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Therapy with Adoptive and Foster Families - Faculty

National and regional experts teach each session. Instructors provide a strong foundation in theoretical perspective, current research, and the development of therapeutic skill that enable students to practice at both individual and family levels.

Sherri L. Alderman, MD, MPH, IMH-E, is a board-certified developmental behavioral pediatrician and Child Development Coordinator in the Oregon Health Authority Transformation Center. Her professional experiences in clinical, research, teaching, and parent and professional training interests center on early childhood development. Prior to coming to Portland, she was on faculty at the University of New Mexico’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. 

Dr. Alderman’s special interests include: early childhood brain and mind development; high-risk infant and toddler developmental assessment, monitoring, and care; autism diagnosis and management; internationally adopted young children’s developmental care; teaching and training professionals and parents; child advocacy/child rights; and community empowerment to best serve and nurture healthy children, families, and communities. 

Dr. Alderman has certification in the Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters (PLAY Project) and has endorsement in Infant Mental Health at the Level 4—Policy. She is certified in DIR/Floortime® through the C2 Level and Parent Child Interaction Therapy. She is a registered Circles of Security and Mind in the Making facilitator.

Leslie Brown, LCSW, CADCI, Clinical Services Coordinator at Children’s Relief Nursery, LifeWorks NW. Leslie's areas of expertise are in early childhood working primarily with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. She currently works at the Children's Relief Nursery as the Clinical Services Coordinator. Children's Relieve Nursery provides training to local providers on Early Childhood Traumatic Stress and also facilitates a local Child Parent Psychotherapy Learning Collaborative. Leslie is a founding member of the Oregon Infant Mental Health Association. Leslie participated in the Child-Parent Psychotherapy Learning Collaborative facilitated by Patricia Van Horn, PhD.

Pam Crow, MSW, LCSW, is also a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor, who has been working in the field of trauma since 1980. Pam has worked in residential treatment, as a DHS caseworker, and as a Family Sex Abuse Program coordinator. Pam has combined a half-time private practice, providing treatment to children and families along with supervision to therapists, with half-time work at CARES NW (Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Services) since 1988. She provides trainings both locally and nationally regarding the treatment of childhood trauma.

Richard J. Delaney, PhD, is an internationally known trainer and consultant who has worked extensively with foster and adoptive parents, caseworkers, mental health professionals, and agencies for over 25 years. He is a licensed psychologist in Colorado. Dr. Delaney is the author of Raising Cain: Caring for Troubled Youngsters/Repairing Our Troubled System, Fostering Changes: Treating Attachment-Disordered Foster Children, Troubled Transplants: Unconventional Strategies for Helping Disturbed Foster and Adopted Children, and the Healing Power of the Family. He received his PhD in clinical psychology from Loyola University of Chicago.

Doris Dodson, MSW, LCSW, is currently the Director of Field Experience and a full-time faculty member of the social work program at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia. She is licensed as a clinical social worker in the Commonwealth of Virginia and was formerly licensed in the states of Oregon and Washington when she lived in the Pacific Northwest. She has more than 28 years of social work experience with the majority in child welfare in both the public and private sectors.

Toni Ferguson, MSW, is a family support specialist at the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC). Ms. Ferguson comes to ORPARC from Portland State University's School of Social Work and Child Welfare Partnership where she was an instructor for six years. While there she was instrumental in the development of the Postgraduate Certificate Program in Therapy with Adoptive Families. Prior to that position, she was a member of the innovative Post Adoption Family Therapist Team (PAFT) at DHS, where she provided highly specialized, intensive treatment services to adoptive families of special needs children. Before PAFT, she had acquired over 20 years of experience in education and child welfare systems, including the positions of permanency worker, foster home certifier, school social worker, and adoptive/foster parent trainer. Ms. Ferguson’s bachelor of science degrees are in psychology and sociology from Portland State University, and she holds a master's of social work from the School of Social Work and Child Welfare at Walla Walla College.  She and her husband have raised six children through birth and adoption who are now thriving adults.

Francine Florendo, MSW, LCSW, received her MSW from Portland State University in 1985.  She worked in community mental health and was a psychiatric social worker prior to joining the state’s child welfare agency in 1993.  She has been involved in adoptions work for over 13 years. Ms. Florendo is currently the state’s adoption placement specialist in the DHS Central Office Adoptions Unit. She is also an adoptive parent.

Deborah Gray, MSW, MPA, is a child and family therapist and the founder of Nurturing Attachments in Kirkland, Washington, specializing in the areas of attachment, grief, and trauma. She helps children and their parents in situations where deprivation or attachment losses make attachment formation challenging. In her private practice, she empowers parents with information and techniques to meet the needs of their children. She has worked over 20 years in children's therapy, child placement, and foster and adoption counseling. Ms. Gray is a popular presenter due to her practical approaches of promoting attachment, shaping behavior, and working through trauma and grief. She has keynoted national conferences including ATTACh, Joint Council of International Children's Services, American Association of Adoption Attorneys, Midwest Adoption Conference, and Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption. Ms. Gray is the author of numerous articles and two books,Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today's Parents and Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience After Neglect and Trauma.

Kim Jacobowitz, MSW, LCSW, is a Multnomah County Mental Health Consultant at CARES, NW. She has worked with children and families for the past 11 years. Her experience includes 2.5 years as a therapist for the King County Prosecutor's Office in Seattle and 3 years at Harborview Center for sexual assault victims.

Diane V. Malbin, MSW, is the Founder and Director of FASCETS, Inc. (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Consultation, Education and Training Services, Inc.), a nonprofit organization located in Portland, Oregon.  FASCETS provides educational and consultation services based on a neurobehavioral theoretical framework grounded in research and clinical practice.  Successful projects based on this approach have been conducted locally and internationally, including the Oregon FASD intervention study and the British Columbia Cross-Ministry FASD Initiative.  She has worked in Norway, Ireland, England, across the US, Canada and the Northwest Territories, Australia, Tasmania and elsewhere.  Her books and articles have been translated into Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian and French. Her training videos and the FASCETS Into Action Training of Trainers (TOT) curricula, focused on community partners, continue to strengthen community capacity. The Oregon chapter of the National Association of Social Workers named Ms. Malbin Social Worker of the Year, 2005, and she is in the NOFAS (National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) Hall of Fame for her work in the field of FASD. She is the parent of two adults with FASD.

Gerald P. Mallon, DSW, is professor and executive director of the National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice and Permanency Planning at the Hunter College of Social Work in New York City. For more than 30 years, Dr. Mallon has been a child welfare practitioner, advocate, educator, and researcher. He is the author or editor of 17 books and numerous peer-reviewed publications in professional journals. His most recent publication, co-edited with Peg Hess, is Child Welfare for the 21st century: A Handbook of Practices, Policies, and Programs, published by Columbia University Press. Dr. Mallon earned his doctorate in Social Welfare from the City University of New York at Hunter College and holds an MSW from Fordham University and a BSW from Dominican College. Dr. Mallon has lectured extensively in the United States, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He and his partner are the parents of three young people through adoption.

Carol Wilson Spigner, DSW, is a clinician educator and the Kenneth L.M. Pray distinguished professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. From 1994 to 1999, she was associate commissioner of the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she was responsible for the administration of federal child welfare programs. She has been a senior associate at the Center for the Study of Social Policy and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where she directed the National Child Welfare Leadership Center) and the University of California, Los Angeles. She began her career working for the Los Angeles County Departments of Adoption and Probation. Her current research focuses on documenting the experience of parents in the child welfare system.