Explore. Connect. Go Deeper at AFAH Conference.
- If you want to care for the foster & adoptive community, explore how you are called to serve at AFAH.
- If you want community with others, connect to people with similar passions at AFAH.
- If you want healing for your foster or adoptive child, go deeper in understanding trauma-informed care at AFAH.
Date, Time & Location
February 23, 2019
Grace Covenant Church
Childcare is now closed.
Who Is This Conference For?
- People who want to support the adoptive/foster care community
- People who are exploring foster care and adoption
- Post-placement families who want to learn more and connect with other families
- Professionals: we have a special day for caseworkers and other child welfare professionals. CEUs are available.
About Our Breakout Speakers from 2018
Honorable Aurora Martinez Jones
Judge Martinez Jones is part of the new court in Travis County, the 459th. As a County Associate Judge, she has led local reform efforts to provide a more compassionate, trauma-informed and efficient process towards child welfare cases. She also worked as a sole practitioner, representing families that needed a voice, with hands-on experience in the diverse legal issues that have come before the court.
Heather McAnear, LBSW, is the Inquiry Specialist and Post Adoption Center Coordinator for Generations Adoptions, a division of Nightlight Christian Adoptions. Heather has worked with domestic and international adoptive families and children for 12 years and is passionate about finding the right family for a child in need. During her time with Generations/Nightlight, Heather has developed international programs in Mexico, Uganda, Ghana, and Cameroon and served many families as they have brought adopted children into their home.
Allison Eckelkamp LPC-S, RPT-S, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor in private practice in the Austin area. She supervises interns, and works with parents, families, children, and individuals, with a focus on attachment trauma. As a parent who struggled herself, Allison has a passion for helping parents and children who have experienced trauma and loss. She has pursued advanced training in EMDR, TBRI, Theraplay, Positive Discipline, and Interpersonal Neurobiology. She has led adoptive moms groups, presents parenting workshops, and trainings for professionals on parenting children from hard places. She has previously worked in the fields of Deaf Education and Children and Family Ministry. Allison and her husband Keith have been married for 31 years and have two amazing grown children and daughter-in-law. They are active in serving and supporting overseas workers in the field.
Danny and Rachel Cook
Danny and Rachel Cook live in Hutto, Texas and have been married for 18 years. They have six children currently ranging in age from fourteen to three. Three biological daughters, one adopted son, and two foster sons. Rachel’s full-time job is being a mom and Danny is the Pastor of Legacy Church in Round Rock, Texas. Together, Rachel and Danny have fostered seventeen children over the span of seven years as a therapeutic foster home. A little more than three years ago they began a foster and adopt support network called, Unshaken. These families predominantly live in Central Texas, but Unshaken’s online support has expanded across North America over the past few years.
Tara Hutton is a seeker. Seeker of God. Seeker of understanding. Seeker of healing and restoration. She is fearlessly transparent and invites others to explore the truth of their story by revealing her own. Tara’s journey, often shared against the backdrop of marriage and motherhood, is a beautiful combination of struggle and faith. Tara lives outside Houston, TX with husband Kyle, their 3 sons, and 2 foster children.
Brandon and Janice Reyes
Janice and Brandon Reyes are foster and adoptive parents with ten years of marriage and three kids, ages 9, 9, and 8. They met as teachers of inner city youth in Bronx, NY, where they fell in love and discovered a shared joy in caring for kids from hard places. After having two biological boys nearly one year apart, in 2015 they adopted their daughter after a nine-month foster care placement. Janice is a TBRI Practitioner and Family Mentor with Fostering Hope Austin. Brandon is a Fire Protection and Plumbing Engineer and enjoys writing and performing spoken word. Brandon and Janice are active in their church and enjoy supporting and advocating for the vulnerable whenever they can.
Andrew Fike is a native of the DFW area but spent the past 10 years in Los Angeles where he received his Masters of Divinity from Fuller Seminary and spent 6 years working with families experiencing homelessness. Having moved to Austin this past year, Andrew now works as the Program Director of Foster Care Transitional Services (FCTS) with LifeWorks. The FCTS programs both work to equip youth preparing to age out for adulthood through life skill classes as well as provide ongoing clinical case management for young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 after they age out of care.
A native Texan, Anna Valdez lived in Monterrey, Mexico for the past 5 years as a Program Coordinator for the international organization, Back2Back Ministries. She is a TBRI practitioner and mentor. Along with being a Program Coordinator, Anna worked as a caregiver in an orphanage in Monterrey. There she was the primary caregiver for 17 teenage girls in a span of 5 years with whom she successfully applied the TBRI principles. Under the direction of nationally known social worker and author, Jayne Schooler, she trained families, other caregivers and professional staff in the Trauma Competent Caregiver curriculum. Anna managed 9 other trainers and was on the ground floor of developing and translating the curriculum. Her experience includes developing group specific training for volunteers, support groups for foster parents and caregivers, and helping institutions move through the continuum of trauma informed care. Anna is fluent in Spanish and taught high school English before moving to Mexico.
Julie Kouri is the founder and Executive Director of Fostering Hope Austin. She and her husband have 3 children through adoption. Julie has been leading and supporting foster and adoption ministries across Central Texas for more than a decade. Julie is an approved Educator in Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). Her experiences include working directly with Dr. Purvis and her TCU team to develop trauma-informed church ministries in Central Texas. Julie has mentored and trained hundreds of foster and adoptive families.
Brian and Sarah Miller
Brian and Sarah Miller are Family Mentor for Fostering Hope Austin. She and her husband have fostered 20 children and have 4 children through adoption and 2 biological children. They are Empowered to Connect Trainers. Sarah is a TBRI practitioner and is also a registered nurse with experience working in both emergency rooms and public schools.
Nancy C. Preston, MEd, LPC-S, LMFT, TBRI® Practitioner/Educator has 40 years of professional experience working with children, youth, adults and families in at-risk and crisis situations. Nancy has served as a general education classroom teacher, a SPED self-contained classroom teacher of students from hard places, a child, adolescent and family therapist and the Director of Therapy of an inpatient psychiatric hospital, a Professional School Counselor in a large urban high school and a disciplinary alternative education program, and a Principal of an alternative high school of choice. She recently retired after serving for over five years as the Director of Counseling Services for Temple Independent School District in Temple, TX. Nancy currently serves as the state Heart of Texas CISM (HSR 7) Team Coordinator for responses to assist First Responders following critical incidents involving extreme stress, multiple fatalities, or line-of-duty deaths.
Julie Baker has been working with LifeWorks for 25 years and spent the past 15 years serving on the After Care Transition Services (ACTS) program both as a case manager and also a program services coordinator. Through her years of direct care service, Julie has become an expert on youth aging out and the resources in our community. Outside of work Julie is passionate about photography, art and delicious Texas BBQ.
Jason has been serving churches and non-profit organizations in the areas of pastoral care, counseling, and orphan advocacy for over 15 years. Along with his role in the counseling center Jason also serves as the Pastor of Care & Counseling at the Austin Stone Community Church. Jason also serves as the Co-Founder of Together for Adoption, an organization that provides theological and practical resources to mobilize the church for adoption, foster care, and global orphan care rooted in the gospel. Jason has been married for over 14 years to Shawnda and they have and 5 incredible children and lives in East Austin. In his spare time Jason enjoys going for bike rides, swimming, good coffee, and reading.