The "live" 2019 Fostering Success has concluded. Sessions are still available, for 1-year, to Premium Pass holders!


Gain powerful tools and helpful resources to support the children and youth in your care.

This summit brings together foster care, parenting, and child development experts from the US and Canada. 

We know foster parents and caregivers want information and tools. However it is difficult to attend workshops or travel to conferences when taking care of kids! This event is entirely online. NO CHILDCARE NEEDED. 

If you are financially able, please sign up for a Premium Pass. Your support makes it possible to create the free summits, which provide information and tools to families who don't have the resources to access other types of workshops. 

You’re Probably Wondering, How Will I benefit from Attending This Virtual Summit?

Great question, and I’m glad you asked.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll discover by joining the FOSTERING SUCCESS SUMMIT:

  • Expert knowledge of how to help children and youth in foster care reach their potential
  • Why certain well known strategies for managing behavior don't always work
  • How developmental trauma can be healed
  • The best tools for supporting culturally and linguistically diverse children
  • Tried and true strategies for self-care and avoiding burnout 
  • Why certain types of behaviors frequently occur and how to address them
  • How to get all members of your child's support team on the same page
  • A deep dive into how to prepare youth in foster care for "aging out" of the system

You can make a difference...

"That is why my foster mom and I had such a great connection, I think, because for the first time in my life there was THAT person. She was hard on me...but loved me and cared for me, and also gave me space."

- Alum of Foster Care, Age 22

as an advocate for children & youth

" foster mom came in and was advocating for me like nobodies business, and my principal looks her in the eye and says, 'We don't do that here.' And my mom said, 'My kid has an IEP and it specifically says that she needs to learn these specific things. You are legally obligated to teach her those.'.. so after that whole pivotal thing, academics got easier and I was actually open to learning..."

-  Alum of Foster Care, Age 19

Featured Expert Sessions

Fostering Success Kick-Off Party

Robin Harwick, Ph.D. - Summit Host

Welcome to the Fostering Success Summit

In this short presentation, Dr. Harwick will open the summit and give you a glimpse into what you will learn during the week and how it will help you support the children and youth in your care!

Finding Hope & Creating Your Support Team

Leah Harris, mother, writer, Storyteller

Trauma is not destiny: Encouraging Post Traumatic Growth through Storytelling and Relationship

As a mental health advocate and survivor, Leah shares the powerful message that no matter what adversities children have experienced healing is possible. She explains how caregivers can accelerate healing by using a trauma informed framework to understand behavior and by helping children and youth find their voices. Best of all, Leah provides strategies you can start using today!

Kristy Brosz, Bsc, BSW, MSW, RSW

Finding Hope in the Hard of Therapeutic Foster Parenting

Kristy offers her unique perspective as a social worker and an adoptive parent, which combines clinical experience with daily life navigating developmental trauma and adoption. If you're in need of inspiration and hope today, Kristy's talk is for you!

Lisa Guillette-Executive Director of Foster Forward

The Transformational Power of Authentic Youth Engagement

In this information packed session, Lisa's passion for empowering lives impacted by foster care will energize you. Topics include building trust, creating realistic expectations, harm-reduction, brain development, and helping youth achieve their goals.

Understanding Strong Emotions & Challenging Behaviors

Terra Bovingdon,MSW,RSW

Easing Transitions, Understanding Survival Behavior, & Preventing Caregiver Burnout

Terra has 20 years experience working with children & families. In her session, she shares strategies for easing a child's transition into a new home & understanding the root causes of behaviors. We discuss common behaviors parents often struggle with including power struggles, regression, eating issues, bedtime, and preventing caregiver burnout.

Sarah Pinkelman, Ph.D.,BCBA-D 

Remembering there is a WHY to every behavior

Dr. Pinkelman is a board certified behavior analyst. She reminds us that behavior is a form of communication and that we all need supports to be successful in our lives. Sarah offers strategies for identifying the causes of behaviors, preventing and managing unwanted behaviors, and de-escalation.   

Carri King-Bussard, MA, LPC

Goal-directed Animal Assisted Therapy for Children with a History of Maltreatment

In this fascinating session, Carri explains how animal assisted therapy can benefit the children in your care. Learn why this type of therapy encourages emotional regulation, is useful for managing challenging behaviors and anxiety, and helps children adjust to new environments, and heal trauma and PTSD.

Advocating for Your Children

Tina Gutierez-Schmich, Ph.d.

Exploring Equity and Advocacy in Schools

Dr. Gutierez-Schmich uses her expertise in conflict resolution and 30+ years experience to successfully advocate for students in schools. In this session, she shares some of her best tips for finding allies and community partners to support you in your advocacy work, navigating competing priorities of service providers, and accessing additional educational supports.

Tiffany Jeanette, MEd.

Building parent-school partnerships to help children and youth thrive

Informed by over 20 years of experience as a teacher, Tiffany offers tips for creating positive parent-school relationships, facilitating school transitions, navigating special education, and handling homework. We also discuss alternative educational settings and creative solutions to school challenges. 

Serra Acar, Ph.D.

Parenting across cultures

Dr. Acar is an expert in early intervention and early childhood special education. She offers excellent tips for culturally responsive approaches to parenting, supporting the first language of children in your care (even if you don't speak it), and nurturing a sense of belonging.   

The Teen Years

Lynda Hall- Director, Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives, Treehouse

Helping Youth Plan for Leaving Foster Care

Lynda shares knowledge gained from her program focused on supporting student's in foster care. She explains the material and educational needs often required for high school graduation, and college access and persistence. She also shares tips for supporting social/emotional needs and helping youth build a solid plan for their future. 

Colleen Montoya Barbano -Director of Fostering Scholars, Seattle University

High Expectations & High Support: Preparing Youth for Post Secondary Education

In this session, Colleen shares insights gained from 20+ of experience working with children/youth in foster care. She discusses how to help students prepare for college and what services and supports are available once they get on campus.

 Learning from Lived Experience (Alumni of Care) 

Merry Ruat- student, Seattle University

Navigating Cultural Differences and Preparing for Adulthood

Merry shares her experience of transitioning to a new home and a new country at the same time. She provides suggestions for understanding cultural differences and supporting English Language learners. Merry also shares what was helpful in preparing for adulthood.

Mandalyn Finley- Americorp Service Intern, CitySquare TRAC

We're more than our file: How to build trust and provide emotional support

Mandalyn currently works with young adults aging out of the system. She movingly reminds us children/youth and care are so much more than what is written in their files. Mandalyn gives practical suggestions for building trust and helping kids feel like they are part of your family.

Blanca Merced - Jim Casey Youth Opportunity Young Fellow

Free Your Mind & the Rest will Follow

Blanca is an advocate and a parent. She gives valuable tips to foster parents about building social capital, creating long-term supports, and preparing teens for adulthood. Blanca also discusses resources and supports needed by young parents. She convincingly stresses the importance of open-mindedness and taking everything in stride.

Why Should I Sign Up For
Fostering Success Summit?

Expert Speakers 
Actionable Content

You make all the difference in the world to the children and youth in your care. Parenting is hard. We can all use additional support and tools. Throughout the summit, the challenges of parenting children with developmental trauma and difficult life circumstances are addressed. Practical strategies are shared by some of the leading child welfare and child/youth development experts in the world (hand-picked just for the Fostering Success Summit.)

You Don’t Need To Leave Your House — No Child care or Travel Needed — Attend From Your Computer, Phone or Tablet

There’s no flight or hotel room to book saving you money, unpaid work leave, and time away from your family. It also spares you the difficulty of finding agency or state approved child-care.

World-Class Quality Content

This not your ordinary online parenting event. We take pride in delivering you the absolute best content so that you can help the children and youth in your care heal, thrive, and reach their maximum potential.

Be prepared for parenting challenges (before they arise)

Just when we think we have parenting figured out a new challenge arrises. Each child has unique needs. Only by constantly learning, can we build the confidence to manage new parenting challenges. Your commitment to learning will be rewarded. As foster parents and caregivers you can facilitate healing and build resilience. You can make a world of difference to the children and youth in your care!

Parenting Strategies Revealed By  Child Welfare and Child/Youth Development Experts

Your next step in the journey of helping the children/youth in your care succeed could go several ways:

I'm so frustrated & feel so alone in this...

  • You could spend countless hours trying to implement outdated, and ineffective behavior and parenting strategies, which you've heard about through the grapevine. Or you could spend a lot of money to get advice from people with little training. These often result in more frustration (for you and the child!). Or worse...some frequently recommended strategies cause additional harm and trauma! 

Finally, other people who understand and offer real solutions...

  • You could sign up for the Fostering Success Summit today and get effective tools and resources from top child welfare & child/development experts and a curated resource guide to help you and your child(ren) thrive.

If you’re looking for Effective Parenting strategies that will help you & the children in your care, then you’re in the right place.


Robin Harwick, Ph.D.

Hi, I’m Robin.

I became a foster parent almost 15 years ago. I quickly learned that I was completely unprepared to skillfully manage the challenging behaviors and special needs of the children entering my care. There was so much I didn't understand.

I wanted to do better!

Fast forward to now - I earned my doctorate in Special Education and have conducted research around foster care, substance use disorders, and disabilities.

I’ve presented in the U.S., Sweden, and Iceland on issues related to foster care and am published in the School Psychology Forum, Children and Youth Services Review, and International Social Work. I am also currently writing a young adult novel about aging out of foster care. 

I am still learning every day. And I know we can still do better! You are likely here because you believe that too.

Let's work together to help children and youth impacted by foster care become their best selves!

Thank you for opening your homes and your hearts! 

© 2019 Fostering Success Summit is curated by Robin Harwick,Ph.D.