Pre-Conference Session


Wednesday, January 10th, 8:30am-12:00pm

This session is approved for 3.25 Social Work CEUs 

This session is approved for 3.2 General CLEs 

Introducing Safety Organized Practice

presented by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) and Sponsored by the Corrine Wolfe Center for Child & Family Justice at the UNM Institute of Public Law

Safety-Organized Practice is an approach to day-to-day child welfare casework that is designed to help all the key stakeholders involved with a child – the parents, the extended family, the child welfare worker, supervisors, managers, lawyers, judges and other court officials, even the child him/herself – to keep a clear focus on assessing and enhancing child safety at all points in the case process. It combines elements of solution- focused child welfare practice approach with the Structured-Decision Making system – a set of research based decision-support tools – to create a rigorous child welfare practice model.  CYFD is implementing elements of this approach in its practice beginning this year.

Join us for a three-hour pre-conference workshop when members of NCCD Children’s Research Center will present on this approach with reflections from local court officials.  Discussion and opportunities for Q&A will follow.

Speakers Phil Decter, MSW, Director of Child Welfare at NCCD and Lynnā McPhatter-Harris, MS, EdD, Program Associate at NCCD

Legal Panel: Ted Martinez, Children’s Court Hearing Officer; Chuck Neelley, Chief Children’s Court Attorney for CYFD; Leslie Jones, Attorney for Parents and GAL/Youth Attorney; Peter Klages, GAL/Youth Attorney

Please Note: This will be the only official pre-conference session this year. It is intended for all audiences and will qualify for social work and legal continuing education credits.

Other groups such as the Tribal-State Judicial Consortium and CASA will be hosting meetings during this time, please check with your coordinator for details or visit the Special Meetings page for more information.




Philip Decter, MSW, is thPhilip Decter headshote Interim Director of Child Welfare with NCCD. He is a social worker and family therapist who has worked with children and families in inpatient, outpatient, home-based, foster care, and emergency room settings for 20 years. He has written and taught extensively on children and families experiencing some kind of crisis and their intersection with institutional and informal helping communities during these times. Through NCCD’s Children’s Research Center, Phil works with child welfare organizations nationally as a trainer and consultant on the implementation of strength and safety-organized practice skills and their integration with the Structured Decision Making® system.



Lynnā McPhatter-Harris, MS, EdD, is a program associate with NCCD, where her primary work is to assist child welfare agencies in their implementation of strengths-based, solution-focused social work skills. Lynnā also works to support the combination of safety-organized practice with the Structured Decision Making® system. Lynnā is passionate about improving permanency outcomes for children and families. Prior to joining NCCD, Lynnā worked in the human services, correctional services, and child welfare fields for 22 years in multiple capacities including direct service, management, correctional services, therapeutic services, and training. Lynnā also worked with various child welfare jurisdictions during her employment with Casey Family Programs. Lynnā earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bellevue [Nebraska] University and her doctorate in counseling psychology from Argosy University, San Diego, California.