UMass Psychology

TENTATIVE PROGRAM

Friday April 11, 2014

8:00

REGISTRATION & CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST

Campus Center Auditorium (Level 1)

9:00

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Campus Center Auditorium (Level 1)

9:15

KEYNOTE

"Innovations and Best Practices: Helping Adoptive Families Overcome Early Adversities"
Presenter: Dr. Philip Fisher, University of Oregon

Many decades of research on children who have experienced early life adversity (e.g., abuse, neglect, and extreme poverty) has led to a solid scientific knowledge base about risk and resiliency. It has also led to an array of evidence-based programs that have been shown to positively impact life-course outcomes for these children and their families. However, in many areas of prevention and intervention, only modest effect sizes have been obtained. Moreover, ongoing challenges exist with respect to bringing such programs--many of which were developed in the context of well-funded and highly-resourced efficacy trials--to scale in real world community settings, and to “cement” best practices models into public policy. There is a pressing need to accelerate progress in this area by developing a new culture of public-private partnerships that stimulate a culture of innovation—and in particular, by developing models for rapid cycle learning that make use of the rapidly emerging body of knowledge about early adversity from translational neuroscience. Research in this area holds great promise in revealing information about common neural mechanisms underlying many of the poor outcomes we see in these populations. It also provides us with tools for leveraging our emerging understanding about the brain’s plasticity over the course of development in order to maximize the effectiveness of interventions. Perhaps nowhere is this more important than in the area of adoption, where there are still very few evidence-based interventions, where many adoptive parents struggle to find appropriate services that can meet the needs of their children and families, and where there is very little state or national legislation to guide the allocation of resources, or the type of support to be provided. This presentation will describe activities of our research group to address these issues, within the context of basic science, intervention, and public policy.

10:45

BREAK

11:00

ADOPTIVE PARENT PANEL DISCUSSION

Chair: Nancy Solow, Social Worker, Adoption Journeys
Panel: Alan Lawton-Singer, Karen Green, Margo Chapski & Carmel Steger.
11:45

ANNOUNCEMENTS, PRESENTATION OF POSTER AWARD 

12:00

LUNCH

12:30

POSTER SESSION, BOOK SALE 

1:45

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Following lunch, attendees will break into 5 groups, indicated below. Participants may attend any session they wish, but pre-registration for sessions will help us estimate the room size needed for each group. These small group meetings will each be co-facilitated by persons familiar with Dr. Fisher’s work and with the needs of adoptive parents and adopted children. The goal of the sessions will be to continue the discussion of the implications of Dr. Fisher’s work in very practical terms, and relating the discussion to the audience for that breakout. The goal of the afternoon groups will be to identify action items. How can people in the group take that knowledge back to their settings and use it? What concrete things could they do with the information? 

Facilitated discussion groups with focus on:

  • Adoptive and Foster Parents | Campus Center Auditorium (Level 1)
    Leaders: Dana Johnson, University of Minnesota & Mary Jo Spencer, University of Minnesota

  • Child Welfare/DCF Workers | Room 162 (Level 1)
    Leaders: Ruth McRoy, Boston College & Leo Farley, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families

  • Clinicians | Room 168 (Level 1)
    Leaders: David Scherer, UMass Amherst & Adele Raade, Boston University

  • Researchers Room 917 (Level 9)
    Leaders: Jennifer McDermott, UMass Amherst & Rachel Farr, UMass Amherst

  • Educators | Room 908 (Level 9)
    Leaders: Martha Henry, MJ Henry & Associates & Michael McManus, McManus Counseling

3:30

BREAK/ TRAVEL TO CLOSING/ SNACKS

Campus Center Auditorium (Level 1)

3:45

CLOSING PANEL

Facilitated by: Dr. Philip Fisher, University of Oregon

4:30

POSTERS, BOOK SALE & CLOSING

5.00

END

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