2018 AAC Conference - 'Rising to the Future'

Keynote Presenters
Thursday Morning:
Sharon Kaplan Roszia MS

Linking AAC’s past to the future:  Paying homage to our elders whose wisdom and values we stand upon and who guide us still

Sharon is the epitome of our conference theme: Rising to the Future!
Sharon, is an internationally known educator, presenter, and author who has devoted fifty years of her professional career to the institution of foster care and adoption. “I have focused on crisis pregnancy; infertility; infant adoptions; placement of children from the foster care system, including sibling groups and teenagers, and search and reunion. The additional issues of international adoptions; trans-racial adoptions; gay and lesbian built families and traumatized children with attachment challenges have also become a specialty”.
Sharon has parented by birth, adoption and foster care and has watched her family grow to include seven Great Grandchildren. 

Sharon will explore the impact of the Seven Core Issues in Adoption on this organization as well as the AAC’s impact on her and her professional outlook.  “The potential of this group (ACC conference attendees) to bring together all of the constellation and redefine the future for children and families can be powerful”.

Thursday Afternoon:
AJ Crabill

“Student Outcomes Don't Change until Adult Behaviors Change”?

Thursday AJ will share his extensive experience working in the education field. He states that: “Few populations of students are more vulnerable or farther behind their peers than our abused and neglected children trapped in underperforming foster and adoptive systems.” But AJ message is ultimately uplifting. He believes: “… there are solutions -- if we are willing. If we are open to questioning our adult behaviors. And there are already signs of hope on the horizon.” He will invite us to join the challenge: “Want to maximize your role in the co-creation of that possibility? Let's talk about it!”

After years of mmismanagement, by court order the district lost its accreditation. AJ was a force to be reckoned with while he served first on the School board and then it’s president. During his tenure the city regained the lost accreditation and put the school district back on firm ground.

If anyone knows the school and foster systems better than AJ, you would be hard pressed to find him. From his formal bio we learn that AJ was “Raised in and out of foster care from birth until high school, Crabill bounced around enough to have attended 11 schools prior to graduation. He attended urban, suburban and rural schools; private, public, and parochial schools; lived with white families and families of color; lived in racist communities and inclusive communities; experienced loving homes and homelessness. Guided by the idea that student outcomes don’t change until adult behaviors change and drawing on his intimate familiarity with the triumphs and terrors of America's foster care system, he has devoted much of his adult life to advocating for the well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable youth. Inspired by his parents (who fostered him in childhood and adopted him in adulthood), Crabill has mentored dozens of young men, has helped raise five young men”.  AJ currently serves as the Texas Education Agency's Deputy Commissioner for Governance.

Friday Morning:
Scott Kuenneke MS, LPC, BCN and Jeanna Osborn -Calo Programs
The Neurobiology of “Heeling” Trauma from the Inside Out
Scott and Jeanna come to us from the CALO Programs, a group doing cutting edge neurotherapy paired with canine therapy, an ideal combination for managing trauma.
Scott will explain the concept of neurobiology and show you how it actually works to help to quiet the fear driven brain. Jeanna will join Scott with one of the CALO golden retrievers to demonstrate how, from this quiet spot, they can encourage connection and integration of neurological systems while fostering relational connections. Scott states this is measurable science, that the use of qEEG helps to measure the success of these interventions.

Scott Kuenneke MS, LPC, BCN 
Scott Kuenneke, MS, LPC, BCN is the CALO Program's Director of Neurotherapies. He was born and raised in the river city of St. Louis, Missouri. He has always been interested in helping others and being an active participant in people’s transformation and change. He has been a Board Certified Neurotherapist from the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA) for over 6 years. His experience involves training the brain and body, using biofeedback and Neurofeedback, and using qEEG assessment to guide his training.

Jeanna Osborn
Although Jeanna Osborn, the Canine Therapy Director for CALO, worked in the corporate world for much of her career she never lost her passion for animals and human relationships. She has fostered three daughters and one son while raising her 4 biological sons. Jeanna knows from firsthand experience the many challenges associated with displaced and/or relinquished children.
Other interesting facts: She has trained canines for the US Military and Law Enforcement. Jeanna Osborn is a Certified Canine Instructor and Therapy Dog Instructor, Certified Instructor with the Global Kennel Club (GKC) along with many other honors and certifications from Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), Certified Council of Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT) to Therapy Dog International (TDI) to name a few. She has had the opportunity to work with wolves and exotic cats (cougars, panthers and bobcats).

Saturday Morning:
Angie Bush, MS

DNA Testing: Triumphs, Pitfalls and Understanding

Angie is the Region 1 Director for the National Genealogical Society and chair of its genetic genealogy committee. She’s also a full-time senior genealogist researcher with AncestryProGenealogists in Salt Lake City.

She will speak to the “…innumerable stories of success dotting the DNA and adoption landscape”. As she relates it: “The ability to use the biological record in our cells to uncover our genealogical history has opened doors for everyone, not just adoptees. This is a new frontier that genealogists, adoptees and families are navigating together. How should adoptees, genealogists and family members approach this new found information? What are the best practices that can be adopted by everyone to give the greatest chance of a successful outcome? While there are no “one size fits all” answers to these questions, building bridges of understanding are key to a successful resolution”.

With the introduction of autosomal DNA testing in 2012, she decided to combine her two loves into one career using DNA and genealogical research to help everyone (including adoptees) discover their family story. Although Angie is not part of the adoption triad herself, she did locate her older brother who was placed for adoption, and has watched one sister place her children, while another sister adopted her children. She quips that she is as close to the adoption triad as you can get without actually being part of it. Angie has a passion for helping adoptees and others with unknown parentage use DNA to unlock the secrets in their history.
And she has been talking with our terrific keynoter from or 2017 conference, Blaine Bettinger.
Angie promises to have follow up information from Blaine’s talk!

Saturday Afternoon:
Sandra White Hawk

Historical Trauma in Adoption in Indian Country” 
Sandra is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota and the founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation Institute, who has been working tirelessly for decades to bring a future back to her fellow First Nation adoptees and their families. Her keynote will highlight the generational trauma and solutions for the errors of the past.

First Nations Repatriation Institute (FNRI) is the first organization of its kind whose goal it is to create a resource for First Nations people impacted by foster care or adoption to return home, reconnect, and reclaim their identity. The Institute also serves as a resource to enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners who serve First Nations people.

Sandra has become a spokesperson on the issues of the adoption and the foster care system and how it has impacted First Nations People. She has traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Australia and Japan, Alaska sharing her inspirational story of healing. She is a consultant for the Center for Tribes, Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies University of Duluth, Minnesota, Hennepin County Indian Child Welfare Unit and the Indian Child Welfare Law Office, Minneapolis, MN.

Sandra organizes Truth Healing Reconciliation Community Forums that bring together adoptees/fostered individuals and their families and professionals with the goal to identify post adoption issues and to identify strategies that will prevent removal of First Nations children. She has also initiated an ongoing support group for adoptees and birth relatives in the Twin Cities Area. More on Sandra’s groundbreaking work in future