Annual Conference

Faculty Speakers/Workshops

Plenary Speakers

Casey Gwinn, Esq. has been recognized by The American Lawyer magazine as one of the top 45 public lawyers in America. He is an honors graduate of Stanford University and UCLA School of Law. Casey served for eight years as the elected City Attorney of San Diego from 1996 to 2004. Prior to entering elected office, Casey founded City Attorney's Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Unit, leading the Unit from 1986 to 1996 -prosecuting both misdemeanor and felony cases. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges honored his specialized prosecution unit as the model domestic violence prosecution unit in the nation in 1993.

In 2002, Casey saw his vision of a comprehensive Center for services to victims of family violence become a reality in San Diego as he led the effort to open the nationally acclaimed San Diego Family Justice Center with professionals from 25 agencies together under one roof. His leadership as a prosecutor has been widely credited for the 90% drop in domestic violence homicides in the City of San Diego since 1985. In October 2003, President George W. Bush announced a national initiative to begin creating Family Justice Centers across the country and asked Casey to provide leadership to the effort. Today, Casey and his team support more than 130 open and developing Family Justice Centers in the U.S. and around the world. He is also an expert in the handling of near-fatal strangulation assaults.

Casey has served on the U.S. Attorney General's National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women and the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence. He chaired the California Attorney General's Task Force on Domestic Violence. He also served on the congressionally created Department of Defense task force, studying the handling of family violence throughout the Department of Defense. His work has been profiled nationally on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS The Early Show, USA Today, The Huffington Post, New Yorker Magazine and a host of other news outlets. Most recently, Casey received the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime.

He has authored or co-authored a host of articles and media commentaries and ten books on domestic violence and the Family Justice Center movement. In 2015 he authored "Cheering for the Children: Creating Pathways to HOPE for Children Exposed to Trauma", a clarion call to all caring people to become cheerleaders for children exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This book was the result of one of Casey's great personal passions, Camp HOPE America, the unique camping initiative he founded at the San Diego Family Justice Center that is now expanding across the nation. Camp HOPE America is the first specialized camp in the country focused exclusively on children exposed to domestic violence and child abuse.

Hera McLeod is a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and civil rights activist. She is known for speaking out against the silence, particularly on the topics of civil rights for women and children, domestic violence, and Family Court reform. She was a 2017 Jack Straw Writing Fellow, and has published OpEd pieces in The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and The New York Times. Hera has made several television appearances to include The Today Show, The Tony Danza Show, Crime Watch Daily, and DC news affiliates for CBS, ABC, and Fox. In addition to television appearances, Hera has also testified before the United States Congress on the topics of civil rights and the protection of children. The manuscript for her memoir, a cautionary tale about one woman's journey from self-conscious to self-confident, from victim to advocate, is currently on submission with major American publishing houses.

Read about her incredible story HERE

On July 1, 1992, Sheriff Craig Webre raised his hand and took the oath of office as the new Sheriff of Lafourche Parish. After a hard fought battle against a 16-year incumbent, at the age of 30, Webre became one of the youngest Sheriff's to ever hold office in Louisiana. He assembled a team of dedicated peace officers and loyal office personnel to begin the trek toward accomplishment and accountability in the Sheriff's Office.

A lifelong resident of Lafourche Parish, Webre began his law enforcement career by becoming a police officer for the City of Thibodaux. From the Thibodaux Police Department, Webre joined the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office and thereafter went to work for the Louisiana State Police where he worked as a State Trooper for nine years.

He did all this while continuing his education. While a senior in law school, Webre offered himself as a candidate for Sheriff of Lafourche Parish and defeated a 16-year incumbent. In May of 1992, Webre graduated from law school, and two months later he was sworn in as Sheriff. Shortly thereafter, he successfully completed the Louisiana State Bar Exam.

During his tenure, Sheriff Webre established the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office's Bicycle Patrol and implemented the first rural Weed and Seed Program in a high crime area. Lafourche Crime Stoppers (now Crime Stoppers Bayou Region), Pre-trial Home Incarceration, Drug Court, and Misdemeanor Probation were other programs initiated by Sheriff Webre. For the youth, he established a Summer Camp, college scholarship, and the Explorer program, along with the Christmas Bicycle Giveaway for the underprivileged.

Under his leadership, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office became one of only four sheriff's offices in Louisiana to achieve National Accreditation under the watchful eye of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). In 2015, the Lafourche Sheriff's Office was re-accredited with excellence -CALEA's "Gold Standard" for accreditation. The LPSO Transitional Work Program maintains National Accreditation by the American Correctional Association.

Pre Conference (optional)

Positive, Strength-Based Communicating with Supervised Visitation Clients

Wednesday, May 29, 2019. 9:00 AM- 12 Noon
Cost: $75

Strength-based practice is an emerging approach to guiding individuals that is extremely positive and inspiring.

This session will introduce a host of strength-based verbal interventions that will help supervised visitation providers to better connect with the parents and children they are supervising, and help foster positive relationships that lead to safer, less stressful visitations. Techniques include: Solution-focused questions; reframing, the use of inspirational metaphors, positive-predicting, humor, affect control, and core strength-based verbal interventions

"Charlie brings many years of experience, as well as an engaging, humorous, and practical style to his presentations. This past fall, he presented both the keynote and an all-day workshop at our annual conference. Participants gave him universally high marks on his insight and real-world advice, and I don't think it's overstating the case to say that all in attendance felt thoroughly engaged and energized for another year of caring for children. We would not hesitate to bring Charlie back, and cannot recommend him more highly."

"As a foster, adoptive, and biological parent myself, I can attest to the value of Charlie's strength-based approach, detailed in his book, "No Such Thing as a Bad Kid." It works - with real kids, and real parents, in real situations."

Larry Pilla, NH-FAPA (New Hampshire Foster and Adoptive Parent Association)

Youth care specialist Charlie Appelstein, M.S.W., President of Appelstein Training Resources, LLC (ATR) provides expert strength-based training, consultation, publications, CDs, and DVDs for individuals and groups who work with children and youth experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges.

Described as "the best youth care trainer in America" by Robert Lieberman, former president of the American Association of Children's Residential Centers, Charlie has devoted his entire adult career to helping children and youth struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges and those who guide them. An engaging, informative, and humorous speaker, Charlie is the author of three critically acclaimed books on youth care and the creator of two innovative CDs that helps kids and parents make better choices and lead happier lives. Charlie's strength-based approach delivers a message of hope and possibility to our most vulnerable youth and those who shape and influence their lives.

Post Conference (Free)

Research, Neuroscience, and Brain Development: Everything we know about trauma and resilience, and why it matters in Supervised Visitation

Friday, May 31, 2019 2:00 PM- 4:00 PM
Cost: Free

Scientists have discovered that parts of the brain are negatively affected by toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences. This chemical response affects humans' executive management -the part that helps govern impulse control and emotional regulation, including anger management and decision-making. The groundbreaking ACE studies show that a significant proportion of the public has experienced traumatic events, and that exposure to multiple traumas in childhood can create such serious physical and emotional wounds that ACEs are considered a major underreported source of adult health problems.

Still, recovery and resilience are possible. Neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to heal from trauma, has emerged as an important area of scientific study. Scientists believe that the brain is adaptable; the same experiences that make us feel "safe, cared for, relaxed and loved" help heal the brain. In short, just as the brain can be harmed by negative experiences, so too can it be healed through positive experiences.

Come to this session to put together the pieces of the puzzle and leave with real tools to use at your program. Learn how supervised visitation can be trauma-informed and can help build resilient families.

Karen Oehme, J.D. is a Distinguished University Scholar and the Director of the Institute for Family Violence Studies at the Florida State University College of Social Work. She develops national training programs on domestic violence prevention, human trafficking, policing, and child welfare issues, in addition to directing the Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation. Oehme's research includes the role of trauma and resilience in individual and family functioning, and she is the director of the FSU Student Resilience Project, a unique initiative to help students heal after adversity. Her scholarly research has been published in journals including the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Family Court Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, among others.


Successful Leadership (and Retention) of today's Evolving Supervised Visitation Workforce

Target Audience: Program Administrators

Does your program/agency use the following tactics:

  • Progressive discipline
  • Corrective action or performance improvement plans
  • Job descriptions that exceed 10 items and ends with 'other duties assigned"
Then you are using a traditional model of supervision that results in higher staff turnover, especially with younger front line staff.

In this 2 part workshop (3 Hours) you will learn why a traditional model of supervision does not work and what today's younger workers want from their employer

Is what your program/agency is doing today resulting in high staff morale, low staff turnover and excellent outcomes achievement? If not, then here is what you can take away from these sessions

  • Attendees will know what the research tells us about employee retention
  • Attendees will see how a success focused supervisory practice model results in improved outcomes for staff and clients
  • Attendees will self assess their current ability to use the core skills of supervision for success

Jeff Bormaster, L.C.S..provides consulting and training to public and private, non-profit and for-profits on organizational improvement, employee retention & supervision and maximizing organizational success. He also works with direct service staff helping them improve services, incorporate best practices and increase outcome achievement. He is the developer of the evidenced based supervision course, Supervision for Success, which had been successfully taught to over 3,000 supervisors in hundred of agencies over the past decade. He publishes a monthly newsletter for organizational leaders called Leading Outside the Box. He was the Senior Director for Special Projects and Training at CWLA for over a decade. He has taught at the University level and published several books for helping professionals. His newest book, Supervision for Success, was published in April, 2016 and is available from Before working at CWLA, he worked for human services agencies providing a wide range of services including out-of-home care (group home, residential and foster care), family preservation services, outpatient mental health, substance abuse treatment, and adoption. He began his career as a school teacher, school principal and worked for the Texas Department of Education providing school improvement services for over a decade. He is a California Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCS 15130) with over 40 years of professional experience in human services and education.