Your local office:

Join hundreds of others to raise awareness and engage in the needs of children in your community and around the world.

October 7-8, 2016

Calvary Church
1051 Landis Valley Rd,
Lancaster, PA

Why you should attend

Healing children and adolescents with adverse life experiences requires a concerted effort at many levels across multiple sectors. The Northeast Adoption & Child Welfare Summit brings together expert speakers, adoptive and foster parents, professionals, and church leaders to be trained, encouraged and build new networks that will strengthen efforts to better care for vulnerable children, adolescents, and their families.


*All paid registrants will receive an email allowing them to pre-register for these sessions.


A Special Thanks to New Holland Auto Group and New Holland Kiwanis

Renovations by Garman
Benjamin Roberts, Ltd.
Evana Network
Stoltzfus Meats
Cloister's Flooring America
Lifesong for Orphans
Penn State Health Milton Hershey Medical Center
Herr Foods
Holt International Children’s Services
Interiors Home
Sharp Shopper Grocery Outlet 
The Attachment Place
Trinity Law
True Edge Performance


  • $89/$160 Single/Couple - *online registration ends October 5th. Walk-in registration available at the event.
  • Non-Refundable
  • Student price $25 (ID required at event)
  • Bethany staff price $35
Nearby Hotels

Summit Times:
Friday, October 7, 2016
6:00  9:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 8, 2016
8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. - lunch included

We hope that by attending this summit, your community will be better prepared to care for vulnerable children and families who have experienced:

  • Adoption
  • Foster Care
  • Orphanage Environments
  • Trafficking & Exploitation
  • Displacement as Refugees
  • Family History of Violence, Substance Abuse, and/or Incarceration

Breakout Sessions:

50+ sessions - descriptions coming soon!

Continuing Education Credit:

5.5 continuing education social work credits (approved) $15 fee to be paid at event
6 contact hours/0.6 CEU’s Approved for Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE) continuing education credits (no charge)

Featured Speakers

Bishop Aaron Blake

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In 2000, he was a bi-vocational pastor serving as a guidance counselor at Brownwood High School. One student, named Melvin, needed a place to call home and asked Bishop Blake for help. Having raised six children already, he and his wife, Mary, were experienced empty nesters. They opened their home and life changed. A year later, the Blakes had six new foster sons who all played on the Brownwood High football team. Mary said she couldn’t cook dinner fast enough.

The Blake’s experience and leadership ignited a call within Greater Faith Community Church to care for vulnerable children in the United States. Over the next decade, this faithful church of less than 200 members became family to scores of children previously living in the foster care system. As the movement grew stronger, other ministry and state leaders took note.

The Bishop and Mary launched Harvest Family Life Ministry in 2003. They have been successful in their campaign for children to carry their message into seven states including Hawaii teaching and training state staff and church leaders the faith-based concepts of meeting the needs of children. 

Bishop Blake has also chaired The Advisory Committee on Promoting Adoption of Minority Children (ACPAMC), a church/state partnership committed to providing family for Texas' children in need. He was selected to receive the national CWLA Community Partnership Award for his “great support of and work with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.” This collaboration is quickly becoming a model adopted in other states such as Michigan and Hawaii.

George Dennehy

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George is capturing attention all over the world for his unique talents. Although he was born without arms, George sings and plays music from his heart using his feet. Because he has overcome so many challenges in his own life, George believes that every individual has a purpose and absolutely anything is possible. He has taught himself guitar, electric bass, and basic piano. Regardless of the setting, people in his audience are inspired and deeply touched and often come to realize that their own goals are very much within reach.

Dr. Kenneth Doka

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Dr. Kenneth Doka is a professor of Gerontology at the graduate school of The College of New Rochelle and a senior consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America. A prolific author, Dr. Doka has authored or edited more than 30 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters. Dr. Doka is editor of both Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying and Journeys: A Newsletter to Help in Bereavement.

Dr. Doka was elected president of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) in 1993. In 1995, he was elected to the board of directors at the International Work Group on Dying, Death, and Bereavement and served as chair from 1997-1999.  ADEC presented him with an award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Death Education in 1998.  In 2000, Scott and White presented him an award for Outstanding Contributions to Thanatology and Hospice.  His Alma Mater, Concordia College presented him with their first Distinguished Alumnus Award.  He is a recipient of the Caring Hands Award as well as the Dr. Robert Fulton CDEB Founder’s Award.  In 2006, Dr. Doka was grandfathered in as a Mental Health Counselor under New York State’s first licensure of counselors.

Heather Forbes

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Owner of the Beyond Consequences Institute and the co-founder of the Codega Foundation, Forbes has worked in the field of trauma and healing since 1999.  She is an internationally published author on the topics of raising children with difficult and severe behaviors, the impact of trauma on the developing child, adoptive motherhood, and self-development. 

Additionally, Forbes has a heart for children in the classroom and for finding ways to teach the child that seems “unteachable.”  Her signature style bridges the gap between scientific research and real-life application equipping parents, educators, and therapists with practical and effective tools. 

Much of her experience and insight on understanding trauma, disruptive behaviors, and adoption-related issues comes from her direct mothering experience of her two adopted children

Dr. Sharen Ford

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Dr. Sharen Ford is a nationally-recognized child welfare consultant and the retired manager for permanency services for the Colorado Department of Human Services in the Division of Child Welfare Services. She retired with 30 years of comprehensive work history with the department overseeing six programmatic areas including the Foster Care and Adoption Program and supervised a team of professional staff.

Dr. Ford is also the former president of the National Association of State Adoption Programs (NASAP) and the Association of Administrators for the Interstate Compact on Adoption Medical Assistance (AAICAMA). She currently serves as the program director for Adoption and Orphan Care at Focus on the Family and is as committed as ever to raising awareness regarding the need for every child to have a permanent family. She is married to Roy, is a mom to Jennifer, and a grandmother to Ezran.

Peter Greer

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Peter Greer is president and CEO of HOPE International, a global Christ-centered microenterprise development organization serving throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Before beginning his role at HOPE, Peter worked as a microfinance practitioner in Cambodia, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda and earned a master’s degree from Harvard University. He has co-authored eight books, including The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good, Mission Drift, 40/40 Vision, and The Giver and the Gift.

Peter and his wife, Laurel, live in Pennsylvania with their three children. 

Dr. Amanda Howard

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Dr. Amanda Howard is an assistant professor of psychology at Samford University. She came to Samford after serving as the assistant director of the TCU Institute of Child Development. Dr. Howard's professional interest broadly falls under the category of applied developmental psychology. Her work integrates theory, research, and practice in a concentrated effort to increase the understanding of the interpersonal processes underlying mental health and quality of life for youth in the child welfare system. 

Her research has generated a great deal of political and public policy interest, leading to several invited engagements including meetings with the Australian Prime Minister and the Texas Commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services. During the summer, she volunteers at a therapeutic summer camp for children with a history of trauma. Dr. Howard and her husband, John, have two sons, Elias and Silas. As a family, they enjoy camping, hiking, and living ‘unplugged’ whenever possible.