About the Event

AFFM conferences provide training designed specifically for families looking for unique and advanced learning opportunities. It is also an opportunity to network with families and other providers from across the state. This year’s conference focuses on Building Empathy, Compassion, and Trust.

Key Benefits and Takeaways
Who Should Attend

Kinship Providers

Foster Parents

Adoptive Parents

Social Workers

Child Welfare Workers


CASA Volunteers




Child & Family Advocates

8:30 AM

Welcome to the AFFM 24th Annual Conference

09:10:AM - 10:30:AM

Mindfulness & Empathy

How They are Related, and Why it Matters
Speaker image
Joree Rose Mindfulness and Therapy Center

We all want to feel seen, heard and validated, and when we feel that, we feel stronger to be ourselves, experience resiliency and overcome challenges. When we don’t feel seen, heard or validated, it becomes easier to be disconnected from others, feeling as if no one “gets us” making it harder to experience trust in relationships. At the root of a mindfulness practice is the ability to be aware and acknowledge what is arising in the present moment - your thoughts, emotions, sensations in your body, as well as what is occurring in the environment around you. This will help you to allow whatever it is you are experiencing with greater acceptance and compassion, rather than with judgment or resistance. This self-awareness makes it more possible to attune to the experiences of others, which is the core of empathy. When you can practice the foundational tools of mindfulness you’ll increase your ability to not only role model this self-awareness and self-acceptance to others, but to actually respond to those around you with a greater level of validation, strengthening your connections. In this workshop, you’ll be guided to through a deeper understanding, as well as the practical application of mindfulness, along with tangible ways to deepen your empathic skills to cultivate stronger relationships.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Mindful Parenting

How to Positively Shift the Culture in Your Home for You and Your Family
Speaker image
Joree Rose Mindfulness & Therapy Center

Mindful parenting is a twofold practice; it’s cultivating a mindfulness practice for yourself, so you can be more present, less reactive and more compassionate to others, and then being able to role model these tools to those you love. Being a parent is very difficult and we all can easily get stuck in patterns or cycles of reactivity due to relational challenges, triggers, extraneous circumstances, behavior issues, traumas and more! Practicing mindfulness will not necessarily remove your difficulties, though it will help you to respond, rather than react to them, in a way that can actually deepen the relationship between parent and child. When you can learn to increase your awareness of the areas in which you most get stuck, as well as have the ability to offer yourself compassion and patience during a difficult moment, you are more able to shift towards a more calm and present response to your kids, shifting the culture in your home to be more accepting and compassionate, and less judgmental and reactive. In this workshop you will be guided in practical tools of mindfulness, how to role model and teach these tools to your kids, as well as effective parenting tactics for discipline and behavior, so your home can feel more peaceful, calm and connected

12:00 PM - 01:30 PM


02:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Breakout 1

Beauty in the Breakdown: Owning Your Needs to Tune in to Your Teen
Speaker image
Youth Leadership Advisory Team

This workshop will invite participants to look inwards to examine the way they show up on both their best, and most challenging days. Honoring each person’s unique experiences and perspective, attendees will walk away with tools to create deeper and more empathic connections with youth, while also developing practices of self-reflection and awareness to become empathetic communicators in challenging circumstances. A panel of experts will incorporate key pieces of information around adolescent brain development and typical teenage behaviors that may cause conflict in relationships. Hear from young people about the positive adult relationships that have fostered clear and open communication, and from professional staff regarding engagement strategies. This workshop will help participants establish reasonable expectations for the young people they engage with, and equip the audience with tools for facing adverse interactions with young people.

02:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Breakout 2

Educational Rights of Students with Disabilities
Speaker image
Atlee Reilly, Esq. Managing Attorney, Disability Rights Maine

This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the rights of students with disabilities in schools. Specific topics will be discussed in more detail, including: addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 educational disruptions; exclusionary discipline; restraint and seclusion, and transition.  Questions and discussion will be encouraged.

02:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Breakout 3

Restorative Practices- Restoring Relationships With Others
Speaker image
Corrie Hunkler, LSW Youth Engagement Coordinator, Healthy Acadia

How do we restore our relationships with each other? Restorative practices models can be effective and appropriate responses to unacceptable or unexpected behavior by building empathy and maintaining relationships. Importantly, restorative practices are an equally useful approach in advance of potential conflicts or unacceptable behaviors. This workshop will explore the need to listen, reflect, be curious and respond to each other and young people.

8:30 AM

Welcome to the AFFM 24th Annual Conference

09:45 AM - 11:45 AM

The 4 A's Approach to Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Speaker image
Marcus Stallworth, LMSW LMSW, Child Welfare League of America

In today's discussion, we will examine the beauty of diversity, the need for equity, and the importance of inclusion. We will focus on the 4 A's approach: Awareness, Acknowledgement, Action, and Accountability. Participants will be asked to reflect, re-evaluate, and reimagine ways they can enhance services for the children and families they support. This virtual presentation is intended for audience participation and peer interaction.

12:00 PM - 01:30 PM


02:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Breakout 4

Working With and Valuing Birth Family Connections
Speaker image
Barbara Ford Director, Good Shepard God Parent Home

This workshop has an emphasis on finding commonalities that will encourage care providers to be strength-based in their approach. This workshop will also provide the opportunity to explore many options for being creative and positive about your children‘s contact and visitation and how all resource families can be a mentor and an important part in the success of these relationships.

02:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Breakout 5

Developing Empathy With The Team & Other Forms Of Communication
Speaker image
Bette Hoxie Kinship Supervisor, Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine Inc., & The Kinship Program

Derived from Developing Empathy with Grammy, Bette will present a guided imagery to assist and enhance participant’s involvement in the presentation. Bette will help participants realize each person in their lives can bring something positive to the table.

02:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Breakout 6

Supporting Children's Roots: Simple Questions, Complicated Answers
Speaker image
Kim Stevens Program Manager, North American Council on Adoptable Children

Whether adopted at birth or at an older age, whether adopted internationally or domestically, our children have a history that precedes our welcoming them in our family. In some form or another, at some time, our children will have questions regarding their past and the circumstances of their adoption. How do we handle these questions? What to respond? What if we don’t have the answers? This session will discuss the various thoughts and questions adopted children may have and how to address them as adoptive parents along with supports available to adoptive parents.

Event Details

AFFM 24th Annual Conference; 'Building Empathy, Compassion, and Trust'

Friday, 16th April 2021Saturday, 17th April 2021
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM EST


Please Check All That Apply

Are You A Licensed Resource Family

Which Day(s) Will You Be Attending?

Is a Scholarship Requested? ( All resource families qualify for a scholarship)

Terms and Conditions
The personal data you provide will be used to register you for an event. By completing this registration form, you accept the T&Cs for AFFM and the Data Collection Consent for Kestone Virtual Event Platform.