Helping Adoptive Children With Trauma Heal

Presenter: Leonette Boiarski, LCSW, ACSW

Date: Sunday, January 10, 2016

Time: 10 am – 12 pm | 2 CEs
(Please arrive at 9:30 am for light breakfast, socialization & registration.)

Location: Doylestown, PA

All children need relationships to thrive; traumatized children need relationships to heal.

Program Description:

This workshop will address adoption and trauma in light of new research about how the brain develops and adapts to its environment. We will discuss trauma and loss, how the brain develops and learns through experience, attachment, regulation and ways to support families in dealing with residual trauma and how to develop relationship and attunement.


Six out of ten Americans have had experiences with adoption, meaning that they themselves, a family member or close friend was adopted, have adopted a child or have placed a child for adoption. With any adoption there is loss, and, in many cases with children in the foster care system or those coming from an orphanage setting, there is also trauma. Adopted individuals and their families are more likely to utilize mental health services than the general population. However, mental health professionals typically do not receive training specific to adoption issues. Often they do not fully understand why such training is necessary, or they believe the knowledge they already have is sufficient. In a recent study of young adults who had emancipated from foster care, researchers from Casey Family Programs and Harvard University Medical School found that more than 50% have at least one mental health disorder, including 25% with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Adopted children experience a post-traumatic stress rate that is six times higher than the stress rate for adults of the same age. Incredibly, adopted children experience posttraumatic stress that is even higher than war veterans’ levels.

Clinical Objectives:

  1. Understand the losses surrounding adoption
  2. Explain the basics of how the brain works and creates connections
  3. Discuss attachment and its importance
  4. Understand the seven core issues of adoption
  5. Discuss how trauma impacts adoption
  6. List several interventions to share with adoptive families in helping their children heal
  7. Understand blocked care and secondary family trauma

Source materials: Books and workshops by Dan Hughes; Jonathan Baylin; Kim S. Golding; Heather T. Forbes, LCSW; Dan J. Siegel, MD; Tina Bryson, Ph.D.; Dr. Bruce Perry, MD; Dr. Gregory Keck; and Cheryl Nitz, ACSW, LCSW.

About the Presenter:

Leonette Boiarski, LCSW, ACSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and adoptive mother. She lives in Pennsylvania, where she works full time at Madison Adoption Associates in program development and post permanency advocacy. Leonette has conducted this workshop at the Summer SWAN Statewide Conference, The Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services, The Pennsylvania National Association of Social Workers Conference and the Pennsylvania Northeast Training Collaborative. She will also be presenting the workshop at the upcoming Buck County Intermediate Unit Guidance Counselors monthly meeting in October 2015. Leonette has several years experience working at a partial hospitalization program in southwestern Pennsylvania and over 12 years as Director of the Welcome House Adoption Program of Pearl S. Buck International.

Cancellation Policy:
PSCSW Members: There is a $5 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.
Non Members: There is a $10 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.

No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours notice is given for this program.

This program is presented and hosted by PSCSW members. Both the presenter and host put a lot of time and preparation to make sure that attendees are receiving a wonderful program and feel welcome at the program. Just as in your professional life when someone cancels last minute, it has an impact on you. Please be cognizant of this when you register for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:
For Pennsylvania Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).

FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS:  This program is approved for credits.  Programs or courses approved by boards that license social work practice in other states are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)10).

PSCSW Members: Please login to register and see discounted member pricing for this event. 

  • January 10, 2016
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm