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From the Beginning...Early Childhood Development & Role of Fathers - Philadelphia
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Join us for the 3rd annual Pennsylvania symposium committed to understanding and bolstering the critical role fathers play in the lives of their children and families.

9/18/2019 to 9/19/2019
When: September 18-19, 2019
8 AM Registration
Where: The School District of Philadelphia
440 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA  19130
United States
Contact: Malkia Singleton Ofori-Agyekum

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"From the Beginning...Early Childhood Development and the Role of Fathers"


Sponsored by:

The Strong Families Commission

Symposium Organizing Committee

The School District of Philadelphia


Schedule Overview: (Full Program below hotel information)

September 18, 2019

8 -9 am - Registration

9 - 5 pm - Program

5:30 - 7:30 pm - Jazz Reception


September 19, 2019

8 am -- Registration

9 am - 1 pm --Program



CE available: 8.75 CEs for LCSW, LSW, LMFT, LPC


Registration is OPEN




Hotel Information close to the training site:


Double Tree by Hilton-237 Broad St.

1.4 miles from Conference location

12 minute drive

21 minute walk

Parking-Valet $44 a night/ Self Park $30 a night


Loews-1200 Market St.

0.8 miles

9 minute drive

18 minute walk

Parking-Valet $55


Courtyard Downtown Marriot-21 N. Juniper St.

0.7 miles

14 minute drive

19 minute walk

Parking-Valet-$55.13/ Oversized cars-$63.70


Hampton Inn Center City-1301 Race St.

0.5 miles

4 minute drive

10 minute walk

Parking-Self-$30/ Valet-$39


Four Points Sheration-1201 Race St.

0.5 miles

5 minute drive

12 minute walk

No Parking available at the hotel/Close parking available at lots between $15-$35


Windsor Suites-1700 Ben Franklin Pkwy

0.9 miles

5 minute drive

13 minute walk

Parking-$42 per night




Final Program of Events:



3rd Annual SOC Convening


A Forum where ideas and views can be exchanged

 “From the Beginning…Early Childhood Development and the Role of Fathers”

September 18th &19th 2019

The School District of Philadelphia Administrative Building

440 North Board Street,

Auditorium, Second Floor

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130


Day One September 18th 2019

8:00 a.m. – Registration & Continental Breakfast, Auditorium Reception Area.

       §  Registration managed by THE COMMISSION’s Volunteer Leadership Team, VeRita Amelia Barnette Lynch, Chair.

9:00 a.m. – Program Begins

       §  Welcome Joy Diljohn, Executive Director, Pre-K Program, Office of Early Childhood Education.

       §  Forum Overview will be provided by, Malkia Singleton Ofori-Agyekum, Pennsylvania State Director for the ParentChild + Program, & Chair, 3rd Annual Statewide SOC Convening. 

       §  Invocation – George J. Fleming, Pastor and Founder, The Father’s Touch Ministry,  Outreach specialist/Trainer for Allegheny Family Network & SOC’s Faith-Based Ambassador Coordinator, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

       §  The Journey Getting Us HereThe Honorable W. Wilson Goode, Sr., former Mayor, City of Philadelphia and President, Amachi Inc.: “People of Faith Mentoring Children of Promise” introduced by David A. Wyher, Founder, President and CEO, Delta Community Supports, Incorporated.

9:30 a.m. A Thought Leader’s Address, Dr. Wade F. Horn, “The Ebb and Flow of Fatherhood Programming – Presentation and Open Discussion.”

      §  Let’s Continue the Journey for our ChildrenDr. Wade F. Horn, introduced by Darlene Tart-Scott, Special Initiatives Coordinator, in the Immediate Office of the Regional Administrator – Region III, Administration for Children and Families (ACF).  ACF Region III is composed of the states of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

10:30 a.m.

Part I: Panel Call to Action for Greater Father Involvement in the Lives of Pennsylvania’s Children and Families – Panel Moderator, Kerry Krieger, Executive Director of Delta Family Services, LLC.

§  Panelist include:

o   George D. Mosee, Jr., Esq., Executive Director, Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network, and former First Deputy District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia;

o   Dr. H. Jean Wright, Director, Behavioral Health & Justice Related Services at DBHIDS;

o   Jeff Steiner, Executive Director, Dads Resource Center;

o   David R. Fair, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Turning Points for Children;

o   Malkia Singleton Ofori-Agyekum, Pennsylvania State Director for the ParentChild + Program;

o   Dr. Richard Jeffrey Rhodes, Education Consultant and former Assistant Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia;

o   Lance Wright, Fatherhood Coordinator- Catholic Community Services, Representing the Employment and Training Work Group;

o   Angela Mclver, Board Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania;

o   Anita Kellerman Kulick, President and CEO of Educating Communities for Parenting & Board Chair of the Pennsylvania Parenting Coalition; and

o   Dr. William Champagne, Professor of Sociology and Human Service at Harcum College, and former Men’s Support Services Coordinator, with the Philadelphia Department of Health.

Part II: Reactions – THE COMMISSION’S commitment to open communication is to allow all voices to be heard.

       §  Chris DeVol, Ambassador for Erasing Family.Org, “We need to strengthen family bonds after divorce, not #erase them.”

       §  Joe Gormley, Servant Leader, Saving FaTherhood.Org, “Saving Fatherhood is a response to the epidemic of fatherlessness.  We address this issue and the ongoing problems we see in the courts, legislatures, churches and the public square.”


11:45 a.m. Break & Pickup Box Lunch


12:00 Noon – Greetings from the Superintendent of Philadelphia’s School District, William R. Hite, Jr., ED.D.

      §  Joy Diljohn, Executive Director, Pre-K Program, Office of Early Childhood Education, will introduce Dr. Hite.

1:00 p.m. Keynote Speaker

      §  Lynn Johnson, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), introduced by Anna Pilato, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs at HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Follow-Up Discussion with the Assistant Secretary on Strategic Next Steps and Directions will be facilitated by Dr. Martha Okafor, Region III Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

2:30 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. “From the Beginning…Early Childhood Development, Trauma, and the Role for Fathers”

Co-Facilitators: Anita Kellerman Kulick, Dr. Catherine Lobaugh and Suzanne J. O’Connor will present two exceptional thought leaders of Child Well-Being and why the discussion is so important:

§  Carole Haas Gravagno, is a philanthropist, activist, and lifelong supporter and enthusiast of education, the arts and parenting education.  She believes deeply in providing the most vulnerable among us, with the kind of nurturing that can transform lives, communities and society.  Over the years, Carole has generously given her time, expertise and resources to dozens of educational, arts and cultural organizations.  She currently serves on the board of Intercultural Journeys, Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia Zoo, Play on, Philly!, and the Stoneleigh Foundation.

            §  Dr. Sandra L. Bloom is a Board-Certified psychiatrist, graduate of Temple University School of Medicine and currently Associate Professor, Health Management and Policy at the Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University. From 1980-2001, Dr. Bloom served as Founder and Executive Director of the Sanctuary programs, inpatient psychiatric programs for the treatment of trauma-related emotional disorders and during those years was also President of the Alliance for Creative Development, a multidisciplinary outpatient practice group. Dr. Bloom is recognized nationally and internationally as the founder of the Sanctuary Model. Between 2005 and 2016 over 350 social service, juvenile justice and mental health organizations were trained in the Sanctuary Model. Dr. Bloom is a Past-President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and author or co-author of a series of books on trauma-informed care: Creating Sanctuary: Toward the Evolution of Sane Societies published in 1997 with a second edition in 2013; Destroying Sanctuary: The Crisis in Human Delivery Service Systems published by Oxford University Press in 2010 and Restoring Sanctuary: A New Operating CTIPP – The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice whose goal is to advocate for public policies and programs at the federal, state, local and tribal levels that incorporate up-to-date scientific findings regarding the relationship between trauma across the lifespan and many social and health problems ( Since 2012, Dr. Bloom has also served as Co-chair for the Philadelphia ACEs Task Force  Dr. Bloom’s website is and her many publications can be downloaded from that site.

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Jazz Reception – Malkia Singleton Ofori-Agyekum, Mistress of Ceremony. Ver’non D. Brown, Director of Field Operations for The Strong Families Commission, who will introduce Dr. Alicia Barbara Harvey-Smith, who will give Reflections.


§   Dr. Harvey-Smith is new to Pennsylvania and serves as President/CEO of Pittsburgh Technical College. She is a nationally recognized educator, author, poet, and motivational speaker with thirty years of experience in Higher Education.

§  Evening Musical Entertainment will be provided by the “V. Shayne Frederick Ensemble.”



Day Two September 19th 2019


8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Registration & Continental Breakfast, Auditorium Reception Area.

9:00 a.m. – Program Begins

     §  Welcome to Day Two: Dr. Amy C. Sagen, Chief Operating Officer, Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

     §  Invocation – Pastor Quincy C. Hobbs, Jr., Zion Hill Baptist Church of Philadelphia.

     §  Greetings from Commissioner David T. Jones, Commissioner, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.

9:15 a.m. 

    §  The Connection and the Difference between Fathering and Daddying. Moderator, and Founding DADvocate, Allan Shedlin. Founder of DADvocacy Consulting Group and Creator, Daddy Wishes Fund and the Daddy Appleseed Fund. Father of four, grandfather of eight.

9:30 a.m.

     §  Dr. Joel N. MyersFounder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AccuWeather & Founder and Chairman of the Dads' Resource Center, State College Pennsylvania, introduced by David A. Wyher, President and CEO, Delta Community Supports, Inc. Dr. Myers serves as the official Advocate and Champion of Pennsylvania’s SOC Campaign “Brighter Futures for our Children…Through Greater Father Involvement.”

10:00 a.m.

     §  Dr. Carol S. Larach, Director of Integrated Care, Community Behavioral Health, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities, City of Philadelphia, introduced by Nadine Blackwell, R.N., MS – Low Vision Therapist. Topic of Presentation “Perinatal Depression in Fathers.”

10:45 a.m.

              §  Dr. Jay Cherney, Founder of Dad Lab: Peer Mentoring for New Fathers, introduced by William L. McCusker, Founder and CEO, Fathers & Families, Inc.

11:30 a.m. –

§  William L. McCusker, Founder & CEO of Fathers & Families, Inc. Topic: Expectations of the Corporate World in Supporting Childhood Development & the Role for Fathers.

12:15 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Larry L. Klinger, Co-Chair, Pennsylvania’s Fathers, Families & Service Providers Network, Status Up-date.

12:30 p.m.  – 1:00 p.m.

§  Wrap-Up and Moving Forward – Next Steps: Anita Kellerman Kulick, Dr. Catherine Lobaugh, and Suzanne J. O’Connor.

1:00 p.m. – Box Lunch to Go









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