1st Annual Foster Parent Conference

Presented by Southwest Arkansas Counseling & Mental Health Center, Inc.

When:     Saturday, March 11, 2017

Where:    Southwest Arkansas Counseling & Mental Health Center

                2904 Arkansas Blvd.; Texarkana, AR  71854

Time:       9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Cost:       $50 (includes lunch)

Registration:  Participates please register for the Breakout Sessions of your choice.  In addition, please register for childcare and indicate the number of children you need childcare for.  Please include the child's name, age and parent contact information.


Childcare:  $15 for the first child, $10 for each additional child
Ages:          Limited to children ages 3 - 17 years
Place:         Central Baptist Church - 2117 E. 35th St.; Texarkana, AR  71854 
Lunch:        Lunch will be provided.  If a child has special dietary restrictions, the parent needs to send the child's lunch.
Children can be dropped off at the gym no earlier than 8:15 a.m. and must be picked up by 4:30 p.m.
Late Fees:  Children picked up after 4:30 p.m. will be subject to additional fees.

Schedule of Events

9:00am-10:30am: Opening Session

Connecting the Brain to Heal the HeartRachel Olienyk, LPC-S, RPT-S

Interested in learning how play affects the brain for children? Wondering what "just playing" is doing to build a healthy relationship with your child? Curious about how to discipline in a way that fits brain development in children?  This opening session will cover all that plus more!


10:45am – 12:00pm Breakout Sessions I

Breakout Session A: Understanding IEPsPamela King, M.Ed.

This presentation will help parents learn to navigate the world of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).  The speaker with share when it is appropriate for a child to obtain an IEP and how you can request one. The presentation will also explain the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan.


Breakout Session B: Nutrition and Mental HealthRachel Olienyk, LPC-S, RPT-S

Can a poor diet affect mental health? Medical researchers have studied the effects of dietary choices on mental health.  This presentation will discuss how a child’s diet can affect their mood and offer suggestions on how improving diet could improve overall stabilization.


Breakout Session C: Overcoming Burnout in Foster CareVan M. Hall, LCSW

This session will focus on the challenges foster parents face that leads to burnout and stress. Participants will learn key techniques to recognize burnout as well as coping skills to help overcome them.


LUNCH: 12:00PM – 12:45PM (Provided onsite)


12:45pm – 2:45pm Breakout Sessions II: Parenting Skills

These set of classes will provide you with specific skills to help even the most challenging child.  Focus will be on reducing parental stress and increasing the respect and responsibility of the child. Simply chose the class that most closely matches the ages of the children in your home.

Breakout Session D:  Skills for birth to 6 years - Van M. Hall, LCSW

Breakout Session E:  Skills for 7 to 12 years - Toni Hagins, LAC

Breakout Session F:  Skills for Teenagers - Whitney Rosenbaum, LCSW

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm  Closing Session

The Importance of Play - Toni Hagins, LAC

Play is an essential aspect of a child's development.  For children, their play is their work.  This closing session will discuss how play aids in the brain development of children including social, emotional, and healthy psychological development.  It also discusses how important it is for foster parents to play with the children placed in their home.

Additional Information will follow.  For further details, Contact Van M. Hall or Toni Hagins at (870) 773-4655, ext. 2247 or ext. 2402 or email: or