Keynote Speakers


We are thrilled to bring in this amazing line up of inspirational, thought-provoking, and just plain AWESOME special guests and keynote speakers! These presenters will share their expertise and experience with us through inspiring messages of perseverance, the power of resilience, leadership challenges, and celebrating how every day YOU make a difference in a child's life. 

Jerry Milner

A Vision for Child Welfare and Texas

We are honored to once again welcome Jerry Milner, Acting Commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau, and Acting Commissioner for Family and Youth Services Bureau. Commissioner Milner will share his vision for child welfare and how Texas is a key player in shaping our nations success, as well as  his impressions of how Texas fits in with the national child and youth services landscape. He will also share the latest information on the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) and efforts being made to advance policies and resources to support state child welfare organizations.

Roy Juarez, Jr.

My Bag, My Home

During Roy's My Bag, My Home keynote presentation, he will share his personal story of growing up as a homeless teenager. Roy was able to leave the streets only to return to them as an activist after graduating from Hardin Simmons University in 2009.

Roy will share his personal message of hope, perseverance, forgiveness, and the value of being both a mentor and a mentee.

Roy has recently (2018) released his first published memoir Homeless By Choice. The book is about his journey and the mentors that have made a difference. It's designed as a teaching tool to help continue Roy's message of hope and inspiration.

Susan Damico

Do you Believe in Magic? The Ordinary Magic of Resilience is to be Believed

The message of resilience is one of hope and promise! For professionals working day in and day out to support some of our most vulnerable children and families, the hopeful message of resilience provides us with the strength, optimism and the ability to keep on keeping on. Resilience is not only important for the children and families we serve, but is equally important for those working in human services YOU!

Join Susan Damico, Director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, as she shares what she calls the ordinary magic of resilience and provides concrete tips and tools that you can start using today to support the resilience of the families you serve, the teams you support and yourself.

Angelo McClain

Executive Level Leadership in Challenging Times

As executive leaders, our attention to detail on all matters and the time, insight and energy to handle them is assumed. Thats why we get paid the big bucks, right? Not so fast The end result could be that while we might be holding down the fort, were not taking enough time to recalibrate and reload and learn something useful from each other. And, we may never achieve the best we can be because we havent planned that path into our routines. Bottom line, we can all benefit from more time with each other discussing how to manage our boards, cultures, innovation, change, crisis, and our personal evolution as leaders its more than just about rates!

Angelo McClain PhD, our keynote speaker for the inaugural Executive Leadership Luncheon, has a lifetime of experience from a young man in placement at Cal Farleys Boys Ranch, to becoming the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, to his current role as CEO of the National Association of Social Workers. His array of experiences has given him a very unique and important first-hand perspective on leadership challenges today!

DFPS and HHSC Leadership Panel

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and Health and Human Services Commission's executive leadership team will provide an overview of their agency priorities and goals, as well as updates on planned and current initiatives underway and how Texas child and youth community organizations can take part. This interactive general session will allow for you to ask questions, learn valuable information and hear the latest and greatest directly from our states leadership. Whether youre interested in hearing about child abuse prevention, foster care, treatment or permanency services, adoption, behavioral health, or more - this session is an annual highlight of the Conference.