The Answer to Child Welfare Reform

I am so grateful to share that the 2015 Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conference held on May 14th and 15th of this year was extremely successful! The 2015 conference, hosted by Fostering Change Network LLC, made history as the only National Professional Conference planned for Alumni/Adoptees from foster care for Alumni/Adoptees of foster care. We were able to welcome, educate and inspire 100 transitioning foster youth and alumni professionals and entrepreneurs from across the country (Ohio, Maryland, DC, Virginia, California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois and even Hawaii to name a few) in pursuing their personal and career and aspirations. The conference featured a millionaire insurance executive, the founder of one of the US’s top signature events companies, music industry giant DMC (Founder of the legendary hip-hop group Run DMC) in addition to a number of Ivy League graduates as well as social and human services entrepreneurs from across the country; all of the aforementioned are alumni from the foster care system. All of these alumni were thrilled to take part in a conference that for the first time ever allowed foster care alumni to network, support and challenge each other to succeed.

Below I’ve listed a number of the responses received from former foster youth who attended the conference.  LIVES were changed through one single event. We already have 50 people registered for next year and are expecting to max out the capacity of the venue at 300 in 2016.

APNC Testimonies:

  • "I had a great time learning from others and I'm excited to see how God grows each of us to accomplish mighty things that will forever change foster care across this Country" -(Leigh – Alumna, Nebraska)

  • "I have to say again how honored I was to be part of such a huge step in foster alumni history! It is hard to describe the level of support I felt in those rooms and the motivation it made me take home with me! I walked away feeling like I am a part of a foster alumni team, here to mutually benefit from each other, and unstoppable. Honestly, as someone who had spent the 2nd half of my foster care childhood in kincare, I feared I would be looked at as less of a foster alumni. But the level of acceptance from everyone was amazing. I was also incredibly inspired by everyone around me - from the seasoned professionals and successful peers presenting to the eager young people who joined us so full of potential. Everyone made me want to step up to do more and be more. You are no exception of that. To have brought this conference to volition was no small task & seeing you accomplish your goal right there in front of me was a complete inspiration! I had been having the feeling on my heart that it was time to reach back to help those linked to the system and reconnect with my "foster" identity. But I wasn't sure where to start and wasn't confident taking the next steps. The empowerment, the real skills, and the camaraderie I took with me have already had me collaborating with my new connections, doing the research, and reaching out to the others necessary to take the next steps toward my goals. Thank you again for obtaining your goal because without it I may never have had the courage to start chasing after mine again!" - (Holly- Alumna, Wisconsin)


  • "I was beyond moved to be part of such a huge movement such as the first alumni conference. I was able to connect with people whom I felt in my spirit that I knew my whole life. Furthermore it was an honor to meet and be in the presence of someone as kind, humble and genuine as yourself. I look forward to attending next year’ conference, although i hope our paths cross before then. I walked away from this conference feeling inspired, motivated, and positive. Because of a vision you had and worked hard to bring into fruition, you have given other people hope that they too can make their vision/dreams a reality." - (LaTrici -Alumna, Maryland )


  • "This conference literally opened my eyes to my future. I was so blessed beyond measures, I can't even verbalize. I’m so grateful to be connected to you Shalita O'Neale. All the speakers, guest and friends made me feel at home. This gave me hope for the future and I CANNOT wait for next year's conference! If this was the I know next year is going to be crazy amazing. Thank you!" - (Whitney- Alumna, Maryland)


This historical event would not have been possible without the support of our Sponsors, Alumni Keynote Speakers and Workshop Presenters and the APNC Planning Committee! The conference MC was none other than Foster Focus Magazine’s own, Chris Chmieleski who set the tone of the conference and helped to maintain the high energy throughout the event. We were fortunate to have Tameka Harris Live produce the event, capturing the energy of the event through video and photography. Her team was extremely professional and proactive in meeting all of our live event production needs. The Double Tree by Hilton hotel staff went above and beyond to make sure the venue met every accommodation needed for a successful event.

A special Thank You to the APNC Planning Committee members who were consistent until the very end and operated as a cohesive unit with purpose. They volunteered their time and resources throughout the Planning Process and executed flawlessly at the event. April Curtis, Pamela Campbell, Chauncey Strong, Susan Emfinger, Latoya Felder, Jamie Caroland and Therese Lockemy. We are also grateful for the partnership of Foster Care Alumni of America, National who sent a number of their members to present workshops and who helped to spread the word of the APNC to their many members. IFoster also helped to spread the word of the conference and donated a Laptop which was won by one of the transitioning foster youth in attendance.

Prince Georges County Department of Social Services
The Pollination Project (@PollinationProj)
John Hopkins University

  • The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation

  • Maryland Department of Human Resources

  • DC Child and Family Services

  • Prince Georges County Department of Social Services

  • FedCap

  • The Pollination Project

  • Johns Hopkins University

  • Biondolillo Associates, Inc.

  • AHT Insurance

  • Markel Insurance

  • Prudential Insurance

  • Baltimore County Department of Social Services

  • Miles & Stockbridge, P.C.

  • Foster Care to Success

  • Foster Club

  • Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute

  • Ifoster

The 2016 Alumni Powerhouse Networking Conference will be held on May 20 – 22, 2016 at The Double Tree by Hilton BWI Airport in Baltimore, Maryland. Registration will be FREE but spaces are limited! Alumni/Adoptees of foster care of are encouraged to register at!

Next year will be even bigger and better than this year! Don’t miss it!!