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#20190409 – FREE WEBINAR: Finding forever families for trafficked or exploited youth

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(April 2019)

Summary:
Children and youth in the foster care system are vulnerable of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. In Minnesota, child protection responds to all reports of child sex trafficking and strives to provide services to sexually exploited youth. Children who have experienced trafficking or exploitation face serious concerns around privacy, safety, and vulnerability. The webinar presenters will begin by discussing what child trafficking and exploitation look like in Minnesota, and how child protection responds to these reports. Next, the webinar will cover best practices and requirements for adoption of trafficked youth. This includes considerations and adjusted policies for recruitment, placement determinations, and support for adoptive parents.

Michelle Frazier received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College. She obtained her Master of Education degree in Community Counseling from Loyola University of Chicago. Michelle has worked in the field of child welfare and permanency for thirteen years, primarily in private sector. Following completion of her master’s degree, she was employed with Lutheran Social Service of Illinois as a child welfare counselor. Upon return to Minnesota, she began employment with Lutheran Social Service of MN in child welfare adoption and domestic infant adoption. In 2014, Michelle began employment at the MN Department of Human Services and is currently a grant manager with the Public Private Adoption Initiative contract.

Crystal Graves works as a Permanency Supports Grant Manager at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Safety and Permanency Division. Crystal was born in Montana and raised in St Paul, Minnesota. Crystal attended the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. After earning her degree in History, she moved briefly to New Zealand where she lived and worked before returning to Minnesota. Crystal has been an employee of the Minnesota Department of Human Services for 14 years. In 2014 Crystal moved to her current position, Permanency Supports Grant Manager, where she works with the permanency support grants, tribal customary adoption grants and Purchase of Service contracts.

Sarah Ladd is the Human Trafficking Child Protection Program Coordinator at the DHS Child Safety and Permanency Division. Her role is to lead collaborative efforts to create a more effective and cohesive response to child trafficking victims through the child welfare system statewide. Sarah is also a licensed attorney who has been active in the anti-trafficking movement for nearly a decade, and she has nearly fifteen years of direct services experience with victims of crime and human rights abuses. Sarah researches, writes, and trains professionals on the development of collaborative, trauma-informed responses that accompany human trafficking survivors on their healing journey. Sarah has a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, and a law degree from Michigan State University College of Law

Heidi Ombisa Skallet is the adoption and kinship policy specialist at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She is responsible for ensuring statewide implementation of state and federal law and policy related to adoption and transfer of permanent legal and physical custody of children in foster care, including Northstar Adoption Assistance and Northstar Kinship Assistance. Prior to joining DHS in May 2015, Heidi was the outreach coordinator at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, where she focused on child welfare policy advocacy and research to practice publications. Heidi has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota, where she focused on child welfare policy and practice.

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