along with direct service to children and families, she provides mental health consultation to the Waukesha County Head Start Program.

What if we could make sense of children’s behaviors by learning more about the brain?

What if toxic stress and brain development could explain difficult behaviors? Defiance? Disrespect? Aggression?

What if toxic stress was related to learning challenges, emotional and mental health challenges, and even physical health issues?

What if I told you all of the above is absolutely, positively true?

Toxic stress, including lack of appropriate nurturing, abuse, and neglect, and less frequently considered stressors such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and parental incarceration, has a significant impact on brain development. Children are struggling at school, at home, and with peers. They are aggressive, defiant, out of control, or completely checked out and buried in video games or even obsessive reading. While understanding the impact of toxic stress won’t fix all of your family’s difficulties, it is a crucial piece of the puzzle. When we understand the why behind behaviors, we can increase our compassion, ability to stay calm, and use behavior interventions that actually work!

We will cover:

  • Three paradigm-shifting beliefs that will help you see challenging behavior for what it really is
  • The basics of brain development
  • Brain development and toxic stress–and how this impacts behavior
  • How to begin creating a healing environment for children impacted by toxic stress

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About the Presenter
Robyn Gobbel, LCSW, LMSW, RPT-S
has over 15 years of practice in family and play therapy experience, specializing in complex trauma, attachment, and adoption. Robyn is a therapist, trainer, and consultant who recently relocated to Grand Rapids, MI from Austin, TX. Robyn’s diverse clinical training includes EMDR (including EMDR adapted for children with attachment trauma), Somatic Experiencing, Theraplay, Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, Circle of Security Parent Educator, The Alert Program® and Yogapeutics Aerial Yoga Level 1 Teacher Training. Robyn has integrated these training modalities with a foundation of attachment theory and the relational neurosciences to create an attachment-rich, sensory-sensitive, and relational neurosciences supported healing environment for children and families. Robyn consults, teaches, and trains extensively throughout the U.S., including as an instructor for the Foundations of Interpersonal Neurobiology Certificate Program at Portland Community College and with the Adoptive & Foster Family Therapy Post-Graduate Certificate Program offered by Portland State University and Oregon’s Department of Human Services. She serves as the Secretary for the working board of the Global Association for Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies (GAINS)

The court experience can be intimidating and overwhelming. This session is designed to decode the process by providing relative caregivers with a basic understanding of the court process and time frames in minor guardianship cases. Participants will be supplied with valuable information about the various types of minor guardianship available, how to petition for guardianship, and what elements and circumstances must be proven for the court to order a guardianship.

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Minor Guardianship Legislation Outline

About the Presenters
Kristen Wetzel joined the Children’s Court Improvement Program (CCIP) as Legal Advisor in August 2018. Prior to her position with CCIP, she worked as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in Portage County handling CHIPS, TPR, and Chapter 48 guardianship cases. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Law Studies from Marquette University and a Juris Doctor from the John Marshall Law School.

Justin Wolff is a Legal Advisor with the Children’s Court Improvement Program. Besides his work in the state court system, he has practiced in child welfare and juvenile justice as a private attorney, Assistant State Public Defender, Corporation Counsel for Clark County, WI, and with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from UW-Madison and received his Juris Doctor from Drake University.

Opioid and other substance use has been the primary reason grandfamilies come together in recent years. Grandfamilies, families where grandparents and other relatives are raising children, keep children safe, stable, and connected to their families and culture but oftentimes do not receive the support they need. This session allows participants to learn about grandfamilies impacted by substance use and some resources from Generations United on the topic.

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About the Presenters
Jaia Peterson Lent is the Deputy Executive Director at Generations United where she has worked since 2000. Generations United’s mission is to improve the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs. Lent provides direction for the National Center on Grandfamilies, a leading voice for families headed by grandparents or other relatives. She is a trusted voice on Capitol Hill on issues related to grandfamilies and intergenerational cohesion. She has testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and serves as co-chair of the Federal Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. She is a sought-after speaker, nationally-recognized columnist, and blogger, and respected media resource. She has been named one of the Top 50 Influencers in Aging by Next Avenue. Under her leadership, legislation has passed to support grandfamilies in areas ranging from housing to family caregiving to child welfare. Lent holds an MSW from Syracuse University and is a licensed social worker.

Diane Roznowski is the Policy and Program Coordinator at Generations United where she works with the National Center on Grandfamilies, a leading voice for families headed by grandparents or other relatives. Diane works on intergenerational policy and specializes in policies related to grandfamilies. She coordinates engagement with Generations United’s GRAND Voices Network, a select group of over 70 grandparents and other relative caregivers from across the country. Before joining Generations United, Diane received her BA from American University in Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government. During her time at American, she completed various internships including ones at the Addiction Policy Forum and the Washington, DC office of Senator Bob Casey. Diane is a proud member of a grandfamily and has shared her story for local and national audiences and with the media.

The presenter will discuss the advantages of having open conversations about race and diversity and will address issues and challenges faced by parents raising children of color.

About the Presenter
Jeanette M. Willis is the Executive Director of AAOCOC.

Jeanette uses her life story as a kinship child, wife, parent, and businesswoman as a platform to encourage others who are called to adoption. She has over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management and special needs adoption services. Her life priorities are faith, family, and purpose. Jeanette has been married to Joel for 25 years strong; they are biological, adoptive, and kinship parents of four children and one grandchild.

The Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health and the Lived Experience Partners offer an overview of the system of children’s mental health and how to get services for the young people in your life. Join this session to hear tips and tricks for navigating the system and for resources that can support your family.

Feelings Thermometer

Crisis Plan Card

About the Presenter
Andrea has served Wisconsin youth, parents, and families for over nine years. Her professional experiences include youth development, child welfare case management, parent-empowerment program facilitation, and social-emotional learning program management. In 2016, Andrea earned her Master’s degree in Public Service from Marquette University. Andrea’s personal journey includes managing attention deficit disorder, self-harm, depression, anxiety, and navigating parenthood as a new mom. Andrea joined the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health in 2018, and she is honored to use her role to raise up the voices of those with lived experience

Virtual Resource Room

Hello, my name is Collin Drews and I am the Foster Care Recruiting Manager for Foundations Health and Wholeness. We serve the Green Bay area community with mental health services and offer foster care services in different regions around the state of Wisconsin. We also host an annual Ethics event that recognizes those who go above and beyond in their ethical practices within our community. The money raised at the event helps our clients receive the therapy that could not otherwise afford. Proceeds from this year’s event will go specifically to support children and teen mental health literacy, emotional health screenings, and counseling.

Foundations Health & Wholeness is a nonprofit organization with a mission of innovating care to heal mind and spirit; changing lives, families, and communities. We envision a caring and connected community that embraces the health and wholeness of all people. 

FOSTER CARE ORGANIZATION

  • Our work is supported by individuals and businesses in the community
  • We place a high priority on collaborations with other community partners
  • Supporting our foster families is our top priority
  • We treat our foster families like our own family
  • Our support doesn’t end at the end of a workday; we provide 24/7 support 365 days a year
  • We show appreciation to our foster families in a variety of ways, including exclusive events throughout the year
  • Our support is here to help foster families looking to make a difference
  • We laugh, cry, and share stories with our families

MENTAL HEALTH

Since the pandemic, all of our therapists have successfully completed Telehealth Certification Institute’s THTC Program and earned their TeleMental Health Training Certificate, so they can continue to provide safely provide service to their clients.

Our experienced therapists provide mental health and addiction counseling for children, teens, adults, couples, and families. They treat each individual as a whole person, rather than a “case.”

We offer:

  • Individual Counseling
  • Groups and Workshops
  • School-Base Mental Health Counseling
    • Our therapists go into the schools in the Green Bay community

 

We have a ROBUST PARTNERSHIP HEALING OUR COMMUNITY

Another service that we offer is the Accessible Mental Wellness Initiative – or what we call the Resident Training Program.  We partner with seven basic needs organizations to embed our therapists and therapists in training at their locations to provide thousands of hours of service to clients every year at:

  • Brown County Aging & Disability Resource Center
  • Freedom House homeless shelter
  • Green Bay Boys & Girls clubs (2 locations)
  • House of Hope
  • Micah Center (St. John’s Homeless Shelter)
  • New Community Shelter
  • N.E.W. Community Clinic
  • Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC)
  • Outreach Healthcare

This is another way we break down the barrier to accessing mental healthcare.

Our website includes many online resources on mental health-related topics

National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) Fact Sheet

 

Jane Mahoney, Caregiver Support Specialist, Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources
jane.mahoney@gwaar.org

Kids Matter Inc. was founded by foster and kinship families, social workers, and others who saw gaps in services for abused and neglected children and families who take them in to help them heal. Kids Matter exists to open doors of promise and opportunity for foster and kinship children and their caregivers. Our Fostering Healing program provides services and support to children who are being raised by someone other than a parent, most often relative caregivers, due to abuse or neglect, abandonment, domestic violence, substance abuse, homicide, etc. We offer legal, therapeutic, and social services to help caregivers navigate systems and meet the needs of children in their care.

Grandfamilies Voices Video

Are You Raising Someone Else’s Child?

Kids Matter Brochure

 

Jennifer Hastings Meinholdt has 15 years of experience working with children who have been victims of child maltreatment and who are living in kinship or foster care. She currently manages the Fostering Healing program at Kids Matter Inc. She brings a strong commitment to the well-being of children and enjoys advocating for the most vulnerable within the community. She holds a Master of Science in Community Mental Health and is licensed as a Professional Counselor, specializing in children and families. In addition to her responsibilities as a program manager, Jennifer facilitates support groups and provides trauma-focused therapy to youth.  She is a past recipient of the Crime Victim Champion of the Year Award from the WI Department of Justice and has worked within child protective services in a variety of roles, including as the liaison to the court system. Jennifer has experience presenting topics related to children at both the state and national levels.