Why Are We Here?

Foster and Adoption Ministry
9:45 am/10:50 am, Room E2.030

How can the faith community recruit and retain foster and adoptive families?  How can the faith community address the disproportionality of children of color within the foster care system?  Join us as we discuss how to provide meaningful support through training, respite care, and wrap-around care for birth families.


  • Moderator: Bruce Kendrick, Executive Director, Embrace Texas
  • Bishop Aaron Blake, Sr., Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Promoting Adoption of Minority Children
  • Sarah Miller, Director of Training, Fostering Hope Austin
  • Becca Harris, KIDS Director, Austin Stone Community Church

Who Can We Help?

Serving Those in Need
9:45 am/1:25 pm, Room E2.036

There are many ways that communities can walk alongside children and families, beyond fostering and adoption. 

Whether your faith community wants to donate backpacks, provide clothing or bedding for foster children, serve on a Child Welfare Board, or mentor a teen who is transitioning out of foster care, there is something for everyone.  Learn about the important work of CarePortal, Orphan Care Solutions, The Open Table, Phased In, Child Welfare Boards and Rainbow Rooms. 


  • Moderator: Valinda Bolton, Community Affairs Liaison, Child Protective Services
  • Audrey Deckinga, Child Welfare Consultant, CarePortal
  • Tim Dale, National Director for Field Operations, The Open Table
  • Pastor Kile Bateman, Phased In

Who Will Join Us in this Effort?

How Faith Communities Can Collaborate with Local Partners
1:25 pm, Room E2.012

Protecting our children is a community-wide responsibility.  Learn about two important non-profit child welfare partners who work closely with DFPS in communities across the state: Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). This session will highlight ways that faith communities can get involved with and support the work of these organizations locally and how these organizations can help educate and train faith communities to further the protection of children in Texas.


  • Moderator: Kaysie Taccetta, Director of Foster Care Redesign
  • Christina Green, Director of Public Affairs, Children’s Advocacy Center of Texas, Inc.
  • Antoinette Villarreal, Training Manager, Texas CASA
  • Linda Garcia, PhD, Director of Community Relations, Our Community Our Kids

Who is this Child?

Understanding Children in Care
10:50 am/1:25 pm, Room E2.016

Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) changes the landscape of foster care and allows for hope and healing for children from hard places.  Learn how TIC fits well in the faith-based community because of the new science related to trusting relationships and the possibility of transformation through these relationships.  By understanding how children are impacted by trauma, we can better understand restoration and the influence we have in offering hope to families and children.


  • Introductions of Speakers: Dallas Reed, DFPS Government Relations Specialist
  • Kayla and Ryan North, Tapestry Adoption and Foster Care Ministry

How Can We Prevent Children from Entering the Foster Care System?

Helping Families through an Upstream Approach
10:50 am, Room E2.026

The Department of Family and Protective Services’ Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) division strives to prevent child abuse and neglect from ever occurring by working with families to avoid negative outcomes for their children. Faith communities are uniquely positioned to have a significant, long-term impact on new parents, single parents, or families in crisis. Places of worship are often the first place families in crisis turn, even before DFPS, during hard times.

Join us for a panel discussion on proven strategies that your community can implement to help your neighbors and prevent child abuse and neglect. We will hear from representatives who have successfully partnered with faith-based organizations and have seen its impact on the community. You will also learn about innovative community-based ministries you can partner with to support families in need and prevent children from ever entering foster care. We will share ideas on how to support families on the front-end of the prevention spectrum.


  • Moderator: Sasha Rasco, Prevention and Early Intervention Associate Commissioner
  • Lanette Gonzales, Vice President of Children's Services, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
  • Judge Ryan D. Larson, Prevention Advisory Committee Member
  • David Ummel, Executive Director of Northeast Texas Buckner Children and Family Services
  • Andrew C. Brown, Senior Fellow for Child Welfare Reform with the Foundation for Government Accountability

What is the Church's Role in Foster Care

Creating a Village with a Vision: A Research-Based Approach
9:45 am/1:25 pm, E2.028

Foster care is not an isolated endeavor.  There are numerous people involved in making the best decisions for a child's future – foster parents, CPS workers, CASA, judges, therapists, etc.  But there is one vital partner missing – the church.  What can the church do to impact these vulnerable children? 

After eighteen months of research and development, Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services has created two faith-based foster care models, Mission 1:27 and my faith FAMILY,  that empower faith communities to call individuals and families to action as foster parents and then organize additional volunteers to surround those foster parents with unparalleled support as "villagers."  Whether you are just getting started or looking for a ministry model to support your existing foster families, come learn about how your faith community can make a difference in a child's life.


  • Introduction of Speakers: Melissa Rosser, DFPS Special Advisor
  • Scott Waller, LMSW, M-Div., LCPAA, Eastern Regional Director, Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services
  • Blaine Hamilton, PhD, Church Engagement Coordinator, Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services