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2010 Lecture Series

 

Somali Children and Families in the Child Welfare System: Improving our Response

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Description: Several Nebraska communities have seen a surge in population of Somali families and a number of these communities have seen rising numbers of Somali children and families in the child welfare system. This training provides an overview of cultural, language, and familial issues as well as practical guidance regarding a more culturally sensitive and effective response to the problem of child abuse/neglect in this new immigrant community. Local and state resources from the Somali community were invited to participate in the training and to develop or strengthen linkages that assist families in the child welfare system.

Trainers: Hassan Ugas, MSW, has worked with Hennepin County's (Minnesota) Human Service and Public Health Department for more than seven years. He has interviewed, assisted and engaged a very diverse clientele from all regions of the world. Hassan also worked as case manager with Lutheran Social services of Minnesota and the International Rescue Committee of San Diego where he guided and assisted new immigrants to adjust to their lives in their new country. Hassan has worked with both governmental and community based organizations in a child welfare setting. Hassan is co-founder and current director for the Center for Somali Family and Children's Service, a not-for profit community based organization that provides social work services to East African refugees in Minnesota. MCLE Credit is Available!!

Abdulahi Mohamed, MSW, LGSW, has over 12 years experience in the social services field. He has worked for the state local governments and non-profit organizations. His prior work experiences include, but not limited to, working for the State of MN, Department of Human Services as a MinnesotaCare Enrollment Representative and as a Social Work Specialist. He also worked as an Employment Counselor at the Lutheran Social Services, Minneapolis, and as a Financial Assistance Specialist II at Dakota County Social Services. Abdulahi has provided multiple workshops about mental health to the Somali community and to social services providers in the Twin Cities metro area. He is currently a Senior Social Worker for Hennepin County's (Minnesota) Children's Mental Health,Child Crisis Team. He is also a SPMI/SED Case Manager at Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC). Abdulahi is co-founder of the Center for Somali Family and Children Services, a not-for profit community based organization that provides social work services to East African refugees in Minnesota. He is fluent in English and Somali.

This training was held March 4, 2010 in Lexington, NE.

Advanced ICWA Issues

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Description: This lecture provides an overview and discussion of issues, challenges, and promising practices that focus on increasing protections and improving outcomes for Indian children and their families in the child welfare system. Topics include: active efforts, cultural relevancy, identification of Indian children, ICWA notice, placement preferences, transfer to tribal court, consent to placement and/or relinquishment, releasing information (opening adoption records) and ICWA remedies.

Trainer: Sherri Eveleth is the Indian Child Welfare Program Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Children and Family Services. She is an attorney licensed in the Omaha, Ponca, and Winnebago tribal courts and the in the states of Nebraska and South Dakota. Prior to joining HHS she was employed by the Nebraska Legal Services Native American Program to provide advice, brief service and representation to tribes and individuals in the areas of treaties, federal Indian law (including ICWA) and tribal law. Ms. Eveleth was very active in the development of the Iowa ICWA Law.

This training was held March 12, 2010 in South Sioux City & May 21, 2010 in Valentine

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Videos of the Session
  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2

Improving Outcomes for Older Youth in Care

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Description: Older children in foster care face enormous challenges as they make the transition to independence. Further, courts and child welfare agencies face ongoing challenges in meeting the needs of these youth and this work is likely to be impacted by recent federal Fostering Connections legislation. This training provides practitioners with tools and tips to best support older youth in care. The critical importance of youth involvement in case planning and court hearings will also be highlighted.

Trainer: Kristin Kelly, J.D., is an attorney at the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law. She focuses primarily on the education needs of children in foster care and the needs of youth transitioning from care, including the importance of youth involvement in their court hearings and case planning. She has authored a number of articles and publications, including Hearing Your Voice: A Dependency Guide for Youth and Collaboration around Education and Child Welfare Transition Plans. Prior to joining the ABA, Ms. Kelly served as a guardian ad litem as well as a certified legal mediator in domestic relations cases.  Ms. Kelly served as a legal intern at the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, DC, in both the Government Relations and Child Welfare and Mental Health Divisions.  Ms. Kelly obtained her J.D. from Indiana University School of Law, and her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. She is a member of the Illinois Bar.

This training was held April 8, 2010 in Lincoln & April 9, 2010 in Hastings

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Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in Foster Care

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Description:This presentation addresses why it is critical to focus on and address the education needs of children while they are in foster care; the impact education advocacy can have on a child's well being and permanency; the scope of education issues that must be addressed to adequately meet the child's educational needs; critical importance of school stability and continuity for children in foster care and steps that can be taken to decrease school mobility and disruption.  Legal issues were addressed including access to education information and sharing of information across agencies; as well as issues of legal education decision-making authority and the role of legal advocacy and the court process.   Also discussed was the importance of judicial leadership and attention during court hearings to education needs generally. Educational administrators are invited to participate in the training.

Trainer: Kathleen McNaught, J.D., is an Assistant Staff Director of Child Welfare at the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law.  Kathleen provides training and technical assistance around the country on a variety of legal child welfare issues, in particular issues related to the educational needs of children in foster care.  She is the Project Director for the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, a collaboration between the ABA and Casey Family Programs.  She has authored several publications on the topic, including Learning Curves: Education Advocacy for Children in Foster Care, and Mythbusting: Breaking Down Confidentiality and Decision-Making Barriers to Meet the Education Needs of Children in Foster Care.  Kathleen has also written on the issue of achieving permanency for older adolescents in care including a guide for judges and attorneys on the unique needs and issues faces by older youth aging out of the foster care system.  Prior to joining the Center, Kathleen spent 7 years practicing law in the state of Maryland. She was a staff attorney for three years for Maryland's Legal Aid Bureau in their Child Advocacy Unit. She then went on to private practice, representing parents and children in child welfare cases, as well as in education, delinquency and custody matters. She received her J.D. from The American University, Washington College of Law in 1994, and her B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College in 1991.

This training was held April 22, 2010 in Papillion & April 23, 2010 in South Sioux City

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Videos of the Session
  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3

Enhancing Sibling Connections

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Description: Children in care desire to be placed with and to have life long contact with their siblings. This child welfare practice was reinforced when sibling connections expectations were placed in the federal 2008 law Foster Connections. This session will discuss the values, policies, procedures, activities, and skills necessary to ensure that whenever possible children are placed with their siblings and when that is not possible what type of activities should occur to ensure the children maintain and enhance these connections.
The training will include an interactive exercise that focuses on typical case scenarios that present challenges to either placing siblings together or ensuring frequent contact for siblings who are placed separately. Participants will apply the values, policies, procedures, activities, and skills to the case scenarios. MCLE Credit is Available!!

Trainer: Rose Marie Wentz has worked in the field of child welfare for 33 years. She has been a social worker, licenser, social work supervisor, trainer, supervisor of Washington State Training Academy, a residential treatment worker and a CASA for King County Juvenile Court. She is on the board of the National Staff Development and Training Association and is a consultant for the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections. She provides training and consulting on case planning, collaboration, concurrent planning, engaging clients, visit planning, permanency planning, diversity and supervision. In this capacity she has worked with agency and staff in over 65 counties and states and in 2 countries. Rose has an undergraduate degree in Social Work and a graduate degree in Public Administration.

This training was held June 8, 2010 in Grand Island & June 9, 2010 in Omaha

Click to Play
Videos of the Session
  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2