The Michigan Chronicle honors... 
2 Spaulding Board Members as 
'Women of Excellence'
Join us in congratulating Kristi D. Plain, Vice President of the Spaulding for Children Board, and Crystal T. Smith, Spaulding for Children Board Member & Fundraising Co-Chair, on being selected as 2020 Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence Honorees.

Ms. Plain serves as Vice President, Global Talent & Sales Support, for Brasscraft Manufacturing – A Masco Company. Ms. Smith serves as Vice President of Philanthropy for Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan.

Please join us as we celebrate Kristi and Crystal and others at the 2020 Women of Excellence Induction Ceremony Wednesday, March 25 at the Motor City Casino Hotel.

Click here to visit for more information or to purchase tickets.
A Profile in American History
Remembering Ms. Ruth Ellis
Ruth Ellis of Detroit was a remarkable human being. She lived life how she wanted, openly and honestly. And Ms. Ellis helped others who were less fortunate or were in need.

Namesake of the Ruth Ellis Center of Detroit, an organization dedicated to protecting and creating opportunities for LGBTQ+ young people, Ms. Ruth Ellis was respected and loved for her longevity and endurance as one of Detroit’s oldest and proudest African-American lesbians, the first woman in the City of Detroit to own her own printing company, and for her many years of service to all people in need.

Born in 1899, Ruth came out as a lesbian in 1915. Beginning in the 1930s, Ms. Ellis provided shelter, physical support and spiritual affirmation to those whose race, sexual orientation or both set them apart from the dominant culture. Ruth lived to be 101, seeing the Center that bears her name come to being prior to her passing in 2000.

This profile of Ms. Ellis is to celebrate the pioneer work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community, which according to the 2019 study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, includes 30.4 percent of youth in foster care, and to help share the memory of an outstanding American during February, Black History Month. We are honored to share her story -- today and throughout the year.

The Ruth Ellis Center collaborated with Spaulding for Children to create the CORE Teen curriculum. With Spaulding serving as the lead agency, the Center provided subject matter expertise to create a module in the curriculum designed to prepare foster and adoptive parents who might be caring for a foster child who is part of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE/LGBTQ) group.

Youth with diverse SOGIE/LGBTQ are disproportionately represented in foster care, are more likely to suffer from consistent harassment and abuse in foster care, juvenile justice settings and homeless shelters. Finding permanency for them often can be more difficult than for other children.

The CORE Teen curriculum helps families understand the importance of family acceptance. Caregivers are taught that their attitudes and behaviors can affect the health and safety of diverse SOGIE youth in foster care. Research indicates that parental behavior can influence suicidality, substance abuse and depression rates for these youth.

The curriculum helps parents recognize both behaviors to avoid, like those that impose feminine or masculine gender identity, and those they need to practice. Parents are often unaware of the consequences of a remark and do not want to hurt their child. Parents are reminded that their top job is to ensure their child’s safety and to be open to learning from them.
Introducing the 2020 AdoptUSKids MPLD Fellows
The 2020 Minority Professional Leadership Development Fellows met in Washington, D.C. in Jaunary. The three-day kick-off meeting was filled with skill building activities and opportunities to network with professionals from across the nation.
Over the next 11 months, the 16 fellows will learn about transformational leadership, practice, research, and policy and take a closer look at disproportionality in child welfare. They will also complete an action research project that addresses a challenge they are facing in their local child welfare systems, supported by a mentor and coaching from experts in the field. 

Child welfare experts from across the country presented in January. Among them were representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau; including Assistant Secretary, Lynn Johnson and Commissioner Elizabeth Darling.
Other field experts, included Jodi Hill-Lilly, Deputy Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Children and Families; Tawara Goode, Director of Cultural Competence Center, Georgetown University; and Dr. Ruth McRoy, Principal Evaluator AdoptUSKids, University of Texas at Austin; Anthony Mack, Leadership Development Training Team Lead, National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI);  Heidi McIntosh, CEO First Place for Youth; Dr. Sharonlyn Harrison, MPLD Consultant; and Addie Williams, Attorney and MPLD Consultant.
What is MPLD?

Children of color are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system. The Minority Professional Leadership Development (MPLD) program was designed to develop minority leaders in the field.
Child Welfare professionals from across the country apply to become a fellow in the year-long program. MPLD is a fellowship designed to develop skills of emerging minority leaders working in child welfare. Through the program, fellows will acquire competencies specific to policy, practice, research, and leadership, all with an overlay of adoption/guardianship.
How is Spaulding Involved?

Spaulding is responsible for the MPLD program, one of the several components of the AdoptUSKids collaboration, a project led by the Adoption Exchange Association (AEA) and funded by the Children’s Bureau. 

Click here to learn more about the program. Visitors there also can sign up to be notified when applications for the 2021 cohort are available.
Kris Henneman
Celebrating 20 Years at Spaulding for Children
Kris Henneman, Vice President, Spaulding Institute for Family and Community Development, came to the agency 20 years ago on Feb 15, 2000.
Kris was on the ground floor when Spaulding developed the Institute. Spaulding had been supporting youth seeking a home, but recognized that they needed to provide support to the other two “pieces of the puzzle” that feed into a healthy child development – the family and the community.
“We support the nation’s learning
about foster care and adoption.”
The Institute provides training, curriculum development and programs designed to support families and communities. One among the many initiatives of the Institute that stand out for Kris is the development of the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program (IAATP).

Developed for health care providers, and those preparing to enter the field, IAATP trains health professionals in research-based methods and processes to help and support pregnant women facing unplanned pregnancy. These women include those who may be interested in exploring or developing an adoption plan for their unborn child.
Henneman reported that Spaulding, through the Institute, was one of the first nonprofit organizations nationwide to develop online courses to help health care providers. The Spaulding Institute also provides training and technical assistance to states, tribes and organizations providing child and family services across the nation.
“We became a national leader in the publication of a variety of child welfare resources as we continued to develop and refine several curricula,” Henneman said. “We support the nation’s learning about foster care and adoption.”
Trained as an M.S.W., this father of three enhanced his own family through adoption. Henneman shares that he always knew he wanted to spend his career in child welfare. Looking back on two decades, he said he is happy he chose Spaulding.
“By far the best place I have ever worked,” Henneman said. “The agency is able to personify its mission. As a social worker it’s important for your workplace to embody your values. Everyone at Spaulding works hard and often we work on really hard things. Having a supportive culture is imperative. Everyone here’s doing work that makes a difference.”
Teaching Children to Trust
Knowing that children who have experienced trauma are disproportionately represented in child welfare, and that behavioral issues are related to the trauma, SFC was seeking an evidence informed model to support staff and families in their interactions with traumatized youth.  After reviewing many programs and interventions they selected the Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®), an emerging intervention model for a wide range of childhood behavioral problems developed by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development.

TBRI® is designed for children from “hard places” such as abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. Because of their histories, it is often difficult for these children to trust the loving adults in their lives, which often results in perplexing behaviors.

TBRI® offers practical tools for parents, caregivers, teachers, or anyone who works with children, to see the “whole child” in their care and help that child reach his highest potential.

Kristina Vaseau, Spaulding’s Foster Care and Adoption Program Director, along with other leadership staff, attended the certification training on the methodology, which included months of online studies and self-study, followed by out-of-state training.

Upon completion of training, members of the Spaulding team are now certified to train others. First they trained the entire agency staff on the many ways different types and amounts of trauma, experienced at different times in a child’s development (including in utero), can later affect their development and behavior.
At the core of training is the importance of building trust in the child. Once this is established, positive changes can be seen in behavior. For example, a trained caregiver can respond in an informed way to a child’s outburst and in so doing lessen its duration.
The TBRI module has been applied successfully in a variety of contexts, and with many children for whom other interventions have failed (e.g., medications, cognitive-behavioral therapies). TBRI® is based on a solid foundation of neurodevelopmental theory and research, tempered by trauma-informed principles. It is a caregiver-based intervention that is designed for children who have experienced relationship-based traumas such as institutionalization, multiple foster placements, maltreatment, and/or neglect.
The agency is preparing to begin offering training for families next month.
Check 'em Out!
QIC-AG Updated Interval Papers
Check out the QIC-AG’s updated interval papers! Modified to incorporate knowledge learned over the last five years, the  five papers focus on the intervals that make up their Permanency Continuum Framework.
The Permanency Continuum Framework has been foundational to the work of the QIC-AG. The framework also is central to how we think about the type and intensity of interventions that are needed to serve the diverse needs of families and children.

Recognizing that all families have many different types of needs, and will need specific information at different times, delivering quality interventions means that we need to continually advance our thinking, investigate what is working, and upgrade how we deliver services.  
On the Horizon...
Please join us April 19 for a very special evening...
You may recall students from Annette and Company School of Dance performed at Families in Bloom last April. The program helped show how the performing arts play inspiring roles in our communities and for ourselves.

Now, the team at Annette and Company are readying a special performance. Every five years, they select a children’s charity as the beneficiary of their fundraiser. This year, they have designated SFC!

Mark your calendars for the Annette and Co. 40th Anniversary Gala on Sunday, April 19 at Andiamo in Warren. The evening includes a dinner and performance by students and alumni, as well as a live auction featuring great packages for travel, entertainment and fun. Tickets are $60 each and you can reserve a table for $550. Click here for reservations.

Please know there are many other reasons to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Farmington Hills-based dance studio. Over the years Annette and Company have welcomed hundreds of students and trained them to become very skilled dancers. Some have gone on to professional careers.

Annette and Company is known for its unique approach to the dance curriculum. Every student there learns to dance without sacrificing the joys of childhood and life.

Having worked with thousands of children over the past four decades, Annette and Company has first-hand knowledge of the importance of having a committed family to ensure the success of children – on stage, in school and throughout life.  

You can learn more about Annette and Company at their website:  You also can sign up to learn about their latest news via social media, as well as give them some "likes."
Please join us May 16 for Families in Bloom
Please join us on Saturday, May 16 for Families in Bloom. The free, family-friendly and community focused event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. at St. John Banquet  & Conference Center in Southfield.

We also would be honored if you could join us as a volunteer or exhibitor. Find out how you can be part of Families in Bloom by contacting Cheryl Gist, Executive Assistant, at 248-443-0300 or and online at

Change a child's life, become a foster parent!

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