Alumni & Professionals

We are excited to connect our foster care alumni and assist in building your businesses! We also welcome child welfare professionals and others interested in connecting with foster care alumni to attend and network.

For Foster Care Alumni the information and resources that will be shared will allow you to build and expand your brand, network and professional acumen whether you are starting an organization or working within one.

For child welfare professionals and other professionals the information shared will provide greater insight into how to creatively use existing resources and collaborations to overcome barriers to working with and serving young adults in and from foster care.



Morning Panel



What is a Brand and how do you build it?

This Panel Discussion will cover different ways to begin or continue building your personal and professional brand. Attendees will learn:

  • What a brand really is

  • What to avoid as you create/build your brand

  • How to promote yourself and your business by promoting your brand through Storytelling  

  • The importance of a logo, website and marketing materials and templates/software you can use to make it look like you’ve been in business for years, even if you just started.

  • How to use your foster care history to propel you forward

  • How to determine what you want to offer the world through your brand


The Ins and Outs of Legislative Advocacy

Ruth Anne White, National Center for Housing and Child Welfare

Developing a Business that Manifests Your Passion and Purpose

Aileen Cunningham, Author/ Entrepreneur/Alumni

Exercising Self Care through Vision Boarding

Rachel Dolcine, Author/Nonprofit Executive/Entrepreneur/Alumni



Afternoon Panel: Making Your Idea Profitable



This Panel Discussion will cover different ways you can bring your ideas/passions to help others to life and make a living doing it.


Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership: Are You Fit to Lead?


Building Generational Wealth: Wealth Principles You Were Never Taught


Building a Strong Tribe


Creating a strong team of staff and volunteers doesn’t happen overnight! How can we best attract, inspire, and partner with others while bringing those individuals into our inner circle? This session will show you what to look for from a hiring perspective and how to build your own thriving, authentic tribe.



Keynote Speaker

Rebecca Jones-Gaston, Director of Social Services Administration, Maryland Department of Human Services


Improving Foster Care Outcomes and Sharing Successes


  • Ruth Anne White, National Center for Housing and Child Welfare

  • Paul DiLorenzo, Casey Family Programs

  • Kimberly Rhyan, Education and Career Specialist, The FCN Foundation

  • Erin Roth, Deputy Assistant Secretary, DLLR, Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning

  • Magistrate Althea Jones, Circuit Court for Prince Georges County, Co-Chair of the Bridge to YES Drop in Center Committee


In this forum with foster care alumni professionals and other child welfare, business and community leaders will discuss suggestions for future child welfare success and share models and strategies that are working or prove to be promising.  




Housing and Economic Development Supports for Young Adults in and from Foster Care

Ruth Anne White, Executive Director, Nationals Center for Housing and Child Welfare

This workshop will share the local and national housing programs and legislation designed to prevent and address homelessness of young adults from foster care.

Attendees will learn:

  • Current Federal and State Housing Resources/Programs extended to young adults from foster care

  • Promising practices that support economic sustainability of young adults from foster care.

Engaging Alumni of foster care to create an Effective Peer-to-Peer Support Network

Shalita O’Neale, Founder and CEO, Fostering Change Network

This workshop will shares insights on youth engagement, alumni engagement and how to advance the mission of your organization by including the voices of those most impacted by the work of your organization.

Attendees will learn:

  • Benefits of engaging foster youth and alumni in their work.

  • Ways to meaningfully engage alumni of foster care around new and existing organizational programming (train staff and foster parents, impact policy and advocacy efforts, program design, board and committee leadership, staffing and programming as well as fundraising and communications).

  • How to establish and sustain a Peer Support Program at their organization that will empower their foster youth to take advantage of available resources that will position them for success after foster care.

  • Ways to connect their foster youth to alumni of foster care that will help them create a positive system of support during and after their time in foster care.

Establishing Supportive Programming for Foster Youth Pursuing Higher Education

Brian Watkins, Director of Fostering Terp Success, University of Maryland College Park

Kimberly Rhyan, Education and Career Specialist, The FCN Foundation

Tamra Dodson, Director, Training Resource Center, Murray State University
11AM - 12:30PM

Panelists will share more information about the supportive programming their education institutions created for students in and from foster care.

Attendees will learn:

  • The types of support students in and from foster care need to excel academically

  • How to connect with and guide students in/from care through situations unique to foster care

  • how to implement a program at their educational institutions that support and empower their students in/from care

Family First Prevention Services Act 101

Paul DiLorenzo, Casey Family Programs


This workshop will give an overview of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), legislation which includes long-overdue historic reforms to help keep children safely with their families and avoid the traumatic experience of entering foster care, emphasizing the importance of children growing up in families and will helps ensure children are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting appropriate to their special needs when foster care is needed.

Attendees will learn:

  • How the Family First Legislation will impact all systems working with youth in and from foster care

  • Maryland’s Child Welfare Data

  • How they can improve their work with youth in and from care and families affected by child welfare through the Family First lens.