8:00 AM – Registration

Join us for coffee, tea, conversation and registration before the conference kicks off!

9:00 AM – Welcome

Judy Cockerton, visionary social entrepreneur and Treehouse Foundation Founder/Executive Director, will welcome attendees. 

9:15 AM – REFCA Champion Event

We are proud to honor the following four dedicated individuals for their outstanding service to children & youth placed in foster care,

- Bruce & Kathy Harrison, Exemplary Foster/Adoptive Parents 

- HEROES Youth, Foster Youth Advocates

- Rodney Walker, Foster Youth Advocate/Entrepreneur

- Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut Congressmember

10:00 AM – Morning Keynote

Steve Gross, Life is Good Playmakers

10:40 AM – Morning Concurrent Sessions

Faith Communities in Action 

Bishop W.C. Martin, Dr. Ruth McRoy, and Dr. Kathleen Belanger

Family Finding At It’s Best

Lauren Frey, Facilitator. Panelists:  Pat O’Brien, James Lister, MAry Harris-Miller and David Guilbeault

The Power of Play in Healing 

Life is Good Playmakers

Tragedies, Chronic Fear and Traumatized Systems: Lessons in transforming trauma

Dr. Victoria Kelly

The Future of Foster Care

Anthony Barrows, Facilitator. Panelists:  Sixto Cancel, Amnoni Meyers, Lexi Gruber, and Rodney Walker

One Generation Helping Another:  The Treehouse Intergenerational Community Model

Hal Grotevant, Facilitator, Panelists:  Rosa Young, Holly Handfield,  Pam Lumpkin, Sandra Morales Rubio, Deja Eddington, and Khadiah Eddington 

Impacting Policy - The Strengthening Families Act

Kim Stevens   

Noon – Lunch

Lunch will take place in the HCC dining facility.

1:10 PM – Afternoon Keynote

Connecticut's Child Welfare Journey 
Presented by

Nicole McKelvey-Walsh and Kim Nilson


2:15 PM – Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

Collaborating Across Silos: A Multidisciplinary Case Study

Co-Facilitated by Mary LeBeau & Judge (Ret) Lillian Miranda, Panelists: Kathy Harrison, Karen Zilberstein, Beverly Swetcky, Jaime Caron, and Andrew Rome

Fathers In Training:  Positive Fatherhood Training Initiative 

Presented by Michael Kyles

More Effective Child Advocacy

Charles Lerner, Facilitator. Panelists: Randee Laikind & Court Appointed Special Advocates Directors

Trauma Informed Post Adoption Services 

Presented by Sarah Greenblatt and Adam Pertman

The Future of Foster Care

Anthony Barrows, Facilitator. Panelists:  Sixto Cancel, Amnoni Meyers, Lexi Gruber, and Rodney Walker

Why Attachment Matters & What You Can Do About It

Dr. Sally Popper

The Value of Relationships

by “You Gotta Believe Nobody Ages Out Initiative Youth Collaborative!”

2:15 PM - Afternoon Session for Teens only:

Massachusetts implementation of Safe Families Act

by Kim Stevens

3:40 PM – Closing Keynote

Presented by Rodney Walker

4:30 PM – Post Conference Networking and Reception

A time to interact with fellow attendees, exchange ongoing contact information, and pre-order audio recordings for the workshops you couldn't attend.

5:00 PM – Conclusion of the Sixth Annual REFCA Conference


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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