3rd Annual DCF Resource Parent Symposium

SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2024 | 9:00am – 3:00pm

Join us for the 3rd Annual DCF Resource Parent Symposium, where we celebrate YOU, invaluable members of our village!
This event is a testament to the power of community and your vital role within it. Throughout the day, we’ll engage in morning and
afternoon breakout sessions, offering workshops tailored to enhance your skills and knowledge as resource parents.
Together, we’ll continue to build a supportive environment where every member is inspired to thrive.
Thank you for your unwavering dedication and partnership in keeping New Jersey families safe, healthy, and connected.

We hope you can join us!
Space is limited, so kindly register by
April 5th, 2024.

Includes continental breakfast and lunch.

Childcare activities for 1 year olds to teens provided by
Full Spectrum Therapy Partners, who offer inclusion based
behavioral health services to both the neurotypical
and neurodivergent communities.
$15 per hour provided to you for a babysitter of your choice at home.

Resource caregivers will receive
credit hours
for attending.

Breakout Session #1 Workshops

This workshop will provide resource families with essential information to understand the characteristics of autism and effective interventions. Additional information will be provided to assist families in navigating treatment services in New Jersey.

Presenter Information

Presenter: Amy Golden is a Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst and Certified Health & Well-Being Coach. She has more than 25 years of experience working with individuals with autism and other developmental and behavioral disorders in a variety of settings.

This workshop will help with understanding diversity in placements and the role resource parents play in supporting reunification. Attendees will increase their cultural awareness and learn how to provide culturally responsive care.

Presenter Information

Presenter: Kathleen Haggerty is the Program Manager with the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging with the Department of Children and Families.

Learn about New Jersey Siblings’ Bill of Rights legislation and its creation through advocacy by youth who were and are in care. Discover how this bill was implemented while learning how it affects you as a caregiver and the youth in your home.

Presenter Information

Tasia St. Louis is a Family Support Advocate at embrella. Tasia is a proud Army wife and mother of two. She was born in Newark, NJ and raised in Elizabeth, NJ. Tasia has an educational background in Psychology and over 15 years of experience serving the community in different capacities. Tasia is a Certified Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocate, Certified Healing Centered Engagement Practitioner, and a Certified Nurtured Heart Trainer. Her work at embrella is near and dear to her heart. She enjoys helping others and being a guiding light to those who need it most.

Chanel Dupree is a Family Support Advocate at embrella. She has spent more than 15 years working with vulnerable children and families, which allowed her to gain a wealth of knowledge regarding the Children’s System of Care. She has worked as a caseworker and a counselor who has served as a family advocate and educator. In addition, Chanel volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in both Essex and Bergen counties, a Behavioral Assistant for Hudson County, and even worked for CP&P, formerly known as DYFS. Chanel is a certified trainer for Suicide Prevention, Connection Matters, ACEs, NJ Victims Academy, Drug and Alcohol Counseling, and Emergency Medical Services.

This workshop will delve into the intricate dynamics within foster care relationships, focusing on understanding the standards for reunification, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and the invaluable role of resource parents. We will illuminate the concept of reunification, exploring its implications for foster care environments. We will analyze the needs of foster children and how resource parents contribute to fulfilling these needs. Additionally, we will address the challenges and opportunities of helping families cope with the loss of a foster child, prompting a reflection on the evolving identity of the family unit. Finally, we will examine the complex relationship between resource parents and biological parents, weighing the pros and cons of collaboration in fostering stability and support for children in care. Join us as we navigate the multifaceted landscape of foster care, aiming to provide support and foster deeper understanding and empathy in our community.

Presenter Information

Presenters: Jasmine Brown, MA, LAC holds a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health and Wellness from New York University, complemented by a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Elizabeth University. With a dedicated focus on supporting individuals facing mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, Jasmine brings a wealth of experience in working with both children and adults. Her therapeutic approach is rooted in humanism, emphasizing meeting clients at their current stage to provide tailored and effective support.

Laura van der Hulst, MA, LAC received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Webster University in Leiden, The Netherlands and her Master of Arts in Counseling from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Laura has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults managing symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as treating adjustment issues, mood disorders, PTSD, and substance use disorders. Laura has also received training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Cindy Melo, MA, LAC is a licensed associate counselor in the State of New Jersey. She graduated from New York University with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. She received her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Social Work from York College. Cindy is bilingual in Spanish and uses an eclectic and multicultural approach to address and treat the various needs of her clients. In her free time, Cindy enjoys reading, nature, running, and spending time with her family and friends.

Breakout Session #2 Workshops

Learn about the relationship between social media and youth.  Topics covered during this session include Neurological Development, Mental Health, Cyber Bullying, Substance Abuse Access & Exposure, and Tips & Guidance for caregivers. There will be guidance on setting boundaries, privacy settings, and open communication about technology with kids in your home.

Presenter Information

Presenters: Erin Cohen is a Certified Prevention Specialist and currently serves as the Executive Director of Prevention Services at Prevention Resources, Inc. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Lock Haven University. Before joining Prevention Resources in 2018, Erin taught at the preschool, elementary, and middle school levels. Her passion lies in using evidence-based strategies to combat substance misuse among youth aged 9-20 in Hunterdon County, NJ. She is also a mom of four sons ranging from middle school up to adult.

Caregivers can experience higher levels of stress due to the many roles they have in managing both family and personal needs. This workshop will outline some of the challenges you may face when trying to balance it all and emphasize ways to care for yourself as a caregiver. Resources and strategies for promoting health and well-being will be provided.

Presenter Information

Presenter: Amy Golden is a Board-Certified Behavioral Analyst and Certified Health & Well-Being Coach. She has more than 25 years of experience working with individuals with autism and other developmental and behavioral disorders in a variety of settings.

Join us to discuss how to “Bridge the Gap” by forging and maintaining relationships with the biological families of children in care. Presented by embrella Family Support Advocates, Travis Fuchs and Diana Burgos and featuring guest speakers Stephanie and Alwyn Dias. You will hear firsthand accounts and learn about practical, real-life examples on how to navigate these unexpected and sometimes challenging, yet rewarding relationships with those whom you share the most valuable gift: the love of the children you’re caring for. Mr. and Mrs. Dias will be discussing how they formed a post reunification connection with their former child in foster care and her biological father.

Presenter Information

Presenters:  Mr. and Mrs. Stephanie Dias have been licensed resource parents since 2018. Mr. Dias is a successful Professor at Rutgers University. He earned his BA in Psychology (1998) and a Masters in Social Work (2001) from Fordham University. Mrs. Dias is a well-respected and successful School Psychologist at Donald M. Payne Tech in Newark, NJ. Mrs. Dias earned her BA in Psychology (1999) from Stockton College and her Masters in School Psychology (2004) Fairleigh Dickinson University. The couple enjoys spending time with their son Alexander as well as Deja, who was previously placed in their foster home and remains very much part of their family.

Travis Fuchs is a Family Support Advocate at embrella. Travis is a former licensed resource parent as well as the adoptive father of 5 children. Having previously been a volunteer mentor though embrella’s Heart to Heart program and presenter at CP&P Pride Trainings and recruitment events, Travis is passionate about assisting and educating caregivers as well as advocating for children in care and fostering bonds with birth families.

Diana Burgos is a Bilingual Family Support Advocate for embrella. Diana, despite having limited knowledge or experience with English, made the decision to move to the United States from Colombia and has been a resident of Morris County for the past 25 years. Through her journey, she became increasingly aware of the need for advocacy for families, and especially children, when they find themselves in a situation that causes them to leave not only their home, but everything familiar to them. Her experiences interning with the Passaic County C.A.S.A. and volunteering with the Jersey Battered Women’s Service led Diana to pursue and obtain her Master’s degree in Child Advocacy from Montclair State University.

DCF Resource Parent Symposium Registration Form

Childcare activities available for 1 year olds to teens or $15 per hour provided to you for a babysitter of your choice at home.

Thank you so much for your interest in the DCF Resource Parent Symposium. At this time registration has closed.

If you would like to join our waitlist please navigate to our waitlist form.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Office of Resource Families at 609-888-7055 or email DCF.cppOfficeofResourceFamilies@dcf.nj.gov. Thanks!


Founded in 1972 and incorporated in 1974, embrella, formerly Foster and Adoptive Family Services, serves foster, adoptive and kinship parents in communities throughout NJ. We provide services, support and training opportunities for foster, adoptive and kinship families. We help foster children by offering programs to support them from childhood to young adulthood.