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Professor invites area foster parents, children to Nashville conference

Austin Peay State University Professor of Social Work Glenn Carter is getting out the message: All area foster parents and foster children are urged to attend the upcoming Mid-Cumberland and Davidson County Regional Resource Parent Conference.

Slated for 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Saturday, April 1 at Woodmont Baptist Church, 2100 Woodmont Blvd., Nashville, the conference is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Tennessee Department of Childrens Services (DCS) and the Mid-Cumberland and Davidson County regions.
Austin Peay State University Professor of Social Work Glenn Carter is getting out the message: All area foster parents and foster children are urged to attend the upcoming Mid-Cumberland and Davidson County Regional Resource Parent Conference.

Slated for 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Saturday, April 1 at Woodmont Baptist Church, 2100 Woodmont Blvd., Nashville, the conference is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services (DCS) and the Mid-Cumberland and Davidson County regions.

Project director of the conference, Carter has a longstanding relationship with DCS, with APSU's social work program receiving $600,000 per year from DCS to provide training for case workers in middle Tennessee. The grant also funds five social work scholarships, which not only pay tuition but also provide an annual stipend of $2,700 for each scholarship recipient.

The keynote speaker for the Regional Resource Parent Conference will be nationally renowned speaker and comedian George Duvall. According to Carter, Duvall was in foster care most of his life, until he “aged out” at 18.

Now program coordinator for the University of Kentucky's Kentucky Youth Connects and Kentucky Organization for Foster Youth programs, Duvall has become one of the nation's most entertaining and inspiring motivational speakers on youth issues.

Carter said, “Some of our staff, who heard him speak in Washington, D.C., say he's wonderful. He combines his upbringing in foster care and his personal experiences into a forum all people can understandlaughter.”

This marks the first time foster children have been invited to the conference, although their sessionsexcept for Duvall's talkwill be separate from those of foster parents. And the children's session will be broken into three age groups, 5-8, 9-13 and 14 and up. The event was planned for Saturday so children can attend and also to accommodate foster parents who work.

The sessions for foster parents will include discussions of such topics as “Dealing with Children on Meth,” “Role of the Guardian Ad Litem” and “Foster Parents' Bill of Rights.”

Foster parents can obtain six hours of training by attending the conference, and there is no charge to attend. A free breakfast and lunch will be provided, and there will be door prizes.

Registration deadline is Monday, March 27. To register, telephone (931) 221-7556 or send your name, address, phone number and names of those attending by fax to (931) 221-7555 or by e-mail to fostercareconference@yahoo.com. -- Dennie B. Burke