2015 Alaska CINA Conference

Thursday, October 22, 2015
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Thanks for a Great Conference!
2015 Alaska CINA Conference
October 22-24
The Lakefront Anchorage (formerly Millennium Alaskan Hotel)

Continuing Ed Credit

The Alaska Bar Association has approved the following CLE credits for the full-day CINA Curriculum modules: 

·         Information Sharing (10/22/15) – 2.75 general CLE credits; 3.0 ethics MCLE credits = 5.75 total

·         Creative Advocacy (10/22/15)2.75 general CLE credits; 3.0 ethics MCLE credits = 5.75 total

·         Family Well-Being (10/23/15) – 5.75 general CLE credits (total)

To calculate and track your CLE hours for other sessions at the CINA Conference, please refer to this spreadsheet – all of these CLE hours have also been approved by the Alaska Bar Association. 

For attendees wishing to obtain documentation for contact hours earned at the conference, please email Marianne Mahon at the UAA Child Welfare Academy for assistance -- mmahon@uaa.alaska.edu


About the Conference

The 2015 conference is a merging of two previously separate conferences: the Alaska Court System's CINA conference, and the Alaska CASA/GAL Conference. The expanded conference and expanded audience includes program staff, CASA volunteers, GALs, tribal representatives, judges, social workers, attorneys, and other child welfare professionals from across the state who are expected to attend this year's conference. Conference attendees’ levels of experience vary from seasoned veterans to new volunteers and staff members.

Featured Speakers

Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Ashley Rhodes-Courter is the quintessential American success story. Born in 1985 to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 she was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve.

Despite her ordeal, she excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes.

Her efforts and academic achievements landed her Eckerd College’s Trustee Scholarship—the school’s most prestigious full-tuition award. She graduated with honors and ahead of schedule earning a double major in Communications and Theater and a double minor in Political Science and Psychology. Ashley then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.

During her undergraduate studies, she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team and was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. She was also named one of the four Golden BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy for community change by Do Something. As part of their campaign, she was featured on 25 million bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. She was the Youth Advocate of the Year for the North American Council on Adoptable Children, has received the Kids to Kids National Service Award from the Child Welfare League of America, and was the recipient of two Angels in Adoption Awards from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.

On June 1, 2003, the New York Times Magazine published her grand prize winning essay about her adoption day. She expanded her essay into a memoir, Three Little Words, which was published by Simon & Schuster in January 2008 and quickly became a national bestseller. The book is currently being made into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon. The book has been adopted by schools and communities as part of One School, One Book initiatives across the country.

In 2010, Ashley was selected to represent and mentor as part of Levi’s Shape What’s To Come campaign, an online, global community for women that offers opportunities to exchange ideas, collaborate, and provide support to one another. She and her work with Levi’s was featured at the TED Women’s Conference in Washington, D.C.

Ashley currently serves as a National Child Welfare Ambassador for the American Humane Association as well as on several national and international boards including, OrphanAid Africa, Ghana; Children Without a Voice USA; and Family Focus Adoption, USA.

Recognizing that child welfare issues are universal, Ashley spent time in Europe, South Africa, and China studying child welfare and social policies. Locally, she serves on the board of the Pasco/Pinellas Heart Gallery, PEHMS (Personal Enrichment Mental Health Services), and consults with many local and international agencies and groups that work in the mental health, human rights, education, and child welfare fields. She has also been a volunteer Guardian ad Litem (or CASA) and is a licensed and active foster parent.

Since the age of 14, Ashley has advocated for the half-million children still in foster care in America by giving speeches throughout the U.S. She has spoken on Capitol Hill, has been invited to the White House, and has taught at numerous colleges and conferences for elected officials, judges, social workers, policy makers, and families.

Internationally recognized, Ashley has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Nancy Grace, ABC Primetime, Montel Williams, and other national media outlets. She frequently appears in local television and newspaper markets when she travels for her speeches. She hosted a television program called “Explore Adoption” which was produced by the State of Florida to raise the public’s awareness of foster children in need of loving and permanent homes. This segment won an Emmy in 2009.

In April 2012 the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce selected Ashley as the International Woman of the Year at their Iconic Women of St. Petersburg event.

At the age of 26, Ashley ran a very close race for the Florida State Senate. Ashley has turned her pain into power and has a passion to share her story with those who have experienced adversity. Ashley strives to encourage education, compassion, community involvement, and positive outcomes for youth and families.

In June 2015 Ashley's second book, Three More Words, was published. This sequel to her bestselling memoir expands on life beyond the foster care system, the joys and heartbreak with a family she's created, and her efforts to make peace with her past.

Ashley is the luncheon keynote speaker on Friday, October 23. Learn more about Ashley on her website.

Special Guests

Facing Foster Care in Alaska Youth

For the past decade, the foster youth and alumni of Facing Foster Care in Alaska (FFCA) have been improving the lives of children and youth in foster care. They have helped pass important legislation to improve the child welfare system, and educated the adults who serve these children and youth.

Facing Foster Care in Alaska members are presenting the closing plenary session on Saturday, October 24, in addition to several workshop sessions on Friday and Saturday. Learn more about FFCA on their website.