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Adolescent Networking Conference
“Voices United for Youth:
Visions of a Better Tomorrow”
NJ Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Rutgers School of Social Work
invites DCF staff, child welfare professionals, resource parents and young leaders
(ages 14 to 23) to join in a day of collaborative learning and networking.
Friday, May 15, 2015
8:30am - 4:00pm
NJ Department of Children and Families Professional Center
30 Van Dyke Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Welcoming Remarks
Dr. Allison Blake, Commissioner, NJ Department of Children and Families
As Commissioner, she has emphasized an integrated and strategic approach to serving
children and families in the State. To that end, Dr. Blake has focused on a communitybased, family-centered approach to service delivery throughout the work of the entire
Department, ensuring the inclusion of parent and youth voice in planning and quality
improvement work.
Plenary Speaker
Dr. Michael Fowlin
YOU DON’T KNOW ME UNTIL YOU KNOW ME is a one-person show that deals with the
issues of race, discrimination, violence prevention, personal identity, suicide, gender
equity, homophobia, and the emotional pain felt by children in special education. In a
gripping, fast-paced, 75-minute performance, Michael Fowlin slips in and out of
characters, both male and female, who "share their stories” in an often humorous, but at
times heartbreaking, manner.
Keynote Speaker
Mr. David Hale Sylvester
After his friend died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, David Hale Sylvester adopted a
mission to enhance the world one interaction at a time. To that end, he bicycled,
volunteered, hugged and high fived his way across Africa, Asia, Australia and North
America. Way back on September 10, 2001, David never imagined evolving into a
philanthropic, cross-continental bicyclist-author-filmmaker, but now he can’t imagine
Register online at:
Refreshments and Working Lunch - CEUs available for all workshops.
Morning Workshops
Turned On & Tuned Out: Social Isolation and Trauma in the
Digital Age
John K. Kriger, MSM, LCADC, CPS
This session explores technology and implications for creating social
isolation and continual trauma from the use of video games, texting, apps
and other social media. Discover how tech use is arresting development,
impairing bonding and making attachment more difficult, even within
existing intact families.
(Professional Staff)
Working with Traumatized and Aggressive Youth
Frank Picone, MSW, LCSW
The workshop will focus on the various ways to tap into and use existing
resources to develop programs to benefit high risk adolescent girls. The
workshop will emphasize the development of partnerships with corporations
and successful women of color to provide mentoring and other services to high
risk adolescents.
(Professional Staff)
Recognizing Resilience & Promise in Youth
Building a System of Care and Sustainability for Expectant and
Parenting Teens
Denise P. Davis, MHS, Lorraine D'Silva-Lee, MLPA
The goal of this interactive workshop is to provide helping professionals
with a framework for assisting youth who are at risk of not developing
positive emotional resilience. The workshop will define youth in terms of
"at promise" instead of "at risk", which for many is a paradigm shift. Two
models of resilience will be discussed and integrated into group activities
that reflect current trends for promoting resilience when working with
(Professional Staff)
Lee M. Fowler, MSW, Jill Brown, Latarsha Burke
In this workshop participants will learn about NJ's SBYSP Parent Linking Program
(PLP) funded by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and US
Department of Adolescent Health's (OAH) Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) in
the Office of School Linked Services. Participants will explore key components of
an effective teen parenting program and discuss the concept of sustainability
planning by utilizing the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of
Adolescent Health "8 Key Factors of Sustainability".
(Professional Staff)
Treatment for School-Age Children with Problematic Sexual
Behavior and Their Families
Reality Show Mentality: The Dynamics of Female Bullying
Jane Meyer, LPC, NCC, ACS, Jay McKeon, LPC, NCC, Melissa Boege, LAC,
NCC, Stephanie Sullivan, LAC, NCC
The workshop will describe an innovative, evidence base treatment for
children evidencing problematic sexual behavior, guidelines to be used to
help determine if a child's sexual behavior is a problem, and will include
an explorative of commonly held misconceptions. There will be a brief
description of the outpatient group treatment that involves establishing
privacy, sexual behavior and boundary rules, teaching skills that include
abuse-prevention, emotion regulation, impulse control, decision-making,
as well as appropriate social behavior and the development of empathy.
(Professional Staff)
Staying in the Moment: Managing Emotion and Stress More
Jaime Lauren, MSW, LCSW
This mindfulness based workshop will discuss how the body responds to
stress and ways to manage stress, high intensity emotion and how to self
sooth and cope more effectively. The presentation will include some
group mindfulness exercises that can be taught to help youth gain
control over their emotion and symptoms improving the moment. It will
also teach youth how using breathing techniques can slow down their
body's response to stress and anxiety. The workshop emphasizes
acceptance where they are at, without judgment, and implements
strategies that help them cope with life more effectively.
(Professional Staff)
Looking Beneath the Behaviors: Engaging and Connecting with
Oppositional Adolescents Using a Trauma Informed Perspective
Tawanda L. Hubbard, MSW, LCSW
This workshop will focus on discussing challenges providers encounter
when attempting to engage oppositional youth and examine the
functions of oppositional attitudes and behaviors used by youth in
relationships with authority figures. Participants will review some key
concepts essential to understanding relational work and providing
trauma-informed care to create healthy interactions between provider
and adolescents. Participants will explore their personal constructs about
the attitudes and behaviors oppositional youth demonstrate and identify
strategies that will assist them in effectively engaging with youth.
(Professional Staff)
Tia Sanders, LCSW, Joyce Frink
This interactive workshop is designed to address the dynamics of bullying that
are plaguing schools and communities with special emphasis on the uniqueness
of female bullying techniques. The workshop looks at the different types of
bullying, characteristics of perpetrators and victims, the specifics of relational
aggression as a form of bullying used by females, the relationship between
bullying and social media and the impact of bullying. This workshop will help
participants identify signs of bullying, identify ways to advocate and how to
intervene to prevent it.
(Professional Staff)
Ensuring a Positive Experience for Youth Attending their Court
Mary Coogan, Esq., Guadalupe Casillas, Managing Attorney from the Office of
Law Guardian's Essex Region
A solid body of research supports children’s involvement in child welfare court
proceedings, as does New Jersey statute and court decisions. Learn how
stakeholders are working to ensure that children and youth attending their
permanency hearings can have a positive experience and input into decisions
affecting their lives.
(Professional Staff)
Let's Not Forget About SSI: SSI Advocacy for Youth
Randi Mandelbaum, Clinical Professor of Law, Sabrina Styza, Clinical Law
This workshop will address the “ins & outs” of Supplemental Social Security
Income for youth, in particular those youth involved with DCP&P and the
Children’s System of Care. Specifically, it will cover how eligibility is determined;
the application process; what makes for a successful application; how to use
medical and educational records most effectively; what can be done if the
application is denied; how the application process should be integrated into
case planning, and the impact of SSI benefits on the receipt of other financial
assistance. The presentation also will discuss the intersections between SSI,
Special Education, Medicaid, & DDD.
(Professional Staff)
Human Trafficking: Victim Assistance and Commercially Sexually
Exploited Children
Keyla Munoz and Alexis Krieger, FBI Victim Specialists
This workshop will provide basic information on domestic human trafficking
including: risk factors, identifying signs of grooming techniques, available victim
services and information on resources and reporting mechanisms.
CEUs available for all morning and afternoon workshops.
Afternoon Workshops
The Nurtured Heart Approach
Frank Picone, MSW, LCSW
The Nurtured Heart Approach was created by Howard Glasser, MA who
introduced it in his first book “Transforming the Difficult Child” which
became the bestselling book on the topic of treating ADHD. Mr. Picone is a
Certified Advanced Trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach. This
presentation will teach participants the power of the therapeutic milieu
that have the proper balance of rewards and consequences, the 3 Stands
of the Nurtured Heart Approach, the 4 types of powerful recognition
statements, and the 3 foundational principals behind the approach.
(Professional Staff)
"Listen to the story of what happened to me...": A Trauma
Informed Approach to Engaging Children and Youth Receiving
Care Management services
Bukola Ogunkua MD. MPH, LPC, Michelle Carter, MSW, James Sampson,
This presentation is designed to provide basic information on trauma
informed care; how workers can build collaborative relationships that
involve understanding, affirmation, positive engaging interactions (verbal
and non-verbal), and strength-based approaches as means of gaining a
youth's trust to help them begin the healing process. This workshop will
touch on understanding youth culture (music, language, dress, and belief
structures), and motivational techniques to assist youth to identify
personal needs, priorities, strengths, and interests in order to help them
establish goals consistent with their level of development.
(Professional Staff)
Safe and Welcoming: Supporting LGBTQI Youth in Care
Paula Rodriguez Rust, PhD
Supporting LGBTQI youth in care begins with establishing an affirmative
and welcoming environment in which youth will feel comfortable coming
out and expressing needs and concerns related to their LGBTQI status.
This workshop covers sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender
expression diversity, including the coming out process; the psychological,
social, medical needs of LGBTQI youth; how to create an affirmative
environment; and strategies for working with the birth/foster/adoptive
families of LGBTQI youth.
(Professional Staff)
Supporting Children and Families: Recognizing Adverse Childhood Experiences & Fostering Resilience
Steven Kairys, MD, MPH, Marcela Betzer, MPH, Michael Cestare, MPH
Brain development is shaped by genes, as well as by how childhood
experiences impact expression of those genes. The study of Adverse
Childhood Experiences (ACEs) shows a child’s experiences of physical
abuse, substance abuse or violence show up later as increased risk
behaviors and negative health outcomes. If we recognize ACEs and their
impacts, and provide skill-building to caregivers, we can combat the
harmful effects of ACEs. Fill out your own ACEs quiz and discuss tools and
resources to improve the health and welfare of children & families.
(Professional Staff)
Staying ahead of the Curve: Social Media in The Therapy Room
Lisa Dressner, LCSW, Rhea Almeida, LCSW
This workshop will explore ways to use social media- including film,
Facebook, music, and poetry as tools for assessment and intervention in
working with children and their families. Participants will learn how to
introduce and facilitate dialogues with children and adults in therapy
around the influences of race, class, gender and sexual orientation, and
use this framework as a means to identify challenges in relationships and
institutions including school, family, houses of worship and community
(Professional Staff)
Cyberbullying and Sexting: Teaching Teens to Think Before Hitting
Sandra McBeth, MSW, LCSW, Anthony DeVincenzo, MA
Cyberbullying and sexting are rampant among teens, and can have serious longterm consequences for both the bully and victim well into adulthood. It is
important for teens, and those who care about them, to better understand the
potential consequences so teens can make informed choices before engaging in
these behaviors. This interactive workshop will present the social, emotional
and legal consequences of cyberbullying and sexting. Participants will be
provided with educational information, resources and tools to identify these
behaviors, intervene, and support both caregivers and teens.
(Professional Staff)
Life in the Reactor: Stories of an Irradiated Community
Dan Rhoton, M Ed., Jeff Putthoff, SJ
Working in constant exposure to trauma changes both people and
organizations. However, bringing a trauma informed perspective to that
environment can change both the narrative and the outcome. Using the power
of story and youth presentations led by the Hopeworks Youth Healing Team,
this workshop showcases how this happens in a real life, community-based
environment. Participants will be able to analyze a variety of situations to
identify possible reenactments, use a trauma informed perspective to craft an
appropriate response, and develop a “toolbox” of situation tools that they can
use “in the moment” to respond to a traumatic reenactment as it happens.
(Professional Staff)
Addressing the Fatherless Syndrome: The Impact on Today’s Youth!
Keva White, LCADC, LSW, RaShun A. Stewart, M.Ed., Ed.S., LAC
The re-creation of fatherhood is one of most urgent challenges facing America's
youth today. This workshop will examine the phenomenon of "fatherlessness"
and its impact on African American youth. Participants will gain a greater
understanding of how the absence of a father figure effects a young person
from a psycho-social perspective and their development of healthy, safe, and
empowering relationships with self, peers and adults.
(Professional Staff)
The Integration of Mind and Body in the Comprehensive Care of
Larry Thompson, LCSW, Seth Arkush, LCSW, Brian Kopack, LPC, Amy Ashworth,
LAC, RYT, Lisa Virga, LAC
Judy Thompson, RYT This workshop will present to the attendee a pragmatic
and clear practice model that integrates trauma specific psychotherapy and
mind-body approaches to comprehensive trauma care. The attendee will be
given an overview of trauma's impact on the adolescent brain, relating this to
the adolescent's challenges in all spheres of functioning. The team will then
present how each discipline supports the adolescent and their family's wellness
recovery incorporating experiential exercises.
(Professional Staff)
The Truth About Consequences: Moving Toward Relationship-Based
Approaches with Teens
Lynne Gonski, MS
This workshop will engage audience members in a back-and-forth dialogue on
helpful and less helpful responses to hypothetical problematic situations with
youth. The presentation will highlight concrete directions on how to change
from a consequence to a relationship-based approach that can be used both by
parents and the professionals who work with youth.
(Professional Staff)
SCREAM Theater
Calling all youth! The “SCREAM” in SCREAM TheaterTM stands for Students
Challenging Realities and Educating Against Myths. We are a group consisting of
mostly undergraduate students at Rutgers. SCREAM TheaterTM is the peer
education improvisational theater group associated with the Office for Violence
Prevention and Victim Assistance at Rutgers University. We use interactive,
educational skits to educate audiences on issues of interpersonal violence,
specifically on sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, sexual
harassment, and bullying. Any student at Rutgers can join SCREAM TheaterTM
and perform with us, or attend our meetings and get involved in other ways.
CEUs available for all morning and afternoon workshops.
We Want to Hear
From You!
Award Ceremony
Help us to recognize and celebrate youth and adults who inspire those around them through their
dedication to helping youth in care. If there is someone you feel deserves to be recognized for their
hard work, support, inspiration, strength, commitment, and/or creativity—let us know! The categories
for which someone can be nominated are as follows:
1) DCP&P Caseworker of the Year (adult)
2) Resource Parent of the Year (adult)
3) Provider of the Year (adult)
4) Youth Leader of the Year (youth)
5) Youth Resilience Award (youth)
6) Rising Star Award (youth)
A description of the 6 awards and the nomination form can be found by clicking on this link and
completing the online form:
We can’t wait to hear about all of the wonderful people that are doing incredible work to help youth in
care in New Jersey!
*The deadline to nominate someone is May 3rd, 2015.
*You do not need to register for the conference in order to submit a nomination. Only register if you
plan on attending the conference for the full day*
*Your responses may be shared at the conference!
we are listening.
For more information, contact:
[email protected]