Mr. McKenzie will tell his story about his life in foster care. He has written She Never Answered. Cedric's narrative is a real life road map for both young people and adults tied to the foster care system. This keynote address explains how a professional trained social worker could have saved his family.
David A. Berns, appointed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray, serves as the Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS). Mr. Berns comes to DHS from the Casey Family Programs where he served as the Executive Vice President for Child and Family Services since 2006. He provided strategic direction to the foundation's nine field offices in Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas and Washington, and its Indian Child Welfare office in Colorado. Mr. Berns stated that he is "excited and humbled by the challenge and opportunity to join the team at DHS to continue the work of serving our most vulnerable populations.
Prior to joining the Casey Family Programs, Mr. Berns served as director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security. In Arizona, he managed a staff of 10,000 employees and a budget of $2.7 billion, leading Arizona's welfare programs, development disabilities services, employment services, child welfare, child support, aging and community services.
Mr. Berns received his Master of Arts in Public Administration from Northern Michigan University and his Master in Social Work and bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. Mr. Berns was named Social Worker of the Year in 1999 by the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. He also received the Award for Excellence in Public Child Welfare Administration from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.
Children come into foster care often having witnessed or experienced multiple traumatic events in their young lives. Our challenge is to recognize and appropriately respond to trauma's impact on children, their families, care givers, and professionals who work in the child welfare system. Using a "trauma lens", this keynote session will look at our roles as trainers, administrators, and service providers to change our culture of care…to find hope amidst the harm.
Bob Hartman is the Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for DePelchin Children's Center in Houston. He holds a Master's Degree in Social Work Policy, Administration, and Panning and has 30 years' experience in the child welfare field. Prior to joining DePelchin, Bob served for 15 years as President/CEO of Kansas Children's Service League, a major contractor in the first state-wide, child welfare privatization initiative in the U.S.. He has extensive experience with organizational development and systems integration, and has given numerous presentations at national and regional conferences.
Mr. Hartman has served on the Child Welfare League of America's National Advisory Council of Executives, co-chairing its National Out-of-Home Care Conference and the National Conference on Fund Development in Child Welfare. In addition, Mr. Hartman has served as National Commissioner for the Council on Accreditation for Services to Families and Children, and has served as a member of the National Advisory Board and Steering Committee of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, as well as Co-Chair of the Network's Child Welfare Committee. In Texas, Mr. Hartman has recently been appointed to the Trauma Informed Care Workgroup of the Department of Family and Protective Services and to the Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission on Children Service Council.
DePelchin Children's Center is an accredited, 120 year old not-for-profit organization that serves over 25,000 children and families in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and other regions in Texas, with a broad array of behavioral health and child welfare services.