Ms. Acker has worked at the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) for 21 years, and has been the Civil Commitment Program Administrator since 2002, overseeing Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) civil commitment under Chapter 71.09 RCW, as well as mental health civil commitment functions under Chapters 71.05 and 10.77 RCW. She has managed the multi-agency End of Sentence Review Committee (ESRC) and ESR Records Unit, and all of the agency’s SVP civil commitment processes, to include: referrals for sex offenders who are under DOC jurisdiction; Recent Overt Act screenings and referrals; the information gathering for and assignment/review of forensic psychological evaluations for adult and juvenile offenders who are under SVP civil commitment consideration in WA; and oversight of the unconditional or conditional release and supervision of SVPs to a Less Restrictive Alternative (LRA) from the DSHS Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island, as well as individuals committed to/releasing from the DSHS Western State Hospital. Ms. Acker works closely with several DSHS programs, law enforcement, prosecutors, defense counsel and the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board, and has extensive knowledge of actuarial risk assessments, forensic evaluations, mental disorders/psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, offender transitioning/supervision, state/federal laws, and law enforcement/community notification relating to sex offenders. Ms. Acker received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington.
Dr. Allott is a physician and highly regarded national speaker who is passionate about assisting individuals and organizations to optimize brain performance to improve decision making, creativity and health. For more than a decade, she has refined her expertise on how to promote increased mental functioning by treating the physical causes of fatigue, depression and anxiety. Dr. Allott graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in biology and minor in religious studies. In 2002, she received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and in 2004, her Masters in Acupuncture from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has been a practicing licensed physician and acupuncturist in the State of Washington for more than a decade. Dr. Allott’s private practice Dynamic Paths specializes in non-pharmaceutical interventions for fatigue, depression, anxiety, addictions and sugar cravings.
Mr. Awadallah has been an attorney since 1994 and an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office since 1998. He currently oversees the Major Trial Unit, where he is responsible for the intake, charging, supervision, and assignment of all homicide, including capital murder cases and felony sexual assault and child abuse cases in Cuyahoga County. Mr. Awadallah supervises twenty prosecutors and two support staff. From 2006-2011, he helped supervise the General Felony Unit and helped conduct a substantial office reorganization, when the regional community prosecution system was implemented. From 2009-2011, he was the Fifth Region Supervisor and served as office training coordinator. Mr. Awadallah edited, produced, and published the Trial Prosecutor’s Handbook, a comprehensive compilation of articles, many he wrote, on various technical, legal, and evidentiary issues. He also produced numerous in-house continuing legal education seminars. Mr. Awadallah has lectured and presented for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office (Felony DUI- 2008); (Speedy Trial 2009); (Brady Obligations and Crim.R.16-2010); and (Evidence Rules and Direct Examination 2011); the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (Jury Selection 2008); the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (Penalty Phase-Capital Litigation 2010); and the Medical Examiner’s Office (Art of Testifying 2012). He has also been a guest speaker at John Carroll University and at 2015 Crimes Against Children Conference and for the Cleveland Police Department. In the past year alone, he has organized major training sessions on homicide investigation and prosecution, trial strategies and use of deadly force for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office as well as other prosecutors and law enforcement officers from throughout Northeast Ohio. Mr. Awadallah has first chaired numerous jury trials, including child sexual and physical abuse cases, rape cases, and aggravated murder cases. He first chaired three capital murder cases, securing guilty verdicts and death sentences in all three. Mr. Awadallah has argued before the Eighth District Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court. Mr. Awadallah received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Baldwin-Wallace College and his Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve Law School, where he served as Editor in Chief of the Canada-US Law Journal. In 2011, he won the Prosecutor of the Year Award from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. In 2015 the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office Excellence in Management Award for Outstanding Performance in Leadership and Management was awarded to Mr. Awadallah.
Mr. Ballew is a Parents Representation Program Managing Attorney for the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD). Prior to joining OPD, Mr. Ballew was appointed in every type of court in the state for just about every type of case for which an attorney can be appointed, including the representation of parents in dependency and termination cases from 1996 to 2007. Since joining OPD, he has given numerous presentations across the country about the effective representation of parents. Mr. Ballew received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Montana.
Mr. Ballout is a Seattle native and alumni of the University of Washington and the Seattle University School of Law. Forming the ABC Law Group in 2011, he has been a dedicated and successful trial litigator of dependency, adoption, administrative law, and personal injury cases which have including several high profile cases garnering national media attention. A large portion of ABC Law Group’s practice encompasses representing parents and children in dependency proceedings in Snohomish County. In addition to his work as a child’s attorney, he also served as a Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem and as an attorney guardian ad litem from 2007-2012. Mr. Ballout serves on the board of directors for WSCADV as well as Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County.
Ms. Bayliff is an attorney and educator with twenty-eight years of experience working on issues related to sexual assault. For nearly seventeen years, she served as Legal Momentum’s Project Attorney, where she was developing a national curriculum for victim advocates to help them provide legal advocacy for sexual assault victims navigating the criminal justice system. At Legal Momentum, she also created educational curricula about sexual assault for judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals and helped to implement a nationwide, comprehensive plan for judicial education about sexual assault. Ms. Bayliff also teaches and consults about violence against women across the United States, Canada, and in Europe. Ms. Bayliff was the first Chief of the United States Air Force’s worldwide Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. There, she was responsible for administering the new Air Force program, including developing and implementing the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response policy. She has also consulted with all of the other military services to help them develop their sexual assault prevention and response strategies. She served as a Highly-Qualified Expert for the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to help them improve how they investigate sexual assault cases. In addition, Ms. Bayliff served as the Assistant Director of the Boulder County Rape Crisis Team from 1989 to 1993. She also taught classes on women and the law for eleven years at the University of Colorado in Boulder and Denver.
Dr. Boat is a licensed clinical psychologist, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Director of the Program on Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment. She is also Executive Director of the Childhood Trust at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In addition to providing evaluation and treatment for children, adolescents and adults, supervising trainees, and presenting at national and international conferences, she has conducted research on the use of anatomical dolls in sexual abuse investigations and currently studies relationships among animal cruelty, child abuse and domestic violence, including dog bites.
Dr. Boat participates in a National Center on Child Traumatic Stress grant to assess the implementation and effectiveness of a group intervention with incarcerated youth that addresses trauma and grief issues. She is a Board Member of the Academy on Violence and Abuse whose mission is to advance health education and research on the recognition, treatment and prevention of the health effects of violence and abuse. Her special clinical interests are treatment of post-traumatic stress and dissociative disorders and the training and utilization of evidenced-based interventions for traumatized children and their families.
Ms. Brown has been the Deputy Compact Administrator for State of Washington for the last 14 years and supervises the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA) programs. Ms. Brown is currently a member of the national Association of Administrators of the ICPC Executive Committee. Prior to working with Interstate Compact, she worked as a private agency caseworker and research analyst. Ms. Brown received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington.
As the IT Operations and Support Manager for the Department of Social and Health Services, Children’s Administration Technology Services Division, Mr. Cahill brings 30 years of IT experience. He started with Children’s Administration in 1997 as a service desk specialist. From there he transitioned to a Field Support Specialist, supporting child welfare workers and providing network support. Mr. Cahill promoted to an IT field staff supervisor, managing other technical staff as well as supporting regional program staff as well as executive management. In his current role, he manages a wide range of IT professionals from service desk staff to field support staff to network infrastructure staff. With more than 18 years working with the Children’s Administration, he has virtually worked in all areas of technology services. Mr. Cahill has managed many statewide technology projects and participates in various agency wide work groups and technology boards. He has a passion to help people and provide mobile technology solutions that enable his customers to be more efficient and productive. Mr. Cahill brings a wealth of knowledge and strives to improve child welfare in the state of Washington.
Ms. Cannon began working in the behavioral health field in 1998. She has vast experience in working with youth in the mental health, substance abuse, juvenile justice and child welfare systems, as a therapist, mentor, administrator, and policy maker. In 2015, she began working with Coordinated Care as a Community Educator for Eastern Washington. She has a Masters in Social Work from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. Ms. Cannon is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in the State of Idaho. She moonlights as a yoga and kickboxing instructor and lives in North Idaho with her husband and two children.
Ms. Cantamessa is a wife, mother of five, a student, recovering addict, and Parent Ally of the child welfare system. She spent fifteen years struggling with active addiction, and almost six years involved in three child dependency cases. Ms. Cantamessa overcame what seemed to be insurmountable issues to reunite with her family, implement and coordinate the Spokane County Parents for Parents Program and be an advocate at the Parent Child Assistance Program. She is a certified Recovery Coach, a Mental Health Peer Counselor, a certified Nurse’s Assistant, a certified Activities Director, and a facilitator for the Strengthening Families Parenting class. Ms. Cantamessa is involved in committees as Co-facilitator of the Spokane Parent Advocacy Network. a member of the Washington State Parent Advocacy Committee, Better Me Better Mom's Committee. She volunteers on committees at her children's school and has assisted with coaching her two daughter's soccer team. One of her core beliefs is, “The best way to help children is to help their parents. Children want to be with their parents and parents want to be what their children need”.
Mr. Charron has over 33 years of Law Enforcement experience. As a Washington State Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officer/Sergeant, he developed a successful career in dealing with, challenging, difficult and high risk encounters. Mr. Charron was a defensive tactics instructor, field training officer, and supervisor and has been trained in effective communication techniques on awareness skills and harmful risk factors.
Mr. Charron has worked in all types of settings, urban and rural throughout his career (including Colorado, Washington and Idaho). He has presented his Conflict Awareness program for state employees, volunteer groups and private industry employees. Mr. Charron has developed a unique safety presentation for all professionals that focus on de-escalation, redirecting and diffusing techniques when encountering high risk individuals. He currently conducts security work for Hancock Forest Management in northeast Washington and Idaho.
Dr. Chasnoff is an award-winning author, researcher and lecturer. He is President of NTI Upstream and a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. He is one of the nation's leading researchers in the field of child development and the effects of maternal alcohol and drug use on the newborn infant and child. Dr. Chasnoff and his research team were one of five national sites conducting research into the integration of behavioral health interventions into primary health care services for high-risk children and their families, and through this project they studied the impact of concurrent planning on permanency placement for children in the foster care system. From 2002 - 2009, Dr. Chasnoff led work funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of four national centers conducting research into innovative treatment for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Dr. Chasnoff’s most recent work focuses on community approaches to the integration of behavioral health services into primary health care for women and children and the occurrence of co-occurring mental health disorders in children who have been exposed to alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, and other drugs. Dr. Chasnoff received his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, which in 1991 awarded him its first Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is the author of numerous articles in the research literature and has authored seven books, the most recent of which, The Mystery of Risk, explores the biological and environmental factors that impact the ultimate development of alcohol- and drug-exposed children and presents practical strategies for helping children reach their full potential at home and in the classroom.
Dr. Courtney is a Professor in the School of Social Service Administration. His fields of special interest are child welfare policy and services, the connection between child welfare services and other institutions serving vulnerable populations, and the professionalization of social work. His current work includes studies of the adult functioning of former foster children, experimental evaluation of independent living services for foster youth, reunification of foster children with their families, and the influence of juvenile courts on the operation of the child welfare system.
Dr. Courtney received his Ph.D. and M.S.W. from the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. He also received an MA in clinical psychology from the John F. Kennedy University and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Courtney is an affiliated scholar of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, which he served as Director from 2001 to 2006 while he was a member of the SSA faculty. He has also served on the faculties of the University of Washington (2007-2010) and the University of Wisconsin (1992-2000).
Dr. Courtney was the founding director of Partners for Our Children (POC), a public-private partnership housed at the University of Washington devoted to improving child welfare services. POC received the 2008 American Public Human Services Association Award for Academic Excellence. Dr. Courtney was named a Fellow to the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare in 2012 and received the 2010 Peter W. Forsythe Award for leadership in public child welfare from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. He was also named Social Worker of the Year in 2000 by the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Before moving into academia, Dr. Courtney worked for several years in various capacities providing group home care to abused and neglected adolescents. He has served as a consultant to the federal government, state departments of social services, local public and private child welfare agencies, and the philanthropic community.
Ms. Cumbo serves as project director for CCYJ. She also manages CCYJ’s child welfare and school engagement initiatives, including a collaborative approach to empowering families to overcome the legal barriers that put the children in their care at risk of entering or lingering in foster care. Ms. Cumbo first joined CCYJ in 2008 to manage the truancy intervention and child welfare initiatives. In 2012, she went into private practice to represent adults and children with Social Security disability claims. She later clerked for the United States District Court, Western District of Washington. She returned to CCYJ in 2015. Ms. Cumbo is also a part-time lecturer at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, where she teaches graduate-level courses. Before CCYJ, she represented children and youth as a staff attorney at the Snohomish County Public Defender Association. Ms. Cumbo earned her undergraduate degree from Fairhaven College of Western Washington University. She earned both her law and master of social work degrees from the University of Michigan.
Ms. Davenport graduated from Gonzaga School of Law in 2004. Prior to that she obtained a Bachelor of Education from University of Alaska in 1996 and she taught elementary school there until attending law school in 2001. She worked for the Attorney General’s Office doing dependency litigation until 2006 when she became a contracted attorney for the Washington State Office of Public Defense Parents Representation Program in Spokane, WA. Ms. Davenport has a passion for representing parents and helping them be successful in the dependency process.
Ms. Dinan has been with the Attorney General’s Office for 21 years. She has primarily represented the Department of Social and Health Services/Division of Child and Family Services in cases involving shelter care, dependency and termination of parental rights and currently advises Children’s Administration. Ms. Dinan has also handled cases involving child care licensing, foster care licensing and adult family home licensing. Currently, Ms. Dinan advises Children’s Administration on policy and procedures. Over the years she has represented other state agencies as well: Department of Early Learning, Department of Licensing, Employment Security Department and the Department of Labor and Industries. Ms. Dinan graduated from the Lewis and Clark School of Law in 1991.
Mr. Dowd is the Director of the Office of the family and Children’s Ombuds (OFCO). He is a licensed attorney with public defense experience representing clients in dependency, termination of parental rights, juvenile offender and adult criminal proceedings. He was also a managing attorney with the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) Parents Representation Program and previously worked for OFCO as an ombudsman from 1999 to 2005. Through his work at OFCO and OPD, Mr. Dowd has extensive professional experience in child welfare law and policy. Mr. Dowd graduated from Seattle University and earned his J.D. at the University of Oregon.
Ms. Drake is a single mom of two elementary age children. She is currently faculty of the University of Washington working with MSW students in the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program. Ms. Drake worked for 18 years’ in public child welfare including as a front line social worker, meeting facilitator, supervisor, regional and statewide program manager and statewide policy manager in many program areas. She holds her MSW degree from the University of Washington.
Ms. Dunham is an Adoption Support Program Consultant in Eastern Washington. She has worked with children and families in various capacities over the last 12 years, including 5 years with Children’s Administration doing relative and adoptive home studies, child and family welfare services, and Family Assessment Response. Ms. Dunham worked 4 years with Spokane County Juvenile Courts as a Juvenile Corrections Officer and Guardian Ad litem. She serves on the permanency panels for Region 1, and is active in the foster parent community.
Ms. Eberhardt is a mother of five, recovering addict, Whitworth graduate with a BLS degree, Co-founder and Co-facilitator of Spokane Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) and Parent Ally. She serves as the current facilitator of Washington State Parent Advocacy Network (WSPAN), a committee of people committed to effect change in child welfare. She currently helps child welfare involved parents navigate the same system she did after reuniting with her children 13 years ago. Ms. Eberhardt is passionate about her work helping to show “people change, families reunite.”
Ms. Erdman recently earned her MSW through Eastern Washington University. She is currently the Regional Lead Coach/Instructor with the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence. Ms. Erdman has worked in the field of child welfare for the past 12 years. She worked in the Colville office as a CPS social worker and lead Child Sexual Abuse Investigator. In 2007, she was hired as one of the statewide Practice Model Coaches responsible for the implementation and integration of Solution Based Casework into Children’s Administration. Ms. Erdman was also one of the lead trainers for the Child Safety Framework and FamLink. In 2012, Ms. Erdman’s position transferred to the University of Washington/Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence and she became the lead trainer for Regional Core Training (RCT) which provides core training for all newly hired social service specialists hired by Children’s Administration. Ms. Erdman is dedicated to the Professional Development of child welfare workers with an emphasis on creating sustainable partnerships between families, social workers, judicial, tribal and community partners.
Ms. Freeman has been with the Department of Social and Health Services for 20 years. She has worked in Juvenile Rehabilitation and Children’s Administration. She has worked as a CPS Investigator, Child Welfare Social Worker, Foster Home Licensor and Licensing Supervisor. Since September 2013, Ms. Freeman has been the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children Program Manager. She is the lead for all interstate private adoptions. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Evergreen State College and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington.
Mr. Fitzsimmons is the program manager of the High Tech Training Services Division of SEARCH Group, Inc. He is a nationally-recognized legal authority on technology-facilitated crimes against children. Mr. Fitzsimmons is licensed to practice law in Illinois and has significant experience as a prosecuting attorney. Prior to joining SEARCH Group he was a senior attorney with the National District Attorneys Association’s National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. He managed NDAA’s technology-facilitated child exploitation unit. Mr. Fitzsimmons trains at national, state and local conferences on the subject of sexual and physical crimes against children. Before joining NDAA he was the supervisor of the Special Prosecutions Unit of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted sexual assault and severe physical abuse of children.
Dr. Gilbert grew up in the Denver and Chicago areas. She attended medical school and completed her Pediatric Residency training at the University of Iowa. She then spent 29 years in a primary care pediatric practice in Sandpoint, Idaho. She cared for children from birth to age 18. While practicing in this small community, Dr. Gilbert received countless referrals from the local physicians for potential child abuse and sexual abuse. She attended frequent trainings and seminars to become proficient in the diagnosis and management of abuse. She worked closely with Child Protective Services, law enforcement agencies, and the prosecutor’s offices in the two northern counties of Idaho, and was an active member of the Bonner County Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). She also became involved in the state wide Drug Endangered Children (DEC) program, and gave presentations in both state and national arenas, including a DEC presentation to FBI trainees. She was instrumental in initiating the screening process at the local hospital to identify infants exposed to drugs of abuse during pregnancy.
Dr. Gilbert is passionate about understanding appropriate interventions for the best outcome in cases of child abuse. In Idaho, she collaborated with the mental health agencies in her community to provide education to the public around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress of children. Along with a trauma therapist, she was able to present scientific information and best practice techniques to every elementary school in Bonner County, with hands on involvement for educators to provide immediate care to children with trauma behaviors in their classroom.
In 2014, Dr. Gilbert had the distinct honor of being chosen as the Medical Director of the Sexual Assault Clinic and Child Maltreatment Center at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia. This clinic serves five counties, providing both urgent and non-emergent medical interviews and physical examinations for any child up to 18 years of age who may have been physically or sexually abused. The clinic also provides SANE nurses for the collection of forensic evidence for adolescent and adult sexual assault victims at Providence St. Peter Hospital and at the Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis McChord. Dr. Gilbert is an active participant in the MDTs of Thurston County, Lewis County, Pacific County, and Grays Harbor County.
Dr. Gilbert understands child abuse from a variety of perspectives. She had an active foster care license for 10 years, specifically for medically needy children. She has 4 adopted children herself: one from an international orphanage, one severely neglected and traumatized, for whom she provided daily trauma therapy, and one medically fragile child. These years of experience and expertise have made her even more passionate regarding the care of the most vulnerable.
Dr. Gilman is a Senior Research Associate with the Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR). Her research interests and activities include the role of detention in the juvenile justice system (including detention alternatives), evidence-based practice, and multi-system involved youth. Dr. Gilman previous research experience includes working as a Senior Research Associate at the National Gang Center and a Pre-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Washington Social Development Research Group. Her community practice experience includes working as a Project Assistant at the San Bernardino, California Mayor’s Office focusing on juvenile justice reform and community gang prevention. Dr. Gilman holds a B.A. from California State University, Long Beach, an M.S.W. from Loma Linda University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington.
Mr. Gossman is the proud father of two beautiful children (ages 5 & 2). He is a single dad, full time employee, parent ally, foster care alum and active participant in the recovery community. He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology (2005), and has completed graduate coursework in counseling and addiction. An addict since childhood with co-occurring mental health barriers, he became a participant in the child welfare system after becoming a father. Mr. Gossman sought "a new way of living" after his children were placed into foster care. Having successfully navigated the “system” as a youth and as a parent (specifically as a father in the child welfare system), he works an active program of recovery, maintains custody of his children, is involved in service work and volunteer activities, is a parent ally and advocate of dad’s in recovery and dads who desire to parent well.
Detective Graham began his law enforcement career in 1987 as a Police Officer for the Santa Ana (CA) Police Department. In 1989, he became a Patrol Officer for the Tacoma Police Department where he remained in the Patrol Division until 1997 when he was promoted to Detective. He is currently assigned to the Special Assaults Unit of the Criminal Investigations Division where he specializes in investigating child physical and sexual abuse cases as well as child death investigations. In addition to his investigative case load, Detective Graham is a certified polygraph examiner and has conducted criminal polygraph exams since 2004.
Detective Graham is a certified Instructor for the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and has been teaching at the Academy since 1995. He has taught classes in child abuse, sex crimes, domestic violence, interview and interrogation, crisis intervention and the use of DNA in investigations. He has presented classes and case studies at conferences and symposiums throughout the country. He serves as a faculty member at the APSAC (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children) Child Forensic Interview Clinic.
Detective Graham has a Master of Science Degree in Law and Justice from Central Washington University. He is the author of a book on conducting abuse investigations titled Effective Child Abuse Investigations for the Multi-Disciplinary Team published in 2014 by CRC Press, Florida.
Mr. Gutierrez has been a contracted Parent Representation Program Social Worker with the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) since 2007. Mr. Gutierrez is also a part-time Professional Services Therapist with Empowering Inc. in Stevens County. Prior to contracting with OPD IN 2007, Mr. Gutierrez was the Assistant Program Manager of the YWCA Visitation Program and formerly a Supervisor of the Child and Family Specialists Wraparound Program with the San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center in southern California. He was also a county trainer with the Los Angeles Training Consortium (LATC) and traveled throughout Los Angeles County training agencies in the Wraparound program and its philosophical approach.
Mr. Gutierrez has been a part of the DADS Committee of Spokane for the past five years, which advocates for the creation of resources for local fathers in addition to putting together a yearly Engaging Fatherhood conference and resource fair in Spokane, WA. Mr. Gutierrez has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Arizona State University and a master of social work (MSW) from Eastern Washington University.
Mr. Hagopian was born and raised in Massachusetts where he was graduated from The University of MA – Amherst in 1985. After 3 years as a high school teacher and coach he went to law school at the University of Idaho, from which he was graduated in 1991. Since then he practiced in Walla Walla County, moved to Florida for 3 + years where he worked as a recruiter and later as a “Change Management” consultant in the healthcare field, until he and his family moved back to the Northwest where they have lived in Wenatchee since 1997. Mr. Hagopian and his wife practice together and while that practice is varied, it has always had an emphasis on kids and the law. They continue to represent parents and children in Dependency cases, as well as Becca and offender matters. Mr. Hagopian was an active participant in the recently concluded University of Chicago Child Representation QIC Project in the State of WA. The Hagopians have 4 amazing kids; 3 biological and 1 foster, and if he’s not in his office, you’ll find him outside, most often with a fly rod in his hand.
Ms. Haynes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. She is the Alumni Voice Communication Specialist for the Creating Connections project, which is a State-wide initiative to enhance screening, assessment, referral, and access to evidence-based mental health services for children and youth in foster care. As the Alumni Voice Representative, she works with Passion to Action; a statewide youth led advisory board to Washington State’s Children’s Administration, in which she is currently a Peer Adult Mentor. Ms. Haynes works with her fellow Passion to Action board members to provide firsthand knowledge and education of the Child Welfare System.
Mr. Heard has been the managing social worker with the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) Parents Representation Program since 2006. Mr. Heard is also currently a contracted federal consultant for Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR). Prior to joining OPD, Mr. Heard worked for Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration as an area administrator responsible for the overall operation of four offices in three counties. He has experience in public child welfare as a statewide quality assurance program manager, CPS supervisor, CPS social worker and Indian child welfare social worker. In addition, Mr. Heard has experience as director of social services for long term care facility, mental health counselor, juvenile rehabilitation counselor and providing direct practice to individuals with developmental disabilities.
Mr. Heard has an undergraduate degree in sociology from the University of Utah and a master of social worker (MSW) from the University of Minnesota.
Ms. Hegle has a Bachelor Degree in Applied Behavioral Science and works in both a micro and macro capacity within the child welfare system. She is the Advocacy Project Manager and Policy Lead for Children's Home Society of Washington and is a Contracted Social Service Worker with Washington State's Office of Public Defense Parent Representation Program. She has provided leadership on several policy initiatives, including the successful passage of SB 5486, the Parents for Parents bill, and was recognized as a National Hero by the American Bar Association. Ms. Hegle is also a Parent Ally of the child welfare system and believes strongly in ensuring the parent perspective is included in policy and practice to avoid potential unintended consequences. Her greatest accomplishment and joy is being mother to her seven year old daughter.
Ms. Hewko, Incarcerated Parents Project attorney at the Washington Defender Association, assists defense attorneys representing incarcerated parents and develops policy and advocacy strategies to help reduce the chances of family separation and parental incarceration. A Gates Public Service Scholar and graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, she founded the Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project, which provides legal information and resources for women in prison and advocates for systemic change to prevent family separation due to incarceration. As an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Legal Voice in 2013, she led the passage of the Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill.
Mr. Holler served as chief of police for sixteen years of the Liberty Township Police Department in Adams County, Pennsylvania. He is an internationally known speaker specializing in crimes against children. Mr. Holler was the founder and board president of the Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and past board president of the Wetzel-Tyler County Child Advocacy Center in Paden City, West Virginia.
Ms. Hopper worked in Children’s Administration since August 1996. As a line social worker in Child Family Welfare Services (CFSW) for 9 years, she was keenly aware of permanency and worked diligently to that end. For the following 7 years as a supervisor in a CFWS unit, Relative Guardianship Assistance Program (RGAP) was often on the table as a permanent option. Currently as a supervisor in Region 2 Central Services, she is one of the Gatekeepers for RGAP.
Ms. Johnson is an Adoption Support Program Consultant in Yakima. She has worked with Children’s Administration (CA) in various capacities over the last 19 years. Her CA experience includes social worker with Child Protection Service, Intake, Child and Family Welfare Service, and Family Team Decision Making Facilitator. Prior to coming to CA, Ms. Johnson worked for 8 years with the Kittitas County Prosecuting Attorney Office. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Justice from Central Washington University.
Dr. Judd graduated in 1989 with his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Houston. Dr. Judd specialized in and published in the area of neuropsychology throughout his graduate career and during the early years of his professional career, then began private practice with an emphasis on the application of neuropsychology in forensic settings. Since 1993, Dr. Judd's practice has predominantly focused on risk assessment and treatment of sex offenders, and the evaluation of both high-risk violent offenders and those adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity. He has given multiple presentations to professional organizations on the application of actuarial assessment techniques in assessing risk for future violence and has extensive experience testifying in court. Dr. Judd is an Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers member, a former board member of the Washington Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (WATSA) and a state certified sex offender treatment provider. He currently practices and resides in Olympia, WA.
Dr. Sarah Kastelic became the executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association is January 2015, assuming the responsibility from founding director Terry Cross. Dr. Kastelic was selected to succeed Cross in 2011 and spent four years under his guidance, assuming increasing responsibility of operations and management of the 28-year-old national child advocacy organization. Prior to joining NICWA, Dr. Kastelic led the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) welfare reform program and was the founding director of NCAI’s Policy Research Center. Her experience with NCAI gave her a sense of the need for timely, credible data to inform policymaking at the tribal and national levels. She also saw firsthand the tension between tribes reacting to the policy proposals of others and the opportunities for tribes to develop their own, proactive policy solutions. In November 2014, national leadership network Independent Sector awarded Dr. Kastelic its American Express NGen Leadership Award, calling her “a transformational leader working to further policy research that empowers American Indian and Alaska Native communities.” Dr. Kastelic is Alutiiq, an enrolled member of the Native Village of Ouzinkie. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Goucher College, she earned a master’s degree and PhD from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
Ms. Kendig has more than 30 years of working in positions related to improving support for children and families. She worked 15 years for Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration. In her role as the Statewide Child and Family Service Program Manager she played a key role in crafting DOC’s Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative and Children and Families of Incarcerated Parents initiative. She joined the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) in June, 2014 and under her leadership the Family Services Unit established the state’s first family outreach program, created and implemented a Family Council policy and started the first DOC sponsored summer camp for kids of the incarcerated. Ms. Kendig’s outstanding work has been recognized on regional and statewide levels. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington.
Ms. Kenniston is an independent contractor and trainer presenting nationally and internationally on interviewing and investigation of child abuse and exploitation cases. She is the Executive Director of The Center for Family Solutions, Butler County’s developing family justice center in Hamilton, Ohio where she works closely with the local Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force and conducts interviews in internet crimes and human trafficking cases. She specializes in the areas of forensic interviews, interdisciplinary teamwork, peer review, sexual abuse and exploitation issues, domestic violence dynamics, assessment, and planning. Ms. Kenniston is a trainer and course coordinator for the Missing and Exploited Children federal grant being administered by Fox Valley Technical College. She is a licensed independent social worker in Ohio. As a recent board member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children having served two terms, she remains as the co-chair of the forensic interview committee to continue the forensic interviewer mentor project. Ms. Kenniston is co-author and co-editor of the 3rd Edition of Handbook on Questioning Children: A Linguistic Perspective, originally written by Anne Graffam Walker, Ph.D., and published by the American Bar Association.
Ms. Kenniston organized and coordinated the Forensic Training Institute for The Childhood Trust in Cincinnati, Ohio starting in August 1997 and continues to offer an updated version of this five-day forensic interview course at The Center for Family Solutions. She co-authored the Forensic Interview Training Manual for the state of Illinois with Erna Olafson, Ph.D., Psy.D. She has also co-authored and edited Beyond the Silence, a two and a half day forensic interviewer course provided by the Ohio Network of Child Advocacy Centers. Ms. Kenniston is a trainer for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) grants. She is a faculty member for the Ohio Attorney General’s Child First/Finding Words forensic interviewing course. She trains for the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Forensic Interviewing Clinics and for the National District Attorney’s Association. Ms. Kenniston is also a project employee for SEARCH Group, Inc.
Ms. Kenniston was a contributor on three U. S. Department of Justice documents on the topic of abduction: What About Me? Coping with the Abduction of a Brother or Sister; You’re not Alone: the Journey from Abduction to Empowerment; and The Crime of Family Abduction: A Child’s and Parent’s Perspective. Ms. Kenniston volunteered in clinical support positions for Take Root, an organization established by adults who were abducted as children. She assisted in both face-to-face and online support.
As a trainer for the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program, Ms. Kenniston trained both standardized and advanced skills trainings, in addition to mentoring in the field. Ms. Kenniston co-authored the Developing Skills in Interviewing Techniques with Young Children curriculum with Cynthia King, MSSA, LISW, and Sally Fitch, MSW, LSW. She also contributed to Building Skills in Family Risk Assessment, Overview of Child Sexual Abuse, and Investigative Interviewing in Child Sexual Abuse Cases curricula.
In terms of child welfare experience, Ms. Kenniston was the Director of Training and Education at Butler County Children Services and a Sexual Abuse Investigator for the Hamilton County Department of Human Services where she conducted over 3,000 forensic interviews of alleged child victims of sexual abuse. In this capacity, she testified in juvenile court, domestic relations court, and criminal court. Ms. Kenniston trained law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim witness advocates on interviewing and sexual abuse issues. She also trained new workers, foster and adoptive parents, Head Start and elementary school teachers, and other community members on child abuse issues. Ms. Kenniston participated in the PCSAO Standards for Effective Practice Project. Prior to investigating for Hamilton County, Ms. Kenniston worked with adjudicated delinquents at the United Methodist Children’s Home.
Dr. Kerns is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy. She received her Ph.D. in clinical-community psychology at the University of South Carolina and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Clinical and research interests broadly focus on evidence based practices, their acquisition, implementation, and sustainability. Sue’s current activities include managing the Creating Connections project, which is a Statewide initiative to enhance screening, assessment, referral, and access to evidence-based mental health services for children and youth in foster care, evaluating a multi-site implementation of the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, and supporting various community-based implementations of effective programs. Dr. Kerns supports training efforts for providers in child welfare and directs a University-based workforce initiative for graduate students in service fields.
Ms. Kiser has an MSW from Eastern Washington University and a BA in Family Studies from Central Washington University. Ms. Kiser has worked in the field of child welfare since 2006. Prior to her career at Washington State Children’s Administration (CA), Ms. Kiser worked as a Juvenile Probation Counselor in Kittitas County and as a mental health case manager in Yakima County. Ms. Kiser has held a variety of positions at CA which include a Child Protective Services (CPS) social worker, CPS and Intake supervisor, CPS Regional Program Manager, and Regional Programs Supervisor. She has also served as a child welfare trainer for the Alliance for Child Welfare Excellence where she trained Children’s Administration social workers on child welfare practice. Ms. Kiser is currently the statewide Intake and Safety program manager at CA Headquarters.
Dr. Kinnish is the Director of Clinical Services at the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Kinnish joined the Georgia Center in 2007 and oversees the Center’s clinical service programs to sexually abused and traumatized children. She is also the Director of Project Intersect, a SAMHSA-funded program of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network that targets the mental health needs of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children. Project Intersect supports clinical services to CSEC-identified clients at the Georgia Center and also supports the training of a network of providers throughout the state to serve commercially sexually exploited children and their caregivers utilizing trauma-focused evidence-based practices. She is active in both state and national task forces and working groups addressing this complex public health concern with particular focus on effective mental health interventions and collaborative systems response.
Prior to moving to Atlanta and joining the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, Dr. Kinnish was the Clinical Director at the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Miami, Florida, and a Staff Psychologist with the University of Miami Child Protection Team. She has worked with maltreated and at-risk children and families for over 20 years in clinical, research, and administrative capacities. She received her BS in Psychology from the University of Washington and her MS and PhD in Psychology (Clinical-Child), from the University of Utah. She completed her internship and post-doctoral training at the University of Miami (FL).
Dr. Knighton holds a B.A., M.C.J. and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She is an independent consultant and trainer. Dr. Knighton has over 17 years of combined experience as a Social Worker with the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Service and the Missing Persons Unit for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department.
Dr. Knighton creates curricula and provides trainings on a variety of topics. These include enhancing group therapy strategies, working with sexual offenders, treating juvenile sexual offenders, working with victims of sexual abuse, sexting, teen sexuality, trauma and trauma bonds, missing persons, and human trafficking for a variety of agency and national conferences. Dr. Knighton is an approved trainer for the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (OCWTP), the Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County (ADAMHSCC), and the National Criminal Justice Training Center at Fox Valley Technical College (NCJTC).
Ms. Kuchenbuch received her Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Psychology and a minor in Christian Education in 1990. While raising her two sons in the middle of farm-county, she studied and completed her Master of Science Degree in Clinical Pastoral Counseling in 1992. She provided Clinical Pastoral Counseling services for 12 years in Lincoln and Stevens County to folks, young and older.
In October 1998, Ms. Kuchenbuch was asked to come to Family Resource Center (FRC) of Lincoln County for two months to help in their “restructuring process”. By December 1998, it was apparent that FRC was a sinking agency and she was the only employee left on their sinking ship. Who could pass an opportunity to re-build and create a healthy viable agency? She couldn’t without a good go-for-it try. By March 1999, all program contracts were re-instated and FRC was on the way to becoming what they imagined and dreamed as they humbly served those they were privileged to serve.
In 2010 an opportunity came FRC’s way to apply for a grant to participate in the Housing 1st Pilot Project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. FRC was one of four agencies chosen to participate and this became the beginning of the “flex-dollars” thinking and the “new” approach to services which has become “the way” to serving clients with dignity, respect and honor at FRC. FRC provides these services to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, crime and to the homeless and those facing potential homelessness.
As the Executive Director, she has had the opportunity to help restructure a failing business into a sound respected agency, help rebuild and maintain relationships with systems, organizations, the State of WA, and the county at large, help develop a quarter of their 4 acres into affordable housing and shelters, and help create robust programs in a resource-less county with an amazing Team of co-workers who provide client centered and client driven services along with mobile advocacy.
Seventeen years later, Ms. Kuchenbuch is still “gladly” serving amazing folks and a mighty staff. She says that “this” has been an awe-inspiring journey and the adventure continues!
Mr. Kukas began his career with Washington State’s Children’s Administration (CA) in 1996 as a field social worker. He spent a number of years providing direct services to children and families as an Intake Screener and as a Child Protective Services Worker investigating allegations of abuse and/or neglect in family homes as well as investigations of alleged abuse and/or neglect in licensed facilities. In 2007, Mr. Kukas brought his field program and practice expertise to CA’s technology services as a regional subject matter expert on the CAMIS Replacement Project. He participated in system analysis, identification of system gaps, and design teams to modify the transferred Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS), known in Washington as FamLink, to better meet Washington’s processes and practice. During the statewide implementation of FamLink, he travelled and trained throughout the state on the new system. After the completion of the FamLink statewide implementation, he left technology services and brought his expertise of field knowledge and system technical knowledge to CA’s Headquarters as the statewide Intake Program Manager. Children’s Administration Technology Services (CATS) was fortunately able to steal him back in October of 2011 as a business analyst. Mr. Kukas is now the lead business analyst on mobile development, once again merging his field expertise and technical knowledge to help build a modernized mobile workforce in Children’s Administration.
Ms. LeVezu is an Equal Justice Works Fellow with the Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic at the University of Washington School of Law. Ms. LeVezu’s Equal Justice Works fellowship, sponsored by Intellectual Ventures and Perkins Coie LLP, is focused on providing access to quality legal representation for youth in the child welfare system. She is a recent graduate of Yale Law School, where she spent two years representing children in the dependency system through the school’s Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic. Ms. LeVezu is a Washington native and spent time working at The Mockingbird Society and at the Washington State House of Representatives before attending law school.
Mr. Lopez has a BA in Public Administration and has been serving children and families with the Department of Social and Health Services/Children's Administration, (CA) for over 18 years. Prior to his work with CA, he also worked for the Division of Juvenile Rehabilitation as a Residential Counselor in a group home that supported male youth who were transitioning back into the community. Mr. Lopez joined CA in 1997, as a case carrying Child & Family Welfare Services (CFWS) Social Worker for a couple of years then transferred to the Division of Licensed Resources, (DLR) through the first part of 2012. Currently, Mr. Lopez is a Regional Program Consultant for CA in Region 1 where he continues to provide support to the following program areas: Education, Fostering Well-Being, Foster Care Assessment Program, and the Relative Guardianship Program.
Ms. Lovell serves as the Executive Director of Legal Counsel for Youth and Children (LCYC). LCYC is a nonprofit organization that provides legal advocacy to children involved in dependency and/or juvenile offender matters. In partnership with Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Kids In Need of Defense, LCYC assists dependent youth seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. LCYC also counsels youth who are or are at risk of becoming homeless.
Ms. Lovell has been advocating for children and parents in King County’s dependency systems since the fall of 2005. She has served on the Juvenile Law Section’s Executive Committee and on the board of The Washington Defender Association. She has presented at other CLEs on child advocacy in Washington and looks forward to an engaging conversation this year. Ms. Lovell is a graduate of Northwestern School of Law and the University of Notre Dame.
Ms. Marker is currently the Adoption and Guardianship Program Manager for Children’s Administration, Department of Social and Health Services. She has worked in the child welfare field for 30 years, beginning her career as an adoption worker for Children’s Administration. Ms. Marker was a supervisor of Child and Family Welfare Services and Adoption Programs for fifteen years before joining the Permanency Planning Team at Children’s Administration Headquarters.
Ms. Martin is a Project Coordinator with the Clark County Juvenile Court. In this role, she has assisted with development and implementation of a countywide truancy workshop for all Clark County school districts, a mentoring program for chronic truants, and Clark County’s juvenile detention alternatives. Currently, she is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative grant.
Ms. Clark has been employed by juvenile courts in Washington State since 1994. She was a Probation Counselor for 15 years supervising specialized caseloads. She has served on numerous local and statewide committees focusing on truancy and alternatives to detention. Ms. Clark is currently a member of the RFK National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice’s Probation System Review Practice Network and Information Sharing Advisory Group.
Max Martin joined the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office as a law clerk in 2006. Max was hired as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in 2007, and spent several years prosecuting serious felony cases before being appointed to the Cold Case Unit in September 2013. There, Max prosecuted violent and sometimes serial rapists as a member of the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force, a multi-agency team investigating and prosecuting cases arising from the DNA testing of backlogged rape kits that were up to 20 years old. In 2015, he moved to the Office’s Major Trial Unit, which prosecutes homicides and sex offenses. During the spring and summer of 2013, Max worked tirelessly as a member of the trial team responsible for the prosecution of Ariel Castro. The team’s efforts to achieve justice for the three young women Castro held captive for more than a decade resulted in a conviction and a sentence of life in prison plus a thousand years. Max has spent his legal career in government service, and is dedicated to achieving real, permanent and positive effect on Cuyahoga County. For several years as a General Felony Unit prosecutor, Max attended monthly outreach meetings with interested citizens in East Cleveland to listen to their concerns and to keep them informed on cases of community interest. Max graduated from Ohio University in 2002, and earned his J.D. from the University of Akron in 2007.
Ms. McFadden is the Lead Attorney in the Dependency/Termination Division of the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel, and has practiced exclusively in this area of law since 1986. She was involved with the Washington State Office of Public Defense Parents Representation Program Pilot Project that led to implementation of the existing program, participated in the creation of Family Drug Court in Pierce County, and was a founding member of the Pierce County Veteran Parent Program. Ms. McFadden continues to be an enthusiastic advocate for parents and their right to be reunified with their children whenever possible.
Ms. McGinnis has more than 35 years of experience working in the area of behavioral health and primary prevention for children and youth. She has dedicated her professional career to working with youth involved in the child welfare system and the juvenile justice system as a means to reduce violence and lower recidivism, while assisting families to live a healthy and safe existence.
Ms. McGinnis began her social work career as a direct care provider working in women’s health and then as a social worker in a girls’ group home. She later expanded her professional experience by working in psychiatric hospitals and private practice settings. During her tenure as the administrator of a large private practice, Ms. McGinnis became interested in violence reduction and victimization. She secured specialized training and then in 1986, Ms. McGinnis opened the first Illinois-based treatment program for youth who had committed a sexual offense and were mandated by the courts for treatment. Ms. McGinnis provided training and consultation for professional who work with sexual aggression. She founded, Alternative Behavior Treatment Centers (ABTC) in 1995, a non-profit treatment agency dedicated to reducing sexual violence. ABTC operated for 19 years and was a leader in the State for children, adolescents and adults to minimize violence. For several years, Ms. McGinnis worked as a consultant with Dr. Gene Abel, Abel Screening designing and training service providers on minimizing sexual risk with staff. She also assisted with the implementation of The Diana Screen©. Ms. McGinnis most recently was a partner at Isikoff, McGinnis & May, a consulting firm focused on the non-profit market.
Ms. McGinnis serves on several national and statewide boards as a subject expert in sexual violence reduction and treatment for youth. She is considered a national expert on policy and treatment for juveniles who have sexual behavior problems. She has testified for policy makers, drafted legislation and co-authored white papers on child safety.
Currently, Ms. McGinnis is the Chief Executive Officer at the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. She joined the organization in August 2013, a 105 year old community health center dedicated to primary prevention for women and children. Under her direction, IWS has expanded its scope of work to include the CHAT Program (Child-centered Health Alternative Therapies). CHAT offers developmental screenings and treatment for children 3-8 y/o that includes OT/PT, vision therapy, behavior health, speech and other services for children that fall along the developmental spectrum. She has also increased the visibility of the organization and increased the revenue by over $1MM per year.
Ms. Mednansky has a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. She began her career as a Probation Officer, working with juvenile offenders for 20+ years at Pierce County Juvenile Court. While working with juvenile offenders, she recognized a common thread – many have histories of abuse and/or neglect.
In 2013, Ms. Mednansky moved into her new role as the Family and Juvenile Court Improvement Coordinator where she works in conjunction with Juvenile Court Judges to enhance services and the overall court experience for children and families within the Dependency Court. As part of her court improvement efforts, Ms. Mednansky, along with CASA Coordinator Maureen Sorenson, started the Best for Babies pilot project in order to better serve our most vulnerable children in the child welfare system. She has a strong passion for justice and hopes with improved services in place for our youngest in out of home care; we can assist placing these children on a path to a successful life. Ms. Mednansky also serves as a CASA volunteer.
When you meet Erin Merryn, you realize she is a woman on a mission. Her view of the world forever changed at the tender age of six, when she went to a sleepover at a best friend’s house. There, she would be sexually abused for the first time. For the next two and a half years, she was abused and raped by an adult neighbor. He told her he would hurt her if she told anyone, so she stayed silent. Her saving grace came when she moved at 8 ½ years old. Little did she know moving was getting her that much closer to the next abuser in her life.
Ms. Merryn spent five years of her childhood keeping her abuse a secret. After breaking her silence, she went down a destructive path of depression, self-injury, anorexia and a suicide attempt. She was ashamed to talk about what happened to her until she confronted one of her abusers in high school, which lead her on an unstoppable crusade to end the stigma and silence around sexual abuse. She published her childhood diary her senior year of high school to give children the voice she never had.
Ms. Merryn knew by the age of 12 she wanted to be a social worker, but struggled throughout elementary and high school to do well. However, she was determined to go to college even when she was tested by a school psychologist and it was determined she had a learning disability. Although teachers and counselors told her she would amount to nothing, one thing they didn’t know was she accomplishes what she sets out to do. Not only did she get accepted into college, she graduated with honors and five years out of high school, she graduated with her masters in social work.
The obstacles didn’t end there. In January 2008, Ms. Merryn suffered a grand mal seizure while driving. Neurologists were stunned when they got her MRI back to discover her left temporal lobe was gone due to a virus she got as a newborn. Even more incredible was the fact that the missing area is where speech, writing and short term memory are developed. This explained why she struggled in school with her short term memory. Doctors were speechless that she is gifted as a speaker and writer, two things that she should have noticeable challenges with.
In 2010, Ms. Merryn began a crusade to get Erin’s Law passed across America. This law requires personal body safety taught to children Pre-K to 12th grade through an age appropriate curriculum. Ms. Merryn successfully passed it in her state of Illinois in 2013 and has been traveling from one state capital to another testifying to state lawmakers to pass it. To date, it is passed in nearly half the country and pending in many more.
Ms. Merryn is author of Stolen Innocence, Living for Today and An Unimaginable Act, both memoirs. In November 2012, Glamour Magazine named her Woman of the Year and she was honored in Carnegie Hall before 3,000 people. People Magazine named her a HEROES Among Us in April 2013 and one of fifteen women changing the world in their June 2014 issue, alongside Oprah and Hillary Clinton. She has made numerous media appearances, including on Oprah, Katie Couric, CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Fox, Windy City Live, Jane Velez Mitchell, 700 Club, Montel, Al Jazeera and many more. She has appeared in Time Magazine, USA Today, London Times, Huffington Post, Cosmo Girl Magazine, among others.
Ms. Meyer is the Adoption Support Program Manager/Supervisor for Children’s Administration, Department of Social and Health Services. She has worked in the social work field for 36 years. She has worked with children and families in Alaska, Georgia, Vermont and Washington. Her Children’s Administration experience over the past 29 years includes work as a social worker, supervisor and program manager. She graduated from the University of Washington with Masters in Social Work and Education.
Ms Mulligan serves as the Clinical Program Director at HopeSparks Family Services in Pierce County. Through her role as Clinical Director, Ms. Mulligan is committed to creating a team of therapists that are culturally responsive; current on best practices in the field; and building integrated systems that seek to respond holistically to children and adults who have been victims of trauma.
Ms. Mulligan is regularly invited to speak regionally on Evidence-Based Practices (EBP), effects of trauma on children and adults; and as an expert on anxiety and trauma. Her audiences range from clinicians to judges and she is often a guest lecturer in social work master's programs. A graduate of Social Work program at the University of Washington, Seattle, Ms. Mulligan is passionate about reframing the legal paradigm of response to child trauma victims to be child-centric and creating systemic partnerships that remove barriers for children.
Professor Myers is an expert on child abuse. He has traveled throughout the United States and abroad, making more than 400 presentations to judges, attorneys, police, doctors, and mental health professionals. Professor Myers is the author or editor of eight books and more than a hundred articles on child abuse. His writing has been cited by more than 150 courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court. Prior to coming to Pacific McGeorge, Professor Myers practiced law in Utah, where he represented the poor and the disabled. Professor Myers graduated with a B.S. degree and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Utah.
Mr. O’Neill is currently contracted with Spokane County Felony Mental Health Court to provide clinical services to participants enrolled in the program and to report to the court about their progress. Previously, he has been a Clinical Supervisor at Frontier Behavioral Health, a contracted social worker with the Washington State Office of Public Defense and worked as a Team Coordinator for Partners with Families & Children for 10 years. Mr. O’Neill also taught at EWU School of Social Work as an Adjunct professor for 10 years, having developed a one-of-a-kind class entitled, “Social Work with Men and Families” that was featured at the 2007 International Council on Social Work Education Conference in Chicago. He has 25 years of experience in the field of child welfare and mental health.
Ms. Olsen is the Housing Program Coordinator with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She coordinated the Domestic Violence Housing First pilot project, which tested housing stability strategies for survivors of domestic violence. This project has evolved into a five-year demonstration project focusing on systems change and measuring long-term outcomes for survivors and their children. Ms. Olsen has worked in the field of domestic violence for 30 years, serving in the roles of volunteer coordinator, shelter director, and executive director at two domestic violence agencies. She facilitated the opening of two domestic violence emergency shelters and developed a transitional housing program for survivors with drug/alcohol treatment needs. Ms. Olsen was a Senior Planner at the Seattle Human Services Department Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Division immediately prior to coming to WSCADV. She has graduate degrees in theology (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley, CA) and social work (University of Washington).
Ms. Ozmun-Wells is the Diversity Policy Manager for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Previously she was the Communications Manager and LGBTQ Children, Youth, and Families Consultant for Children’s Administration. She has more than 25 years of education and experience in equity, diversity, and inclusion work. Ms. Ozmun-Wells is recognized nationally as an expert in LGBTQ issues specifically involving youth in substitute care and juvenile rehabilitation settings. She trains professionals throughout Washington how to identify unconscious bias and mitigate the negative impact of microaggressions. Also an alumna of the Arizona state foster care system, Ms. Ozmun-Wells’ article “Claiming your spot at the breakfast table-family privilege and foster care,” has gained circulation and acclaim among the Foster Care Alumni and allied community nationally.
Ms. Pagni-Leavitt has a bachelor of arts in police science and administration. She has worked in child welfare for 30 years, both in the public and private non-profit systems. Over three years as a Youth Service Bureau Director, 6 years working as a CPS investigator, 2 years as a CFWS worker, 15 years as a CFWS supervisor and 1 year as Deputy Area Administrator of one of the largest CA offices in the state. Since July 2014, Ms. Pagni-Leavitt has been the Child and Family Welfare Services program manager at HQ, managing the parent-child-sibling visitation contract, the pediatric interim care contract, the DOC MOU on Parenting Sentencing Alternatives, Courtesy Supervision, Foster Care Rate Assessment and Placement. Ms. Pagni-Leavitt’s career focus has been on permanency planning for children and families.
Ms. Parker’s background includes domestic violence advocacy, batterers’ intervention, community organizing, training and consultation, mediation, and nonviolent conflict resolution training. She was the Director of a nationally recognized DV-focused supervised visitation program for 8 years and has provided training locally and nationally. She received her B.A. from Washington State University, her M.S. from Nova Southeastern University, and her M.A. from Antioch University Seattle where she is currently completing her doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology. Ms. Parker’s research focus includes post-separation battering, intervening in battering, and working with men who batter.
Mr. Pennypacker, Esq., is the President and CEO of the Partnership for Strong Families, Inc., the foster care, adoption and prevention services provider for thirteen counties (Circuits 3 and 8) in North Central Florida.
He is a graduate of Duke University (A.B. ‘78) and the University of Florida College of Law (J.D. ’83). Following fifteen years in the private practice of law, in 1998 he became the managing attorney for the Eighth Circuit State Attorney’s Office (Florida) pilot project for representation of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in dependency matters in the Third and Eighth Circuits. In 2003, Mr. Pennypacker was appointed as a General Magistrate in the Eighth Circuit and was assigned the dependency dockets in Alachua, Levy, and Gilchrist Counties. In 2006, he returned as managing attorney for DCF before being appointed in March, 2008 as ICPC Compact Administrator for the State of Florida and Special Counsel for the Family Safety Program and served in that position until 2012. He was previously the Northwest Region Director for Children’s Legal Services and most recently the Assistant Secretary for Programs for the State of Florida Department of Children and Families.
Mr. Pennypacker is the immediate past president of the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children having served from 2009-2013. During his tenure as president he worked to create a national electronic ICPC system, revise the existing ICPC regulations, complete the state pages website, update the training materials, and pursue adoption of the new ICPC by at least 35 states. He currently co-chairs the AAICPC committee on re-homing.
He is the author of the ICPC Chapter for the Florida Bar Juvenile Law Handbook. As a member of the faculty for the College of Advanced Judicial Studies for the State of Florida, he has proved annual training updates to Florida dependency judges on case law and statutory changes impacting the dependency system in Florida. Mr. Pennypacker is also an adjunct professor at the University of Florida College of Law teaching in the areas of family law, including dissolution of marriage, paternity, adoption, dependency, and delinquency.
Ms. Pulcher is with the Special Prosecution Unit for the State of Texas. She is the former chief prosecutor over Internet Crimes Against Children for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Pulcher is board certified in criminal law and has tried several child abuse cases. She received the “Distinguished Service Award” for her work with the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for her dedication to protect children from online predators.
Ms. Putnam has a long history of supporting children’s mental health services within community based mental health care system as well as serving in the public child welfare system in the State of Washington. After graduating with a Masters of Social Work in 1984, she worked as a mental health clinician at a local community mental health center where she became a Children’s Mental Health Specialist in Seattle. In this role, she served high risk vulnerable children and their families and began interfacing with Child Welfare as a critical partner in the safety and well-being of children in communities. In 1988, Ms. Putnam was the first hire and coordinator to the Interagency Staffing Team, a multi-system administrative team tasked with supporting the most complex cross-system children and their families in King County. On a county-wide basis she developed Systems of Care infrastructure and augmented wraparound values, principles and service delivery throughout the 1990’s that serve the most complex mental health related children/youth and their families. In this role, Ms. Putnam was an early innovator and adopter by the hiring the first parent partner in the State of Washington, as well supported early family efforts, such as the Nurturing Families Group. Ms. Putnam facilitated a wide array of wraparound teams over a 10 year period and worked at the micro as well as the macro level for systems change that was responsive to the needs of children and their families. As a critical liaison to child welfare regarding the mental health needs of foster children and youth, she was out-stationed in the local Division of Children and Family Services office. She has participated in multiple SAMSHA and System of Care efforts. Ms. Putnam moved to the Children’s Long-Term Inpatient Programs (CLIP) as the statewide coordinator in 2000. In this role, she coordinated with the publically funded mental health system-Regional Support Network Children’s Resource Coordinators and local communities concerning services for the most severely disturbed children and youth in their communities who met the criteria for long-term facility based psychiatric inpatient treatment. Ms. Putnam also facilitated Statements of Medical Necessity and admission and discharges back to the community after completion of treatment. Ms. Putnam is currently the Supervisor of the Well-Being and Adolescent Services at Children’s Administration.
Commissioner Ressa was appointed to the Spokane County Superior Court bench in May 2007. Before that, she spent a year as the Superior Court Commissioner in Grant County. Commissioner Ressa was born and raised in Spokane and graduated from the University of Washington in 1992 with a degree in Political Science. She graduated, cum laude, in 1996 from Gonzaga University School of Law. Commissioner Ressa has spent her entire legal career working in the field of child welfare. Appointed in 1996 by then Attorney General Christine Gregoire, Ms. Ressa represented the Department of Social and Health Services in dependency, termination and licensing actions in Thurston, Lewis, and Mason Counties. She also represented DSHS in King County for several years before taking a position representing Children’s Administration Headquarters in 2002. Commissioner Ressa also represented DSHS in civil tort cases for two years before her appointment to the bench.
Commissioner Ressa has conducted numerous hours of training for the courts, the Department, the Attorney General’s office and the child welfare community. She has consistently showed her dedication and passion for children and families navigating their way through a complicated, emotional, and financially challenging legal system.
Currently Commissioner Ressa is the judicial officer assigned to the Indian Child Welfare Team in Spokane County Juvenile Court. Her dependency caseload consists only of Native children and their families.
Ms. Rivette has served as Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center’s Executive Director since 2009. In addition to overseeing the operations of the not-for-profit entity, she facilitates the Multidisciplinary Leadership Team housed at Chicago CAC, which includes members of Chicago Police Department, Department of Children & Family Services, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Cook County Health and Hospitals System. During her tenure, the organization has grown by more than 50 percent and expanded its building by 75 percent, allowing for expanded investigative services and support, mental health services, outreach and prevention, and collaborative partnerships.
Ms. Rivette currently serves as the Chair of the Illinois Children’s Justice Task Force, and is on the board of Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focusing on strengthening parenting to prevent abuse. In addition, she is active on the statewide and national levels in collaborating with other leaders within the children’s advocacy center movement to advance the cause and increase the positive impact of their work.
Ms. Rivette holds more than 25 years of experience in the field of child abuse and mental health, beginning her work in direct clinical services to abused and traumatized children. Prior to her arrival at Chicago CAC, she served as Chief of Program Operations at Little City Foundation. She also held positions at Our Children’s Homestead and DuPage County Health Department. Ms. Rivette earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and is a licensed clinical social worker
Mr. Rochester is a community advocate and a formerly incarcerated father who successfully reunified with his child after being involved in the child welfare system. He does peer-to-peer advocacy helping CPS involved families in his roles as a member of the Washington State Parent Advocacy Network, the Snohomish County Parent Advocacy Committee, Family Case Manager at Evergreen Manor (Partnership for Families Project/SAMHSA), facilitator for the Fatherhood Engagement Program and Life After CPS program. In 2013, he helped lead the passage of the Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill.
Ms. Roddy is originally from Tennessee. She grew up with her mother, sister, grandparents, and great grandmother in a small town between Nashville and Chattanooga. She received her Associate’s degree in 2003, and in 2009, graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and English. Ms. Roddy received her Juris Doctorate from Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington in 2012. During law school, she completed internships at the ACLU of Indiana, the Tennessee Justice Center, and Indiana Legal Services. Ms. Roddy also served as a CASA. After law school, she moved to Tacoma with her now husband Alex and completed an internship at the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center, where she advised and advocated for survivors of domestic violence. Since then, she joined the WA Attorney General’s Office, where she represented the Department of Social and Health Services in dependency and termination cases in Lewis County before transitioning to the Children’s Administration headquarters team.
As Advisor to the Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Pacific Northwest initiative, Ms. Sauter manages internal strategy and knowledge management processes, and external investments promoting stable families, great schools, and strong communities in Washington State and metropolitan Portland, Oregon.
Ms. Sauter’s projects include statewide initiatives focused on promoting resilience through nurturing relationships to prevent and mitigate childhood trauma; support to domestic violence agencies working to improve housing stability for survivors; and facilitation of a learning network focused on increasing the capacity of community philanthropy to address intergenerational poverty through deeper community engagement.
Prior to joining the foundation in 2006, Ms. Sauter worked in philanthropy with Social Venture Partners, Medina Foundation and Washington Women's Foundation, and in nonprofit program management. She’s a graduate of Pomona College, and of Seattle University's Master of Nonprofit Leadership Program.
Ms. Schnepf is a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Kitsap County where she supervises the felony vice unit which is responsible for the county's human trafficking cases, gang cases, and drug cases. She helped start a county initiative targeting human trafficking, created a county protocol for investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases, and established a rehabilitative court for the victims/survivors. Ms. Schnepf works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to coordinate multi-agency sting operations that target traffickers and “johns”. She has prosecuted more than 50 human trafficking cases, including charges of Human Trafficking, Promoting Commercial Sexual Abuse of a Minor, Promoting Prostitution, and leading organized crime. Ms. Schnepf received the Humanitarian award from the Kitsap County Bar Association for her work on human trafficking in 2013.
Dae Shogren, MPH Ms. Shogren is the Screening & Assessment Program Manager with DSHS Children’s Administration. She holds an MPA with a concentrate in Non-Profit Management. Her career steadily involves working with vulnerable populations, more specifically youth and young adults, through volunteerism, the education system, and as an advocate. Ms. Shogren strongly believes that we do our best work when we are in partnership with each other with a long term goal of sustainability and a thriving life.
Ms. Sorenson is a Guardian ad litem/CASA Coordinator at Pierce County Juvenile Court. She began as a CASA in 2003. She is a practicum field instructor for the University Of Washington Master Of Social Work Program. Previously she was a medical social worker in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Women and Newborn at Tacoma General Hospital. Currently she is co- Project Manager of the Best 4 Babies, Safe Babies Court Team Pilot Project at Pierce County Juvenile Court. Ms. Sorenson has presented Best Practices for Infants in Foster Care at the Washington State CASA Conference (2014 and 2015) and the Infant and Early Childhood Conference.
Ms. Shea-Brown is staff attorney at Legal Counsel for Youth and Children (LCYC), located in King County, WA. She began representing families in child welfare cases in 2002 through the Family Defense Clinic at NYU School of Law. Then, as a staff attorney at Legal Services for New York City in the Bronx, she continued to represent parents and relatives in dependency and termination cases using a multi-disciplinary approach, working on a team with social workers. From 2008-2014, Ms. Shea-Brown investigated complaints and worked on systemic issues in Washington’s child welfare system as a Senior Ombudsman with the Washington State Office of the Family and Children’s Ombudsman. She joined LCYC in August 2014.
Mr. Simmons has 30 years of professional experience in child welfare services, with five years as a direct service provider and 25 years in program and policy development. His primary focus has been on improving child welfare and children’s mental health services to American Indian and Alaskan Native children. He currently is the Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy at the National Indian Child Welfare Association in Portland, Oregon, and works extensively with tribal, federal, and state governments, and private organizations. Mr. Simmons is a nationally recognized expert on public policy issues affecting American Indian and Alaskan Native children and has lead successful efforts to improve tribal access to federal funding in programs such as TANF, Child Care Developmental Block Grant, Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, Title IV-B Child Welfare Services, Promoting Safe and Stable Families, and Indian Child Welfare Act grant funds. Mr. Simmons is also an accomplished trainer and technical assistance provider with experience in a variety of program development areas.
Mr. Smith joined the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services in March of 2014 as the Director of Children’s Administration Technology Services (CATS). He quickly identified the need to modernize the Statewide Automated Child Welfare System, FamLink, and the need to utilize mobile computing technology to get child welfare specialists out from behind their computer in the office and back out in the field with the children and families they serve. He is leading the efforts to provide tools to the workforce to build efficiencies in the daily work done by CA staff. Mr. Smith has served the State of Washington for over 25 years. Prior to joining DSHS Children’s Administration, he was the Chief Technology Officer for the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission and previously served in various capacities at the Health Care Authority, Department of Health, Department of Ecology and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Ms. Cordisco Steele is Curriculum Chair and Senior Trainer for the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC). As a trainer for the NCAC, she conducted more than 300 trainings across the U.S. and abroad. Ms. Cordisco Steele has presented workshops at local, regional, state, national and international child abuse conferences. Her areas of expertise include child forensic interviewing, child development, victim advocacy, and working within the multidisciplinary team setting. In addition to training, Ms. Cordisco Steele currently conducts forensic interviews at children’s advocacy centers in Kentucky and Alabama. She has previously served as Clinical Director and as a forensic interviewer for three children’s advocacy centers: the Prescott House Children’s Advocacy Center in Birmingham, Alabama; the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville, Alabama; and The Safehouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she served as the Project Director of the Mobile Interviewing Project, which serves the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo, and is a program of All Faiths Receiving Home in Albuquerque. Ms. Cordisco Steele has also served as Clinical Director, Director of Victim Services, and Acting Executive Director of the Crisis Center of Jefferson County in Alabama. She has 30 years of experience in therapy and advocacy work with victims and extensive training experience regionally and nationally. Ms. Cordisco Steele received her Master’s in Education from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.
Ms. Strawn is a senior faculty lecturer in the Sociology and Social Services Department at Central Washington University and a full time child and family welfare services (CFWS) social worker in the Ellensburg Children’s Administration (CA) office. Her areas of teaching include delinquency/deviance, child maltreatment, criminology, theory and communities. Ms. Strawn’s passions include permanency, adolescent well-being and understanding the long term impacts of trauma. Ms. Strawn worked with juvenile offenders as a residential and parole counselor for the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) and provided Functional Family Therapy to JRA and CA clients before coming to DCFS in 2007.
Mr. Stubblefield is the Systems Integration Coordinator for King County’s Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget. This multi-agency consortium of state and local partners works to create a more coordinated and effective response for youth and families involved in the juvenile justice, child welfare, mental health, and educational systems. Another critical component of Mr. Stubblefield’s position involves facilitating community partnerships primarily with youth, parents/guardians, and other key stakeholders. He also actively coordinates and collaborates with his counterparts - other county, statewide and national systems and foundation personnel around system reform.
Mr. Stubblefield has over 15 years’ experience in working with gang involved, affiliated and affected youth. He has worked as a case manager to this population, working on the ground with them to provide alternatives to a lifestyle that has captured many of our youth. He has also been a program manager building successful gang prevention and intervention programs.
Mr. Stubblefield has worked with communities, law enforcement and federal task forces to address the issue of gang violence in our cities, states and nation. Mr. Stubblefield currently participates on the state task force gangs and provides trainings to law enforcement, communities, schools and other social service entities.
Molly McGrath Tierney is the Director for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services where she manages the City’s child welfare and public assistance programs. Over the past eight years, she has led a massive reform effort that dramatically improved the impact of services to vulnerable citizens of Baltimore, including reducing the number of children in foster care by 60%. She created a business model for sustainable agency performance that is now considered a national model for modern social services. She joined the Department after 5 years in the City of Chicago where she designed and managed the social service programs that supported Mayor Richard M. Daley’s major human service reform plans. Prior to that she spent 15 years in public child welfare systems in Illinois and in Washington DC. She holds a masters degree from Loyola University and is a fellow with the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She lives in Baltimore with her family.
Ms. Tucker is the oldest of four children who all spent time in and out of the foster care system. She was born in prison, lived with a father addicted to drugs and later aged out of foster care after ten years in care. Ms.Tucker had 12 foster placements including 6 Behavioral Rehabilitation Services facilities and over 22 replacements. She is African American, genetically predisposed to addiction and mental illness and a veteran of foster care who successfully made it out of the system. Once asked what her biggest goal was while in foster care, she replied, “…I've had my heart set on protecting my siblings and giving them the childhood I had only dreamed of…and, well, we made it."
Ms. Turner is a student in the MSW program at UWT and a Child Welfare Training Assistant Program (CWTAP) participant. Her current research project is conducting a quantitative study, surveying the graduate students at UWT regarding their knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of racial disproportionality and disparity. Ms. Turner is currently employed as a Family Resources Coordinator for an early intervention program that provides services to infants and toddlers, birth to 3 years old with developmental delays and or disabilities. Ms. Turner lives in Lakewood, Washington with her husband of 31 years.
Dr. Valliere is a licensed psychologist and has her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology of Rutgers University. She has over 25 years experience in the field and has worked in individual and group treatment with violent offenders and their victims, including domestic violence offenders, sexual offenders, violent offenders, and substance abusers. She is currently the owner and director of two outpatient treatment centers – Valliere & Counseling Associates, an outpatient treatment center for mental health, domestic violence, and victim issues and Forensic Treatment Services, an outpatient violent offender treatment program. Her program treats Federal, State, and County Offenders as well as those incarcerated at the County Prison. She also serves on the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender Assessment Board and has been reappointed since 1997. She has published on the treatment of sexual offenders and presented on the same at international, national, and local sexual offender conferences. She has trained for the FBI, DOJ, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Ontario Police, Alberta Crown Prosecutor’s Office, Amber Alert, Army JAG Office, Pennsylvania State Parole, National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women, and other agencies. She been a guest presenter at many forensic and violence related conferences. She is recognized as an expert in a number of states and testified nationally and internationally. She has testified regarding sexual assault in the military to the U.S. Congress and has consulted with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Justice. She has been interviewed for a number of popular magazines on sexual assault and domestic violence, including People, Self, and Good Housekeeping.
Dr. Valliere began an annual conference – “Right From the Start: Understanding, Investigating, and Intervening in Violence Against Women and Children,” which is in its 6th year and growing strong. Thanks for your participation in this effort!
Ms. Waller graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 1992 and has been in full time practice since that time, primarily in family law including dependencies and termination of parental rights case. Ms. Waller is a full time parent representation attorney through the Washington Office of Public Defense. She has been representing parents for the past five years. Prior to that, her practice included representation of children, representation of DSHS and several hundred Guardian ad Litem appointments and family court custody evaluations. She helped launch and managed the Walla Walla CASA program for several years. Ms. Waller recently adopted a daughter from the foster care system. She has been active on a number of boards, including CASA, Clark County YWCA, the Walla Walla Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the Humane Society.
Ms. Warner-King is Co-Director of the Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) at the University of Washington School of Law. An attorney with extensive legal and policy experience in child welfare and education, she works with courts, attorneys, social workers and community providers to improve outcomes for children and families involved in abuse and neglect courts. She has worked in the child welfare court system as a defense attorney, manager of the King County Family Treatment Court and coordinator of the Supporting Early Connections program.
Ms. Warner-King has also been a policy analyst with the RAND Corporation, Washington Appleseed Center on Law in the Public Interest and the University of Washington's Center on Reinventing Public Education. Drawing on her ability to reach across systems to meet the needs of children and families, she consults for non-profit agencies, including the Center for Children & Youth Justice and Amara. Ms. Warner-King holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and earned her law degree from New York University School of Law. She was the recipient of a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship from the Open Society Institute.
Ms. Watson has been a managing attorney with the Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) Parents Representation Program (PRP) since 2006. Prior to joining OPD, Ms. Watson worked for the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel representing parents in dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings under the PRP Pilot Program. Ms. Watson received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law. Ms. Watson is a founding member of the National Parent Representation Project Steering Committee of the ABA Center of Children and the Law; a founding stakeholder advisor of the Washington State Parent Ally Committee and an advisory member of the Washington State Children’s Justice Task Force. In 2012, Ms. Watson’s article A New Focus on Reasonable Efforts to Reunify was published in the Child Law Practice by the ABA Center on Children and Law. In her free time, Ms. Watson enjoys hiking, cooking and playing with her cockapoo Charlie.
Ms. Wayno is a Senior Counsel in the Social and Health Services Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. She graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 2001. She is the lead counsel for the Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration, and in this role represents the Department in the Braam class action case, and advises on child welfare issues of statewide concern. In addition, she coordinates juvenile appeals statewide, provides practice advice to Assistant Attorneys General, and provides legal training to social workers and Assistant Attorneys General who practice in child welfare. Ms. Wayno is also co-chair of the WSBA Juvenile Law Section Executive Committee.
Investigator Weber has been a law enforcement officer for 31 years. A graduate of the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Science Degree, Investigator Weber began his law enforcement career with the city of Kennedale, TX, in 1984 where he was a Patrol Officer for 6 ½ years and a Detective in the Narcotics Unit for 1 ½ years. Investigator Weber then moved to the city of Mansfield where he was a Patrol Officer for 3 years before accepting a position with the Arlington, Texas, Police Department. In Arlington, Investigator Weber worked for 14 years as a Police Officer, including 2 years on Bicycle Patrol, 4 years as a detective in the Narcotics Unit, and 4 years as a detective in the Crimes Against Children Unit. Investigator Weber retired from the Arlington Police Department in 2008 to accept a position as an Investigator with the Tarrant County (TX) District Attorney’s Office in the Crimes Against Children Unit where he currently assists prosecutors in preparation of cases for trial and actively investigates special circumstance cases involving child victims.
Investigator Weber investigates all claims of Medical Child Abuse (Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy) that are generated in Tarrant County. Investigator Weber has investigated 16 such claims in his 7 years with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. These investigations have led to 4 convictions for Injury to a Child, 2 cases are currently being adjudicated and 1 case under active investigation, 1 investigation was referred to an out of state agency where the injury (surgery) occurred, and 8 investigations where either there weren’t injuries allowed for prosecution or where the child actually had the medical ailment claimed by the parent.
Investigator Weber has presented on the subject of Medical Child Abuse at the 2015 Dallas National Crimes Against Children Conference, 2015 San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment, the 2014 San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment, the 2014 TCU Child Abuse Symposium, the 2012 National Crimes Against Children Conference in Dallas, Texas, Cook Children’s Hospital Grand Rounds, Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office Grand Rounds, the Tarrant County Child Advocacy Center training program, and the 2012 Southern Illinois Child Death Investigation Team Training. Investigator Weber is scheduled to present on this subject at the 2015 Champion for Children’s Conference (Cape Cod, MA), and the 2015 Protecting Families Conference (Sioux City, IA). Investigator Weber has one article published by The Texas Prosecutor that outlines proper investigative techniques for medical child abuse cases: http://www.tdcaa.com/journal/investigating-medical-child-abuse.
Investigator Weber also regularly presents for the Shaken Baby Alliance throughout the State of Texas on the topics of Interview and Interrogation and Forensic Investigative Techniques in Serious Physical Child Abuse Cases. He also presented Interview and Interrogation in Serious Child Physical and Sexual Abuse at the 2015 San Diego Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment.
Mr. Wiggins is an Investigator with the County Attorney’s Office in Montgomery County, Texas where he assists in the investigation and prosecution of juvenile crime. In this role, he helps prepare cases involving juvenile sexual offenders and routinely works with law enforcement from the inception of a case through the final prosecution.
Dr. Martina Whelshula is a member of the Arrow Lakes Nation of the Colville Indian Reservation. Her educational and experiential background is diverse and focuses primarily in the field of education and behavioral health. She possesses a doctoral degree in Traditional Knowledge, a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Indian Studies. Dr. Whelshula has worked extensively with Native American communities nation-wide in the areas of local and national policy development, education, community mobilization, and behavioral health. She has served as the Chair pro-tem for the Washington State Native American Education Advisory Committee with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, a member of the Washington State Native American Think Tank, member of the Washington State Multi-Ethnic Think Tank, and formerly with the Washington State Board of Education’s Equity Committee. Dr. Whelshula’s professional experience has ranged from Research Director for national health policy development for Congressional review, to P-12 tribal language instructor in the public school system, Head Start Director, and President of the Spokane Tribal College. Dr. Whelshula currently serves as Principal Investigator for a national research grant working closely with tribal communities in collaboration with Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction. Her community volunteer work includes her role as Chair for the Spokane NAACP Education Committee and a member of the Gonzaga University’s American Indian Studies Advisory Board. Dr. Whelshula has served as the Executive Director with the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations for seven years. Her successes during her tenure at the Healing Lodge include: National iAward for revolutionary behavioral health care (honorable mention), Washington State Co-Occurring Disorders and Treatment Conference’s Innovative Program of the Year, Potlatch Foundation’s Educational Leadership Award, Washington State Public Health’s 2013 Health Champion for Empowering Healthy Communities, Harvard University Medical School’s online BASIS Editorial Board, and the Spokane Regional 2014 AGORA Business Award for the Large Nonprofit Category.
Dr. Chris Wilson is a licensed psychologist in Portland, Oregon. For the past fifteen years he’s worked with victims and perpetrators of crime as both a group and individual therapist. He currently has a small private practice of individual clients, provides psychological evaluations for the Oregon Department of Human Services, and trains audiences nationwide on issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and the neurobiology of trauma. His audiences have included judges, attorneys, law enforcement officers, victim advocates, and mental health professionals and he’s provided trainings for organizations including the US Department of Justice, the US Navy, the US Marine Corps, the US Office for Victims of Crime, and the National Crime Victim Law Institute. Dr. Wilson is a trainer for the US Army’s Special Victims Unit Investigation Course, and two nationally recognized programs: Legal Momentum, providing training for the judiciary, and the You Have Options Program, providing training for law enforcement. Dr. Wilson is also part of a small group of trainers assisting in the efforts to train law enforcement on the Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview, the only known victims specific interview technique to integrate neuroscience, designed by Chief Russell Strand of the United States Army. In his spare time he roots for his childhood hometown Boston Red Sox and current hometown Portland Timbers.
Mr. Wyman is the Co-Director of the Court Improvement Training Academy (CITA) at the University of Washington School of Law where he works with Judges, Commissioners, attorneys, social workers, CASA and other stakeholders in child welfare. CITA uses data to inform strategic planning and facilitates the process of innovation and change in child welfare systems, and delivers training to judges, attorneys, and other stakeholders. He is also an attorney consultant with the Judicial Engagement Team of the National Center for State Courts, a program of Casey Family Programs, currently working in Maricopa County Juvenile Court to further the goal of Safely Reducing the number of children and youth in the foster care system.
Mr. Wyman spent five years after college working in the juvenile corrections systems in Washington and Oregon in many capacities. He then went to the University of Denver to attain an MSW and JD, specializing in the representation of children and youth in the foster care system. After graduation, Mr. Wyman worked at The Defender Association in Seattle for 12 years, and supervised attorneys representing parents and youth in the dependency division there for eight years.
Ms. Zacharias is an Assistant County Attorney in the Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office and has over 12 years of experience in criminal law both as a defense attorney and as a prosecutor. She is responsible for felony and misdemeanor child abuse prosecutions along with kidnappings, felonious assaults, and arsons.