NASW VT’s 2018 Annual Conference: Shaping Tomorrow Together

2018 conf pic

Join us for the National Association of Social Workers-Vermont Chapter’s Annual Conference:

Visitor Campus Map (1)     Visitor Permit (1)

at beautiful Champlain College.

Co-sponsored by the Champlain College Social Work Department.

as we honor  Lillian Jackson and Sara Kobylenski

with NASWVT Lifetime Achievement Awards

Our day will start with a keynote address from Vermont State Representative and social worker Ann Pugh, followed by a panel of social workers speaking on Social Work in Vermont: Past, Present and Future. For the afternoon, choose from several dynamic workshops. Please view workshop desciptions below, as you will be asked to select your choices when you register.

This conference is fully catered. 6 CEUs

To register: click here


8 to 9: Registration, Networking, and Coffee

9 to 9:30: Welcome/Lara Sobel Scholarship

9:30 to 10:30: Keynote, intro by Brian Cina and keynote by Anne Pugh

10:30 to 12:30: Social Work in Vermont: Past, Present, Future Panel

Lillian Jackson, Susan Comerford, Sara Kobylenski

Jennifer Pimentel, Diana Allos, Michael Hill Jr.

12:30 to 1:30 Lunch and Lifetime Achievement Honoring Lillian Jackson and Sara Kobylenski

1:30 to 3:00: Afternoon Session 1

3:15 to 4:45: Afternoon Session 2

4:45 to 5:00: Thank you and CEU

Lara Sobel Scholarship

Donations toward NASW-VT’s Sobel Scholarship will be gladly accepted at the registration table throughout the day and via donation button when you register.

The Sobel Scholarship will be offered to a rising Junior BSW social work student who reflects Lara Sobel’s ability to seek out the good no matter how overwhelming and negative the circumstances; never allow the misfortune of individuals or their level of despair to become routine or acceptable; and strengthen the cause of child welfare, social justice, and health and wellness of child welfare staff. The scholarship will consist of $1000, free NASW-VT membership, free admission to all NASW-VT events, and the assignment of a social worker mentor for one year.

NASW-VT 2017 Annual Conference Workshop Descriptions
Afternoon Session 1:

A. TIPS (Trauma Infomed Parenting Skills) for Tuning In: Experiential Strategies for Trauma Informed Providers and Caregivers

Jennifer Jorgenson, LCSW and Amy Bielawski-Branch, LCMHC

TIPS for Tuning In, an innovative curriculum, explores how children exposed to trauma and placed in foster care are often misdiagnosed, labeled and overrepresented in congregate care. TIPS provides foster, adoptive and kin caregivers with skills and strategies for improving relationships and externalized behaviors with children who have experienced trauma.

B. Veteran’s Administration collaboration with Department of Defense in regard to Transitioning Service Members

Stephen W. Plumb, LICSW-SUPV, BCD

The training is targeted for Clinicians and includes education about the issues facing Transitioning Service Members. This training will focus on how the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense coordinate services to support Transitioning Service Members with a history of combat deployments and complex trauma. The training also discusses Warrior Transition Battalions and coordination of treatment for severely injured Service Members from Active Duty to Civilian Life.

C. Restorative Justice Practice: Theories, Ethical Considerations, Skills, Techniques and Venues

Jacob D. Stone, ACSW, LSW, (Pennsylvania) Retired 1.5 ethics ceus included in 6 for the day

Restorative Justice programs and activities are increasingly being utilized in community and institutional settings, as well as in clinical practice. This program will discuss theories ethical considerations, skills, and venues for social workers to incorporate restorative justice initiatives into their practices and careers.

Afternoon Session 2

D. Hoarding: An Overview

David O’Leary, Housing Retention Specialist

This workshop focuses on what hoarding and squalor is, how to identify hoarding and squalor, and how treatment plans are constructed for varied populations. At the end of the workshop, attendees will have access to assessment tools for use in the field, a list of available resources in Vermont, and some practical skills when working with a client with hoarding behaviors

E. Vermont Youth Development Program and Vermont Coalition for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs

Ari Kisler, Assistant Director, of the Vermont Coalition for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs and Jennifer Pimentel, LMSW, Director, Vermont’s Youth Development Program

Do you work with youth who are or have been in foster care, are disconnected from families and lack strong permanent connections, have or think about running away, or have been without a stable place to sleep at night? The VT Youth Development Program and the VT Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs have services available to the youth you work with! Come learn how these innovative programs use holistic service philosophies to build protective factors and support strong outcomes for young people.

F. Cultural Accessibility: Considerations when Working with Deaf or Hard of Hearing People

Keri Darling, Deaf Vermonters Advocacy Services

This innovative workshop will lead you through an informative and often humorous program. Participants will gain knowledge about different kinds of Deaf and hard of hearing people, along with developing skills for interacting and communicating with these communities. The workshop includes hands on activities. The hope is for participants to walk away from this workshop knowing more about Deaf culture and its people and developing a comfort zone in which they can work with in the future if they interact with Deaf and hard of hearing community members.


Diana Allos: Diana Allos is a recent graduate of the BSW program at the University of Vermont. During her junior year, she created a self-designed minor called Marginalization of Populations which sought to examine, with an intersectional lens, the ways in which people of color, those identifying as queer, those living with disabilities, those living in poverty, and women are oppressed in the contexts of dominant culture, institutions, health, and access. Outside of the classroom, Diana has completed her field placement at the Burlington Community Justice Center in an affected party outreach role. In that capacity she advocated for the needs of people impacted by crimes in the community, worked in the Support Center at Burlington High School with students, and created a cultural responsibility training for panel volunteers. Identifying as Arab-American, she has also been a member on the board of the Womyn of Color Coalition on UVM’s campus for two years, first as the Events and Programming Chair, and then as Co-Political and Co-Community Outreach Chair. Diana was also an active member of NoNames4Justice, a grassroots, student led group dedicated to fighting issues related to racial, queer, and social justice on campus.

Amy Bielawski-Branch: Amy is a a licensed clinical mental health counselor providing consultation, facilitation, training, supervision and therapy in the greater Burlington, Vermont area since 1990. I have extensive experience working with mental health crisis, issues of adolescence, foster and adoptive families, LGBTQ issues, parenting, and trauma and sexual abuse.

Keri Darling: founded KeriDarling in 2000 and serves as the Director of DVAS, Deaf Vermonters Advocacy Services, which serves Deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, and deaf-blind victims of crimes in the state of Vermont. In 2001, DVAS was recognized by the Vermont Crime Victim’s Rights week, for providingexceptional help to service providers with trainings on how to communicate and serve Deaf victims better. Keri has extensive experience in developing outstanding training curricula that reflect best practices when serving deaf or hard-of-hearing victims. She has experienced delivering hundreds of trainings on a national, state and local level, developing communication cards, incorporating skills, knowledge and best practices, developing needs assessments, providing technical assistance for specialized program development, and participating in CCR teams sharing her Deaf perspective.

Lillian Jackson: Prior to coming to Castleton in 1998, Professor Lillian Jackson worked for 31 years in human service organizations, mostly in agency director/management positions including: medical social work, Boston’s runaway shelter, Director of a district office of protective services for children in Boston, Director of Child and Family Services for Rutland Mental Health, member of many human services committees and task forces, and Chair of the Rutland Regional Partnership for Family Services, which included all the agencies and organizations that serve children and families in Rutland County. She also served for many years on the Vermont Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Ms. Jackson is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a member of the national Academy of Certified Social Workers. She received her MSW from the Boston University School of Social Work, a MPA from Suffolk University, and her bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

Jennifer Jorgenson: Jennifer is Team Lead for the Kin, Foster and Adoptive Families (KFAF) training team with the Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership (CWTP) at UVM. In her role, she oversees an evidence and competency based training curriculum for foster, kin and adoptive caregivers across the state and provides support to the KFAF Training Coordinators. Prior to joining CWTP, Jennifer obtained both clinical and child welfare experience through her time as a Director of Treatment Services for a child abuse prevention and treatment agency, an outpatient therapist, a therapeutic residential center therapist and Membership Director for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. A Licensed Independent and Clinical Social Worker, Jennifer obtained her BSW at Ball State University and her MSW at Indiana University. She is a Certified Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) therapist and trainer, and Certified Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) therapist.

Ari Kisler: Assistant Director of the Vermont Coalition for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs. Ari directed the Transitional Living Program at the Washington County Youth Service Bureau from 2014 to 2016 before joining the VCRHYP team. She graduated from Springfield College with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a focus on Addiction Studies. She is currently studying Youth Development at The Graduate School at Michigan State University through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance.

Sara Kobylenski: is the Executive Director of the Upper Valley Haven and has been leading the organization since March 2009. Sara came to the Haven from her role as a Field Services Director for the Vermont Agency of Human Services. Before that she served for 20 years as the Vermont Division Director for Casey Family Services and 15 years as a supervisor and direct practice social worker with other child and family services organizations. She earned her BA from Simmons College and an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a board member of the NH Center for Nonprofits, steering committee of the Team of Teams for Health for the region, and a Director of Mascoma Savings Bank. She also participates in local and state level groups addressing poverty, housing and homelessness. Occasionally she teaches a course for Community College of Vermont.

David O’Leary: David O’Leary is a Housing Retention Specialist with the Burlington Housing Authority who specializes in hoarding and squalor cases. David joined BHA in 2015 after two years of domestic violence advocacy at STEPS to End Domestic Violence (Formerly Women Helping Battered Women). David also serves as co-coordinator of the Chittenden County Hoarding Task Force, the first of its kind in Vermont. David attends the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program at Saint Michael’s College and will graduate with his Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology in May, 2018. David offers an approach to hoarding and squalor intervention based on evidence-based techniques, but believes that a humanistic and compassionate foundation lies at the heart of his work.

Jen Pimentel: Director of Vermont’s Youth Development Program. She has experience in mental health and substance abuse counseling and case management, as well as in developing groups and programmatic opportunities for youth. Jen earned her Master of Social Work degree through the University of Southern California and is currently a Licensed Master Social Worker in the State of Vermont. Jen’s passion lies with providing positive opportunities for youth to grow into successful adults and fully realize their strengths and assets.

Stephen W. Plumb, LICSW-SUPV, BCD is a Veterans Health Administration, Supervisory Social Worker, and Former VA Liaison for Healthcare at Fort Drum, New York. In the role of former VA Liaison, Stephen provided education on VHA/VBA benefits and provided initial treatment planning and linkage to VA services, providing for the continuity of care and receipt of the “Warm Handoff” for soldiers transitioning out of the military and into VA Health care Nationwide. Stephen assumed his current role in July 2014 and manages the Transition and Care Management Services Program at the White River Junction VA Medical Center (VAMC). He provides Supervision to the OEF/OIF/OND Post Deployment Team as well provides direct consultation and services to the Facilities Medical and Mental Health Providers. Stephen also worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs Readjustment and Counseling Service, Watertown, New York as Clinical Supervisor /Lead and as a Credentialed and Privileged, Military Sexual Trauma Therapist. Before transitioning back to the VA Stephen worked for the US Army Medical Command, behavioral Health Department at Fort Drum for 10 years as a Civilian Social Worker. Stephen is also the current Chair for the National Transition and Care Management Education and Public Relations Committee, and Co-Chair of Outreach for the White River Junction VAMC. Stephen holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and completed his Clinical Training at the Brecksville, Ohio VAMC in the inpatient Locked Mood Disorder Unit.

Ann Pugh: Ann D. Pugh was born in Rye, NY and moved to Burlington, VT in 1976 to begin her career as a social worker. Three years later she moved to her current home in South Burlington. She graduated from Rye Country Day School, Union College (Schenectady, NY) with a BS, Washington University (St. Louis, MO) with a MSW and UVM with a CAS in Administration and Planning. Previously employed by the Baird Center for Children and Families (Howard Center), Trinity College and State of Vermont, she now is a full time faculty member in the Department of Social Work at UVM. She has a step daughter, Jennie Hayes. She has long been an active volunteer in the community serving on agency, city and state boards including the ReSource-VT, Vermont Child Poverty Council, South Burlington Planning Commission, Governor’s Commission on Women, Vermont Children’s Forum, Vermont Association for Mental Health, NASW-VT and Champlain Drug and Alcohol Services. Currently she is a member of the Board of Civil Authority and a Justice of the Peace in South Burlington, an advisory board member of the Chittenden County Hunger Council and a trustee of the Thomas Lawler and Jennie Christy Hayes Foundation. A Democrat, she has been a member of the House since 1993.

Jacob Stone: Retired after a forty year career in social work, Jacob Stone taught at the Marywood University School of Social Work and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  He served for many years as Chair of the Ethics Committee of NASW-PA. He moved to Vermont in 2014, and continues to provide training and consultation in social work ethics and related issues.  He also works with the Montpelier Community Justice Center, on restorative justice panels and with persons recently released from incarceration.

Susan Comerford: Susan Comerford has an earned doctorate in organizational behavior and is currently an Associate Professor of Social Work and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research for the College of Education and Social Services. Her research agenda is focused in three interconnected areas: international issues including refugees and human rights, the learning processes involved in effectively meeting the challenges of an increasingly multicultural, multivocal, globalizing world, (local, national and international), and leadership within these contexts. Her teaching areas include human rights, social policy, leadership development and theory, diversity issues, and gender issues in the workplace. Prior to doctoral studies in Cleveland, Susan’s social work focused primarily on policy analysis, advocacy, and international organizing on refugee issues in the areas of human rights, refugee relief, and development issues in nations of the South.

Michael Hill Jr: Michael Hill Jr. is originally from Harlem, New York City he came to Vermont to obtain his undergraduate degree from Saint Michael’s College. In 2015 he obtained his Master of Social Work from the University of Vermont. He has significant experience working with diverse populations such as refugee, immigrant and multicultural youth and young adults through various service context. He is an avid volunteer and active community member sitting as a board member for Old Spokes Home, being a member with the Community Council of Accountability with Law Enforcement (ccaleovt) as well as sitting on the Racial Disparities in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System Advisory Panel. In addition to all this, Michael also provides racial awareness and cultural responsive training opportunities for various agencies and educational institutions.