2023 SVN Annual Conference Speakers and Workshops 

Plenary Speakers

Ana Estevez
Ms. Estevez was involved in a "contentious" divorce in April 2016, trying to protect her son Piqui due to threats made by her ex-husband. She begged the court for supervised visits. All of her requests were denied. Piqui, her son, subsequently was brutally murdered by his father. Ever since, from DC to Sacramento, Ana has triumphantly spread awareness about child safety and the need for systemic changes in family court and child protective services. In 2019, Ana received the prestigious California Woman of the Year Award! She has appeared on the Dr. Phil show and Good Day LA to continue her mission. In 2018, the California Legislature has passed a resolution, "Piqui's Resolution", aimed at changing child custody laws and family court procedures to better protect children caught up in the cross-hairs of a volatile custody battle.

Read More about her story HERE

 

Hera McLeod
Hera McLeod is a Washington, DC-based writer, speaker, and civil rights activist. She is known for speaking out against the silence, particularly on the topics of civil rights for women and children, domestic violence, and Family Court reform. She was a 2017 Jack Straw Writing Fellow and has published OpEd pieces in The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and The New York Times. Hera has made several television appearances including The Today Show, The Tony Danza Show, Crime Watch Daily, and DC news affiliates for CBS, ABC, and Fox. In addition to television appearances, Hera has also testified before the United States Congress on the topics of civil rights and the protection of children. Hera is also a co-host on The Mocha Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) Podcast.  Read Hera's Story...

 

Dr. Donna M. Beegle
Dr. Donna M. Beegle inspires and educates individuals, organizations, politicians, and entire communities with proven models to better outcomes for people in poverty. Born into a migrant-labor family and married at 15, Dr. Beegle is the only member of her family who has not been incarcerated. By age 25, she earned her GED and then, within 10 years, received her doctorate in Educational Leadership. She is an authentic voice from poverty that speaks, writes, and trains across the nation to break the iron cage of poverty for others through services provided by her company, Communication Across Barriers (CAB). Since 1989, she has traveled throughout hundreds of cities in all 50 states and four countries to assist professionals with proven strategies for breaking poverty barriers. State agencies, politicians, and other organizations have partnered with her to implement community-wide approaches to improving outcomes for citizens in poverty.

Dr. Beegle’s inspiring story of moving from 28 years of homelessness to achieving a doctorate and her groundbreaking work assisting people to move out and stay out of poverty has been featured on the internet, in newspapers, and on television around the nation. She is presently completing a PBS documentary with award-winning producer, George Rivera, and was featured on CNN in The Other America segment. Dr. Beegle has received numerous awards (i.e. National Speaker of the year for the New Mexico Bar Foundation and the Oregon Ethics in Business award). In 2013, Dr. Beegle was named Woman of Influence by the Portland Business Journal and received the Orchid Award which honors women who are compelling, affect change, and represent their positions with strength, wisdom, and grace. Just recently, Dr. Beegle was named a prestigious Woodrow Wilson Princeton Fellow through their Office of Governmental Relations.

Stephanie Tabashneck, PSYD, ESQ
Dr. Stephanie Tabashneck is a forensic psychologist and attorney. She is a Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience at the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior at Harvard Law School. She specializes in Category E child custody evaluations, substance use issues, forensic evaluations, and expert testimony. Dr. Tabashneck is licensed to practice psychology in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and New Hampshire and licensed to practice law in Massachusetts.

Dr. Tabashneck regularly presents regionally and nationally on psychology and law topics, including at events organized by the Federal Judicial Center, the Massachusetts Trial Courts, the New York Office of Attorneys for Children, the American Bar Association, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Tabashneck is on the board of directors of the Massachusetts chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the continuing education committee of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and a past council member of the American Bar Association, Family Law Section. Dr. Tabashneck is the editor of the book Substance Use and Parenting: Best Practices for Family Court Practitioners.


Workshops 

Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence in the Visit Room:

Key Considerations for Safety and Healing
Muna  Heaven, JD
Samantha  Alvarez Benowitz, LCSW
The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Children of families impacted by domestic violence are often involved in multiple systems.  In New York City, these families may fall under the jurisdiction of the Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) court, a specialized court within the criminal court system. The children in these families are involved in criminal cases where traumatic acts of violence have occurred, and their parents are often barred from contact with each other.  The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), has created physically safe spaces for these families to visit with each other and has developed a structured and therapeutic support program that allows families to begin the process of healing. 

Muna Heaven, Esq., is the Assistant Executive Director/Legal Counsel for the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. She has 16 years of experience in litigation of child abuse, neglect, and maltreatment cases, and significant expertise in tracking, investigating, and analyzing child welfare cases, from initial reporting to disposition. She is a meticulous professional, a charismatic leader, and a culturally astute presence.  Ms. Heaven is trilingual (Spanish, French and English) and received a Bachelor of Common Law / Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University and B.S. in Biology and B.A. in French Language and Culture from Pennsylvania State University. As a dynamic attorney with a passion and proven commitment to providing advocacy and justice for abused and neglected children, Ms. Heaven seeks to add value to the NYSPCC by contributing robust, multi-faceted support in her told Assistant Executive Director/Legal Counsel. 

Samantha Alvarez Benowitz, LCSW is the Director of Clinical Services at The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYPCC).  Ms. Alvarez Benowitz has close to 20 years of experience working with underserved children and families in New York City and Philadelphia.  Prior to her work at The NYSPCC, Ms. Alvarez Benowitz was the Senior Director of Mental Health and Anti-Human Trafficking at Covenant House New York, the largest youth shelter in New York City, and held clinical and managerial roles at Good Shepherd Services, a foster care agency based in New York City.  Ms. Alvarez Benowitz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Boston College and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.      

 

Effectively Engaging Fathers in the Child Welfare System & Supervised Visits
James Worthy, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse 
Eugene Schneeberg, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse 

This interactive workshop will highlight NEW resources and best practices for successfully engaging, recruiting, and serving fathers. The resources and products were created to uniquely assist fathers and families in this post-COVID era. We believe that intentionally serving fathers to address their personal and family needs in a holistic and nurturing format, builds fathers that succeed as parents. These practices and strategies come from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse which is a federally funded resource under the US Department of Health & Human Services focused on serving fathers, families, and practitioners. Participants attending this session will walk away with a greater understanding of how to effectively engage fathers in their work; increase their understanding of why fatherhood/male involvement is so important to children, and explain how the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse can help with local/regional fatherhood programs.

Mr. James Worthy is National Consultant, Family Advocate, Business Developer, and Trainer. Over the past nearly 3 decades he has provided or managed direct services to almost 10,000 of Baltimore’s most disenfranchised residents and provided training to nearly 8000 Human Services Practitioners Nationwide. At current James is providing Training and Technical Assistance to Organizations Nationwide in the fields of Responsible Fatherhood, Family Strengthen and Workforce Development. He also serves as a Community Outreach Consultant for the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. As an independent consultant, he contributes his talents and expertise to support the efforts of service organizations both public and private. James’ proudest accomplishment is his incredible family, his wife D’Lisa, and his three sons, Jaylen, Donovan & Amari.

Mr. Eugene Schneeberg oversees ICF’s outreach and engagement efforts as part of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. He also provides subject matter expertise to ICF’s Healthy Marriage & Responsible Fatherhood portfolio. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the criminal and juvenile justice arena. Prior to joining ICF, Mr. Schneeberg served as a Presidential Appointee as the Director of the Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships for the U.S. Department of Justice. In this capacity, Eugene coordinated between the White House and the Department of Justice's efforts to outreach and partner with faith-based and other non-profit organizations around the country.  During his time at the Justice Department, he was responsible for launching over $20 Million in new OJJDP programs to support Prisoner Reentry, Children of Incarcerated Parents, Youth Opportunity AmeriCorps, and Strengthening Relationships Between Young Fathers and their Children. Prior to serving at the Justice Department, he worked as the Director of Operations for Straight Ahead Ministries, a national faith-based juvenile justice non-profit in Greater Boston. He received his undergraduate degree in Urban Affairs from Boston University. Eugene was raised in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and is married to his wife Deitra. They have three sons Eugene Jr., Elijah, and Franklin, and one daughter, Genesis.

 

Self-regulation and De-Escalation Tactics in Supervised Visitation
Sheila Morris, CVIC
Amber Paulson, CVIC

We’ve all had it. A client starts to yell, hits on one of your trigger points, and you see red. Amazingly, there is a scientific reason for this! Your “lid is flipped” and your brain literally cannot access higher brain function. The amygdala has taken over and the ability to have a rational conversation with the yelling client is next to impossible.  Recognizing the problem is the first step to fixing it. In this workshop, we will discuss how to self-regulate when things get heated and how to de-escalate the situation in the moment. 

Sheila Morris is the Vice President of Advocacy Services at the Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  Sheila has worked for the past twenty-one years in the supervised visitation/exchange and advocacy fields.  Sheila also spent one year working as a group facilitator for batterer’s intervention educational classes.  Sheila’s prior experience working with families includes working in the fields of child protection and law enforcement.  Sheila has provided technical assistance to many other visitation and exchange centers throughout her career.  She previously served on the statewide Supervised Parenting Time Network, the Kids First Advisory Committee, the Grand Forks Domestic Violence Task Force, and the Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative.  She serves on the SVN Board of Directors and is co-chairing the governance and nominations committees.  Sheila lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota with her partner of fifteen years and her son.  Sheila is committed to having a deep and lasting involvement on the local, state, and national levels, advocating for families using supervised visitation and exchange and for the programs serving these families.  

Amber Paulson graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is the Director of Supervised Visitation and Exchange at the Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks, ND. 

 

 

R.E.P.O.R.T: Best Practices for Professionals Responding to Child Abuse
Lana Ahrens, LMSW, Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

As a child-serving professional, it's not a question of IF you will encounter a child abuse situation but rather WHEN.  This training is the result of collaboration with the Dallas County District Attorney's Office, DCAC Chief of Investigations, and DCAC Director of Training, offering practical guidance for professionals on how to best work with investigative parties in a way that protects the investigation, the organization, and most importantly, the child.  Participants will leave with a robust reporting protocol and guidance for navigating these situations-- before it is a problem.

Lana Ahrens joined the staff of Dallas Children’s Advocacy in February 2019 and serves as Director of Training and Community Outreach. Since joining DCAC, Lana has trained thousands of people in how to recognize and report child abuse, the best child protection policies for campuses, and how to keep children safe in a real and virtual world. Prior to her role at DCAC, she worked for Child Protective Services for over 13 years. She served as a caseworker, supervisor, and trainer at CPS. She has been a  Licensed Master Social Worker since 2009. 

 

When Helping Hurts: 
Vicarious Trauma And Self-Care
Dr. Elizabeth Vermilyea, Child Parent Institute

Working in the Child Welfare system is uniquely challenging. We are tasked to help, to understand, advocate, and to support families at critical junctures when they have experienced or caused incredible trauma. This session engages participants in the process of acknowledging the pain and growth of such work by exploring the impact of the work on the helper and how we cope. We will dig into the complexity of the work and its effect on helpers addressing our strong reactions and how to use them to strengthen the work with clients. We will address traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth and the parallel process that occurs through helping others in their most desperate times of need.

Elizabeth Vermilyea, Ph.D., has been working exclusively with trauma survivors and the people who advocate for them since 1991. She is the Deputy Director of the Child Parent Institute, and an independent consultant specializing in traumatic stress consultation, training, and program development.  Dr. Vermilyea creates and delivers customized traumatic stress education programs and consultation to a broad range of professional, paraprofessional, and public audiences, including caregivers and frontline service providers in child and adult mental health, public and private school systems, sexual assault, and domestic violence settings, providers working with the homeless, corrections, developmental disabilities agencies, crime victim assistance agencies, and substance abuse programs across the U.S. and in Canada. She provides substantive, interactive workshops on symptom management, compassion fatigue/vicarious traumatization, trauma-informed care, trauma-informed leadership, ethics, self-injury, trauma & addiction, and addressing trauma in medical settings. Elizabeth is the author of Growing Beyond Survival: A Self-help Toolkit for Addressing Symptoms of Traumatic Stress and co-author of Risking Connection in Faith Communities: A Training Curriculum for Faith Leaders Supporting Trauma Survivors.

 

Creating Safer Spaces Within Supervised Parenting Where All Sexual Orientations And Gender Identities Are Affirmed
Valya Roberts, Dalhousie Place

Supervised Visitation and Access Centre’s need to create safe spaces so that all sexual orientations and gender identities are affirmed. Exploring both quantitative and qualitative data, we will explore what is needed to ensure the rights and needs of all families are met. What does it take to be an ALLY in the LGBTQQIP2SAA community? What about the 2 spirited people of the First Nations? Society is changing and our Supervised Parenting Time Centre’s should commit to social justice and be educated and aware of all cultures and communities. Upon completion of this workshop, participants will have an increased understanding of the the LGBTQQIP2SAA  community and become more aware of the various forms of phobias. Moreover, participants will learn from other Access Centre’s what they can do to be safer and more supportive of all families. Sharing experiences and lessons learned is key to developing an understanding of the needs of all communities and cultures using Supervised Visitation. 

A dynamic and creative Senior Manager with a 30-year proven track record of success in the Non-Profit Community Service Sector. Past Chair for the Research Ethics Board Mohawk College. Past President of the Supervised Visitation Network, current Chair of the Ontario Supervised Visitation Network. Current Executive Director of a Social Services agency. Former Professor of Human Services at Mohawk College. Provided consultation and expertise to several organizations including; the Ministry of the Attorney General; the U.S. Justice Department (VAWO); Safe Havens National Review Committee. Completed program reviews, grant reviews, and training in both Canada and the United States including First Nations/Aboriginal groups. 

 

FCT and Reunification: Providing Hope and a Plan
Stephanie  Glickman, LCSW
Lindsey Morgan, QP, BS
Family Centered Treatment Foundation

Family Centered Treatment (FCT) is an evidence-based and well-supported trauma treatment model of home-based family therapy. FCT is one of few home-based treatment models with extensive experience with families and youth who move between child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems. It is effective in working with families with experiences of multiple primary and complex trauma types inclusive of families with the effects of multiple placements including adoption disruption and recurring out-of-home placements. Through years of experience and refinement, FCT has developed a unique reunification plan. This presentation covers our process for a successful reunion of youth placed out-of-home, the components of successful reunion from out-of-home placement, the typical barriers with practical tools to overcome them, and the process to engage all involved caregivers in the process, specifically aiming for active involvement and collaboration with the biological parents. 

Stephanie Glickman, LCSW is the Clinical Director for the Family Centered Treatment Foundation with 16 years of direct involvement with FCT.  She has experience working with a wide variety of populations, has extensive training in leadership development, and frequently presents at local and national conferences. She received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Northeastern University and her Master's in Social Work from Simmons University. She additionally has been an LCSW Clinical Supervisor for over 10 years and an affiliate Graduate Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte School of Social Work.  

 

Lindsey Morgan, QP, BS is a Program Consultation Director for the Family Centered Treatment Foundation. Lindsey is a native of North Carolina. Where she has over 14 years of experience working in the mental health field with a variety of populations, she specializes in working with children with Autism and has extensive knowledge in trauma and Family Centered Treatment. Lindsey also has her own business called SpeakLifeCLT where she utilizes her knowledge and skills to train foster parents, social workers, school resources officers, teachers, and other mental health workers. Lindsey holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Brevard College in Exercise Kinesiology and tries to incorporate experiential activities into her training.

 

The Intersection of Technology in Domestic Violence and Family Law Cases 
Steven Bradley, Our Family Wizard

During this presentation, we will explore many facets of technology including the risks associated with Social Media, location-based services, call and text spoofing, online dating, tracking software, and more; all of which are used on a daily basis.  The attendees will not only see demonstrations as to how individuals are being “cyber-stalked” but how vulnerable we all can be while operating in an online space.    The class will begin with a quick overview of why we need to learn how to work with technology as legal professionals.  It will continue with a reminder of both criminal and civil legal statutes that can apply to these acts.  The attendees will then explore common ways why their attorney-client privilege may not be as secure as they think and be shown ways that the co-party or an offender may be able to access their client files.  This will take the discussion into the act of “Spoofing”.  The class is shown a live demonstration as to how this is done and will learn how they can work with their clients or the judge in order to authenticate the calls or texts are valid or not. The conversation will then turn toward devices such as Bluetooth and will be shown the common ways these devices are hacked and how to prevent themselves from being a victim of such hacks.  Then as a group, we will explore the realm of Social Media, and the effects that it can have on a case. Attendees will learn simple techniques to be able to validate and use social media posts and messages in their cases.  Being that Social media is the number one activity online today, there is a very good chance that some form of social media will show up in part of their case.   The class will end with evidence-collection strategies and some legal case law discussions on how technology is being interpreted and ruled on by current judges. 

With an extensive law enforcement career focusing on investigating crimes against persons, specializing in sex crimes, child abuse, domestic violence, and crimes against the elderly, Steven Bradley was recruited by the FBI to investigate technology and cyber-related crimes. After graduating from the FBI Academy with honors, he began combating many types of technology crimes including child pornography, cyberstalking, financial exploitation, and apprehending child predators. Later in his career, Steve began working with State Coalitions, and local domestic violence/sexual assault centers on bridging the gaps between law enforcement and community partners to better support survivors and victims.  It was there, that Steven led many group discussions and training on proper investigative techniques and working together for offender accountability.  Now as part of the Our Family Wizard professional team, Steven further promotes the empowerment and healthy communication between separated and divorced parents via technology.  Steven is nationally recognized as an expert on law enforcement’s response to intimate partner violence, technology forensics, and stalking/cyberstalking. As an International Trainer for 25 years, Steven is known for his real-world practical education and has provided training throughout the globe on many related topics.  

 

This Is Your (Insert Anything You Want To Ruin) on Drugs
Trevor Johnson, Ottawa County Drug Abuse Response Team
Tami Matthews, Joyful Connections

"Addiction occurs when someone repeatedly uses the drug, and the brain shifts to craving the substance and trumps the urge to resist using." Now you might be saying to yourself, "Sure, this makes sense. But how does it affect me as a Supervised Visitation provider?"  Come and find out at this dynamic and interactive presentation.

Mr. Johson has extensive experience as a first responder. Firefighter, EMT-B, Fire Instructor, SWAT Medic. He has been married for 14 years and is a  father of 3. Mr. Johnson enjoys playing the guitar, accordion, and ukulele. 

Tami has been with Joyful Connections since April 2018. During that time she has served as a Visitation Monitor, Program Manager, and since December 2020, Executive Director. Tami and her husband have 4 children, 3 grandchildren, 4 grand cats, and 2 fur babies. She loves camping, reading, and being on the water.

 

Leading a Balanced Life: 
Recognizing Secondary Trauma and Mitigating its Effects
The Honorable Judge Victor Reyes, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Jen Donovan, Wellness4Judiciary

Developing the Tools and Practices to increase our resilience mitigates the negative effects which may be caused by our interactions with clients. We will use our breath and bodies during this interactive session to immediately relax and release stress for a calm and balanced feeling.

Judge Victor Reyes currently serves as Judge-in-Residence for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges in the United States. Previously, Judge Reyes was a judge in Colorado (the United States) and presided over criminal, civil, probate, and family court matters. Prior to the appointment, Judge Reyes served as a Deputy State Public Defender.

 

Jen Donovan is a registered Yoga Instructor and certified Rawfood Nutrition teacher who leads sessions on breath work techniques, posture, yoga/chi-gong movement, plant-based whole foods education, meditation, and music sound therapy. She has been sharing her 23 years’ worth of knowledge by teaching at judicial national conferences, workshops, retreats, and online platforms for several organizations and their teams. During the global pandemic, she shared her teachings through the zoom platform which enhanced her ability to work with fast-paced professionals. 

 

It Depends: Legal Assistance for Supervised Visitation Programs
Katherine Meger Kelsey, JD, Kids' Voice of Indiana

Supervised visitation and law are partners in an arena where law and social services overlap. That overlap can mean a supervised visitation program needs the services of a lawyer. It might be because there are new laws that impact how supervised visitation is provided; because the program has been given a subpoena for documents or testimony; or because a major issue arose during a visit. This session will examine the overlap between law and social services, and how a lawyer can help a supervised visitation provider move more smoothly between those two realms. Topics covered will include the legal perspective on supervised visitation; flagging issues for a lawyer's consideration; when a lawyer is most helpful, and when they aren't; and effective communication with lawyers.   

Katherine Kelsey is the Chief Legal Counsel for Kids' Voice of Indiana. She is also the program attorney for Kids' Voice's Safe Child Parenting Time Program. She has assisted the SCPT Program in various capacities during her time as a lawyer for Kids' Voice, including work on the program's best practices and policies, training, and representation of the program in and out of court. 

 

Supervised Visitation in Rural Communities: 
Strategies for Collaboration, Service Delivery, and Sustainability 
Harris Gerner, Supervised Visitation Program at WomenSafe

Rural places, particularly in the United States are neglected often in the broader landscape of social conversation. The professionals who provide human services in these places frequently find themselves lacking resources to meet the increasing challenges and barriers families in their communities face. Supervised visitation programs are no exception to this challenge and have been particularly impacted in their work to provide safe spaces for parent-child contact by the COVID-19 pandemic.   This training is specifically tailored to examining strategies for rural programs to remain sustainable. It will look at options for building collaborative relationships with other human service agencies, including the judiciary, law enforcement and child welfare offices. It will also examine a variety of aspects related to providing services to families in rural settings including tools designed by and for human service professionals who work in these settings. Most of all, this training is a space for rural agency providers to collaborate together in meeting the goal of providing safer parent-child contact.   

Harris Gerner has worked with families and children for over nine years in a variety of settings, both in the United States and in Israel and Palestine. His commitment to child welfare and safe spaces for strengthening families brought him into the world of supervised visitation in 2019. His passion is the development of strong, collaborative local human service agencies which draw upon the community's strengths to provide quality care to all.  He currently is the supervised visitation coordinator for WomenSafe, an anti-violence VAWA-funded agency located in Addison County, Vermont. He sits as the supervised visitation representative to the Vermont Council on Domestic Violence and is an agency coordinator partnering with the Vermont Supervised Visitation Coalition that provides best practice guidance and collaborative networking for programs statewide. 

 Childhood Domestic Abuse: 

How Witnessing Abuse Impacts Children
Ryan Thomas, Hope's Door New Beginning Center
Amanda Woodard, Hope's Door New Beginning Center

When you grow up witnessing domestic abuse, you experience Childhood Domestic Abuse. While it is not direct child abuse, witnessing acts of domestic violence often does have traumatic impacts on children, and it's important for industry professionals to understand the nuance. In this presentation, we facilitate discussions on the dynamics of domestic abuse, the impact on children who witness abuse, their needs, the risk factors, and ways that adults who work with children can help.

Ryan S. Thomas is the Community Education Program Manager at HDNBC. He and his team of educators deliver free community programs that empower people to foster healthy relationships and prevent abuse. A recovering middle school teacher, Ryan uses his 15 years of teaching experience to engage teens and adults with free education and prevention programming aimed at reducing teen dating abuse and domestic abuse in our community. To him, being able to be a part of someone’s story of positive change is a privilege. Ryan also loves cheese, his mama, his dog, and painting.  

Amanda Woodard serves Hope's Door New Beginning Center as the Community Educator, providing domestic abuse prevention and education solutions to the community. Amanda got her BA in Social Science at UNT and her MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University. She enjoys writing personal essays and poetry and spending time with her closest friends, her black dog, Sirius, and her cat, Young Bernie Sanders.

 

Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Successes for Families Experiencing Domestic Violence
Julie Aldrich, Office on Violence Against Women, US Department of Justice 
Beth McNamara & Jennifer Rose, Inspire Action for Social Change

This session will demonstrate the importance of safety protocols when serving families experiencing domestic violence for supervised visitation and safe exchange.  The panel will explore three sites from around the country that have successfully enhanced their existing protocols and expanded services to families experiencing domestic violence through safety planning and collaboration with the courts.  the sites will discuss how federal funding assisted their efforts to expand beyond child welfare visits to serving families experiencing domestic violence and facilitating visits and exchanges by and between parents.

Julie Aldrich has worked at the Office on Violence Against Women, Department of Justice for the past seven years, managing the OVW Justice for Families program to help sites around the country implement supervised visitation and safe exchange services for families experiencing domestic violence.  During this time, Julie has also served as the lead in managing technical assistance for supervised visitation and safe exchange with Inspire Action for Social Change to enhance training for grantees and potential grantees and adapt to the challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Beth McNamara is a social worker who received her degree from the University of Wisconsin. Hailing from a small town in the Midwest, Ms. McNamara currently resides in Montana. She has been an activist and advocates to promote healing to end gender-based violence since 1987. Beth is the co-founder and co-executive director of Inspire Action for Social Change, a non-profit organization working to create change and improved opportunities for those experiencing barriers to safety as a result of domestic and sexual violence by promoting safety and healing for individuals, families, and communities.

Jennifer Rose has been working as an advocate and activist to promote healing and end violence against women and children for the past 25 years. Jennifer is currently the co-director at Inspire Action for Social Change. Prior to co-founding Inspire Action in 2008, she had held a number of leadership positions at local domestic violence programs. In her role as the Director of Domestic Violence Services at the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, she worked to build a program that provided both crisis intervention and long-term advocacy and support for women and their families. She also opened a supervised visitation center that was part of a national demonstration initiative funded by the Office of Violence Against Women.

 

Harnessing the Power of Family Time to Strengthen the Parent-Child Relationship and Support Reunification Efforts
Alexis Balkey, Center for Children and Family Futures

Research has found a significant association between family time (previously known as visitation) and permanency and well-being outcomes. This presentation addresses the importance of quality family time and how to use family time to strengthen parent-child relationships.  Presenters will share strategies to objectively track and discuss progress in family time to support the family and inform decisions about family time expansion and reunification. Participants will hear from subject matter experts and practitioners who prioritize frequent, quality family time and focus on the parent-child  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Child and Family Services Reviews. 

Ms. Balkey is a Deputy Program Director at Children and Family Futures, Inc. (CFF) and works with the National Family Drug Court (FDC) Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Program.  Ms. Balkey provides mentoring and direct supervision to Program Associates and Program Specialists that are part of the FDC TTA Program. She assists with project management and reporting tasks to compile and synthesize information on the lessons, results, and policy and practice innovations.  Additionally, she provides TTA to FDCs across the nation responding to over 1200 requests in a little over nine years. Ms. Balkey was a Change Leader for the statewide system improvement initiative enhancing system collaboration to improve outcomes for families within the child welfare system affected by substance use disorders.  Additionally, Ms. Balkey is a Change Leader for the Prevention and Family Recovery (PFR) initiative funded by the Duke Foundation Charitable Trust assisting jurisdictions to advance the capacity of their FDCs to provide more comprehensive family-centered care to children, parents, and families affected by substance use disorders through integration and institutionalization of proven parenting services and developmental and therapeutic services for children.  Previous to her employment with CFF, Ms. Balkey was the Program Manager for Riverside County Family Preservation Court, located in Indio, CA where she successfully managed a Family Drug Court with multiple funding streams including the SAMHSA Children Affected by Methamphetamine (CAM) Federal grant.  Ms. Balkey is a certified addictive disorder counselor by the Breining Institute, College for the Advanced Study of Addictive Disorders with robust knowledge of alcohol and other drug treatment programs. Ms. Balkey received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Temple University and a Master of Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino.

 

SVN and Therapeutic Standards of Practice
Howard Yaffe, LICSW,  Riverside Community Care

The SVN standards were recently updated to clarify and further define Therapeutic Supervised Visitation. In addition, some other definitions of SV were updated and/or added. This workshop will share nights into the implications for SV providers who are able to provide TSV, and also explain the other models of SV and how they differ.

CALIFORNIA MEMBERS: We are aware that legislative actions removed the definition of Therapeutic Visitation in your State Standards.

Howard Yaffe is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with more than 30 years of experience in various settings.  Most of his clinical work has focused on supporting children and families. He has been the director of Meeting Place, one of the first supervised visitation programs in Massachusetts, for approximately 20 years. He is currently the program director of Domestic Violence Services for Riverside Community Care, a large social service agency in the Boston area.  This position includes full oversight of Meeting Place as well as two other domestic violence-related programs. In his private practice, he focuses on supporting children and families through the divorce process and has recently taught a High-Conflict Co-parenting class through William James College of Psychology.  He is returning to the SVN Board of Directors after a one-year hiatus and has presented and/or facilitated a number of webinars, workshops, and training over his years with SVN and has had a role in writing and editing modules of the SVN Training Manual. 

 

Alcohol Monitoring and Supervised Parenting Time

Chris Beck, Soberlink

This course is designed to give Family Law Professionals specific knowledge on how to manage cases that involve one or both parents being accused of abusing alcohol while parenting child(ren).  The presentation will start with first-hand examples that document Chris Beck’s knowledge and understanding of the dynamics involved with successful parenting plans and how supervised visits along with modern technology can lead to great results.  This course explores the facts around the disease of Alcohol Use Disorder vs Hearsay and how it plays into developing visitation plans around child custody decisions and safety.  Lastly, consequences will be discussed for non-compliant behavior that maintains parent involvement while keeping the child safe.  Ultimately the attendees will leave with an enriched knowledge base of how to implement new technology that meets specific goals of parenting and child safety while maintaining the Best Interest of the Child.  

Chris Beck is the VP of Business Development for Soberlink Healthcare. Chris’ primary responsibilities include working with Family Law Judges, Attorneys, and Health Care Professionals across the country to educate them on Soberlink’s modern approach to alcohol monitoring for Child Custody Cases. Chris and his wife Sheila are Licensed Foster Parents in NC and spend their free time advocating for children in their local community. His family welcomed a new foster baby in early 2019, which continues to strengthen his family values and brings the total to four kids and counting. Over the last four years, Chris has been fortunate to share his advocacy for kids through his education initiative with Family Law Professionals across the country.