RTSC's 6th Annual Making a Difference Conference for SESPs, Foster/Adoptive and Kinship Caregivers and their Professional Partners

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, Marlborough
SCROLL DOWN for conference Speakers, Schedule, Workshops, and more! Download our Conference App for a more engaging experience. The app will be accessible within 24-48 hours after your registration is processed. Check both the App and Website regularly for updates. REGISTRATION DEADLINE 11/7/2017 Attendee Registration Fee $75 (discounted for SESPs and Foster/Adoptive/Kinship Caregivers) Exhibitor Registration Fee $100 This program has been approved for 4 Social Work Continuing Education hours for relicensure, in accordance with 258 CMR. Collaborative of NASW and the Boston College and Simmons Schools of Social Work Authorization Number D 73101.
Click to Register or for more Information




Presenter Tables


  • 14 November

Dana Royster-Buefort, M.Ed, C.A.G.S

Educator, Child and Student Advocate, Consultant
Boston Public Schools
With over 25 years of professional experience, I am well versed in a wide variety of education and child advocacy areas including special education, adoption practices, student services, foster care, community resources, and program management.

During my tenure with the Boston Public School System, I have served as an Early Childhood Liaison, Student Support Services Coordinator, Intern Supervisor, Special Education Teacher, and Special Needs Behavioral Consultant.

As an Advocate, my knowledge comes from combined experience as an adoptive parent, foster parent, special education teacher, and a special education student liaison. I’m familiar with juvenile justice, Department of Social Services, and behavioral and community mental health services. My areas of specialty can be summed up as follows:

▪ Child Advocacy
▪ Adoption Support
▪ Parenting Support
▪ Program Management
▪ Workshops
▪ Presentations

As an Educator, I have experience in early childhood, elementary special education, teaching, and inclusion practices. I have managed projects, supervised interns, served as a community liaison, written grants, and provided instruction. My areas of expertise can be summed up as follows:

▪ Early Childhood Liaison
▪ Special Education
▪ Program Management
▪ Student Services Coordinator
▪ Internship / Practicum Supervisor
▪ Appropriate Educational Placement

14 November

Renee Williams

RTSC Project Director
Federation for Children with Special Needs
The Recruitment, Training and Support Center (RTSC) is a project of the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Our mission is to ensure that every child in state custody receives the educational supports he or she needs to succeed. We recruit volunteers from across the state and provide them with the training and support they need to be effective Special Education Surrogate Parents (SESPs). To learn more about how to become an SESP or to access our training schedule, visit us at www.fcsn.org/rtsc/ 

For more information regarding other programs the Federation for Children with Special Needs offers to support parents and professionals, click to visit the FCSN Programs page or download the Outreach Flyer.

14 November

Rich Robison

Executive Director
Federation for Children with Special Needs

14 November

Michelle Poulin

Public School Monitoring Supervisor
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Michelle Poulin is the Supervisor for the Western MA team for Public School Monitoring (PSM) with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE). She supervises a team of educational specialists who monitor public schools to assist with the implementation of special education and civil rights to promote improved and sustained outcomes for students in the Commonwealth by engaging in focused school district reviews to drive reform, maintain effective practices and commend exemplars.

Michelle began her career in education as a teacher for students with emotional and behavioral challenges, and transitioned to an administrative position with the Department of Youth Services as Educational Liaison to support educational services for the students in DYS care. This was followed by 14 years as the director of the Special Education Surrogate Parent Program in a contract through the EDCO Collaborative. She is happy to once again be involved with the SESPP and the RTSC in the role of ESE liaison and contract manager for the programs.

14 November

Megan Ronzio

Special Education Surrogate Parent Program/EDCO
Through a grant of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, EDCO Collaborative's Special Education Surrogate Parent (SESP) Program appoints trained volunteers to act as special education decision-makers for students who have no parent or legal guardian. In addition, the SESP Program conducts outreach efforts to DCF offices and to school districts across the state by offering trainings and informational materials. The SESP Program works in partnership with the Massachusetts Federation for Children with Special Needs, which is responsible for volunteer recruitment, training and support.


14 November

Denise Fisher

Occupational Therapist OTR/L M.S.
Horizons Therapy Services
Denise Fisher is an Occupational Therapist who has over thirty years of experience as a clinician, working primarily in the educational system with children of all ages and disabilities. She was a district coordinator for Assistive Technology and responsible for creating programs to ensure student success in areas of sensory motor development and curriculum access. She has extensive experience providing trainings for students, staff, parents and care givers, and taught classes at the University level. She currently works in private practice and in the AZ public schools.

14 November

Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett, M.D. ScD

Associate Professor, Pediatrics
Boston Medical Center - Vital Villages
Renée Boynton-Jarrett is a practicing primary care pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, a social epidemiologist and the founding director of the Vital Village Community Engagement Network. Through the Vital Village Network, she is supporting the development of community-based strategies to promote child well-being in three Boston neighborhoods. She joined the faculty at Boston University School of Medicine in 2007 and is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. She is a nationally recognized for expertise in the role of early-life adversities as life course social determinants of health. She has a specific interest in the intersection of community violence, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and neglect and neighborhood characteristics that influence these patterns. She was honored by the Massachusetts Public Health Association with the Paul Revere Award for outstanding impact on public health in 2015 and she is featured in the signature hour of "The Raising Of America" documentary series.

14 November

Kristen Quinlan

Education and Training Worker, Adolescent Services Unit
Department of Children and Families
Kristen Quinlan has been a licensed social worker with the Department of Children and Families for the past seventeen years. She is currently an Education and Training Worker with the Adolescent Services Unit where she specializes in providing young adults with guidance in navigating the post secondary educational process. This includes the creation of on-campus support networks that are in place today across the Commonwealth to assist students, families and public university staff. In addition to this work Kristen collaborates with Massachusetts Public Community Colleges to provide students academic and financial counseling. Kristen graduated with a Bachelors in Social Work from Plymouth State University and holds a Masters in Education from Umass Boston.

14 November

Joseph Katz

Transition Family Support Specialist, LINK Center
Federation for Children with Special Needs
In addition to being an SESP Joseph Katz is a Transition and Family Support Specialist at the Federation for Children with Special Needs. He is working with the Federation as part of their new collaborative project with MRC, the WIOA Student and Family Support Project. He has worked with young adults as they transition from secondary educational settings as a part of educational support teams at Perkins School for the Blind and Lesley University's Threshold Program. He has also worked with the Immigrant Refugee Community Organization of Portland, OR to support young adults gain their first work based employment experience.

14 November

Joseph Moldover, PsyD, ABPP/cn

Clinical Neuropsychologist
Independent Practice
Dr. Moldover is a Developmental Neuropsychologist in independent practice in Wellesley, MA. He provides developmental and educational evaluations for children and adolescents with learning, developmental, neurological and psychiatric disorders. He is online at www.drmoldover.com.

14 November

Dr. Claire Crane

Community School Center at Salem State University
Dr. Claire Crane has had a long career with the Lynn, Massachusetts, public schools the last 25 years as principal of the Robert L. Ford K-8 School. She worked in partnership with community organizations that included Salem State University and North Shore Community College developing the Ford School into a nationally recognized full service community school. Ford became a comprehensive center for PK-adult learning, social, health and family services, and a valuable resource and support for the culturally diverse Highlands community it serves. The “community school concept” lifted Ford from the lowest to one of the highest performing schools in the city and provided legions of children and their families with learning experiences that improved their lives and futures in concrete ways. Moving from school-based practice to effect systemic change, she has carried the community school message forward to policy-makers, community leaders and teacher educators, presenting at conferences and accepting speaking invitations at universities, school districts and community groups across the nation. On Dr. Crane’s retirement, she has focused efforts to disseminate the model on the establishment of a Center for Community Schools at her alma mater, Salem State University.

14 November

Lucinda Mills

Pupil Adjustment Counselor/School Social Worker
Boston Public Schools
Lucinda Mills is a Pupil Adjustment Counselor/ School Social Worker in the Behavioral Health Services department at Boston Public Schools. She is also a trainer and consultant on topics such as trauma, mental health,deescalation and social emotional learning. She has over 20 years of experience working with children and families on social emotional issues, trauma, special education, multicultural issues, individual and group counseling. She holds a master of social work degree in clinical social work from Boston College. She is a community board member on Northeastern University Institute for Race and Justice.

14 November

Kimvy Nguyen

Special Education Teacher Leader/4th Grade
Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School
Ms. Nguyen graduated from Boston Teacher Residency, a teacher preparation program, in 2004 with a Masters in Elementary Education from UMass Boston. She has taught between grades 2nd - 8th grade in Boston Public Schools in the last 13 years. In between her teaching time, she serves on the board of Boston Teachers Union/Boston Public Schools’ Professional Learning Advisory Board and District Capacity Project. Both boards work simultaneously towards labor management collaboration and teacher-driven professional development system for all teachers in Boston Public Schools. Kimvy finds ways to connect policy to the classroom when she was a teacher leader withTeachPlus, and just finished her last year as a co-facilitator for the American Federation of Teachers/BTU Teacher Leader program. She just started her doctorate studies at Northeastern University’s EdD program in Organizational Leadership. At the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School, she is the 4th Grade Special Education Teacher Leader acting as a liaison between students, families, the district, and the state.


14 November

Dr. Lisa Bibuld

Director of Student and Family Support
Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School
Dr. Bibuld is the Director of Student and Family Support coordinating school-based, and community-based support services to students and their families since 2015. Dr. Bibuld’s school-based responsibilities include facilitating Child Study consultations with teachers as part of the student support team process; being the liaison to the Homeless Education Resource Network (HERN), the Boston Public Schools
support network for students experiencing housing insecurity as well as working closely with Project Hope, a multi-service agency that provides shelter and case management support to low-income, homeless women with children. Additionally, Dr. Bibuld coordinates school-based counseling services with the Children’s Services of Roxbury and the Home for Little Wanderers. Through these partner agencies, families have access to parenting workshops, in-home therapy and therapeutic mentoring.

Dr. Bibuld received her doctorate in clinical psychology from William James College (formerly the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology) and holds a master’s degree in education from Bank
Street College of Education. She has 10 years of work experience providing mental health counseling in mainstream and therapeutic schools and community mental health and 12 years of teaching experience.


14 November

Shirley Fan-Chan

K-12 Education Manager
MA Department of Children and Families
Coming  Soon

14 November

Christine (Cissy) White

Parenting with ACEs, Group Manager & Community Facilitator
ACEs Connection Network
Christine Cissy White is a writer, health activist, trauma survivor, and speaker. She is the founder of Heal Write Now. Christine has been published in The Boston Globe, Ms. Magazine online, Spirituality and Health magazine, Elephant Journal, The Mighty, Psych Central, To Write Love on Her Arms, Role Reboot, The Center for Health Journalism and The Fix. Her advocacy work has been written about in Atlantic Monthly, Revelist, Huffington Post and The Mighty. Her work focuses on adverse childhood experiences, traumatic stress and the long-term health and well-being of trauma survivors. Christine blends research, interviews and personal experience throughout her speaking engagements. She’s co-founder of the #FacesOfPTSD campaign and currently manages the Parenting with ACEs group on the ACEs Connection Network.

Website: www.acesconnection.com

14 November

Janine Rodenhiser-Hill

Head of Outreach and Education
Center For Early Detection, Assessment and Response to Risk (CEDAR), BIDMC
Janine Rodenhiser-Hill, PhD, is an Instructor of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). A licensed psychologist and Health Service Provider, she serves as Head of Community Outreach, clinical supervisor and diagnostic interviewer in the CEDAR Clinic, an early detection and intervention/ research center focusing on early psychotic spectrum illnesses. She coordinates psycho-educational programs for community practitioners, social service agencies, and school systems emphasizing the benefits of early detection and intervention. She also assists families in better understanding psychosis and treatment options. Her previous work experience includes positions as an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at UTSW Medical Center and Research Scientist II at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute.

14 November

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

At Seyfarth Shaw, we are leading the way to deliver legal services more effectively, more efficiently, more transparently.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP provides thoughtful, strategic, practical legal counsel to client companies and legal teams of all sizes. With more than 850 attorneys in the U.S., London, Shanghai, Melbourne and Sydney, we offer a national platform and an international gateway to serve your changing business and legal needs in litigation, employment, corporate, real estate and employee benefits.

Jayson Hayes Foundation

The Jason Hayes Foundation is a private foundation formed in 2005 under IRS code 501(c)(3). Our mission statement includes supporting educational endeavors for to help children who have had less than an ideal start in life who exhibit behavioral and emotional issues, and educational endeavors for those adults who support them. We also have an interest in helping those young people who are aging out of the foster care system. The foundation was created to honor the Memory of Jason Hayes, who exhibited many behavioral and emotional issues during his short life.

Justice Resource Institute (JRI)

JRI is dedicated to addressing the most confounding challenges of both the human services and educational systems and the persons and families these systems were created to serve. JRI pursues the social justice inherent in opening doors to opportunity and independence. Although our range of services is as varied as those we serve, our approach is uniformly characterized by compassionate support, innovation, and community leadership.  JRI seeks new knowledge and improved evidence-based practice, in research and in the field, in order to inform our continuous search for excellence in service.


Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents

NESCA is a pediatric neuropsychology practice and integrative treatment center in Newton, Massachusetts, serving clients from 18 months through young adulthood and their families. Founded in 2007 by Dr. Ann Helmus, the practice includes experienced neuropsychologists and other skilled practitioners. From the first, we've worked very hard to set new standards for strong evaluations conducted with genuine warmth in a “non-clinical,” low-stress environment, with the goal of creating enduring and productive relationships with the people we serve.

NESCA provides: Neuropsychological Evaluations, Psychological testing, International Evaluations, Transition Assessment, Consultation and Planning, Behavioral services, Integrative Treatments including Yoga and Acupuncture, School Consultations and Parent Trainings.

CASA Project, Inc.

About CASA
Court Appointed Special Advocates/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GALs) of Worcester County is a not-for-profit organization committed to speaking for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the Worcester County Courts. The CASA Project, a member of the National CASA Association, recruits, screens, and trains community volunteers to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), also known as Guardians ad Litem (GAL). Appointed by judges to help on the most heart-breaking cases in the foster care system, CASAs help abused and neglected children navigate the Worcester County Juvenile Courts, one child or sibling group at a time.

The Need
On an average day in Worcester County, MA, 1,600 abused, neglected or exploited children live in foster care because they cannot live safely at home. All of the children are victims, and need a voice to ensure they grow up in a safe and permanent home. Nearly 800 arrive for help into our juvenile court system each year. Most of these children are younger than age 12 – nearly half are under 6 -- and all are hurt, frightened, and confused.

The Work
Since its founding in 1981, The CASA Project, has provided thousands of children with the voice they needed in court. The CASA Project’s Court advocacy program recruits, trains and supervises volunteers (CASA/GALs) who are appointed by a judge to serve one child or sibling group at a time. As a result, these children have grown up with a safe home, a sense of hope, and a true future.

In 2013, 180 CASA advocates served over 560 children. These dedicated volunteers gave 15-20 hours of their time each month to advocate for children. CASA advocates serve in all five sessions of the Worcester Juvenile Court: Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Milford and Dudley. The organization strives to match volunteers with cases suited to their interests, background, and location.

What The CASA Project Does

CASA volunteers perform three essential functions to assist the Juvenile Court judges in making the best determination for each child:

CASA volunteers investigate and fact-find, helping the judge learn the nuances of each child’s prospective caregiver situations;
CASA volunteers advocate for any medical, mental health, and educational services a child may need while the Care & Protection petition is open.
CASA volunteers monitor case progress to promote the safety of the child and to obtain a swift and effective resolution of the case: a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible.

Department of Children and Families (DCF)

Federation for Children with Special Needs

Since 1974, the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) has grown from a grassroots parent group to a nationally recognized organization serving more than 45,000 families and their children with special needs annually. Recognized locally and nationally as a pioneering organization that advocates for quality education, strong parent participation and access to quality health care services for all children, especially those with disabilities, our mission is to provide information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities. We are committed to listening to and learning from families, and encouraging full participation in community life by all people, especially those with disabilities.

Contact FCSN at www.fcsn.org

Full Circle ARTS - JRI

Full Circle ARTS is a social enterprise of JRI's Developing Abilities adult employment program. We have three locations of studio workshops and two retail stores where our individuals make arts and crafts to sell for income and they are also trained to work in the stores so that they have skills that they can use to get community based jobs.

HopeWell Inc.

Justice Resource Institute (JRI)

JRI is dedicated to addressing the most confounding challenges of both the human services and educational systems and the persons and families these systems were created to serve. JRI pursues the social justice inherent in opening doors to opportunity and independence. Although our range of services is as varied as those we serve, our approach is uniformly characterized by compassionate support, innovation, and community leadership. JRI seeks new knowledge and improved evidence-based practice, in research and in the field, in order to inform our continuous search for excellence in service.

More Than Words

More Than Words is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth ages 16-24 who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business.

NAMI Massachusetts

The mission of NAMI Massachusetts is to improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness including their families. NAMI Massachusetts reaches out to consumers and their families; strives to improve the public’s awareness and understanding of mental illnesses; and advocates at all levels to ensure that all persons can determine their own treatment choices and receive, in a timely manner the supports that they feel they need.

Central to NAMI Massachusetts is a commitment to programs that are both peer and family driven; to the key concepts of recovery, resiliency, and support that are essential to wellness and quality of life; and to full and meaningful lives for all persons. Our free educational programs offer resources, insights, coping skills, and genuine support for families and those in recovery. Our volunteers who run our educational offerings strive to better equip the class participants with the knowledge and skills.

All of our programs are taught by peers; people who have lived the journey and can relate on a personal level to those seeking knowledge and comfort. These volunteers are trained by NAMI Mass according to the best practices instituted by NAMI National.

The lack of knowledge about the challenge of living with a mental health issue in the medical profession and the public is immense. Through peer courses, frequent electronic newsletters, NAMI web sites across the Commonwealth, and a close working relationship with many collaborative coalitions, we are able to educate our members and the public.


Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents

NESCA is a pediatric neuropsychology practice and integrative treatment center in Newton, Massachusetts, serving clients from 18 months through young adulthood and their families. Founded in 2007 by Dr. Ann Helmus, the practice includes experienced neuropsychologists and other skilled practitioners. From the first, we've worked very hard to set new standards for strong evaluations conducted with genuine warmth in a “non-clinical,” low-stress environment, with the goal of creating enduring and productive relationships with the people we serve.

NESCA provides: Neuropsychological Evaluations, Psychological testing, International Evaluations, Transition Assessment, Consultation and Planning, Behavioral services, Integrative Treatments including Yoga and Acupuncture, School Consultations and Parent Trainings.

PPAL ( Parent/ Professional Advocacy League)

About Us

Children with Teacher playing in classroomParent/Professional Advocacy League is a statewide, grassroots family organization that advocates for improved access to mental health services for children, youth and their families. PPAL’s goals are to support families, nurture parent leaders and work for systems change. PPAL is the only Massachusetts organization whose work focuses solely on the interests of families whose children have mental health needs. Founded in 1991, PPAL continues to work on behalf of children, youth and families as a critical voice shaping policy and practice.

Purple Umbrella Jewelry

Unique Handmade Jewelry
"many artists under one umbrella"

Recruitment, Training and Support Center (RTSC)

The Recruitment, Training and Support Center (RTSC) for Special Education Surrogate Parents (SESPs), is a project of the Federation for Children with Special Needs a nonprofit organization. Our primary mission is to recruit community volunteers willing to make a difference in a child’s life by becoming an SESP for children in state care or custody that require special education services.

Federal education law requires a student's parents or guardians be included in the special education decision-making process. However, children in state custody may not have anyone to fill that role. Students who qualify for SESPs face many challenges including special education needs, the lack of a parent or legal guardian to advocate for them and frequent home and/or school changes. Some have had traumatic experiences including abuse, death of a loved one and separation from siblings and friends. For these children, an appropriate education can be a lifeline to the tools they need to grow into successful adults.

SESPs are volunteers who assist in making educational decisions for individual students. Once appointed these volunteers have the full legal authority of a parent or legal guardian to attend Team meetings, approve or reject Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and, if necessary, file a complaint or appeal. On average an SESP only spends about 20-30 hours a year volunteering their time.

RTSC strives to meet the needs of these students by recruiting volunteers from across the state and providing them with the training and support they need to be effective SESP. We host 2-3 Orientation Trainings each month throughout the state of Massachusetts.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the program and/or would like to sign up for an upcoming orientation. You can view our upcoming orientation schedule here: http://fcsn.org/rtsc/orientations/

Click to view our Archived Monthly Webinars 

Special Needs Advocacy Network, Inc.

SPaN is a membership organization of Special Education Advocates, attorneys and and parent advocates. SPaN works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, as well as the members of greater special education community. SPaN produces monthly on-site and webinar educational presentations, and registration is open to all. Monthly networking in-person sessions provide attendees the opportunity to connect with individuals with shared interests, and to expand their knowledge base and confidence in advocating for individuals with disabilities. IEP clinics are scheduled throughout the school year upon request by SEPACs and other organizations, and offer parents an option for a no-cost check-up on the their child's IEP with an experienced advocate. Our Professional Directory is a statewide listing of member advocates who have committed to following the SPaN code of ethics and minimum requirements for annual professional development hours. This invaluable resource is offered at no cost to parents who are seeking an advocate. For more information and to access the professional directory, please go to; www.spanmass.org

Special Needs Law Group of MA, PC

UMass Medical School Shriver Center INDEX

INDEX provides information and referral for people with disabilities in Massachusetts. The Autism Insurance Resource Center is resource for consumers, providers, clinicians, employers, and educators on issues related to medical insurance for autism treatment.

Dana Royster-Buefort, M.Ed, C.A.G.S.

Book Signing
Visit our keynote speaker, Dana Royster-Buefort., and purchase her book. 

Joseph Moldover, PsyD. ABPP/cn

Presenter Resources
Visit with  Dr. Moldover, presenter of the "What are we Testing? Making Child and Adolescent Evaluation's Effective" workshop.

Christine "Cissy" White

Book Signing
Visit with Cissy White, presenter of the "Parenting is My Super Power & Self-Care is My Second Language" workshop to purchase her book.

Registration, Continental Breakfast, Exhibitors & Networking

08:00 AM 08:30 AM Foyer and Ballroom

Registration and Breakfast are located in the Foyer.
Networking and Exhibitors are located in the Ballroom.

Federation Welcome

08:30 AM 08:45 AM Ballroom


DESE Welcome

08:45 AM 09:00 AM Ballroom


Managing the Hearts and Souls of Many

09:00 AM 10:00 AM Ballroom

Dana has over 25 years of professional experience and is well versed in a wide variety of education and child advocacy areas including special education, adoption practices, student services, foster care, community resources, and program management. She is also an SESP!



10:00 AM 10:15 AM

Creating a Safe Environment and Promoting Educational Success in Childhood Trauma

10:15 AM 11:15 AM Salon A

This workshop will address the manifestations of childhood trauma on cognitive skills, sensory motor development, and behavioral responses. Descriptions of overall processing of sensory systems will be presented, along with examples of behaviors related to poor registration and integration of sensory information. Material presented will also focus on the effects of trauma on the executive functioning skills of a child. Key components of successful daily sensory regimes will be discussed including recommended strategies, modalities and tools as implemented into the educational program.


Tackling ACEs by Building Resilient Communities

10:15 AM 11:15 AM Princess Room

This presentation will review impact of early life adversities on health and developmental trajectory over the life course, as well as, outline the impact of adversity on brain development, social relationships and functioning. We will suggest models for building community capacity by using collective impact strategies and promote family and community protective factors and develop resilience of children who have faced adversity and to prevent future adversities.

1. To review the long-term impact of childhood adversity on health and development over the life course

2. To discuss the impact of childhood adversity on brain development in early childhood and how this affects social relationships and behaviors

3. To review trauma-informed strategies to address the needs of children exposed to trauma

4. To discuss collective impact strategies to create community capacity to prevent abuse and mitigate negative effects and build family and community-level protective factors


Transition age youth. Options and Obstacles

10:15 AM 11:15 AM Salon E

Updated Workshop Information: 

A look at strategies for navigating the transition planning process for families, students, and professionals. Presenters will discuss barriers and services to consider before the child reaches that magical age and how we can help set these children up for success. What is the role of the school district, and what transition supports are offered by DCF.

(Note:  Erica Sarro is  not available to attend due to unforeseen circumstances.)



11:15 AM 11:30 AM

What are we Testing? Making Child and Adolescent Evaluation's Effective

11:30 AM 12:30 PM Salon E

Obtaining an effective developmental evaluation is critical for navigating the special education and mental health systems. Too often, communication between evaluators, parents/caregivers, clinicians, and schools is hindered by differences in language and perspective, and these issues are frequently exacerbated by the complications of childhood trauma. This presentation will provide an overview of the evaluation process with an emphasis on understanding the role of trauma and post-traumatic symptoms, as well as discussing ways in which parents and caregivers may maximize the effectiveness of an evaluation in developing educational and clinical plans.


Community Schools: Identifying Needs, Effective Implementation and Sustainability

11:30 AM 12:30 PM Princess Room

Community Schools and Supports

l.  Communiity Schools:  Dr. Clair Crane

As a school principal for the past twenty five years and currently as director of the Community School Center at Salem State University, I have had the opportunity to work with parents, researchers, school administrators, teachers, and federal officials. I am going to share examples of excellent practices and ideas for starting and running a community school.
A community school will help give our children the high quality of education they deserve. Many years of research show that involving families and the community will contribute to our children’s academic and social success.
A successful community is where everyone belongs, works together, and thrives. The schools become centers and are open to everyone all day, every day, including evenings and weekends. Some examples of how they function are as follows: neighborhood meetings, crime watch meetings, tutoring–Saturdays and weekdays during the summers, safety classes by police/fire, etc., tax help services, and night school for GED-ESL and citizenship.

2.  Community-Based Collaboration: A Framework for Students & Families Support
Dudley Street School was founded through a partnership between BPE and Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI), a
cornerstone nonprofit community organization in Roxbury. School founders and leaders were intent on creating an excellent
neighborhood school that would provide a world-class education for all students, with an infrastructure and culture equipped to
address the academic, resource and social-emotional needs of students, particularly from low-income families, that can affect
classroom learning. From the beginning, Dudley Street School developed strong partnerships with social service providers such
as Project Hope, Children's Services of Roxbury, and The Home for Little Wanderers to mitigate the impact of economic poverty
on student learning.


Addressing the Cultural and Social Emotional Needs of Children in Foster Care

11:30 AM 12:30 PM Salon A

Coming Soon


Lunch, Exhibits, Networking, Book signing

12:30 PM 01:45 PM Ballroom

SESPP Welcome - Program Stats

01:45 PM 02:00 PM Ballroom



02:00 PM 02:15 PM

Every Student Succeed Act 2015 - Foster Care Provision Overview

02:15 PM 03:15 PM Salon E

According to the United States Department of Education, approximately 400,000 children and youth are in foster care system nationwide at any given time. A positive PK-12 education experience has the potential to be a powerful counterweight to the abuse, neglect, separation, impermanence and other barriers these vulnerable students experience. Additionally, participation in and persistence to a postsecondary credential can enhance their well-being, help them make more successful transitions to adulthood, and increase their chances for personal fulfillment and economic self-sufficiency. (U.S. DOE) National study suggests that only one third of foster care students received high school diploma in four years; twice likely to drop out and 2-3 times likely to repeat a grade. (Legal Center for Foster Care & Education) Foster children and youth face many barriers to succeed in school. School mobility is one of the major factors that impact education stability and success.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) 2015 under the Elementary and Secondary Act addresses the school success and stability for foster care students who may have been underserved. ESSA encourages LEAs to collaborate with child welfare agencies ensuring children in foster care achieve higher education outcome. This presentation, in response to the new policy focusing student success in foster care, will discuss the content of the policy with the highlights of the ESSA foster care provision.

This federal policy recommends several key elements for education agencies and child welfare agencies to implement once the law was signed in 2015. Many states are still in the process of crafting and planning the implementation. The presenter will provide an overview in how the federal policy being implemented in MA. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss and share about their experiences with the presenter. The learning and sharing discussion will allow participants to have a better sense of what works and what does not work during the planning and implementation process.


Parenting is My Super Power & Self-Care is My Second Language

02:15 PM 03:15 PM Princess Room

What is it like for an adult, abused as a child, to become a parent? What is it like for someone to balance parenting with post-traumatic stress? Repeatedly, the author asks, "How can I teach what I never learned, what I'm still learning while also parenting?"

Cissy shares how and why it is so hard to stay present, attached, available and attuned, and why it's crucial to both healing and parenting to do so. She'll share her journey to parenting, after trauma, and how learning about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) shifted her healing perspective and informed her parenting. She'll discuss the varied approaches that have (and do) support her healing and how to make concepts such as the brain's neuroplasticity a little less clinical and a lot more conversational.

The author speaks from a combination of personal and professional experiences as writer, mother, reporter, parent via adoption and trauma survivor. She cares about the daily ways in which developmental trauma impacts parents and how we work, love, parent and play day to day. Cissy will also read a few short excerpts from her published writing during her talk.


Recognizing and Responding To Risk for Psychotic Spectrum Illnesses

02:15 PM 03:15 PM Salon A

This training is devised to help clinicians and family members in identifying the early signs and symptoms (prodrome) of psychotic spectrum illnesses. We will explore psychotic spectrum illnesses as a whole and differential diagnostic classifications (e.g., Autism Spectrum disorder, ADHD, OCD, Substance Use and Trauma). We will also explore early intervention options and provide a better understanding of the first episode services that reduce the duration of untreated psychotic illnesses and potentially improve clinical outcomes and patient's lives.


Check-Out, Evaluations, Certificates, and CEUs

03:15 PM 03:30 PM Foyer