By Sherrie Norris
Crossnore Communities for Children, previously known as Crossnore School & Children’s Home, is sponsoring its 2021 Fostering Communities Conference in an all virtual format November 15-18. Featuring an impressive slate of speakers, including child advocates and experts on foster care, the goal of this conference is “to help bring education and awareness to the community around the children and families the agency serves,” said Angela Bollo, Fostering Communities Coordinator at Crossnore.
“The concept behind Fostering Communities is that everyone has a role to play in the child welfare work in their community, and we are just providing tools to help them find that role,” Bollo added. “Our hope is that anyone who has an hour or more to spare during that week will sign up to attend a portion of the conference and add a little bit to their tool belt. In addition to our keynote address, we are offering a lunch time awareness series, three-part trauma informed community sessions, and more in-depth foster parent focused sessions in the evening. The children and families we serve are a part of our community, and it’s my hope that the community will learn better ways to support them when they need it.”
Speakers for the event:
- David McCorkle, keynote speaker, is a veteran Broadway performer who brings training to life wherever he goes. For many years, he trained organizations in The Sanctuary Model across the United States and in Malta, Northern Ireland and Scotland. He has experience with organizations caring for victims of trauma in domestic violence shelters, homeless and migrant shelters, psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment centers, schools, community mental health, and family support centers. This has given McCorkle a unique insight into the effects of trauma across a diverse spectrum of people and organizational situations.
McCorkle has been the principal trainer of The Sanctuary Model for Crossnore Communities for Children since 2008. He and the Crossnore Sanctuary trainers devised the Train the Trainer program so that ongoing training could be offered to staff year-round. He co-founded the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities, a program of Crossnore Communities for Children, in 2018.
In addition to his work with the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities and Crossnore, McCorkel maintains a private therapy practice in New York City. He has been published in Psychiatric Quarterly, The International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations, Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. He co-wrote a chapter on traumatic loss in Loss, Hurt, and Hope: The Complex Issues of Bereavement and Trauma in Children by Lorelei Atalie Vargas and Sandra L. Bloom. He is also the co-author of two Sanctuary psycho-education curriculums, Learning SELF Through Films and Youth Training Manual: Learning from our Heroes. McCorkle has been the keynote speaker at the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care. He has also presented on non-violence and conflict resolution at conferences, on webinars, and in person at many agencies throughout the Sanctuary network.
A NC native and graduate from Catawba College in Salisbury. He is a proud father and grandfather and lives in New York City with his husband, Ernest Hood. He taught Sunday School for 20 years and is active at St. Marks in the Bowery in their Arts and Social Justice outreach ministries.
- Shenandoah Chefalo is an author, coach, and nationally-recognized speaker, who advocates for foster children everywhere she goes. Faculty member at the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities, Chefalo’s early childhood and subsequent placement into foster care has given her a personal insight into the trauma that children in our nation experience every day. She also encourages and challenges those in power on state and federal levels, as well as those providing care, to provide the best care possible for these children. With a lengthy career as a paralegal and director of a law firm, Chefalo has also seen the legal side of children’s care and how much more trauma may be experienced as a child’s case proceeds through the court system.
Chefalo has been the owner and chief training advocate of two firms in Michigan, offering business and life coaching, consultation, and training across the US. She has consulted with both private and public sector clients providing group and one-on-one training and coaching, workshops, webinars, and keynote speeches. Shen is particularly adept at helping clients identify and address issues, as well as achieve goals, specifically related to the topics of trauma and adversity.
In addition to her work, Chefalo has authored three books: Setting Your Vision and Defining Your Goals (2013), Garbage Bag Suitcase (2016), and Hiking for Stillness: Healing Trauma One Step at a Time, expected to be published in 2019. Shen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science, Human Resources, & Society from Michigan State University, and is a 2011 graduate of Coach U in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of the Michigan State Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Shen is married to Gerry and with daughter, Sophia, the family enjoys adventure and travels that have taken them around the globe. They especially enjoy their family trips during the Christmas holidays and in 2018, they hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano in Tanzania. This trip helped raise awareness for children in foster care and funds for Crossnore Communities for Children.
- Brett Loftis, CEO of Crossnore Communities for Children and Founder/Faculty of Center for Trauma Resilient Communities, has a passion for protecting the most vulnerable children.
In his role, Lofits leads an organization that is dedicated to growing healthy futures for children and families. His experience working in a residential program for at-risk children and as a Guardian ad Litem in South Carolina; a youth minister in Texas, and an attorney and the Executive Director of the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte, positioned him well to assume the executive role at Crossnore in 2013. His executive leadership and strategic planning with the Board of Trustees led Crossnore to a successful merger with The Children’s Home in Winston-Salem to become Crossnore School & Children’s Home in 2017. Services have expanded to underserved counties in western North Carolina through a satellite office opened in Hendersonville in early 2018. He co-founded the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities, a program of Crossnore School & Children’s Home, in 2018.
The Center for Trauma Resilient Communities helps organizations embed and embody the science of trauma resilience. Brett works across the nation training organizations to become trauma-informed and to build trauma resilience for their staff and clients. Crossnore successfully rebranded to Crossnore Communities for Children in 2021.
Loftis received his undergraduate degrees in sociology and political science from Furman University. His passion for children eventually sent him to Wake Forest University School of Law to continue his career in child advocacy. In 2018, he was appointed to the NC Child Well-Being Transformation Council by Senator Philip E. Berger and in 2019, he was asked to serve on the board of the campaign for trauma-informed policy and practice. He is past chair of the Board of Trustees for Benchmarks NC, an alliance of agencies helping children, adults and families. Locally, Loftis also serves on the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Board of Directors and is past president of the Avery County Rotary Club. He also speaks statewide and nationally about child welfare, trauma and resilience, as well as leadership development.
Loftis and his family live on the Avery county campus of Crossnore Communities for Children; in his free time, he loves to coach youth soccer and basketball. His greatest loves are his wife, Sally, and their three sons, Will, Elijah and Lawson.
- Terry Scraggins, LGBTQ+ Foster Care Advocate from Boise, ID, graduated from Boise State University with a bachelor’s degree in social work with a minor in family studies in 2020.
As an Idaho foster alumnus, as well as US Navy Veteran, upon graduation, he joined the mere 3 percent of foster alumni who have the privilege to graduate with a post-secondary degree. He is also the first individual in his family to graduate with a degree.
Scraggins works in child welfare as a foster care licensing worker for the State of Idaho. He is also on the board of directors for Family Advocates, a non-profit geared towards family strengthening and providing Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for youth in foster care. He continues to help advocate for the LGBTQ+ community by successfully publishing a policy report that was addressed to Congress in Washington D.C. with Senator Wyden [OR] and the Senate Finance Committee throughout the summer of 2018. Scraggins also presented on how to support and empower LGBTQ+ foster youth in February 2020 for the University of Oklahoma. He is currently working with Lambda Legal and Baker Mackenzie to raise awareness and empower LGTBQ+ POC through the Xchange For Change (xchangeforchange.org).
Aspiring to return to D.C. one day, Scraggins has plans to obtain his master’s degree either in social work or public policy and continue to advocate for social justice matters.
Monday, Nov. 15
Keynote: Importance of Community with David McCorkle
3:30-5 pm: Building a Trauma-Informed Community, Part 1 (Introduction to Trauma) with David McCorkle and Shenandoah Chefalo
6:30-7:30 pm: Foster Parent Session A: Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health
8-9 pm: Foster Parent Session B: Supporting Your Own Mental Health
Tuesday, November 16
10-11:30 pm: Building a Trauma-Informed Community, Part 2 (ACEs and Trauma Science) with Shenandoah Chefalo
12-1 pm: Awareness Series: Youth Independent Living with Shenandoah Chefalo
6:30-7:30 pm: Foster Parent Session C: FASD: What is it and what are some red flags to look for?
8-9 pm: Foster Parent Session D: FASD: Being Trauma Responsive
Wednesday, Nov. 17
10-11:30 a.m: Building a Trauma-Informed Community, Part 3 (Compassion Fatigue and Faith Self Care) with David McCorkle
12-1: pm: Awareness Series: LGBTQ+ Youth in Foster Care with Terry Scraggins
6:15-7 pm: How can the church be involved? with Jim Hart and Rob Parsons
6:30-7:30 pm: Foster Parent Session E: Transracial Placement Panel
8-9 pm: Foster Parent Session F: Adoption through the Child’s Eyes
Thursday, Nov. 18
12-1 pm: Awareness Series: What is Generational Trauma?
2-3 pm Closing: Finding Your Place in Our Community with Brett Loftis
This event is being sponsored by Advent Health of Hendersonville and Foster Family Alliance of NC.
(For more information or to register, see below.)
More About Crossnore Communities for Children, Foster Care Licensing & Training
Crossnore Communities for Children is a non-profit 501(c)3 child welfare organization supporting children and families in crisis from North Carolina. The agency offers a continuum of services for children at risk of entering the child welfare system, already part of the system, or aging out. Crossnore provides homes for children in foster care (both in community homes and on residential campuses).
Additional services include outpatient and school-based therapy services, and transitional living services for older youth. They also offer on-site medical care and trauma-informed clinical services.
A wide variety of extra-curricular and enrichment activities makes Crossnore a unique place for children to live, learn and prosper.
Children come to Crossnore from all over the state and range in age from 1-21, with a special focus on keeping sibling groups together.
“Our goal is to become the premier provider of children’s services in Western North Carolina.” Brett A. Loftis, CEO.
The mission of its Foster Care Licensing & Training program is to license and supervise single-family foster homes and therapeutic foster homes.
“We need families interested in providing a foster home for children in need. In return, each family will receive training, a home study, and ongoing monthly support throughout the foster care licensing process and beyond.”
Below is a brief overview of foster parent licensing at Crossnore.
You can be a foster parent if you are:
- Committed and able to help kids who have experienced trauma,
- at least 21 years of age and a legal resident of the United States,
- single, married, or coupled, and financially stable,
- and willing to attend FREE pre-service training meetings.
Types of Foster Parenting:
- Family Foster Parent
- Fostering children who have had adverse childhood experiences for as long as they need to be in care.
- Respite Foster Parent
- Providing relief care for a child in foster care. Respite care may last one night, over a weekend, or for as long as 30 days.
- Therapeutic Foster Parent
- Fostering children who have had adverse childhood experiences and who have a higher need of care that requires additional training.
How will Crossnore support me on this journey? By providing the following:
- Training and support from a dedicated staff person;
- A room and board stipend to assist with the child’s needs;
- On-call support, 24/7;
- Support groups and other ways to connect to a fostering community network,
- Continuing educational opportunities.
For more information on the foster care program and/or to register for the upcoming conference, contact Angela Bollo, Fostering Communities Officer at [email protected], call (828) 301-4622 or visit visitwww.crossnore.org/fostering-communities-conference