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Transforming Child and Youth Care

Youth in Focus Trainers

Anna Nelson, LCSW, is an assistant professor with New Mexico State School of Social Work. She is former executive director of the New Mexico Forum for Youth in Community. Her professional emphases are youth and community engagement, violence prevention, gender-responsive, culturally relevant service systems development, and policy transformation, and she has provided intensive training, technical assistance and consultation on these topics at the local, state and national levels since 2006. Anna was the first to create New Mexico’s gender-responsive behavioral health plan in 2006 and has championed New Mexico’s Teen Dating Violence Strategic Prevention Initiative, guided by Positive Youth Development, since 2007. She lives in New Mexico.

Cindy Carraway-Wilson, MA, CYC-P, is director of training for Youth Catalytics and has over 20 years of experience in the child, youth and family services field. She has extensive experience in program evaluation and outcome measurement, and trains on a variety of topics such as positive youth development, youth participation and asset building, and LGBTQ topics. Before joining Youth Catalytics, she worked as a counselor and mental health therapist in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. She is a member of the training cadre for the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development and a certified trainer from the Academy for Educational Development. She has a master’s degree in psychology from Duquesne University. She lives in Maine.

Frank Eckles, BA, CYC-P, is a senior trainer at the Academy for Competent Youth Work and developer of the Child and Youth Care: Foundations Course. He is executive director of the Child and Youth Care Worker Certification Institute, past Board President of the national CYC Certification Board, and the past 2nd Vice President of the Association for Child and Youth Care Practice. He has co-directed the Center for Child Care Worker Training and Research, served as the Residential and Training Director of Tejas Home for Youth in Houston, and consulted with a variety of programs interested in improving their services. He has worked with the Texas Network of Youth Services PEAKS Adventure Camps for 20+ years and frequently facilitates at Texas A&M Challenge Works. Frank co-authored the Youth Thrive training curriculum with Jean Carpenter-Williams of the National Resource Center for Youth Services. He lives in Texas.

Hector Sapien, LCSW, CYC-P is a clinical child & youth care practitioner who has provided practical learning opportunities to people of all ages and in various roles and settings. He has an extensive history of cultivating and leading teams to excel under very challenging conditions. Hector is currently in private practice in Maine. Hector has worked in various settings/roles ranging from residential treatment child and youth care work, therapeutic recreation, therapeutic foster care for adjudicated youth, psychotherapist, and national social service corporations. He has consulted in risk management, quality assurance, & new program start-ups. More recently his experience has extended into early childhood development as a Mental Health Consultant for Head Start Centers. Hector is an adjunct faculty with the University of Maine and conducts extensive community-based training. He has consulted with local organizations on team development where he provided an organic strategic approach to improve results-oriented performance.

Jamie Jones has worked in education and been an advocate for positive youth development since 2005. She is the creator of Connections, a K-5 program with a fun and focused approach to character education, the 40 developmental assets, and social and emotional learning. She lives in California.

Kimberly Frierson, DSW, CYC-P, is a training specialist for Youth Catalytics. She earned her Doctor of Social Work from Tulane University and is a certified child and youth care practitioner with over 15 years’ experience in youth services. Kim is a certified trainer on several youth-serving curricula, including Youth and Families Thrive, Child and Youth Care Foundations, and Reducing the Risk. Through family mediation, case management, training, education, and staff support, she has worked with youth and families in multiple settings, including classrooms, shelters, and community organizations. Her passion lies in “helping helpers”, a role she filled at National Safe Place Network for eight years. Kim has traveled across the country as a trainer for policy makers and practitioners in a range of topics, including advocacy, ethics, cultural practice considerations, and trauma-informed care. Kim’s primary areas of interest include diversity, equity and inclusion, anti-oppressive practice, reproductive health, training and implementation, and self-care and community care. She lives in Kentucky.

Rose Ann M. Renteria, Ph.D., has worked as a program evaluator, researcher, consultant, trainer and speaker to non-profit organizations and educational institutions for over 20 years. She serves as a Youth Thrive expert panelist on behalf of the Center for the Study of Social Policy; directs research and evaluation for PHILLIPS Programs focusing on family strengthening program, special education and youth development evaluations; and has served as faculty at Mills College and the University of Colorado at Boulder in family and youth studies, Latina studies, public policy, research methods, sociology and women’s studies. She has helped direct research initiatives to test wraparound program development, and has created outcome frameworks for parent and family towards building their own protective and promotive factors. She lives in Virginia.

Tammy L. Hopper, MSW, CYC-P, brings more than 35 years of experience as a professional youth care worker and clinician to her presentations and partnerships with organizations. Tammy’s role as the Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer within National Safe Place Network includes development and support for national initiatives and partnerships. She has served as the Chair of the National Council on Youth Policy, the Director of Public Policy for the National Network for Youth and spent 20 years as a member of the National Safe Place Advisory Board. Tammy has conducted trainings in 42 states over the past 30 years and is recognized as a expert facilitator of group process. Tammy is a certified trainer in trauma-informed care, Youth and Families Thrive, Child and Youth Care Foundations Training, and others. Tammy has contributed to curricula for training on human trafficking, trauma-informed care, understanding evidence-based practices, developing outcomes, and positive youth development. She was also on the subject matter expert team that developed the national certification exam for grants professionals. Tammy is an advocate and enthusiastic believer in youth development and is committed to working with individuals and organizations that embrace the power and promise that comes from partnering with youth. She lives in Tennessee.