Virtual Expo Presenters and Moderators
Sessions at the 2020 CWVE featured national experts, child welfare agency staff and partners, family leaders, and youth in engaging presentations.
- Dennis Alford, Kansas Department for Children and Families
Dennis Alford coordinates quality assurance case reviews and continuous performance improvement activities at the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). As the state’s public child welfare agency, Kansas DCF is committed to achieving performance excellence and reaching the highest outcomes for children and families. Mr. Alford joined Kansas DCF in 2012 as a Child Protective Services social worker. He has served in several capacities at the agency, including as Kansas Interstate Compact for Placement of Children/Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance program manager, adoption program manager, and, most recently, foster care program manager. Mr. Alford’s work experience also includes 2 years with the Arkansas Department for Human Services.
- Kodi Baughman, Foster Care Alumni of America
Kodi Baughman is a Breakthrough Series collaborative facilitator, certified family team decision meeting facilitator, and a youth transition decision-making team facilitator for Children & Families of Iowa. He is a member of the Foster Care Alumni of America and a coleader of the National Policy Committee. He also is a former member of the National Foster Care & Alumni Policy Council, where he developed policy recommendations to change the child welfare system for foster youth across the nation. Mr. Baughman assists with Building a Better Future training while advocating for youth, parents, frontline workers, and foster parents to work more effectively together to create better outcomes for children and families. He is a member of Iowa Cultural Equity Alliance and Community Partnership for Protecting Children and has worked extensively with the Youth Policy Institute to elevate the youth voice across multiple systems. Mr. Baughman holds an associate’s of science degree from Des Moines Area Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Upper Iowa University.
- Dee Bonnick, Capacity Building Center for States
Dee Bonnick has been a national family consultant with the Capacity Building Center for States (the Center) since 2015. Some of her work at the Center includes coleading the development of the Family Empowerment and Leadership Academy curriculum; serving as a subject matter expert for the Quality Contact product suite; serving as a consultant in tailored services delivery in New Mexico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Rhode Island, and California to support the implementation of family engagement infrastructures; and serving as the lead of the Family Leaders in Child Welfare Constituency Group. She has both lived and professional experience in child welfare that spans most of her life. Ms. Bonnick has had direct experience with her local child welfare agency when seeking support and resources for her mentally challenged son. From that experience, she has gone on to become a parent consultant in child welfare in her home state of Connecticut, a role she has held for over 10 years. In the past, Ms. Bonnick worked as a family advocacy specialist supervisor for a statewide nonprofit organization for children’s behavioral health. She has worked on numerous projects to improve family engagement and continues to champion equity and social justice in marginalized communities. Currently, Ms. Bonnick is an education consultant with Connecticut State Department of Education, where she specializes in special education advocacy for youth who are under the guardianship of Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families. She has an extensive background in the fields of mental and behavioral health as well as macrolevel systems change work. Ms. Bonnick holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Southern Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in social work from New York University.
- Lynn Bullard, Van Buren County Court, Michigan
- Kathryn Conroy, Kenworthy-Swift Foundation
Kathryn Conroy (D.S.W.) is the Executive Director of the Kenworthy-Swift Foundation, which awards grants in support of clinical and mental health for children and youth in the New York tristate area. Most recently, Dr. Conroy was the Executive Director and CEO of the international operating charity Help For Children: Preventing and Treating Child Abuse. Before her work leading foundations and charities, Dr. Conroy was the Assistant Dean and Director of Field Education at Columbia University School of Social Work. As she used to tell her students, before that she had real jobs in social work serving battered women and abused children.
- Andrew Crawford, Virginia Department of Social Services
Andrew (Andy) Crawford is the Director of Bedford County Department of Social Services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has over 26 years of experience in both the local government and nonprofit arenas. Mr. Crawford holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Radford University and is licensed by the Virginia Department of Health Professions as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He currently serves as the President of the Virginia League of Social Services Executives. Mr. Crawford is very active in his community and has successfully used the art of collaboration to benefit his community’s children and families. Locally, he is a cofacilitator for the Bedford Area Resource Council and a board member for Horizon Behavioral Health, Lake Christian Ministries, and the Bedford Chamber of Commerce.
- Amanda Cruce, Capacity Building Center for States
Amanda Cruce serves as a consultant at the Capacity Building Center for States. She is also an active member of the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership and the Youth Law Center Quality Parenting Initiative, where she has presented on the importance of building strong partnerships between birth parents and foster parents. At the national level, Ms. Cruce has been involved in the areas of family empowerment; the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, P.L.113–183 (normalcy); and LGBTQ rights. Ms. Cruce holds a wealth of child welfare experience, focusing on encouraging communication and counseling families through difficult periods. She also understands the importance of educating others, particularly in the practices and program implementation strategies that affect youth and families throughout the country, and works at the local, state, and national levels to ensure that parent voices and partnerships are at the center of state plans and that all parties are at the table. Ms. Cruce and her wife Deena have been fostering and adopting for the last 8 years in Gainesville, FL. During this time, they have focused on caring and advocating for youth who identify as LGBTQ so they feel secure and empowered.
- Michael Cull, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Mike Cull (Ph.D., M.S.N.) is currently Policy Fellow at Chapin Hall at The University of Chicago. He served as Deputy Commissioner overseeing the Office of Child Health for Tennessee's Department of Children's Services. He also holds a part-time faculty appointment with Vanderbilt University, where he teaches Health Policy in the Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate program. He has a strong clinical background working with vulnerable populations and extensive experience with organizational evaluation and improvement in healthcare and the human services.
- Paul DiLorenzo, Capacity Building Center for States
Paul DiLorenzo, (A.C.S.W., M.L.S.P.) has spent the past 40 years of his professional career in child welfare and youth development settings. After beginning his career as a caseworker and leading a large private provider agency, Mr. DiLorenzo was an administrator in state and city government roles in Pennsylvania. He led nonprofit agencies, was the director of the Children’s Division at the American Humane Association, and worked as a project manager on national technical assistance projects as a consultant. Mr. DiLorenzo spent 13 years at Casey Family Programs, where he led several family-support and strengthening projects. Currently, he is serving as the interim Executive Director of the Philadelphia’s Children’s Alliance and is on the National Authority Team for the Capacity Building Center for States. He also has continued to serve as a project consultant for Casey Family Programs. Mr. DiLorenzo is an adjunct faculty member at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, has published extensively, and has delivered many speaking engagements and keynote messages.
- Pebbles Edelman, Partnership for Strong Families
Pebbles Edelman is Senior Vice President of Clinical and Community Services for Partnership for Strong Families (PSF). She has served in that role since 2009 and is responsible for the oversight and development of all clinical and family preservation programs in PSF’s system of care, as well as provider and community relations. Ms. Edelman’s responsibilities also include overseeing a multimillion dollar services budget; ensuring children and families are receiving quality services and achieving desired outcomes; enhancing PSF’s collaborative relationships with service providers and partners; and overseeing and developing quality prevention programs, including PSF’s network of resource centers and a $2.5 million federal grant to evaluate and expand its Resource Center Model. Prior to joining PSF in 2004, Ms. Edelman served as Clinical Program Director at Meridian Behavioral Healthcare. Casey Family Programs has requested that Ms. Edelman serve as a presenter and group facilitator in multiple communities nationwide seeking to replicate the Resource Center Model. Ms. Edelman holds a master’s degree and a specialist’s degree in counselor education with a focus on marriage and family therapy from the University of Florida. She has been a licensed mental health counselor since 1997.
- Judge Trent Favre, Hancock County Youth Court, Mississippi
Judge Favre was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant in late 2017 to serve as Hancock County’s first County Court Judge. He presides over youth court matters including abuse, neglect, and delinquency matters. He also oversees a general civil litigation docket. Prior to his appointment, Judge Favre practiced law for 19 years, focusing primarily on civil litigation and governmental law. Judge Favre graduated from Millsaps College in 1996 and the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1999, where he was a member of the Mississippi Law Journal and Moot Court Board. He graduated from Hancock Leadership in 2009, Leadership Mississippi in 2010, and the Gulf Coast Business Counsel Master’s Program in 2011. Judge Favre has served as a board member for various organizations, including United Way of South Mississippi, Hancock Chamber, and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, which he chaired. In 2011, he was named one of Hancock County’s Top 10 Outstanding Citizens, and in 2013, he was recognized by The Sun Herald as a Top 10 Under 40 and as a Mississippi Business Journal Top 40 Under 40. In 2019, Judge Favre was named Mississippi’s 2019 Champion for Children for the judicial branch and the Child Welfare and Child Advocacy Committee of the Mississippi Bar recognized him as a Reunification Hero for the State of Mississippi. At the National Judicial Summit in 2019, Dr. Jerry Milner recognized Judge Favre in his opening address for his work. He currently serves on Mississippi’s Court Improvement Team. Most recently, Judge Favre was named the recipient of the Mississippi Bar’s Judicial Excellence Award. When Judge Favre took the bench in January 2018, there were 389 children in custody in Hancock County. As of July 20, 2020, there are 72 children in custody.
- Candace Fleming, Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development
Candace M. Fleming (Ph.D.) (Kickapoo/Oneida/Cherokee) is an associate professor in the Colorado School of Public Health, Department of Community and Behavioral Health, and the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1979 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Fleming has devoted her career to Native American populations. Her interests are in the areas of individual, family, and community resiliency and the use of culture and history in restoring balance within the Native community. Dr. Fleming’s work has focused on building and evaluating effective systems of care in mental health and substance use. She has advocated for building effective collaborations with other sectors (child welfare, childcare, education, courts, etc.) that are key to nation-building and the provision of holistic services for families. In the past decade, suicide prevention and early identification of youth at risk for self-harm has been a central focus. Dr. Fleming serves in the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center (RMPHTC) as a liaison to health systems that serve Native populations in the region served by the RMPHTC.
- Amelia Franck Meyer, Alia
Amelia Franck Meyer, (Ed.D.,) is the founder and CEO of the national nonprofit organization Alia. Alia is building a proof of concept for the idea that public child welfare agencies can serve as primary prevention agencies that focus on keeping children safe with—not from—their families. Team Alia has expertise in workforce well-being, leadership supports, and permanency, as well as in building prevention systems that keep children safe with their families, building empathy and trauma-informed care into child welfare practices, and using human-centered design to codesign innovative systems change with families and communities. Dr. Franck Meyer has over 30 years of experience as an innovator in child welfare and was named as one of People Magazine’s “25 Women Changing the World” in 2018. She has a TEDx Talk, “The Human Need for Belonging,” which has been viewed more than 50,000 times, and she has the distinguished honor of being named a Bush Fellow and an Ashoka Fellow. Dr. Franck Meyer and Team Alia are passionate about a national movement to create a child welfare system where all people can thrive. Alia works with child welfare leaders who are innovators and early adapters in jurisdictions around the country and the globe to create transformational change.
- Robert Friend, National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness, Seneca Family of Agencies
Robert Friend, (L.C.S.W.) is the Director of the National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness at Seneca Family of Agencies. Mr. Friend is also the cochair of the Permanency Committee of the California Child Welfare Council and has previously cochaired or participated in several statewide initiatives that promoted system change, permanency for young people, and greater access and inclusion for families and connections. Mr. Friend trains, coaches, and consults nationally to positively impact individuals, agencies, and system change efforts that promote belonging and connectedness for children and youth in foster care. He has a master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University. Mr. Friend is a licensed clinical social worker in California and has worked for 40 years in public and private child welfare.
- Michaela Guthrie, Capacity Building Center for States
Michaela Guthrie is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from The University of Alabama and is a licensed professional social worker. Ms. Guthrie is now the program executive for Crossroads Foster Care and Adoption Program with Christian City, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, where she developed and launched the program in February 2018. In addition to her work directing this program, Ms. Guthrie is a Young Adult Consultant with the Capacity Building Center for States, where she uses her lived and professional experience to help shape state child welfare agencies. Ms. Guthrie has experience in serving survivors of sexual exploitation, sexual assault, rape, and dating/domestic violence; working with juvenile sex offenders; and serving as a family visitation supervisor. She also has participated in many panel discussions and leads trainings on child-welfare related topics.
- Marina Havan, District of Columbia, Child and Family Services Agency
Marina Havan is the Chief Information Officer for Washington DC’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), which is responsible for the safety of children in the District of Columbia. Ms. Havan establishes the information technology (IT) strategy and manages the IT infrastructure for the agency. She has over 25 years of IT experience in private and public sectors in the United States and internationally. Ms. Havan was the chief information officer in charge of implementing the Affordable Care Act for the District of Columbia in 2013. She has been with CFSA for almost 2 years and is managing the implementation of a new Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System for the District of Columbia.
- Jasmine Hayes, Capacity Building Center for States
Jasmine Hayes joined ICF in 2020 as the Executive Director of the Capacity Building Center for States (Center), which works to support state child welfare agencies in effectively initiating and sustaining change and innovation to achieve improved system, organizational, and program performance. Responsible for providing visionary and strategic direction for the Center, Ms. Hayes oversees the design, delivery, and evaluation of capacity building activities. Ms. Hayes has spent more than 20 years working to improve outcomes in the human services sector, including over 10 years at the District of Columbia’s child welfare agency, where she led efforts related to planning, policy, quality improvement, and resource development. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Hayes served as Deputy Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, where she oversaw the policy team and led implementation of the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. She has demonstrated experience in program and policy planning at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as in development and implementation, evaluation, and change management. Driven by her belief in the dignity and worth of every individual, Ms. Hayes is committed to improving safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes for children, youth, and families. Ms. Hayes has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto.
- Elliott Hinkle, Capacity Building Center for States
Elliott Hinkle is an alumnus of the Wyoming foster care system and an advocate for child welfare, mental health, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) population. Since 2011, he has been contributing to work for the National Youth in Transition Database and the Young Adult Training and Technical Assistance Network, and he currently continues this work with JBS International. Mr. Hinkle, a Daniels Fund Scholar and Ambassador, graduated from Portland State University in June of 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies with a minor in sexuality, gender, and queer studies. While completing his B.A., Mr. Hinkle worked as a coach for the Regional Research Institute at Portland State University on the Better Futures Project. He currently works as a consultant for the Capacity Building Center for States and JBS International and is an Independent Living program Life Skills and My Life coach for PDX-Connect and an LGBTQ specialist at New Avenues for Youth in Portland, Oregon. Most recently, Mr. Hinkle was appointed as a commissioner to the Oregon Governor’s Child Foster Care Advisory Commission.
- Michael Huesca, Capacity Building Center for States
Michael Huesca is recognized as an advocate for children, fathers, parents, grandparents, LGBTQ individuals, and victims of domestic violence. He is nationally known as a specialist in father engagement and domestic violence and as a subject matter expert in child welfare. His advocacy work in the juvenile dependency system has earned him honors from the American Bar Association (Reunification Hero 2016), Casey Family Programs (Casey Excellence for Children 2017), Fathers and Families Coalition of America (Father of the Year 2019), and Child Welfare League of America (100 Champions for Children awardee 2020). At the national level, Mr. Huesca is a facility coach for the Fatherhood Breakthrough series with Mathematica Research, a consultant for the Capacity Building Center for States, and a member of the Birth Parent Advisory Committee and the Birth Parent National Network. At the state level, Mr. Huesca is an active member of the California Child Welfare Council Prevention Committee and on the board of directors of United Advocates for Children and Families. In his local community, he is a leader working on elevating the parent voice in child welfare and domestic violence prevention.
- Sharafdeen Ibraheem, District of Columbia, Child and Family Services Agency
Sharafdeen Ibraheem is a program manager in the Community Partnerships Administration at the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) in Washington, DC. He has over 20 years of experience both in child welfare and human services in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Prior to joining CFSA in April 2020, he served as the Deputy Director at the East River Family Strengthening Collaborative (ERFSC) for 4 years. There he played a pivotal role in developing the organization’s regulations and policies, researching best practices in the case management continuum, and providing grant and budget oversight, as well as in human resources management, data collection, and evaluation activities. Before joining ERFSC, Mr. Ibraheem worked in several different sectors. He started out at the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) in Maryland, where he served as the Director of Adolescent Services overseeing and supporting foster care placements, youth aging out of child welfare, and therapeutic and behavioral services for adjudicated youth. After his tenure at NCCF, Mr. Ibraheem worked at the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council and assisted in developing the research provisions, practice standards, training, and data and evaluation of the citywide Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaboratives.
- Julia Jean-Francois, Center for Family Life
Julia Jean-François (L.C.S.W., Ph.D.) oversees the Center for Family Life's family counseling and foster care programs, community resource center, employment services, and cooperative business development. Before joining the Center for Family Life in 2003, she was Director of Operations at the Puerto Rican Family Institute. Dr. Jean-Francois has extensive experience in child welfare and mental health services. She teaches research methods and ethnocultural methods in social work practice at the New York University School of Social Work and Rutgers School of Social Work and has taught statistics and sociology at the University of the People. She received her M.S.W. from New York University and Ph.D. from the Columbia University School of Social Work.
- Lindsay Laird, Arnall Family Foundation
Lindsay Laird serves as Vice President of Programs at the Arnall Family Foundation, where she is responsible for developing engagement strategies, building partnerships and overseeing project implementation. The foundation works to empower community partners to create lasting, transformative change through strategic investments and innovative partnerships in the foster care and criminal justice systems. Since its formation in 2015, the foundation has invested over $10 million in Oklahoma programs and systems that improve the lives of children and families involved in the child welfare system. Ms. Laird has led innovative child welfare partnerships, including a $1 million transportation innovation grant aimed at using technology and mobility management to improve parent-child reunification by removing transportation as a barrier to service completion. She also worked with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to complete the state’s first Pay for Success contract for preventative child welfare services. Prior to joining the foundation, Ms. Laird served as Vice President of Saxum, an integrated marketing communications agency based in Oklahoma City. She has a master’s degree from West Virginia University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma. In 2014, Ms. Laird was listed in the OKCBiz Achievers Under 40 and is a graduate of Linking Oklahoma City’s Young Adult Leaders Class IV. She serves on the board of directors for ReMerge, a comprehensive female diversion program, as well as the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness Foundation. In 2018, Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat appointed Ms. Laird to the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.
- Emily Lopez, Graham Windham – O.U.R. Place (Organizing to be United and Resilient)
Emily Lopez (M.S.W.) is the Director of O.U.R. Place, one of three Administration for Children’s Services family enrichment center demonstration projects. O.U.R. Place serves the Hunts Point and Longwood areas of the Bronx, and the community greatly benefits from the supportive services provided by this primary prevention model in helping to reduce child maltreatment before it occurs and minimize child welfare system involvement. Ms. Lopez has an extensive background in community organizing and program development. She leads this work in an inclusive manner and has been a strong community leader and administrator.
- Jacqueline Martin, New York City Administration for Children’s Services
Jacqueline Martin (Ph.D.) has been dedicated to improving the child welfare system in New York City for over 25 years. She currently is the Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Prevention Services at the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). In this capacity she promotes a best practice and policy agenda through collaborative work with ACS and prevention services providers. From 2014 to 2019, Dr. Martin chaired the Racial Equity and Cultural Competence Committee, which has a mission to promote racial equity and social justice throughout the ACS, child welfare, juvenile justice, and the early-care system in New York City. Before joining ACS in 2001, she was the director of Child Welfare Service Programs at a nonprofit agency in the South Bronx. Dr. Martin holds a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College and a doctorate in strategic leadership with a focus on servant leadership from Regent University.
- Patricia Medlock, Florida Department of Children and Families
Patricia Medlock was appointed Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare of the Florida Department of Children and Families in May 2019. With more than two decades of social service experience, Ms. Medlock leads with integrity, personal and collegial accountability, and a commitment to excellence. Ms. Medlock joined the department in 1998 as a family services counselor in the northeast region. She also has held several other positions in the department, including protective investigator, supervisor, trainer, reviewer, program manager, program administrator, family and community services director, and for the last 3 years, region managing director. In May 2011, Ms. Medlock was the recipient of the Child Welfare Award for Transitional Trauma Therapist Program Development with Community-Based Care. She also has received the Fourth Circuit Leadership Award for Phase 2 Foster Care Redesign (2010), the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families’ Performance of Excellence Award (2005), and the Young Professionals of Jacksonville Award from the Jacksonville Business Journal (2005). She graduated from the Child Welfare Leadership Program in 2006. Ms. Medlock holds a bachelor’s of science in psychology and criminal justice from Western Carolina University.
- Jerry Milner, Children’s Bureau
Jerry Milner is the Associate Commissioner at the Children’s Bureau and the Acting Associate Commissioner at the Family and Youth Services Bureau. Dr. Milner began his career as a case-carrying social worker in Alabama, served as the Alabama child welfare agency director, and previously worked for the Children’s Bureau designing and implementing the Child and Family Services Review. Immediately before his current appointment, he served as Vice President for Child Welfare Practice at the Center for the Support of Families.