Better Together: The Georgia Conference on Children & Families 2022

October 12 - 14, 2022


October 12-14, 2022


Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center 2 10th Street





About the Event

The Georgia Conference on Children & Families is the largest annual interdisciplinary event in Georgia designed to convene the community that serves children and families. With the theme of “Better Together,” GCCF 2022 will feature specialized tracks, training/CE opportunities, and keynote speakers with the goal of improving outcomes for the children and families that we serve.

GCCF Participants represent the full spectrum of disciplines and organizations serving Georgia’s children and families which includes child advocacy, juvenile justice, social service, education, legal counsel and the faith-based community. The conference provides a forum to improve competencies, learn from experts in the field and network with other professionals who have a wealth of experience.

Our goal is for this to be the most impactful and exciting GCCF yet - you won't want to miss this incredible conference!


8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Riverfront Exhibit Hall

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Registration Opens

1:00 PM - 2:15 PM

Opening Keynote with Eric Anderson

2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Workshop Session A

4:15 PM - 5:45 PM

Workshop Session B

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Riverfront Exhibit Hall

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM


8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

General Session with GPAC

10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Workshop Session C

11:45 AM - 1:15 PM

Awards Luncheon

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Workshop Session D

3:15 PM - 4:45 PM

Workshop Session E

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Networking Reception sponsored by CHRIS 180

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Riverfront Exhibit Hall

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM


8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Morning Keynote with Bobby Cagle

10:15 AM - 11:45 AM

Workshop Session F


Workshop Session A: Wednesday, October 12 - 2:30 - 4:00 PM


A Percussion Discussion - Therapeutic Drumming in the Milieu

This workshop will explore the use of traditional West African drumming with challenging youth. Information will be shared about research documenting the therapeutic benefits of drumming. . Participants will learn how to use simple warm-up activities with drums and found percussion items to work with groups. A traditional West African rhythm will be taught and played.


Tom Harris, MS

Therapeutic Drumming Manager, Youth Villages of Georgia


Marquis Taylor

Youth Villages of Georgia


Avoiding Common Pitfalls while Selecting, Implementing, and Delivering Evidence-Based Programs

When selecting Evidence-Based Programs ... what can go wrong? This workshop will highlight common challenges during EBP implementation and then offer tips regarding the appropriate selection of evidence-based programs; real-world guidance regarding high-fidelity implementation and delivery of EBPs; and practical recommendations for program sustainability.


Dr. Dan Edwards

Senior Director, Evidence Based Associates


Kevin Freeman, LPC

Vice President of Evidence Based Programs, ncgCARE


Connect Now: Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Awareness

Relationships have the power to shape our brains. Relationships helps us learn better, work better, parent better. When we experience tough times. They help us heal. With each connection, we develop a healthier stronger community. This presentation will provide an overview of the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) study and Georgia data.


Kari Viola-Brooke

LPC, CPCSExecutive Director of Child Enrichment


"Let's Talk": Using Dialectics and Validation to Connect Parents & Teens

Bridging the communication between the parent and child is crucial for therapeutic progress. We will discuss the use of dialectics and validation, based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)’s Walking the Middle Path Skill module, to help teen and parents see each other’s perspective, deescalate strong emotions, and improve communication.


Gaan Akers

LPC, NCC – Clinical Education & Referral Relations Manager, Hillside, Inc.


Family Search & Engagement (part 1 of 2) sponsored by Creative Community Services and Together Georgia

This workshop examines the principles and values required for relative search to be effective and how these can be reflected and applied in everyday practice. The session focuses on the 5 steps of FSE and introduces participants to strategies and tools that assist in engaging youth and family to explore a range of support and connection.


Lori Ryan

M.A., LSW - Senior Child Welfare Manager, Plummer Youth Promise


Differences are Good! An Exploration of Cultural Competence

In this workshop, participants will engage in a process of exploring biases and stereotypes and ways to move beyond them when working with clients and colleagues. Through dialogue and activity, participants will gain a greater understanding of the many facets of diversity and culture, analyze their perceptions and biases, and learn key strategies for how to work better with others and apply knowledge about diversity to their work.


Debra Ross

MSW – Instructional Services Coordinator, Georgia State University School of Social Work Child Welfare Training Collaborative


It Takes A Village

Join Together for Families Program Manager Sarah Winograd and Atlanta Angels Executive Director Christie Simons will present how they started their grass roots organizations. They will explain what their organizations do to help families, as Together for Families does to not have their children go into Foster Care due to poverty, and Atlanta Angels directly supports Foster Families who have children in their Foster Homes. Together Georgia Executive Director Juanita Stedman will lead the discussion that follows as to how organizations such as these two can be utilized by the Child Welfare Community.


Juanita Stedman

Executive Director, Together Georgia


Christie Simons

LPC – Executive Director and Co-Founder, Atlanta Angels


Sara Winograd-Babayeuski

Program Manager, Together for Families at Advocates for Children

Workshop Session B: Wednesday, October 12 - 4:15 - 5:30 PM


Self-Care: Mindfulness Practices to Create Sustainable Wellness

Self-care is a practice that each individual must develop based on their own unique needs. In the state of the world we live in, most people confuse self-recovery with self-care. Through the exploration of awareness, breath work, meditation, and painting, this interactive session will help identify mind/body practices which can be the foundation of a consistent self-care ritual.


Kimmy Yon

Community Engagement Manger, Youth Villages of Georgia


HEDIS at a Glance-Understanding Behavioral Health Measures

Before moving into Managed Care I had not heard of HEDIS and what it means for providers. This is an interactive discussion centering on the behavioral health HEDIS measures. Peach State Health Plan values everything you do to deliver quality care for our members – your patients – and to make sure they have a positive healthcare experience. There are several behavioral health measures that providers can directly impact. That’s why we’ve created an easy-to-use, informative HEDIS At-A-Glance Toolkit.


Tami Brown

LPC – Senior Behavioral Health Program Manager, Peach State Health Plan


Trauma, Social Media, and Digital Wellbeing

This workshop will give advocates and child welfare workers the latest research on how trauma and digital media affects black girls’ mental health. This presentation will also help them recognize signs of suicide and trafficking and offers strategies to help black girls when they're struggling.


Dr. Sarah Bingham

DSW, MSW – Founder & CEO, Make-It-Click, Inc.


Successful Strategies for Preparing Youth in Care for Employment

Participants attending this workshop will learn the strategies that have proven effective in the field of youth employment by Georgia Division of Family Services and gain knowledge on the difference between working with the general population of youth versus foster youth and gain an understanding about employment trends and opportunities for youth in the state of Georgia.


Dolly Pope

Employment & Training Specialist, Georgia Division of Family & Children Services


Family Search & Engagement (part 2 of 2) sponsored by Creative Community Services and Together Georgia

This workshop examines the principles and values required for relative search to be effective and how these can be reflected and applied in everyday practice. The session focuses on the 5 steps of FSE and introduces participants to strategies and tools that assist in engaging youth and family to explore a range of support and connection.


Lori Ryan

M.A., LSW - Senior Child Welfare Manager, Plummer Youth Promise


Cultural Humility: The Messages I Receive

This presentation focuses on Implicit Bias, Personal Mindset and the Child Welfare System in Georgia. As a participant, you will consider the messages you learned about people and the interacting systems that shaped your internal wiring, and contributed to your decision making around safety, and wellbeing.


LaFayette Young Jr

MSW – Training and Inclusion Specialist, Georgia CASA


Resources to Help Children Thrive

It takes parents, caregivers, and supportive RESOURCES to help children thrive. As professionals you know parents are often in complex situations and need professional and community support. This session explores barriers to meeting families’ basic needs and linking families to resources through concrete support through FindHelp Georgia.


Jennifer Stein

Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse Georgia

Workshop Session C: Thursday, October 13 - 10:15 - 11:45 AM


2022 Legislative Session & Mental Health Parity Act Debrief and Updates

Join legislative experts Polly McKinney, Stan Jones, and Helen Sloat as they discuss the impacts of the 2022 legislative session on child welfare, provide information as to the implementation of House Bill 1013 (the Mental Health Parity Act) as well as provide Q&A opportunity.


Polly McKinney

Advocacy Director, Voices for Georgia’s Children


Stan Jones



Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough,



Helen Sloat

Legislative Consultant


PCIT in Georgia

PCIT is a short-term, specialized behavior management program designed for young children experiencing behavioral and/or emotional difficulties and their families. PCIT teaches caregivers to manage their child’s difficult behaviors, while increasing their positive behaviors.PCIT works with the child and caregiver together to improve behavior and reduce parenting stress.


Leigh Gobbel

LPC, LCSW – Clinical Director, Pathways Transition Programs


Marina Yearsovich

LPC – PCIT Coordinator, Pathways Transition Programs


Session in Progress


QPR - Question, Persuade, Refer

QPR is Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention. Teaches lay and professional gatekeepers to recognize and respond positively to someone exhibiting suicide warning signs and behaviors. Key gatekeepers include a variety of professionals that can recognize a crisis and the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide.


Donnica Carpenter

MA, LMHC, LPC, MBA – Behavioral Health Initiative Lead, CareSource


The Trauma-Attachment Connection: Strategies for Therapists and Adoption/Foster Care Professionals

Attachment challenges in the children we serve are directly related to their past trauma experiences. This workshop will assist attendees in identifying the symptoms of the trauma-attachment connection. It will also identify strategies for clinicians, including how clinicians can help parents of attachmentchallenged adopted, foster, and congregate-care children.


Dr. Mark Andrews

Founder/Director, Adoptive Family Resources, Inc.


IDD Comp Waiver Review

This workshop reviews the qualifications and steps to get a foster youth who is diagnosed with a developmental disability into the Georgia COMP Waiver program for alternative residential options.


Brandie Chapman

Director of Developmental Disabilities Program, Creative Community Services


Advocating for Children in Care Facing Exclusionary School Discipline

Through this training, Georgia Appleseed will explore trends in exclusionary school discipline across the state of Georgia, with a focus on youth in foster care. The training will show how to best advocate for children in care facing exclusionary school discipline (or long term removal from school). The session will focus on best practices for preparing for and attending school disciplinary hearings and manifestation determination reviews, and how to best interact with the school system to promote positive educational outcomes for children in foster care.


Morgan Bridgman

JD – Policy Counsel, Georgia Appleseed Center for Law & Justice


Caren Cloud

JD – Legal and Policy Director, Georgia Appleseed

Workshop Session D: Thursday, October 13 - 1:30 - 3:00 PM


ETHICS (Part 1 of 2)

This workshop references ACA Codes of Ethics Guidelines.


Dr. Jeffery D. Lawrence

VP of Programs, The Methodist Home



VP of Programs, The Methodist Home


Sustainably Funded: Medicaid Waivers and WrapAround Success

Magellan Health in Louisiana has successfully administered the Coordinated System of Care (CSoC) based on the WrapAround framework and principles for youth and families with the most complex behavioral health needs. This presentation will look at sustaining WrapAround through Medicaid waivers, quality measurement, and a drive to outcomes that matter.


Barbara Ann Dunn

LCSW, MSW – Senior Director of Children’s Healthcare, Magellan Healthcare


Syralja Griffin

LPC - Vice President and General Manager, Magellan Healthcare of Louisiana


Using ABA to Treat the Behavioral Deficits of Trauma

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has become irrevocably linked with autism. However, ABA has its roots in mental health. This workshop will explore how one agency is utilizing Trauma Informed Applied Behavior Analysis to reduce problem behavior and improve the quality of life for youth in care, leading to improved outcomes and permanency. A Trauma Informed Applied Behavior Analysis approach focuses on what is behind the function, what life experiences and events contribute to the individual's behavioral profile. TIABA uses trauma-sensitive assessment and intervention methods to support positive behavioral change for youth in foster care.


Courtney Norris

SOAR Program Behavior Director, Creative Community Services


Tanya Leonardo

Director of SOAR Services, Creative Community Services


Clayton County Public Schools | Orange Duffel Bag Initiative Coaching Certification Program

Since 2014, Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS), The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative (ODBI), a 501c3 nonprofit, and Clayton State University have partnered to provide ODBI After School Coaching Program and curriculum to CCPS students in need, helping them stay on track for life and education success. ODBI's coaching model and program were highlighted at NAEHCY 2013-2014. In this session, also highlighted at NAEHCY 2021-22, the story continues of this partnership and its growth to serve more students in need. Participants will learn how these partners scaled the program, curriculum, and delivery method, and how to replicate similar collaboration within their local community.


Michael Daly

President, Orange Duffle Bag Initiative


Sonia Davis

– Coordinator of Homeless Education, Clayton County Public Schools


Breaking the cycle of child abuse: Expectant and Parenting Teens in Foster Care

Attendees learn how Teen Parent Connection Services support breaking the cycle of child abuse. Attendees will explore exercises from Nurturing Parenting Curriculum, what are the five constructs of the Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory, and the fundamentals of Teen Parent Connection Services.


Rochelle Grice

Director of Teen Parent Connection, Creative Community Services


It's Never Too Early! Supported Decision Making and The Journey to Adulthood

Most parents worry that their newly minted 18-year-old is not prepared to take on the rights and responsibilities that come with 'adulthood'. But for young adults who experience disabilities, guardianship is often the default response for meeting this need. What if there was another way? A way for parents and youth to be better prepared and build the skill of decision-making and move towards independence. Participants will learn key concepts of Supported Decision-Making, explore opportunities to practice self-determination and hear stories from youth who are navigating adulthood by using Supported Decision-Making.


Katie Chandler

LCSW – Sangha Unity Network


Dana Lloyd

Director of Developmental Disabilities Program, Georgia Advocacy Office


Peer Support: Finding & Utilizing Peer Support in Child Welfare

Parents from the Parent Advisory Council will share the different ways child welfare stakeholders can find and utilize different peer supports across Georgia - from certified peer specialists, parent navigators and mentors to foster parents. Attendees will leave with the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide parents with peer support opportunities across Georgia in child welfare and prevention services.


Lindsay Dale

MPA – Program Specialist and Parent Advisory Council Lead, Georgia Division of Family & Children Services

Workshop Session E: Thursday, October 13 - 3:15 - 4:45 PM


ETHICS (Part 2 of 2)

This workshop references ACA Codes of Ethics Guidelines.


Dr. Jeffery D. Lawrence

VP of Programs, The Methodist Home



VP of Programs, The Methodist Home


Managing Managed Care

Navigating the healthcare system is certainly challenging. Understanding Medicaid is additionally challenging. Amerigroup as one of the Managed Care entities for the state of GA and the contract holder for the Georgia Families 360 contract will help demystify how Medicaid isif funded and how Amerigroup specifically works with providers and members. This presentation will be a an informative, interactive and engaging session that will allow participants to better understand the system of care and how they can interactive more effectively.


Bhavini Solanki

LPC – Director of Georgia Families 360, Amerigroup Georgia


Lakeisha Williams

LPC – Director of Behavioral Health Services, Amerigroup Georgia


Meeting Clients Where They Are: Delivering Trauma-Informed Customer Service

In a trauma-informed approach to human services, every employee should understand the potential impact of trauma on adults who are receiving services from the organization. In this workshop, participants will explore the different aspects of trauma including how trauma and significant childhood adversities may impact the way adults interact with the service system. Using this foundation, participants will learn how to establish an environment of psychological safety for clients/customers and explore different strategies for improving customer engagement and communication.


Darrell Green

Instructional Services Coordinator, Georgia State University School of Social Work Child Welfare Training Collaborative


Harnessing the Power of Youth Voice for Program Improvement

This workshop will provide evidence, research, and experience based guidance on how to effectively partner with youth with lived foster experience to improve programmatic service array. Sharing power with youth can lead to impactful and meaningful change and help them build social capital. Participants will learn strategies to support shifting to a youth-centered system structure where youth as seen as partners and granted decision-making power.


Candis L. Jones

LAPC – GARYSE Chafee Independent Living Program Senior Director, Georgia Division of Family & Children Services


Understanding Factors that Predict Foster Parent Development and Retention

Mr. Lyon is the owner of ProFamily, LLC, an agency that partners with DFCS and DBHDD to provide comprehensive mental health services to low income families and individuals effected by mental health disorders. He has a Masters in Professional Counseling and is currently finishing his doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy and will be detailing his dissertation research in this presentation, which seeks to understand and identify factors that will predict long term foster parent retention by looking at burnout, self-identified trauma and training.


Joel Lyon

MA – Owner, ProFamily


Addressing the Impact of Child Trauma & Opioid Use Disorders

This training discusses the context and prevalence of the opioid epidemic, in order to understand the impact of opioid use disorder on children and families. During this training, we discuss the intersection of the opioid epidemic, child welfare systems, and child health. Through this training, we look to identify opportunities to support families impacted by trauma and substance abuse.


Chris Haider-Bardill

LPC, CPCS – Director of Substance Abuse Services, CHRIS 180


Looking Beyond Behavior: A Whole Child Approach to Student Success

Health barriers to learning and development like uncorrected vision problems and dental pain interfere with students’ ability to learn in Georgia every day. This session will include a whole child-focused, solution-oriented approach to addressing unmet basic health needs for children in the school setting through collaborative community efforts.


Mary Lauren Salvatore

MPH, CHES – Integrated Wellness Manager, Georgia Department of Education

Workshop Session F: Friday, October 14 - 10:15 - 11:45 AM


Crisis Response: Balancing Transparency, Compassion, and Self-Defense

A serious injury or abuse claim is every organization’s nightmare, but one that can become all too real in today’s litigious culture. Fortunately, you can plan ahead for many problems. Come learn and share important principles for responding to crises with compassion and transparency while still defending your organization and maintaining its reputation. We’ll talk about preparation, immediate response, and how to build a safety culture within your organization


Debbie Ausburn

JD – Partner, Taylor English


Tom Rawlings

JD – Counsel, Taylor English


Advances in Digital Mental Health and Artificial Intelligence: Quantifying Trauma Severity in 5-minutes and an Algorithm Writing Your GIRP Note

Addressing disparities in treatment outcomes for youth from low-income communities and reducing the level of provider stress requires adopting innovative digital health solutions. TQIntelligence’s technology currently services families with children ages 5 to 18yo, and its homegrown technology leverages Artificial Intelligence (AI) Voice Recognition Technology to quickly (5 minutes or less) and effectively (data-driven) determine the child's mental health care needs and triage their required care. Given the shortage of care professionals and increased burnout amongst counselors, TQI’s technology enables counselors and other care professionals to ultimately care for more individuals, including removing the administrative burden of the tedious documentation process (reducing burnout). The voice-based algorithm is trained to understand behavioral and emotional tendencies and to anticipate future behaviors to determine if a child’s vocal utterances deviate from age-appropriate linguistic and speech patterns.


Dr. Yared Alemu

Ph.D. – Founder and CEO, TQIntelligence, Inc.


Trauma STARs

(Trauma STARs program) designed to enable organizations, women advocacy groups, social service systems, crisis teams, adult behavioral health therapists, and other human service professionals to help individuals that may have experienced traumatizing events. The Trauma STARs program can be successfully applied with diverse cultures and across varied settings.


Rita Mathis

LCSW – Clinical Supervisor, CHRIS 180


Understanding Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

As key members of Wellspring Living, a non-profit organization in Atlanta, Georgia, whose mission is to transform the lives of those at risk for or victimized by sexual exploitation; the goal of this workshop is to help communities understand the complexities surrounding the sexual exploitation of children and youth. During this workshop we will discuss ways to identify youth potentially at risk, ways to support trafficking victims, as well as information relevant to the work we do everyday to provide restoration and hope to children victimized by this horrible epidemic.


Kristen Black

Assistant Director of the Girls Residential Program, Wellspring Living


Damita Bullock

Director, Wellspring Living


Youth and Family: Creating Connection and Change

Leveraging 35+ years of organizational experience in community-based programing, presenters will guide participants in learning and developing best practices and techniques for building engagement, maintaining motivation, and sustaining change throughout service delivery. This presentation is ideal for helping professionals in the juvenile justice and/or child welfare system of care.


Rebecca King

LCSW – FFT Regional Director, Southwest Key Programs


Antonio Wyche

LCSW – FFT Program Director, Southwest Key Programs


Strengths Based Intervention

We have an obligation to do a thorough inventory of strengths and leverage those to achieve healing. Even with multiple moves and additional trauma, utilizing a strength-based approach can lead to a more hopeful journey through the child welfare system. This workshop will focus on why strengths are important, how to cultivate them and how we can all contribute to this process in different ways.


Sandy Corbin

LCSW – Chief Program Officer, Multi-Agency Alliance for Children, Inc.


Federal Plan and CFSR: Working together for increased outcomes for children in Families in the Ga Child welfare system of care.

CFSR and Federal Reporting- Children and Families Services review and Federal Reporting. What does this mean to our stakeholders, child welfare staff and advocates? Breaking down the data and how talking to our partners about ways they can assist us with increasing our performance on the outcomes. Federal Reporting and the different plans that are monitored by the State office.


Kelly Dennis

Program Manager, Georgia Division of Family & Children Services


Christine Barbery

M.S. – Federal Plans Specialist, Georgia Division of Family & Children Services


Corporate Sponsor


Diamond Sponsors

United Health Care

Platinum Sponsors

Goshen Valley
Taylor English
TQ Intelligence


Broken ShackleRanch
Casey Family Programs
Magellan Healthcare


AmeriHealth Caritas
Elks Aidmore
Family Ties
Georgia Baptist
Southwest Key Progr
Winshape Homes


Child Caring Consultants
Christian City
Community Connections
Creative Community Services
Coastal Harbor Health System
Georgia MENTOR
Life Skills Reimagined
Lighthouse Care Center of Augusta
Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health
The Methodist Home
Twin Cedars
Youth Villages


Adoptive Family Resources

Adventure Bags

Atlanta Angels

Child Welfare Information Gateway

Child Welfare Training Collab

Family Match

Funtology Fundamentals

Georgia Youth ChalleNGe Program

Pharm Chem

Prevent Child Abuse

The Center for Children and Young Adults

Together Georgia

Frequently Asked Questions

GCCF 2022 is being held at the Marriott Augusta Convention Center ( Two Tenth Street, Augusta, GA 30901
To ensure you receive proper CEUs from the conference, be sure to register and include your Professional License information.
The group rate ($156.00/night +taxes and fees) will be available until September 20, or until the group block is sold out, whichever comes first. The code for discounted reservation is available via your conference registration email.)
There is self-parking available at the Convention Center for $1.25/hour or $7/day.
There will be a Riverfront Exhibit Hall for sponsors and exhibitors to mingle with Conference attendees. Contact for more information.
Contact or 404-572-6170 if you have additional questions.