Reflecting on a Remarkable Journey: reTHINK Permanency Conference
In the vibrant month of June, we were privileged to be part of a truly transformative event – the reTHINK Permanency: Unlocking Pathways from Foster Care to Permanency Conference. This extraordinary gathering, conducted in collaboration with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and Healthy Blue, unfolded in the heart of Raleigh.
Throughout this enlightening conference, participants delved into a myriad of insights during captivating keynote sessions and engaging breakout discussions. Together, we explored the intricate pathways that youth in care traverse as they journey from foster care to the enduring embrace of family and permanency.
What made this event truly exceptional were the voices that echoed in its corridors. Among our esteemed speakers and session leaders were families who have not only navigated the intricate child welfare systems but have also harnessed the power of lived expertise. These voices, alongside influential figures within the child and family well-being movement, added depth and perspective to the dialogue.
Every moment at the reTHINK Permanency Conference was a testament to the collective commitment to reshaping the lives of our youth in care. It celebrated the triumphs, acknowledged the challenges, and illuminated the way forward to a more compassionate, comprehensive system of support.
As we reflect on the impact of this conference, we’re inspired to continue championing change, fostering connections, and unlocking the infinite possibilities that lie ahead for the children and families we serve.
Keynote speakers included:
- April Dinwoodie, an adoption and diverse family expert, and podcast host
- Kevin Wanzer, a motivational comedian, as well as a foster and adoptive parent
North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper presented the Family Champion Awards recognizing social workers across North Carolina who work to strengthen families, build families, and advocate for families.
Family Champion award recipients were:
- Maurice “Mo” Beam, Placement Specialist, CHS, Morganton, NC
- Cheryl Donahue-Wright, Social Worker – Communities in School, James B. Dudley High School – Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, NC
- Lori McNeil, Intensive In-Home Specialist, CHS, Charlotte, NC
- Teryl Bowen, Adoption Recruiter, Wake County Health and Human Services, Raleigh, NC
- Tiffany Bickel, Permanency Planning Supervisor, New Hanover Department of Social Services, Wilmington, NC
Organizers of the reTHINK Permanency Conference plan to continue to bring together family service professionals and advocates from across the state to explore permanency planning for youth experiencing foster care. To learn more about upcoming luncheons and events, please visit the Institute for Family website today.