2013 Annual REFCA Conference

Ensuring Every Child is Rooted in Family & Community

Presented by the Treehouse Foundation & The RUDD Adoption Research Program at UMASS

May 3rd, 9AM-4PM, Holyoke Community College

At the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development

Conference & Lunch is $45 per person. Registration begins at 8:30AM



Rodney Walker

From Foster Care to Yale: Why Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America Matters to Me

Rodney Walker is a Masters Student, Yale School of Management and Divinity School

"From age five to 17, I spent approximately four thousand days in the Chicago foster care system. I lived in over a dozen different homes -- many of them before I started high school. Although there were so many families whose kindness saved my life and whom I can never thank enough, it was still a tough decade.

When I was 17, shortly after leaving foster care, I became homeless for four months. The challenges of being a homeless teen are indescribable -- but I have a role model whose inspiration means a lot to me: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His words are a testament that even I could have a dream, and make it a reality."

Read his Huffington Post Article


Ten Compelling Approaches to Re-Envisioning Foster Care (Choose Three)


Barry ChaffkinBarry Chaffkin, LCSW

CEO of Fostering Change for Children

Barry has worked in child welfare for over 17 years, directly supervising the reunification of over 900 children with their families as well as finalizing adoptions of over 900 children from the New York foster care system. He is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer that was named Adoption Activist of the Year in 2005 by the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Barry also serves as an adjunct lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City and has guest-lectured in family counseling at St. Joseph's College in Patchogue, N.Y. Barry strongly believes that every child deserves a safe and permanent family, and has dedicated his life to finding new and creative ways to achieve this. Barry has two wonderful children of his own with whom he loves to spend time.

The Children's Corps is a program that recruits college graduates and professionals willing to commit two years to working in NYC’s foster care and preventive services to help improve outcomes for children and families involved with the child welfare system.

NOON to 1PM - Lunch & Networking

1PM - Growing the REFCA Movement

Marianne Hughes2013 Road Map, Strategies, and Tools

Interactive Workshop facilitated by Marianne Hughes, Interaction Institute for Social Change

Marianne Hughes was the Executive Director of the Interaction Institute for Social Change from its founding in 1993 to 2012. She is now working as a senior consultant with IISC where she combines her social policy expertise, organizing skills, devotion to social justice, and deep faith in the human capacity for goodness to furthering IISC’s mission.


Realizing the Power of the REFCA Movement




Thank you to our sponsors! 

BC Graduate School of Social Work

Dave Thomas Foundation

UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst College of Education

UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences

Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts

One Simple Wish

One Simple Wish offering scholarships for 50 youth to attend the Rudd-REFCA conference.  If you are a young person that has experienced foster care and you would like to learn more about how One Simple Wish can help, please at or read this FAQ.

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