Empowered to Connect Conference Simulcast

 April 13-14, 2018

Forever Families and the East Texas Orphan Care Network will be hosting the live Empowered to Connect Simulcast on April 13th and 14th, 2018 at Green Acres Baptist Church.

Empowered To Connect, together with Show Hope, hosts the Empowered To Connect Conference — a two-day conference designed to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with “children from hard places” in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be.

The conference is ideal for adoptive and foster parents, those considering adoption or foster care and those who are serving and supporting others, including social workers, agency professionals, church staff and ministry leaders, counselors, therapists and others.


David R. Cross, Ph.D.

David R. Cross, Ph.D., is Co-Director of the TCU Institute of Child Development and Professor in the TCU Department of Psychology. Dr. Cross and his colleague, Karyn B. Purvis, Ph.D., lead the Institute in its triple mission of research, education, and outreach to improve the lives of children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. He has authored many peer-reviewed publications about issues regarding at-risk children, including those who have experienced early trauma.

David earned his B.S. from California State University Fresno with a major in Psychology, and then attended The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for graduate study, beginning in 1980. He earned an M.A. Psychology and an M.A. in Statistics, and then earned a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology. In 1985, he accepted a position as Assistant Professor in TCU’s Department of Psychology.

David’s wife, Trudy, is a retired Kindergarten teacher and a practicing Grandmother. His daughter, Jennifer, graduated from TCU in 2003, and is an environmental project manager for CB&I. His son, Nathan, is a former USMC Captain, and is now studying history at UTA.

Amanda R. Hiles Howard, Ph.D.

Amanda Hiles 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 for six years. Amanda earned her B.A. from The Ohio State University with a major in Psychology, and then attended Texas Christian University for graduate study under the mentorship of Drs. David Cross and Karyn Purvis. She earned an M.S. in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis on Quantitative Analysis, and then earned a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis on Developmental Psychology. Her work integrates theory, research and practice in a concentrated effort to increase understanding of the interpersonal processes underlying mental health and quality of life for youth in the child welfare system. Amanda and her husband John have two sons, Elias and Silas.

Daren Jones, Training Specialist

Daren Jones is a Training Specialist with the TCU Institute of Child Development (ICD), where he works alongside Drs. David Cross and Karyn Purvis. As training specialist, Daren’s main focus is instructing professionals working with children who have experienced trauma, in Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®). Since Daren joined the ICD in 2014, he has been an integral part of teaching and spreading TBRI® across the U.S. and throughout the world.

Daren earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He began his career as a behavior instructor of a therapeutic day treatment program serving children and youth who could no longer function in a regular academic school setting. After serving as a behavior instructor, Daren decided to obtain his Masters in Social Work from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Daren spent 12 years serving youth and families within residential and foster care settings as a direct-care worker, residential group home supervisor and trainer, before beginning his work with the TCU ICD.

Daren is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling & Counselor Education at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX, where he resides with his wife Katie Jones, daughter Ruby, and son, Finn.

Dan and Terri Coley

Dan and Terri Coley are Show Hope founding board members who live in Franklin, Tennessee. Dan also serves on staff at Show Hope as the Senior Director of Programs and Growth Strategies. They have served as foster parents for more than 40 infants and birthmothers, and have adopted children domestically and internationally. Their family is multi-racial and includes children with special needs. It is their heart’s desire for every child to have a family, but through personal experience they have come to know the importance of understanding the challenges and needs of children from “hard places.” Dan and Terri are committed to help educate and prepare families for the adoption journey, and empower them with the tools to help children heal while maintaining healthy families. The Coleys have nine children and 10 grandchildren.

Ryan and Kayla North

Ryan and Kayla North have six children through birth and foster care adoptions. They began their foster care journey in 2004 and welcomed close to thirty foster children into their home. Although their home is closed to foster care, they continue to support those who are walking this journey.

Ryan is the Executive Director of Tapestry, the Adoption and Foster Care Ministry of Irving Bible Church in the Dallas area. Tapestry serves to connect families in community, equip them for the journey, and encourage them along the way. In his capacity as the Executive Director of Tapestry, Ryan leads Empowered to Connect.

Kayla left the classroom, after a decade of teaching third grade, to stay home with their six children, five of whom she home schools. She oversees all ETC Parent Trainers and leads Tapestry’s crisis intervention efforts.

They are Empowered to Connect Parent Trainers, Trainer of Trainers, and write about the blessings and challenges of their parenting journey at One Big Happy Home and The Ryan Blog and contribute to both Empowered to Connect and the Tapestry blogs.

Casey Call, Ph.D.

Casey is the Assistant Director at the TCU Institute of Child Development, and a passionate advocate for vulnerable children and families. Her responsibilities include research, training, and outreach connected to Trust-Based Relational Intervention®. Casey also teaches, advises, and mentors TCU students in the Child Development undergraduate and graduate programs. Casey is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and is a registered Circle of Security® parent educator. She has also received training in Theraplay® Level One and in scoring the Strange Situation Protocol. Casey has earned advanced degrees in elementary education, counseling, and developmental psychology. She is passionate about bringing trauma-informed interventions into systems of care, especially educational systems. Casey is married to Brian, a lieutenant in the Fort Worth Fire Department. They have two children, Beckett and Betsy, and reside in Fort Worth, TX.

Cindy R. Lee, LCSW, LADC

Cindy specializes in providing counseling services for children, adolescents, and adults as well as crisis intervention services and substance abuse treatment. In an effort to better serve families experiencing relational trauma, Cindy completed TCU’s Institute of Child Development’s Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) professional training program, developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross. With permission from the Institute of Child Development, Cindy has conducted trainings to clinicians, spoken at conferences, and serves as a TBRI® Mentor at TBRI® trainings.

Realizing the healing value of TBRI®, Cindy co-founded the HALO Project and currently serves as the Executive Director. HALO (Healing, Attachment, Loving Outreach) is a 10-week intensive intervention program for children in foster care and/or children who have been adopted. HALO Project curriculum is based on the principles of TBRI® and has been life changing for families in need. HALO collaborates with occupational therapists, mental health clinicians, psychologists, speech pathologists, and medical professionals to meet the diverse needs of this population. HALO is a 501c3 nonprofit and partners with the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development to serve children from hard places.

In collaboration with Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross, Cindy has published a series of children books based upon the valuable lessons on TBRI®, including Baby Owl Lost Her Whoo, It’s Tough to Be Gentle: A Dragon’s Tale, Doggie Doesn’t Know No, The Penguin and the Fine-Looking Fish, The Elephant with Small Ears and The Redo Roo.  Proceeds of the books are donated to the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development and HALO Project.

Additionally, Cindy has received training in the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Seeking Safety, Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model (TREM), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Theraplay®, and Circle of Security™.  Cindy has experience treating a wide variety of issues including child abuse and neglect, trauma, anxiety, eating disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and addiction.

Cindy graduated with honors from Arizona State University with her Masters in Social Work in 1999 and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Cindy is licensed by the Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Social Workers as well as the Oklahoma Board of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors. Cindy resides in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband, children, and pets.


Q: Who should attend the ETC Simulcast?
A: ETC is beneficial for adoptive parents, foster parents, potential adoptive/foster parents, and professionals (counselors, therapists, teachers, social workers, ministry leaders, youth nursery leaders and ANYONE working directly with children).

Q: What are the fees to attend the ETC Conference Simulcast?
A: There is a cost to attend the event, which includes the 85 page workbook. However, if the cost to attend presents a burden, you can choose to attend for free.

Q: What are the conference details?
A: The conference will be held from 9am-5pm on a Friday and Saturday. Check-in opens at 8am, and attendees will check in by last name. Coffee, water and light refreshments will be provided during the morning and afternoon breaks. There will be a 1 ½ hour break scheduled for an off-site lunch each day. Handouts with local restaurant options will be available, if needed. A detailed conference schedule can be found here.

Q: Will childcare be provided?
A: See details below.
Q: Will certificates of training be provided?
A: Each participant will receive a certificate of attendance. The certificates will be handed out at the end of each day, per participant. Attendees are responsible for providing the certificate to their agency, and it is at the agency’s discretion whether or not to count participation toward training credits. To be eligible with your agency to receive training credits, each participant will need to turn in to their agency a copy of each certificate and it is beneficial to also provide them the schedule of the conference. There is no need to sign up for adoptive/foster training credit.


Day 1 – Friday

9:00 – 9:30 Welcome, Introductions & Overview
9:30 – 10:30 Hope & Help for the Journey
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 am – 12:00 pm Understanding a Child’s History and Its Impacts
12:00 – 1:30 pm Lunch Break
1:30 – 2:45 pm The Attachment Dance
2:45 – 3:00 pm Break
3:00 – 3:45 pm Our Journey of Hope: The Coley’s Adoption Story
3:45 – 4:45 pm Developing Healing Connections
4:45 – 5:00 pm Closing Remarks

Day 2 – Saturday

9:00 – 9:15 am Welcome
9:15 – 10:30 am Empowering Our Kids to Succeed: Understanding Sensory Processing and the Neurochemistry of Fear
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 am – 12:00 pm Parenting From a Hard Place
12:00 – 1:30 pm Lunch Break
1:30 to 3:00pm Behavioral Crunches: How to Correct while Connecting in the Crunchtimes
3:00 to 3:15 pm Break
3:15 to 4:45 pm Behavioral Change: Putting It All Together
4:45 to 5:00 pm Closing Remarks
Conferences sessions will be held from 9am-5pm on both days with on site check in starting at 8:30am. Light refreshments will be provided during breaks throughout the event, with “on your own” lunch breaks scheduled from 12-1:30pm. All participants are highly encouraged to attend sessions on both days.


The Empowered to Connect Simulcast is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Karyn Purvis.  Dr. Purvis was the director of the Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development until she received her eternal reward in 2016. She devoted the past decade to developing research-based interventions for adopted, foster and other at-risk children. She  lectured and taught all across the U.S. and throughout the world to varied groups – from trainings in the U.S. for parents, churches, judges, social workers and counselors, to international trainings for parents and professionals in England, Iceland, Scotland, Romania, Ethiopia and Rwanda. She and her colleague, Dr. David Cross, wrote regularly for scientific journals and parents magazines, and co-authored The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family (2007). Dr. Purvis also wrote, together with Michael and Amy Monroe, Created To Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child. She was the recipient of the T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Texas Infant Mental Health Advocacy Award, and in June 2008 was given the title of Distinguished Fellow in Adoption and Child Development by the National Council for Adoption. Dr. Purvis earned both masters and doctorate degrees in Developmental Psychology from TCU, and was a former foster parent, a mother of three boys and a grandmother of eight.









Continuing Education Credits

Continuing Education Credits 
Continuing Education Credits from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) will be offered to professionals.  You will need to register to receive credits in addition to registering to attend the conference.

​Adoptive & foster parents will receive a certificate of attendance. The certificates will be handed out at the end of each day, per parent. Attendees are responsible for providing the certificate to their agency, and it is at the agency’s discretion whether or not to count participation toward training credits. To be eligible with your agency to receive training credits, each participant will need to turn in to their agency a copy of each certificate and it is beneficial to also provide them the schedule of the conference. There is no need to sign up for adoptive/foster training credit.