Strengthening Connections 2008

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Parents who struggle with drug addiction, HIV and/or incarceration face many personal and institutional barriers to developing and maintaining healthy relationships with their children. The primary purpose of this national conference is to promote practices that help to strengthen these relationships and minimize trauma and attachment disorders among infants and young children.

Specifically, the conference will present family-focused, multi-disciplinary strategies that: (1) strengthen and support parent-child relationships to prevent separation due to substance abuse and/or HIV; (2) maintain parent-child relationships during necessary separation due to incarceration, substance abuse and/or HIV; and (3) rebuild parent-child relationships during reunification.

The conference will include a combination of plenary and panel presentations, focused workshops and interactive discussions that address the unique parenting challenges among families affected by substance abuse, HIV and/or incarceration; the importance of the parent-child relationship in a child’s development; and specific practice interventions in the three areas mentioned above—prevention, maintenance and rebuilding. The development and refinement of systems and policies that support and promote effective practice also will be addressed.

We expect approximately 250 participants to attend from the fields of social work, child welfare, substance abuse, public health, criminal justice, infant development and others. Whereas the conference will primarily target service providers, it also will be of interest to administrators, policy makers and advocates interested in families.

Audio recordings, presentation slides and handouts from this meeting are available from the archive tab.

Download the Conference Booklet [PDF]



Recordings, PowerPoint slides and other handouts from many of the presentations are available below:


DAY ONE: March 12, 2008

8:00 – 9:00 Registration and Breakfast; exhibit hall open

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome

9:15 – 10:15 Keynote: Promoting Attachment in Families Affected by Substance Abuse, HIV and Incarceration

Alicia LiebermanPresenter: Alicia Lieberman, PhD
Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair in Infant Mental Health and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, and Director of the Child Trauma Research Project at San Francisco General Hospital

speakerListen to this presentation (80 minutes) [MP3 format]
Download the presentation slides [PDF]

10:15 – 10:30 BREAK

10:30 – 11:45 Panel: Voices of Parents
A panel of parents affected by substance abuse, HIV and/or incarceration will share their experiences, particularly related to relationships with their children, and recommendations for professionals working with families facing similar challenges.

Moderator: Susan Burton, Founder and Executive Director of A New Way of Life Re-Entry Project, Los Angeles, CA

speakerListen to this presentation (70 minutes) [MP3 format]

11:45 – 1:15 LUNCH

1:15 – 2:45 Workshop Session I

  • Program Development from the Inside Out: Fathers in Jail, their Significant Others and Children Plan a Program to Maintain, Strengthen and Rebuild their Family Ties 
    Fathers in the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, PA, their significant others and their older children are the lead planners of a family-relationship-building program in the Jail and for a year after release. This workshop describes the planning process from the residents’, family members’, Warden’s, facilitator’s and funder’s points of view.

Presenters: Claire Walker, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation; Warden Ramon C. Rustin, Director of the Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections; Bonnie McNally-Brown, LPC, NCC, private child and adolescent therapist; incarcerated father and his family

Download the presentation slides: Claire WalkerRamon C. RustinBonnie McNally-Brown [PDF]

  • B Cultural Myths and Their Impact on a Child’s Development and Parenting Practices in At-Risk Families
    Learn how to identify a family’s cultural myths and how they affect parenting style and interfere with parent education; how to decipher which myths interfere with appropriate parenting practices and which to hold harmless; and how to respect cultural myths and present new concepts in child development and parenting to families that promote healthy parent/child attachment.

Presenter: Leslie D. Fierro, Parent Educator, CRADLES Project, Family Connections, Austin, TX

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • C But My Child’s Not Old Enough Yet! Helping Young Children Understand the HIV in their Family 
    Many adults think that HIV is too advanced or mature of a topic for young children to understand. This workshop will help parents and professionals understand how HIV education and disclosure can be developmentally appropriate for children in the 6-12 year old age range. It will include an overview of a child’s developmental understanding of illness, developmentally appropriate HIV messaging for children, how HIV disclosure can positively impact the parent-child relationship and what teaching tools help in the delivery of an HIV disclosure or education session.

Presenter: Malia Woessner, MS, CCLS, is a Family HIV Educator with the Kids’ Connection program at Cascade AIDS Project in Portland, OR

  • D Celebrating Families! Part 1 of 2
    Celebrating Families! (CF!) is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral curriculum developed specifically for families in early recovery. Preliminary evaluation results indicate a high degree of success in teaching healthy living skills and building family cohesion. Piloted as part of the Family Treatment Drug Court in Santa Clara County with Judge Len Edwards (retired), the program has now been replicated in other drug courts, treatment centers and community based organizations. All families attending CF! are in early recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction and suffer from (or at high risk for) domestic violence, child abuse or neglect. Session One of this 2-part presentation will include an overview of the model, who it serves and why it is effective with these high risk populations; evaluation findings; and implementation steps. See workshop IID at 3:00 for a description of the second session.

Presenters: Rosemary Tisch, Director Prevention Partnership International; Melissa Santos-Carthen, Program Manager, Steps Ahead, Friends Outside in Santa Clara County, CA

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • E Enhancing Services for Children of Women in Substance Abuse Treatment 
    The Philadelphia Department of Human Services, Division of Community-Based Prevention, in collaboration with the Department of Behavioral Health, major providers of substance abuse treatment, The Health Federation of Philadelphia and Congreso de Latinos Unidos, implemented a cross systems collaborative care model for pregnant and parenting women and their children who are participating in residential and outpatient treatment programs. The prevention care model begins during residential treatment and extends into aftercare utilizing case management and home visitation services. Recovering mothers who complete the aftercare component of the program are being trained as qualitative researchers to conduct interviews with other program participants, analyze data and present findings. This workshop will identify key components and prevention strategies of the model; discuss the benefits and challenges inherent in cross system collaborations; and apply the model to other communities.

Presenters: Maria C. Frontera, MSW, LSW, Director of the Division of Children, Youth and Family Programs at the Health Federation of Philadelphia; Ellen C. Walker, MSW, LSW, Director Division of Community-Based Prevention Services, Department of Human Services; Michelle Heyward, MEd, Cross Systems Projects Manager for the Enhanced Services for Children of Women in Substance Abuse Treatment/Aftercare, Department of Behavioral Health; David Dan, MSW, LCSW, Consultant/Evaluator

2:45 – 3:00 BREAK

3:00 – 4:30 Workshop Session II

  • A Breaking through the Bars: Strengthening Families Impacted by Incarceration
    The Children and Families division of Centerforce in San Rafael, CA has multiple family-focused, multidisciplinary programs that maintain parent-child relationships during incarceration and rebuild parent-child relationships during reunification upon release. This workshop will briefly describe these different programs, best practices that have emerged and the challenges and opportunities that exist in work with parents who are incarcerated and their families. The presentation will also include personal testimony from families who are/have been affected by incarceration and provide opportunity for interactive exercises to help participants gain a deeper understanding of the issues affecting parents who are incarcerated and their children during and after incarceration.

Presenters: Tara Regan, Family & Children Services Manager; Sara Rose Serin-Christ, Children & Family Wellness Coordinator; Gwen Brown, Family Services Outreach Coordinator; Yvette Smith, Family Reunification Case Manager with Back to Family Man; Isaiah Hurtado, Family Reunification Case Manager with Back to Family Man; Sarah McKinnon, Life Project Coordinator; Jamila Bray, Families Moving Forward Coordinator; member of a family touched by Centerforce

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • B Mother Child Connection – Shared Family Care
    This workshop will present the Shared Family Care Program which provides intensive in-home services to parents and their children whose lives have been affected by substance abuse. Presenters will focus on the challenges in providing parent education services to parents reuniting with their children and/or at risk of having their children removed. They also will include strategies to assist parents to recognize and overcome family patterns and negative influences that may impact bonding, the emotional and social growth of the child and the mother-child relationship.

Presenters: Barbara Henley, MA, Training Coordinator; Joyce Penalver, MA, Drug and Alcohol Therapist, FamiliesFirst, Concord, CA

  • C Families Together: Strengthening Bonds among Families Living with and Affected by HIV/AIDS and Substance Abuse
    Citizens Advice Bureau’s Families Together Program, located in the Bronx, New York, offers groups on parenting, family, relationships and HIV education, as well as individual counseling for families infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. The workshop will present strategies for engaging high-risk families; creating a safe and nurturing program environment; combining supportive, educational and creative activities to enhance and improve family dynamics; exploring creative means of addressing disclosure such as role plays, skits and art projects; and engaging in supportive discussions around the pros and cons of non-disclosure.

Presenters: Y. Felicia Thomas, Families Together Program Coordinator; Gina Mattivi, LMSW, Assistant Program Director for Citizens Advice Bureau’s Positive Living Program

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • D Celebrating Families! Part 2 of 2
    Participants who attended Part 1 of this workshop can gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Celebrating Families! Program, an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral curriculum developed specifically for families in early recovery and its effectiveness with families affected by incarceration. Session Two will include implementation of the model by Friends Outside of Santa Clara County, CA with families affected by incarceration and the demonstration of several activities from the curriculum including lessons on addiction and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Presenters: Rosemary Tisch, Prevention Partnership International; Melissa Santos-Carthen, Steps Ahead, Friends Outside, Santa Clara County, CA

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • E Breaking the Cycle: A Comprehensive, Early Intervention Program Serving Substance Involved Mothers and their Young Children
    This workshop will introduce participants to Mothercraft’s Breaking the Cycle (BTC), a comprehensive, integrated, early intervention program designed to reduce the risk and enhance the development of substance-exposed children by addressing maternal substance use issues and the mother-child relationships. BTC has become one of the most extensively documented Canadian programs serving pregnant women and mothers who are substance-involved, and their young children. The presentation will include a detailed program description, evaluation data from over 10-years of services, and “stories” of the women who access service at BTC. It also will describe strategies for helping women to identify their past and present victimization; to examine its impact on parenting, recovery, and child development; and to utilize positive parenting practices that serve as protective factors for women and their children.

Presenters: Gina DeMarchi, ECE, Manager of Early Intervention Programs at Mothercraft; Mary Motz, PhD, C. Psych., Manager of Clinical Services at Mothercraft, Toronto, Canada

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

4:30 – 6:00 Reception: with performance of “Prisons”, a one woman drama/comedic theatrical piece written and performed by Shanique S. Scott

DAY TWO: March 13, 2008

7:30 – 8:30 Registration and breakfast; exhibit hall open
8:30 – 10:15 Panel: Legal and Systemic Considerations for Maintaining Parent-Child Connections 
This panel will address current legal and systemic challenges and opportunities for maintaining parent-child relationships. Specific issues that will be addressed include the Adoption and Safe Families Act; laws and practices guiding arrests, sentencing and visitation of incarcerated parents; laws to support the connection of parents and children affected by HIV/AIDS; opportunities for reinstating parental rights after their termination; and immigration policies and practices.

Presenters: Patricia Allard, Esq.; Linda Coon, JD; Nell Bernstein; Charles Martinez, Jr., PhD

10:15 – 10:30 BREAK

10:30 – 12:00 Workshop Session III

  • A Systemic Response to Parental Incarceration: The Mother-Child Reunification Program 
    This workshop will provide an overview of the history, service design and collaborative implementation of the Mother-Child Reunification Program, a system wide response to parental incarceration in California. Specifically, it will review the empirical research underlying the endeavor; the policy and program initiatives that led to collaboration among partners; the innovative and evidence-based interventions that are offered by the program; and the practice issues presented by the client population, the program setting, correctional policies and work in a politicized environment. The workshop also will present an overview of the MIRACLE Project, which provides comprehensive jail-based and home-based services for pregnant, incarcerated mothers and their children.

Presenter: Denise Jonston, MD, founding director of the Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents; Dawn Davison, Warden, California Institution for Women; Wendy Still, Director, Female Offender Programs, California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation; Lorena Delgado, Family Advocate, the MIRACLE Project

  • B Rebuilding Parent-Child Relationships by Joining Families during Substance Abuse Treatment 
    This workshop will compare and contrast strategies, experiences and outcomes of two different residential treatment programs for women and their children in Florida and Tennessee. It also will describe tools to assess parenting, attachment and bonding; therapeutic interventions to help moms unlearn unhealthy parenting and promote attachment and bonding; and tools and strategies for data collection and program evaluation.

Presenters: Rebecca Kelly, LPC, NCC, Doctoral Candidate, Director of Client Services, Child and Family Tennessee; Candace C. Hodgkins, PhD, LMHC, Senior Vice President of Clinical Administration at Gateway Community Services, Jacksonville, FL; M. David Miller, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Florida; Molly McHenry, Senior Program Administrator for women’s services at Gateway Community Services

Download the presentation slides [PDF]: Set 1Set 2

  • Facilitated Visitation Services for Families Affected by Substance Abuse, HIV or Incarceration 
    This workshop will describe a model program for supervised visitation between children and their non-custodial parents affected by substance abuse, HIV and incarceration, as well as other problems including separation, divorce and domestic violence. It also will address how facilitated visitation addresses past and current relationships between children and their parents and helps families rebuild their future relationships. Finally, it will present methods of dealing effectively with parents and children in supervised and facilitated visitation to ensure safe and healthy ongoing contact between parents and children.

Presenters: David Duffey-Leon, Program Manager, Rally Family Visitation Services of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, San Francisco, CA; Monique Nogueira, Case Coordinator, Rally Family Visitation Services

  • D Future Care and Custody Planning 
    One of the most difficult issues for parents facing death, physical or mental disability, or even a temporary absence such as drug treatment or incarceration, is how best to plan for the care and well-being of their children. Planning ahead can help parents ensure that their wishes are followed, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach to follow in these situations. This workshop will give an overview of the types of legal tools available to help parents successfully plan for their children’s future.

Presenters: Linda S. Coon, JD, Director, Families’ and Children’s AIDS Network, Chicago, IL; Judith Larsen, JD, Child and Family Advocate, ABA Center on Children and the Law; Connie Manes, JD, legal counsel to Green Chimneys Children’s Services, Brewster, NY

  • E Collaborative Approaches to Improving Birth Outcomes and Preventing Out-of-Home Placements for Substance Using Women 
    The workshop will share how Shasta County Children and Family Services and the Mercy Maternity Clinic in Redding, CA have come together to develop an early intervention program. This innovative approach works with substance abusing pregnant women or women who have a history of prior removal of children through Children and Family Services to develop a service plan that significantly reduces the risk of removal of their infants at birth.

Presenters: Jane Meschberger, MSW, senior child welfare specialist, State of Kansas Children & Family Services; Susan Harrison, MSW, senior social worker, Shasta County Children and Family; Kim Hawkins, RN, Manager of Mercy Maternity Clinic, Redding, CA

12:00 – 1:30 Lunch (hosted)

1:30 – 3:00 Workshop Session IV

  • A Responding to the Needs of Children and Families of Incarcerated Parents
    This workshop will provide information and ideas for responding to the complex and varied needs of children and families of addicted/incarcerated parents. Opportunities to apply these ideas to both program and policy initiatives will be provided as well as guidelines for effective practices. Topics covered will include: who are the children and families of the incarcerated; how are children impacted by parental substance abuse, addiction and/or incarceration at varying ages; the impact of the criminal justice system on children and families; and what assumptions, beliefs and perspectives we bring to this work. The session will outline ARCH-Attitudes, Relevance, Complexity and Healing as a framework for interventions. Presenters will identify promising practices in Pediatrics, Child Welfare, Education and Corrections that are designed to respond to the needs of the children, minimize the trauma of separation and promote making, mending and maintaining strong relationships between children and their addicted/incarcerated parents.

Presenters: Ann Adalist-Estrin, Director, National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated, Jenkintown, PA; Margot Kaplan-Sanoff, EdD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Director of Residency Training in Child Development, Boston University School of Medicine

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • B Delight as a Parallel Process-Sleepy Time 
    “Sleepy time” is an innovative group co-created by two infant-parent clinicians to help mothers in a residential drug treatment setting address sleep issues of their infants. This evening group is a 14-week series of experiential activities that encourage parents and children to expand their capacity for play and imagination. During the group, parents deepen their understanding of the importance of routine, ritual and calming for their children. Presenters will describe the program, including the 14-week curriculum; discuss elements that are important in structuring a successful parent-child group that engages parents; and present group activities that encourage parent-child attachment. They also will use case vignettes to highlight strategies used and impact of the group on improving parent-child relationships.

Presenters: Jackie Schalit, MFT, Infant Mental Health Specialist, Children’s Hospital and Research Center, Oakland, CA; Wesley Stahler, Infant Mental Health Specialist, Children’s Hospital and Research Center, Oakland, CA

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • C Immigrant Latina Women and the Mother Child Bond 
    Engaging and working with immigrant families is a challenging issue facing many service providers. This presentation will focus on the preliminary findings of the Parent Stress Index in relation to immigrant women. Specifically it will discuss factors that hinder and contribute to mother/child bonding. The presentation will address barriers as well as lessons learned.

Presenters: Martha Cristo, PhD, Project Evaluator, Project Milagros, East Los Angeles, CA & Project Nuestras Familias in Santa Ana, CA; Barbara Kappos, consultant/former director, Project Milagros; Maria Quintanilla, LCSW, founding Director, Latino Family Institute, Los Angeles, CA; Andy Encinas, MFTI, Project Director, Nuestras Familias, Santa Ana, CA

  • D Assessing Parenting Behavior Using KIPS 
    This workshop will demonstrate how KIPS, a practical, reliable and valid observational parenting assessment, can be used to guide family services, promote parent-child attachment and enhance program evaluation. It will describe a self-paced online training program that builds assessment competence and makes learning to use KIPS convenient and will discuss how KIPS can be used to tailor services to individual parenting strengths and needs, build responsive parenting and promote attachment and healthy development of young children.

Presenters: Phil Gordon, PhD, Trainer, Comfort Consults, Philadelphia, PA; Marilee Comfort, PhD, MPH, Founding Partner, Comfort Consults, Philadelphia, PA

  • E Parent Education for Substance Abusing Women
    Rosemary Corbin House is a comprehensive, child-centered, six-month residential treatment program for women with open child welfare cases and their child(ren). Residents participate in mandatory parenting classes and mother and child therapy to practice the lessons of the parenting classes. This workshop will provide a brief overview of the collaborative program model and detailed information about the parenting curriculum, “Make Parenting a Pleasure”; disciplines techniques taught from “1,2,3, Magic”; and future parenting goal setting informed by David Wilmes’ Parenting for Prevention. It also will present outcomes and a case study.

Presenters: Lita Gloor-Little, MFT, Parent Educator, Family Stress Center, Concord, CA; Caryn Ann Brock, Substance Abuse Counselor and Registered Addiction Specialist, Rosemary Corbin House, Hercules, CA

Download the presentation slides [PDF] and handout [MS Word}

3:00- 3:15 BREAK

3:15 – 4:30 Panel: Voices of Youth 
Three teens and young adults from Illinois, Texas and California will share their experiences growing up with parents affected by substance abuse, HIV and/or incarceration. Specifically they will discuss challenges and opportunities and make recommendations for professionals working with youth in similarly affected families.

Moderator: Anna Wong, Program and Policy Director, Children of Incarcerated Parents Project, Community Works, Berkeley, CA

DAY THREE: March 14, 2008

8:00 – 9:00 Registration and Breakfast; exhibit hall open

9:00 – 10:30 Panel: Maintaining and Strengthening Healthy Parent-Child Relationships – Putting it into Practice
This panel will address innovative and effective strategies for maintaining and strengthening parent-child relationships among families affected by substance abuse, HIV and/or incarceration.

Presenters: Ann Adalist-Estrin, Director, National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated; Nancy Suchman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine; Lisa Armistead, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Georgia State University; Michael Carlin, Director, FatherRight Project and Child Custody Advocacy Services, Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Moderator: Sally Flanzer, Regional Program Manager, Child Welfare, Administration for Children and Families Region IX

Download the presentation slides [PDF] for Ann Adalist-EstrinNancy Suchman, and Lisa Armistead

10:30 – 10:45 BREAK

10:45 – 12:15 Workshop Session V

  • A The Mothers and Toddlers Program
    The Mothers and Toddlers Program (MTP) is a 12 – 24 week individual therapy program for mothers enrolled in outpatient treatment for substance abuse who are caring for children between birth and three years of age. The goal of this clinical intervention is to facilitate shifts toward more balanced maternal representations of children and enhance maternal capacity for thinking reflectively about children’s behavior (i.e., reflective functioning). Dr. Suchman will describe the intervention and present preliminary findings from this NIDA-funded initiative to develop and evaluate MTP. She also will discuss strengths and limitations of previous efforts to intervene with maladaptive parenting in families affected by parental substance abuse; the potential neurobiological and psychosocial mechanisms linking parental substance abuse and parental capacity for attachment; and the rationale for using attachment theory as a basis for parenting interventions with adults who have substance abuse disorders.

Presenter: Nancy Suchman, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • B Building Families Futures Federal Correctional Institution Project
    The Building Family Futures Federal Correctional Institute Project is designed to improve the parenting practices of inmates and strengthen connections between the inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT and their child(ren). This train-the-trainer curriculum, based on the National Extension Parenting Education Model, helps inmates to learn and practice new parenting skills with each other, their child(ren) and their childrearing partners. It also encourages inmates try new ways of connecting with their child(ren) and childrearing partners. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to experience the curriculum and become familiar with the “parenting tool kit”; learn a variety of ways that inmates can connect with their child(ren) and childrearing partners; explore challenges and opportunities associated with this project; and view preliminary data collection forms and anecdotal feedback.

Presenters: Cathy Malley, MA, Extension Educator for the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System; Elizabeth Shack, MA, consultant and co-author of Building Family Futures curriculum

Download the presentation slides [PDF]

  • C Reunification Issues for Incarcerated Fathers and Their Children 
    This workshop will provide an overview of research, programs and practice with incarcerated fathers and their children. It will identify key characteristics of the service population, critical elements of program design for these clients and the essential elements of effective practice with these fathers and their children.

Presenters: Michael Carlin, Director, FatherRight Project and Child Custody Advocacy Services, Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents; Denise Jonston, MD, founding director, Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents.

  • D Developing Effective Skills Driven Parent Education Curricula for Parents/Families Affected by HIV, Substance Abuse, Mental Illness and/or Incarceration 
    This workshop will provide an opportunity to develop effective skills driven parent education curricula for parents affected by HIV, substance abuse, mental illness and/or incarceration. Participants will learn about the fundamental principles of skills-driven curricula and be provided with an opportunity to prepare session plans for their own organization’s parent groups.

Presenters: Richard Gelb, MA, Consultant to HIV, Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Community Based Organizations in New York; Lynne Zaklin, MS, Educational Consultant, New York.

  • E The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Presenter: Patrice Gaines, Writer, Motivational Speaker and Co-founder of the Brown Angel Center, Charlotte, NC

12:15 – 12:30 BREAK–Book Signing with Patrice Gaines

12:30 – 1:50 Luncheon with Keynote: Maintaining Hope – We Can Do It!

Patrice GainesPresenter: Patrice Gaines
Writer, Motivational Speaker and Co-founder of the Brown Angel Center, Charlotte, NC

speakerListen to this presentation (50 minutes) [MP3 format]


1:50 – 2:00 Closing Remarks and Adjourn


Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Alicia LiebermanAlicia F. Lieberman, PhD
Alicia F. Lieberman, PhD is the Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair in Infant Mental Health and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs at the UCSF Department of Psychiatry, and Director of the Child Trauma Research Project at San Francisco General Hospital. She is a clinical consultant with the San Francisco Human Services Agency. She is active in major national organizations involved with mental health in infancy and early childhood. She is president of the board of directors of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, and on the Professional Advisory Board of the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute. She has served on peer review panels of the National Institute of Mental Health, is on the Board of Trustees of the Irving Harris Foundation, and consults with the Miriam and Peter Haas Foundation on early childhood education for Palestinian-Israeli children.

Dr. Lieberman is currently the director of the Early Trauma Treatment Network (ETTN), a collaborative of four university sites that include the UCSF/SFGH Child Trauma Research Project, Boston Medical Center, Louisiana State University Medical Center, and Tulane University. ETTN is funded by the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a 40-site national initiative that has the mission of increasing the access and quality of services for children exposed to trauma in the United States. Her major interests include infant mental health, disorders of attachment, early trauma treatment outcome research, and mental health service disparities for underserved and minority children and families. Her current research involves treatment outcome evaluation of the efficacy of child-parent psychotherapy with traumatized children aged birth to six and with pregnant women involved in domestic violence. As a trilingual, tricultural Jewish Latina, she has a special interest in cultural issues involving child development, childrearing, and child mental health. She lectures extensive on these topics nationally and in four continents. 

Patrice GainesPatrice Gaines
As an award winning journalist and former Washington Post reporter, Patrice Gaines has proven that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Amongst her accomplishments, Patrice has written her autobiography Laughing in the Dark: From Colored Girl to Woman of Color — A Journey from Prison to Power and the inspirational Moments of Grace: Meeting the Challenge. Before achieving these accomplishments, she had to change her lifestyle dramatically. Patrice grew up a self-hating young woman, entering one abusive relationship after another in search of love and purpose. She became a heroin user, went to prison for possession of the drug and was raped and beaten before she began her long contemplative journey to change.  Ms. Gaines details the changes she made to turn away from drugs, abusive men, and low self-esteem to become a confident journalist, author, and national speaker.