2011 Family Strengths Symposium

We are pleased to welcome you to the University of Houston-Downtown's Center for Family Strengths 2nd Annual Symposium on Family Strengths theme of "Strength in the face of Challenges".

This Symposium affirms UHD's commitment to families and diversity in all of our educational, service and research endeavors. Families are the heart of our city and nation. And families are at the center of our work, whether it is through public or private agencies' services to families with neglect and abuse, mental health needs, developmental delays, or justice, substance abuse or violence issues. Our goal is to save families for children and each member.

As you will see through all the workshops, we have the social technology, research and knowledge to keep families together (in most cases), and we should. Many sessions are led or co-presented by family experts who share with professionals what works and what doesn't. Our keynote speakers will affirm the principles of how to recognize what is right in each family and how to build on these strengths.

This Symposium could not have happened without the dedication and insight of many people, beginning with our planning committee listed in this program. All of our wonderful presenters and their agencies have graciously donated their expertise and time to share their work with us. Dean Susan Ahern, Dr. Adolfo Santos and Dr. Jo Bailey of The Social Work program and its students have implemented the vision of this Symposium. Many individuals have spent endless hours to bring this conference to you, including Mary Rodriguez, Courtney Branch, Rene Salinas and Kai-cheng Chen in the President's Office, Cherilyn Pearson, Dr. Pat Mosier, and Rita Thomason in the Office of the Dean, Vanessa Aranda and Keisha Harewood administrative staff in the Department of Social Sciences, Courtney Lundgren in the Office of Admissions, LaToya Carter and Mirna Medrano in CFS, and the BSW students. Special thanks to our university president Dr. Bill Flores for all he has done to give this beneficial symposium a home for many years to come.

Please enjoy the Symposium and the UHD campus and do engage our students, as they are our future. We are sure the presentations will help continue the important work you do every day with families. We appreciate your dedication and service and are glad you chose to join us! Have a great Symposium!

Supplemental Files

Download 2011 Symposium Program (pdf)

Keynote Speakers

Roger Friedman

Strength in the Face of Challenges
Dr. Roger Friedman is a psychologist and clinical social worker who grew up in Texas and has been in clinical practice in Maryland for 30 years. Since 1984, he's also consulted with and trained child welfare staff in family-based practice across the country, and helped implement state-wide Family Preservation programs in Texas, Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. This summer he ran the only family centered kinship summer camp in the U.S. at Echo Hill Ranch in the Texas hill country. He currently is Adjunct Faculty at the University Of Maryland Graduate School Of Social Work, and has authored many articles on family-centered practice and systems reform in child welfare programs. He serves as an editor of the Journal for Family Strengths.

De Shaun Ealoms

Statewide Parent Collaboration Group Keynote Address
The panel is comprised of parents who have been recipients of services from the child welfare system and are now parent liaison who are partnering with the Texas Department Family and Protective Services. The attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the history, learn skill building techniques and ignite passion about their work to strengthen families and work as a team. Family Expert Keynote Panel Moderator, DeShaun Ealoms is currently the Parent Program Specialist for Child Protective Services (CPS), Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Family experts will share how what workers do to help families and ways to improve services. A focus on collaboration with families is critical to family based services. The statewide Parent Collaboration Group provides technical assistance to the CPS regions across Texas with their local parent information and support groups for parents involved with the CPS system.
Ms. Ealoms is also a parent who has utilized CPS services to access needed support and services for her son who has autism. Ms. Ealoms is a member of Autism Society of America, and has served on the Austin Independent School District Special Education Advisory Committee and Mental Health Mental Retardation Center Advisory Committee. Ms. Ealoms received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Huston-Tillotson College and a Masters Degree in Special Education from Texas State University.

Cedric McKenzie

Why I needed Family Preservation
Mr. McKenzie will tell his story about his life in foster care. He has written She Never Answered. Cedric's narrative is a real life roadmap for both young people and adults tied to the foster care system. This workshop explains how family preservation could have saved his family.

Symposium Planning Committee

Name Organization
Dr. Jo Bailey BSW Program, University of Houston-Downtown
Dr. Dawn McCarty BSW Program University of Houston-Downtown
Joel Levine Harris County Child Protective Services Administrator
June Lloyd Retired from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region VI Child Welfare and Tribal Programs Manager
Dr. Susan Robbins University of Houston, Graduate School of Social Work
Joe Papick University of Houston, title IVE Coordinator
Twila Ross Manager, Permanency Team, Children's Crisis Center, Houston
Randy Joiner Director, Systems of Hope
Dr. Robert Hartman DePelchin Children's Center
Xuan Tran Manager Health Services Research CME, Texas Children's Health Plan
Susan Greenberg Manager Maternal and Child Health, Texas Children's Health Plan
Elena Delavega University of Houston
Lori Lewis Conerly Texas Department of Families and Protective Services, Family Based Safety Services Manager
Deshaun Ealoms Texas Department of Families and Protective Services, Family Experts
Dr. John Ronnau Social Work Department Director, University of Central Florida
Vince Geremia Director Family Preservation, Kentucky Health and Family Services
Dr. Needha Boutte-Queen BSW Program Director, Texas Southern University
Dr. Nancy Chavkin Director Center for Children and Families, Regents Professor, Texas State University, San Marcos
Janet Heitmiller Director, Community Relations & Conferences, University of Houston-Downtown
Patti Derr Family expert, San Antonio and Houston
Susan Rogers Family expert, Dallas
Karen Robinson Family expert, Dallas
Dr. Robert Sanborn CEO Children at Risk
Mary Rodriguez President's Office, University of Houston-Downtown