Conference Agenda

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Meet Our Speakers

CLI 2024 Presenters

Session Descriptions

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Meet Our Keynote Speakers

Frank Picone, LCSW

Frank joined the Center for Great Expectations with over 30 years of experience creating trauma-attuned environments in residential treatment programs, schools, and juvenile justice programs throughout New Jersey and the country. Mr. Picone earned his master’s of social work from the School of Social Work at Rutgers University; he is a licensed clinical social worker, advanced trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach, and a certified school social worker.

Over the past 30 years, Mr. Picone has served as a therapist, clinical supervisor, chief operating officer, and executive director in two large residential treatment settings for at-risk youth. He also served as director of the Placement Services Unit in New Jersey’s Children’s System of Care (CSOC), where he was responsible for managing the care of high-needs youth in residential treatment. Mr. Picone worked as a senior training and consultation specialist at Rutgers, providing coaching and training to residential providers as part of a four-year SAMHSA grant to transform New Jersey’s CSOC to be trauma-informed and reduce the need for seclusion and restraint. For the past 20 years, as founder and director of “Positive Culture Change”, Mr. Picone has provided transformational training and consultation in the areas of leadership, workforce development, creating positive and motivating work cultures and trauma-attuned approaches for residential treatment programs and school systems throughout the country.

Hasan Davis

For more than 25 years, Hasan has held to the belief that each child can and will succeed as long as adults in their world create hope. Starting as a counselor and a teaching artist, and through his years as a youth development specialist, Hasan has transformed the attitudes and strategies of school and facility staff, parents, and members of the community to help hundreds of children graduate from high school and go on to earn degrees from colleges and universities.

In addition to his work at schools, Hasan has been Commissioner of Juvenile Justice for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Vice Chair of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, and an organizational consultant. With this experience, he has transformed organizations and public systems to ensure they have the capacity to not only meet the needs of the children and families they serve, but also are transparent and set metrics and methods of accountability. He brings to the process a powerful combination of passion, caring, and leadership to craft a refreshing, common-sense roadmap to help all youth achieve their dreams, no matter the odds.

Veronica Krupnick

Veronica Krupnick is a Youth & Tribal Advocate and Leader within the local, state, and national child welfare community. After serving for 4 years as the Mentorship, Advocacy and Peer Support Program Coordinator at CASA First, Veronica now serves as the Vice President of the organization’s Board of Directors. In the Fall of 2022, Veronica began her venture into the New Mexico Legislature and now serves as the Leadership Analyst for the New Mexico House of Representatives Majority Office.

After graduating from Fort Lewis College in 2017, Veronica returned home to New Mexico to follow her passion for supporting and working alongside young people involved and impacted by the child welfare system. Having been through the child welfare system herself, Veronica is passionate about preventative services, lived experience voice, and advocating for the holistic well-being of children, youth, and families. Her current child welfare advocacy includes service as a senior member of the National Foster Youth and Alumni Policy Council, a member of the National Child Welfare and Racial Equity Collaborative, and as Co-Chair of the Training Committee for the New Mexico Partners.

Breakout Workshop Presenters

To view workshop session descriptions click here

Maranda Aguirre

Maranda Aguirre works for Kinship Guardianship: Creating Opportunities, Changing Outcomes.

Jesse Armijo

Jesse is the Assistive Technology Coordinator with the New Mexico Technology Assistance Program. Jesse has over eight years of presenting educational trainings to therapy professionals, state workers, special education teachers, and individuals with disabilities on a variety of topics from assistive technology to website accessibility.

Freida Baker

Freida Baker is the Executive Director of the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) in Montgomery, Alabama. Mrs. Baker was previously Deputy Director of Family Services with the Alabama State Department of Human Resources (DHR). She has worked in child welfare for nearly 40 years, beginning at DHR as a social worker and retiring as Deputy Director.

Nate Balis

Catherine Begaye

Elizabeth Bennett, MPH, LMSW

Elizabeth Bennett earned her dual Master in Social Work and Public Health at New Mexico State University in 2018. She has extensive experience working with and advocating for youth and families locally in New Mexico, nationally in the South Bronx of New York City, and internationally in Costa Rica as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her areas of interest include promoting a trauma-informed, whole-person approach to wellness and work. Today, she is putting that purpose into practice in her work at the Center of Innovation. She serves as a strategic partner in the planning and implementation of Youth Peer Support, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and the Nurtured Heart Approach, among other programs that advance a values-based approach to behavioral health across the state.

Bianca Bennett-Scott

Tyler Benting

Mayda Berrios

Honorable William Bluehouse Jonson

Judge Jonson has been an attorney/judge since 1991 and is licensed in New Mexico. Judge Johnson’s work involves the rights of both tribal individuals and tribal government. He has been employed with a private law group representing tribal governments practicing in tribal, state, and federal courts.

Eva Buchwald


Kate Bunch, MS LPCC RPT-S IMHE-III is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in the state of New Mexico. Kate Bunch is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S), an Endorsed Infant Mental Health provider (IMHE-III) and EMDRIA Approved Consultant.

Matthew Claps

Mathew Claps is the Principal Technical Assistance Consultant in the Youth, Family and Community Development program at American Institutes for Research (AIR). His primary responsibilities include serving as a subject matter expert on the provision of training and technical assistance in human services with a focus on child welfare systems.

Jesse Clifton

Jesse Clifton has been an attorney at Disability Rights New Mexico since 2018. His practice areas are centered around serving children with disabilities and include special education, access to EPSDT Medicaid services, monitoring facilities and service providers, and investigations of institutional abuse and neglect.

Cristen Conley

Stephanie Dalfonzo

Jordan Davalos

Jordan Davalos graduated from Albuquerque High School in 2020. He was introduced to faith when he was in the 8th grade and was taught how to authentically serve others during his early teen years at a tumultuous time that resulted from adverse childhood experiences as a young boy. Mr. Davalos and his brothers were removed from his parents when his youngest brother tested positive for substance exposure after birth. Jordan was placed in several residential treatment centers and prescribed over seven medications to help control his unwarranted behaviors. Eventually, his grandparents adopted the brothers. After he experienced a spiritual awakening, he turned his life around and began his outreach ministry by volunteering with the “Bus of Hope.” He eliminated his prescription medications and learned to change his behavior from being aggressive. to being mindful and empathetic. In 2022, Mr. Davalos co-founded the “Shuttle of Hope,” a shuttle he drives around New Mexico and, with help from friends, funds the purchase of new clothing, supplies, and food for foster youth and people experiencing homelessness.

Morgan Demic

Morgan Demic is the Kinship Guardianship Program Director and senior staff attorney at Pegasus Legal Services for Children. Morgan returned to Albuquerque to serve the needs of New Mexico’s youth.

Jeanna DuRivahe

Jeanne is an occupational therapist and somatic experiencing practitioner with over 35 years of experience working with children and families in New Mexico. She has worked in a variety of settings supporting families and young children including family homes, childcare facilities, community spaces and the NICU.

ío María Escamilla

ío María Escamilla (they/them) is the Mountain Center’s NM Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network program manager. Born and raised in Southeastern New Mexico, they bring with them nearly eight years of experience in nonprofit people and project management, seventeen years of training and facilitation experience, three years providing health and human services to the LGBTQIA+ community, and six years of working within recovery communities. Their goals are to bring more therapeutic adventure to LGBTQIA+ communities throughout New Mexico and to share in a more consistent way the strong, positive data of the NMGSAN program with school administrators and organizations. They live in Albuquerque, NM with their Terrier Chihuahua, Huxley.

Lindsey Fooks

Lindsey Fooks is a Children’s Court Hearing Officer in New Mexico’s Second Judicial District Court, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mrs. Fooks practiced abuse and neglect law, representing both parents and children, for seven years in Oregon before moving to New Mexico. Mrs. Fooks has held a variety of roles in the New Mexico child welfare system, starting out as a Children’s Court Attorney for CYFD and transitioning to representing parents and children in Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Cibola counties.

Kate Gibbons, Ph.D

Kate Gibbons, Ph.D is the Director of Continuous Quality and Learning at the Center of Innovation for Behavioral Health and Wellness at New Mexico State University. She is known for achieving organizational and system transformation through her ability to build relationships with a broad range of audiences.

Alejandra Gomez

Megan Gonzales

Megan Gonzales is a ICWA Court Program Manager. Ms. Gonzales is dedicated to improving outcomes for children and families involved with the child welfare system. This work has led her down a career path that continues to focus more directly within the scope of ICWA and IFPA.

Katie Gordon, MA

Katie Gordon holds a M.A. in Family Studies & Child Development from UNM and a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. During the past five years, Katie has successfully advocated in over 60 administrative fair hearings, securing Medicaid and community-based waiver services for her clients with a broad range of disabilities.

Teresa Gregersen, ACP, LPCC, ADDC

Teresa Gregersen, ACP, LPCC, ADDC is a paralegal and educator, is trained in mental health counseling, and has a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. She is based in the Chicago, IL area. She has been a mindfulness meditation coach for over 7 years and organizes mindfulness meditation groups within business organizations. Teresa is passionate about social justice advocacy and teaches on cultural competence and race, bias, and ethnicity within the legal profession. She founded Maitri Bridge to help equip attorneys and paralegals with tools and resources to support their mental health and well-being and ultimately better serve clients from marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Caroline Greig

Caroline Greig, MEd, MPA, is the Project Director of Anti-Trafficking Initiatives at WestCoast Children’s Clinic in Oakland, California. This includes managing the Commercial Sexual Exploitation Identification Tool (CSE-IT) and CSE-IT Online partnerships. Caroline has 12 years of experience supporting children and families with current or former involvement in the child welfare system. She provided educational services and advocacy to families struggling with a complex medical need and has multiple recognition awards for collaboration and expertise from the Administration of Children’s Services in New York City. Caroline received her Master in Education from Arcadia University with a focus in Special Education and her Master in Public Administration at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College.

Isabel Guerrero

Isabel Guerrero holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Spanish. Isabel has been with the Department for over 4 years. As a Senior placement worker and currently PS tribal coordinator with the office of the secretary. Prior to coming to the department Isabel was the ICWA/Foster care case worker with Mescalero Apache tribe for 5 years.

Andrea Gunderson

Su Hodgeman

Su Hodgeman gained experience working with foster families and non-custodial parents at the Colorado Dept of Human Services while working on her Human Services degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. After returning to New Mexico and receiving her LADAC, she alternated her career between doing Substance Abuse Counseling for various San Juan County treatment facilities.

Brandy Hudson

Leslie Jones

Skyler Larkin

Skyler Larkin is a licensed clinical social worker who earned her master’s degree in social work at San Diego State University in 2017 with a concentration in child welfare and California’s foster care system. After completing her graduate studies and training, she continued to work in the child welfare system for 2 years before transitioning into clinical practice. During her formative years of clinical practice, Skyler worked in community mental health agencies serving youth and young adults as an individual mental health therapist. She has extensive experience working with this population to address issues of trauma, relationship challenges, commercial sexual exploitation, and much more. Skyler’s clinical work inspired her to utilize her expertise to train various individuals, community agencies, and county offices on the impact of commercial sexual exploitation as well as the impact of vicarious trauma on those in the helping field. Skyler emphasizes the importance of self care for all and the value of honest inner reflective work to promote healing and personal growth.

Edith Lewis

Danielle Lipow

Shelley Mann-Lev

Honorable Randolph Marshall Collins

Honorable Randolph Marshall Collins serves as Chief Judge for the Pueblo of Acoma Tribal Court. Judge Collins held senior legislative positions for the Governor of Maryland and as well as serving a policy director and general counsel on Virginia gubernatorial campaigns.

Jessica Martinez

Jessica Martinez is a Special Immigrant Classification Act (SIJCA) – Implementation of the new law protecting vulnerable youth.

Shelby McDaniel

Shelby McDaniel (they/them) is a project coordinator for the southern region of New Mexico and are one of the NMGSAN Case navigators. In every intention and action, they hope to inspire each young person to develop their own sense of voice, choice, empowerment, and peer support. Through meaningful rapport, they hope to foster and create resilience in each individual with whom they collaborate. Through the course of many years, they have developed a unique combination of lived experience and professional experience working with young people. For four years, they have held a CPSW (Certified Peer Support Worker) certification. Shelby is a parent to their three cats and one dog. Consistently, they are on a journey to complete their undergraduate degree program. Moving towards the future, they plan to pursue a dual master’s degree in public health and social work.

Melissa McGee

Sarah Meadows

Sarah Meadows is the Director of the Office of Performance and Accountability at CYFD.

Kourtney Munoz

Kourtney Munoz joined Santa Fe Recovery Center in 2022 to launch their marketing, PR and communications department. She is a business professional with nearly 20 years of marketing and communications experience for both private and non-profit organizations.

Cantrell Mosley

Grace Nailor, LMSW

Grace Nailor, LMSW is a member of the Pueblo of Picuris, New Mexico. Since November 2019 she provides consultant support for indigenous families, the Indian Child Welfare Act, NM Indian Families Protection Acts and administrative support on a provisional basis for the Office of Tribal Affairs for the Office of the Secretary with the Children, Youth and Families Department.

Monica Newcomer Miller

Monica Newcomer Miller is the Managing Attorney of the Children’s Program at the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center where she oversees legal services for children seeking representation in the immigration process. She has over 20 years of experience working in the field of immigration as a social worker, paralegal and now lawyer.

Hendrix Olson

Hendrix Olson (they/them) is the NM GSA Network Program Coordinator for the northern region of New Mexico. They moved to New Mexico in 2015 to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts, from which they received their Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2019. In 2015, Hendrix attended their first NM GSA Network program and proceeded to participate as a youth council member for the NMGSAN up until they became a staff member in 2019. While co-creating anti-oppression curriculum and activities for QT2s+ and allied youth through the youth council, they also began to learn about and engage with local organizations and changemakers through organizations like Tewa Women United, the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, and The Red Nation. Throughout the past (almost) decade in New Mexico, they have had opportunities to organize and facilitate workshops and social/emotional support programming for QT2s+ youth and allies from a local to national scale.

Stephanie Olson

Stephanie Olson is an Inspirational Speaker, International Podcaster, Author, and CEO of The Set Me Free Project, a prevention education organization on human trafficking, social media safety, and healthy relationships. Before founding The Set Me Free Project, Stephanie worked with women in the area of sexual and domestic violence, addition, and homelessness. She also worked with youth teaching healthy relationships.

Kelly O'Neill

Kim Parks-Bourn

Kim Parks-Bourn is the Program Manager for the Children Missing from Care program at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Kim has over 28 years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker in child welfare, mental health and child-serving systems of care work as a local management board director in Harford County, Maryland.

Alison Pauk

Erik Rivera

Chas Robles

Rodrigo Rodriguez

John Romero

Donalyn Sarracino, LMSW

Donalyn Sarracino, LMSW is a member of the Pueblo of Acoma and the proud mother of three children. Since October 2019 serves as the Director of Tribal Affairs with the Office of the Secretary – for the New Mexico, Children, Youth and Families Department.

Annie Salsich

Sophy Shore

Alena Schaim

Alena Schaim is the Executive Director and Instructor at Resolve, a violence prevention organization that serves Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Northern New Mexico. She has been working to prevent violence and support survivors for over a decade. Her work centers around helping people shift beliefs that shape norms and speak up for themselves & others.

Christiana Sisneros, Ed.D

Christina Sisneros, Ed.D is the Indian Child Welfare Training Coordinator with the Office of Tribal Affairs with the Office of the Secretary – for the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department. Prior to working with CYFD, Christiana worked as a school administrator for the Santa Fe and Espanola Public Schools.

Milissa Soto

Xiuy Soto

Brooke Tafoya

Anne Taylor

Virginia Tenorio

Virginia Tenorio is an ICWA Worker for the Santo Domingo Pueblo. She has worked for Santo Domingo Family Services for 15 years. She provides advocacy, support, and cultural connections for all Santo Domingo Pueblo ICWA cases.

Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor is an attorney and executive director of (De)serving Life, a newly-founded organization dedicated to meeting the needs of New Mexicans impacted by changes to juvenile parole. Stephen is a former state and federal public defender. He lives in Albuquerque with his wife Amy and 3 teenage children.

Pilar Tirado Murray

Pilar Tirado Murray is an attorney with eight (8) years of experience applying a civil rights lens to child welfare cases in both New Mexico and Washington. She has creatively represented parents and interested parties at trial and on appeal , advocated for cognitively appropriate individualized service plans since 1995, serv ed as a Youth Attorney in the 13th Judicial District and given hands on training t o attorneys a nd social workers as an invited speaker for the Washington Protection & Advocacy Service and the Washington Defender Association. She was a guest speaker at Through the Looki ng Glass Foundations Conference on innovative uses of the Americans with Disabilities Act and American with Disabilities Act As Amended and one of the first attorneys in Washington State to hold school districts accountable for on campus bullying of students in their care. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the New Mexico Technology Assistance Program (NMTAP).

Marsha Vallo

Amanda Veracka

Lorilynn Violanta

Lorilynn is the Co-Executive Director of NMCAN and co-leads the organization to fulfill its mission and oversees the implementation of its strategic goals, objectives, andpolicies. From 2015-2022, Lorilynn served as Director of Advancement, guiding fundraising, communications, public relations, andstrategic partnerships.

Denali Wilson

Denali Wilson is a staff attorney at the ACLU of New Mexico and a founder of (De)serving Life, a newly-founded organization dedicated to meeting the needs of people in New Mexico impacted by changes to juvenile parole. She works from her hometown of Las Cruces. She is also an artist, dancer, and lover of nature.

Linda Wilson

Linda Wilson is a Special Immigrant Classification Act (SIJCA) – Implementation of the new law protecting vulnerable youth.

Jacqueline Yalch, MSW

Jacqueline Yalch, MSW is a member of the Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico. Jacqueline holds a Bachelors of Social Work degree and Masters of Social Work degree from New Mexico Highlands University. Jacqueline serves as the Director for Isleta Social Services and oversees program operations in the components of Child and Adult Protection, Domestic Violence, Family Preservation, Tribal Financial Assistance, Forensic Interviewing, Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Program and the ICWA and Foster Care Programs.

Wyndsor Yazzie

Áshįįhí Dine’é from Naa’tsis’aan (Navajo Mountain, AZ) and born for Ta’neszahnii Dine’é from Dziłdahzhinii (Black Spot Mountain, AZ) on the Navajo Nation. Mr. Yazzie is the ICWA Unit Supervisor for the Children, Youth and Families Department Protective Services Division.