Foster Parents Credit Hours & Social Workers Certificates of Completion Available

Available during the lunch hour:

Saturday | 12:30pm

More Than Milk: Baby to Breast is an Adoption Option | Lunch Room

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

This class will encourage parents to do skin to skin and breastfeed their adoptive baby. Different options and goals will be discussed. Parents will be encouraged to focus on the bonding and intimacy of this relationship, along with understanding the options to induce lactation. (Angela E. Swieter, RN, BSN, IBCLC, RLC, ICBD, ICCE)


Saturday | 10:00am

Diapers to Dentures: Engaging your Whole Church in Orphan Care | Room B

Are you a pastor or church orphan care leader? Then this workshop is designed perfectly for you! Attendees will hear from a seasoned orphan care leader about engaging their whole church in orphan care, from children to senior adults. We’re not all called to foster or adopt, but we are all called to do something. (Eric Porter, Founder/President of Backyard Orphans and Airika Blankenship, Program Director)

Setting our Children Up for Success | Room C

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Come join as we develop an understanding of how ongoing hard experiences negatively impacted our children’s development. Our primary focus will be the impact hard experiences has had on our children’s brains and what we can do to reverse these challenges. We will explore how we can set our children up for success by developing brain-based strategies based on their overactive fear response, imbalanced neurochemicals, and struggles with regulation. In order to understand how to help our children, we have to understand their brains. I’m excited to develop this understanding with you in order to help your children reach their full potential. (Darcie Van Voorst, Trainer & Consultant)

Navigating Open Adoption | Room D

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Join birth mother, Dominique White as she discusses the “why” behind open adoption and acknowledges the fears adoptive parents and birth parents experience. She also shares the five major lessons she has learned going from a closed to an open adoption. (Dominique White, Birth Mother and Speaker)

International Adoption Family Panel | Room D1

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Are you called to be the answer to one of millions who live without the hope of being loved by a family? Please join us to hear about the joys and struggles of local international adoptive families and come with your questions to hear honest answers. You bring your passion for children, and we’ll bring our families and agency’s expertise, integrity and high quality of service. (Leah Garland, LMSW, MBA and Executive Branch Director of Bethany Christian Services of South Central Iowa)

Understanding the Legalities of the Private Adoption Process | Des Moines Room

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

This comprehensive outline will specify the correct legal procedures of the entire process from the birth to finalization in private adoption for all members of the adoption triad, the agencies, and the attorneys involved; it includes the procedures for termination of parental rights. It was created as a collaborative effort between Iowans for Adoption; William Pearce, M.A.; and Adoption Attorneys Ryan A. Genest of Des Moines, and Lois Vroom of Knoxville both of whom practice adoption law in Iowa. (Diana Baltimore, Executive Director of the National Center for Adoption & Iowans for Adoption and William Pearce, M.A., Founder of Adoption Associates of Iowa)

Saturday | 11:15am

Church Based Orphan Care: What Does It Look Like? | Room B

Did you know there are 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., 100,000 of whom are ready and awaiting adoption?  The problem seems insurmountable until you realize there are 350,000 churches in the U.S.  It’s problem solvable if the Church steps up to lead the way!  And we’re here to show them how.  We guide church leaders to develop a foster care, adoption and support ministry.  Join us in this workshop to get a glimpse of what that looks like! (Eric Porter, Founder/President of Backyard Orphans & Airika Blankenship, Program Director)

Setting Ourselves Up for Success | Room C

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Parenting children from hard places will likely be the most challenging thing we will ever do in our life. Left unchecked, the stress and overwhelm can overtake us. Come join as we explore what barriers are making it challenging to be the parents we want to be. Often, we as parents focus on how to set our children up for success; in this session we will learn ways to set ourselves up for success. I am humbled at the opportunity to explore this with you, and pray it is the beginning of your own healing journey... (Darcie Van Voorst, Trainer & Consultant)

Foster Care and Adoption: Through the Eyes of a Former Foster Youth and Adoptee | Room D

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Foster Care can be a traumatic time for the child.  Peggy gives a honest look into her life as a heavily labeled foster youth with the system and the hopeless cycle of being transferred from home to home.  She also speaks on the key things that led her from a path of brokenness to a future full of hope.  From bonding and identity to unconditional love.  Peggy vulnerably shares what it was like to live through the foster system.  (Peggy Porter, Development Coordinator, Beauty Amidst The Ashes)

Building Support Groups for Adoptive and Foster Families | Room D1

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Entering the life of Orphan Care should not be lonely. When we started our journey as foster/adoptive parents, we felt supported. However, our family then moved to a different area & realized quickly our new community didn’t know how to support our family or families like us. We believe it’s not that people didn’t want to support; they just didn’t know how. Find out how we helped start a support group for foster & adoptive families in our community.

In this session, you will better understand the need for support groups, learn strategies to launch a new support group, and discuss how to move past the surface level conversations & develop depth. (Brett & Tina Vande Hoef, Founders of Kings & Queens Local)

Adoption is God’s Redemptive Response to Brokenness | Des Moines Room

Starting an adoption journey can be scary and full of unknowns. Locking arms with someone that has been down this road is a beneficial and necessary way to honor birth families, adoptive families, and adoptees. Faithful Adoption Consultants advocates from the adoptive family, but in doing so, teaches them how to love all those involved in the adoption process BIG and WELL. (Courtney Lott, Co-Executive Director of FAC and Lead Adoption Consultant)

An Adoptees Inheritance | Youth Room

As Adoptees, we need to know our inheritance.  His truth awakens our spirit to see our identity as a Child of God.  A father’s role is to provide a safe, secure environment and so our Heavenly Father teaches us how to process our heavenly citizenship full here on earth.  (Stephanie Fast, Speaker & Author)

Saturday | 3:00pm

The Adoption Tax Credit Works | Room B

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

The Adoption Tax Credit is one of the most misunderstood credits in the IRS code and we will help you understand it in this session. We will explain how the Adoption Tax Credit works, when to apply for it and the dollars amounts of the credit. There will be a PowerPoint presentation, then a question and answer time allotted. We have been blessed by adoption and want to help as many families as possible.  (Becky Wilmoth, Adoption Tax Credit Specialist and Enrolled Agent for Bills Tax Service)

Adverse Childhood Experiences | Room C

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

In this session we will identify what Adverse Childhood Experiences are and how these events impact children’s moods, ability to regulate, and increase use of poor coping skills. We will identify what interventions can help families and increase understanding of how to support children with high ACE scores for long-term health. (Barb Wilkerson, BSN, CPNP, ARNP, LOVE Takes Root)

How to Choose An Adoption Agency | Room D

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

This session will be about how to choose an adoption agency, things to consider when looking at agencies, and what questions to ask when choosing an agency. We will show you which resources are available to learn about agencies and what questions to ask families who have adopted from the agency you are considering. (Sarah Hofland, New Horizons Adoption Agency)

Foster Care 101 | Room D1

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Learn the basics about foster care including the need for foster parents, recent statistics, the demographics of children and youth in foster care. Find out about the general qualifications and the process for becoming a licensed foster parent in the state of Iowa. Also hear about some of the challenges these foster children face. General information about foster care to adoption will be covered in this informative seminar. (Mindy Alexander, BA Human Services, Training Coordinator/Recruiter – Four Oaks Family Connections Foster Care/Adoption Program)

Infertility: Beauty in The Brokenness | Des Moines Room

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Many couples have their path in life shattered by infertility, miscarriage or infant loss. Learn how to find hope in the midst of tackling the difficult questions and circumstances that come with these battles.  Join Diana Christiansen of Beauty Amidst The Ashes as she shares her personal story and offers encouragement and hope for this painful journey.  (Diana Christiansen, RN, Adoptive Mom. Beauty Amidst The Ashes)

Adoption and Foster Care Panel | Youth Room

DHS Approved for one credit hour for foster parents

Join and engage with adoptive parents, adoptees and birth mothers as they share and respond to your questions.  (Panel Including: Adoptive parents, adoptees and birth mothers)