Thursday, January 10TH, 10:30am-Noon: Session II

Workshop and Speaker Information Subject to Change

Last Updated: December 13, 2018

CEU general and cultural credits approved!

The Cornerstone Advocacy Approach to Parent Engagement and Safe Reunification
Cornerstone Advocacy is a core aspect of practice at the Center for Family Representation (CFR) that has, since 2002, represented more than 10,000 parents in dependency proceedings in New York City.  Cornerstone Advocacy directs energy, creativity and advocacy to four areas:  1) service planning that is not formulaic, burdensome or duplicative; 2) leveraging out of court opportunities to productively engage and strengthen parents; 3) placement options that support a family’s connections to one another and their communities (including school and day care); and 4) visiting arrangements for families separated by foster care that are directed to time and activities that mimic routine family life.  On average, 50% of CFR’s clients never enter foster care, and for those that do, their stay is half as long as the average for children entering care prior to CFR becoming a high volume family defender agency in two counties. Since 2007, CFR estimates it has saved taxpayers $37 million in reduced foster care costs.

While CFR is an agency that serves parents, the Cornerstone Advocacy approach is one that can be adopted by all child welfare and court practitioners, as its focus is on enhancing opportunities for families to safely and quickly reunify.  CFR has trained practitioners from more than 20 states on the Cornerstone model, including judges, children’s attorneys, CASA and foster care workers, and prosecutors. On average, a third of CFR’s cases are dismissed by the court (compared to 11% prior to CFR becoming a high volume provider) –usually in circumstances where the judge decides that the families’ engagement in services is such that court oversight is no longer necessary.  When children return home relatively quickly and also safely, the case involving the children is less likely to stay on the court’s calendar, saving judicial resources as well.
Speaker(s): Michele Cortese, Esq. 
CLEs: 1.5 General

CEUs: 1.5



Using Tech and Data to Rethink Permanency and Normalcy
Sixto Cancel will share how technology, along with improved practices and policies, can disrupt the status quo for foster care – especially for older youth making the transition to being on their own. The first phase is to allow young people’s needs to be visible to those who are obligated (professionally or/and personally) to care and support current and former foster youth. This presentation will highlight the how to increase program and system efficiency with digital tools that help streamline transition planning, resource recommendations, and referrals to programs. Sixto will also share real-life stories and experiences in which technology tools and resources could have expedited permanency, provided avenues for youth to create and maintain human connections, and ensured the child welfare did what was best for the youth/young adult in its care while providing a sense of normalcy.
Speaker(s): Sixto Cancel, Founder, CEO
CLEs: 1.5 Ethics/Professionalism

CEUs: 1.5


Building a Domestic Violence-Informed System: Small Changes that Can Make a Big Difference
David Mandel, creator of the internationally  recognized Safe & Together Model, draws on his experience working with systems around the world to outline some key steps to improve cross systems collaboration.   These involve understanding domestic violence perpetration as a parenting choice, and effective partnering with the non-offending parent. . By making small, but important,  changes in our approach to families harmed by domestic violence perpetrators we can have more successful interventions with families and improve our collaborations.
Speaker(s): David Mandel, MA, LCP

CLEs: 1.5 General

CEUs: 1.5