Explore. Connect. Go Deeper at the 12th annual AFAH Conference. Explore how you are called to serve the foster and adoptive community. Connect to people with similar passions and build community. Go deeper in your understanding of trauma-informed care and find healing for your foster or adoptive child.

Februray 2, 2019
9am - 3:30pm
Grace Covenant Church
$25/person
Childcare available but limited

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.

Keynote Speaker

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Bob Goff is the two time New York Times Best-Selling Author of both Love Does and Everybody Always, Honorary Consul to the Republic of Uganda, and an attorney who founded Love Does- a nonprofit human rights organization operating in Uganda, India, Nepal, Iraq and Somalia. He’s a lover of balloons, cake pops and helping people pursue their big dreams. Bob‘s greatest ambitions in life are to love others, do stuff, and most importantly hold hands with his wife Sweet Maria Goff and spend time with their amazing kids.  For more see BobGoff.com and LoveDoes.org

Breakout Session Topics

THE CHALLENGES & BLESSINGS OF BEING A SINGLE FOSTER PARENT

A discussion based on real-life experiences of the ups and downs of being a single foster parent and the hope that you can welcome a child into a single parent household.

Speaker: Hailie Graves

TRAUMA INFORMED CARE: THE WHY’S BEHIND THE BEHAVIORS FRUSTRATE US

We will look at the reasons behind the frustrating behaviors of a foster or adoptive child and grow our compassion as we try to see life through their lenses. Practical strategies will also be offered as we develop new skills to raise a child that comes from a hard place.

Speaker: Anna Valdez

SOUL-CARE: CARING FOR YOUR FAMILY MEANS CARING FOR YOURSELF

Many times we neglect ourselves because there is so much to do for our children. This breakout will uncover the impact self-care can have on parenting and permanency in a child’s life.

Speaker: TBD

GRIEF AND LOSS: MAKING THE GOODBYE POSITIVE

The possibility of losing a child can stop many from welcoming a wounded child into their home. This panel will explore the ways to grieve the losses without losing hope.

Speakers: Brandon & Janice Reyes

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CHILD ENTERS THE CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM

Navigating the judicial child welfare system can be difficult. In this session, Judge Martinez-Jones, will shed light on the process every child goes through in her courtroom.

Speaker: Judge Martinez-Jones

MAKING THE HONEYMOON LAST: WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOU ADOPT

After a child has been adopted our world can seem to be turned upside down. This discussion will shed light on what to expect when your child has found their forever family.

Speakers: Kenneth & Danielle Camp

BIOLOGICAL FAMILY: WHO IS THE FAMILY OF THE CHILD I LOVE

Many times it is difficult to find compassion for the biological family of the child in our home. In this discussion we will learn about why the biological family could not care for their child and how our understanding of them can grow our compassion and our desire to see them heal as well.

Speakers: TBD

HOW DOES FOSTER CARE IMPACT OUR COMMUNITY

We may be unaware of how foster care impacts those in need in our whole community. This panel of experts will discuss how a child who has been in foster care is more likely to become homeless, incarcerated, or a teen parent.

Speakers: Panel facilitated by Matt Kouri

HOW DO I GET ENGAGED: THE 5 NEEDS OF FOSTER CARE

Not everyone can be a foster parent, but there are many different opportunities to serve in the foster care community. This discussion highlights the five areas of need in foster care today.

Speaker: Julie Kouri

HOW CAN MY CHURCH GET INVOLVED IN SERVING FOSTER FAMILIES AND CHILDREN

If you have a growing interest to get your church involved by ministering to foster and adoptive families, join this breakout as we discuss the process of building a vibrant church ministry that meets the needs of children and their families.

Speaker: Meghann Prestley

About Our Breakout Speakers

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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.

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.

Anna Valdez

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

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.

Kenny and Danielle Camp

Kenny and Danielle Camp have one son, eight-years-old, adopted through foster care. Kenny has two self-published books about foster care and adoption. He also creates content for his blog and podcast found at KennthACamp.com. Danielle is a gifted full-time mom and homeschool teacher. Both continue to work with families as they advocate for foster care and adoption.

Kenny and Danielle lived in Thailand for six months in 2007 as volunteer missionaries. They fully expected to return soon to serve long term. Little did they know that God had a different plan for their lives. In 2010 after attending a missions conference, God spoke to their hearts about adopting through foster care. January 2011 they received their foster care license and by June 2011 they had their first, and only, foster placement. 15 months later they stood before a judge committing to become the parents of an almost two-year-old son.

Meghann Presley

Meghann Presley came to Fostering Hope Austin through a circuitous route. She and her husband attended A Future and a Hope several years ago, and after much discussion and prayer, they (along with their three children) became a licensed foster family. Her experience on church staff for many years, most recently as the Director of Children’s Ministry for her home church, combined with her hands-on knowledge of TBRI practices through fostering, has equipped her well to provide support to the Fostering Hope Austin team and to focus on ministry development with each of our partner churches.

Matt Kouri

Matt Kouri is a 3-time adoptive parent with his wife, Julie. He is TBRI trained and an ETC trainer. Matt was appointed, by Governor Abbott, to chair the DFPS Council Committee. Professionally, Matt is the Founder and CEO of Good Works Advisors.