May 26, 2022
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm EDT

11:00 am to 12:15 pm CDT
10:00 am to 11:15 pm MDT
9:00 am to 10:15 am PDT
8:00 am to 9:15 am AKDT
6:00 am to 7:15 am HIST


Sharon Kollar
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
518-442-5291; skollar@albany.edu 

*For technical issues the day of the event, please contact Melanie Smith (melanie.s.smith@du.edu)


Engaging Emerging Leaders as a Retention Strategy

This learning exchange will focus on how universities and agencies engage social work students and graduates as emerging leaders. Panelists will share examples from partnerships in Arkansas and Erie County (NY), followed by small group peer-to-peer exchanges where participants will explore how to leverage these examples in their organizations.

Please note: The second half of the session will be spent in small group discussions. Plan to join with your webcam and microphone enabled and ready to explore these issues with your colleagues.

Our panelists

Dr. Annette Semanchin Jones is the PhD Program Director and an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, University at Buffalo. Her research focuses on innovative approaches in child welfare that aim to strengthen child well-being and permanency. Her research and teaching are informed by her professional experience working with children and families. She partners with public and private child welfare organizations on projects such as promoting relational permanence for youth in foster care, strengthening supportive networks for vulnerable youth, identifying supports for families and children who experience chronic neglect, and building organizational capacity to implement evidence-based trauma treatments.

John Przybyl, MSW, is the Administrative Director for Erie County Department of Social Services (ECDSS) – Adoption and Family Wellness. John has been with ECDSS for 19.5 years and earned his Master of Social Work in 2011. He is a coach in NCWWI’s Leadership Academy, a member of Erie’s Disproportionate Minority Representation and Organizational Anti-Racism Action Team, and field educator for several of University at Buffalo’s MSW interns. John is also involved in ECDSS’s  father engagement project, the University at Buffalo’s Fellowship Program that looks at a holistic approach to working with families involved with family court and increasing kin caregivers and reducing congregate care for children in foster care. John believes that the communities we live in are key to understanding and addressing the needs of families in crisis and that working to prevent the need for social services interventions will help communities grow and thrive.

Vernita Thompson, MSW, is the co-host of the podcast Child Welfare Chronicles where she and co-host Kristy discuss their own and others’ professional and personal experiences within the child welfare system. Vernita is also an employee with Erie County Department of Social Services as a caseworker, where she assists parents and relatives in gaining custody of children already placed or at risk of being placed in the foster care system. She is a member of Rho Kappa and the National Association of Social Workers. Vernita is passionate about child welfare reform, including achieving racial equity for families of color who are currently disproportionately represented within the child welfare system.

 Dr. Stephen Kapp is the Director of the School of Social Work at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Kapp was a faculty member at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare for more than 20 years. He has held leadership positions, including associate dean for academic affairs and interim dean of the School of Social Welfare. Before working in higher education, Kapp was a social work practitioner for 15 years. The vast majority of his work has focused on services for children and families in mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice. His scholarship and teaching have both focused on agency-based evaluation and include a focus on the use of various forms of administrative and evaluative data in decision-making processes.

Alexandria Mills, BSW, is a 2021 graduate of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Subsequent to her completion of the NCWWI BSW scholar program, Alexandria was promoted to a team facilitator position at the Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services. In this role, she facilitates safety meetings with families where the agency is considering a removal. Alexandria listens to safety concerns and utilizes her full array of engagement and assessment social work skills to mediate with all stakeholders.