2017 Conference on Child Welfare and the Courts:
Inspiring Hope and Building Resiliency Among Our Youth


Jessica Adams
Jessica Adams, B.A. Sociology and Peace, Conflict & Global Studies, MNM, works with youth at WWGP as a Prevention Specialist, running a dynamic program teaching her students about healthy relationship development as a prevention of high risk behaviors. Her history of accomplishment in working to promote peace, respect, and belonging is recognized in various states, including Montana, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Jamaica.

Roxanne Bailin
Judge Bailin is a consultant for the National Center for State Courts regarding Leadership and Governance, Court Efficiency, and Court Facilities. She also works as a trainer teaching Motivational Interviewing for Judges and is a consultant for the Colorado State Court Administrator’s Office.

Judge Bailin was Chief Judge of the 20th Judicial District (Boulder County) from 1998 to 2013. She was named to the county bench in 1983 and to the district court bench in 1987. The district court is the general jurisdiction court often called Superior Court. Prior to being appointed County Judge, Judge Bailin was a Clinical Professor and Director of the Legal Aid and Defender Program at the University of Colorado School of Law. She began her legal career as an attorney with Colorado Rural Legal Services in Trinidad, Colorado. As chief judge, Judge Bailin oversaw the administration of the courts and probation in addition to her duties as a district court judge.

She received a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1971 where she was a Trustee Scholar, and her law degree in 1974 from New York University Law School.

Mandy Bisek
Mandy manages the Justice Support Services section of La Crosse County Human Services, which encompasses early intervention and diversion services for both youth and adults, as well as Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Detention, and adult criminal justice services. Prior to this position, she spent 13 years at La Crosse County as a Juvenile Justice Social Worker and Supervisor. Mandy served as a task force member with the Juvenile Justice Arrest and Disproportionate Minority Contact task force as well as co-chair of the Juvenile Justice Best Practice workgroup, which created the La Crosse System of Care.

Fredi-Ellen Bove
Fredi-Ellen Bove is the Administrator for the Division of Safety and Permanence at the Department of Children and Families. The Division of Safety and Permanence is responsible for overseeing the child protective services and community-based juvenile justice services systems. The Division is also responsible for related programs, including child abuse and neglect prevention; prevention, supports, and services for individuals who have experienced or are at risk of sex trafficking, domestic violence services, and prevention; licensing of child welfare providers; and adoptions of special needs children. Prior to joining the Department of Children and Families in March 2011, Ms. Bove worked for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for 16 years, where she served as the Deputy Administrator for the Division of Long Term Care and the Budget Director; and for the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents for 5 years. Before her service in Wisconsin state government, Ms. Bove held a number of policy positions in the federal government. Ms. Bove completed her undergraduate education at Middlebury College in Vermont and her graduate work at Harvard University, where she completed a Master’s in Public Policy degree.

Rita Cameron Wedding
Dr. Rita Cameron Wedding, Ph.D. is a professor of Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies at Sacramento State University (California). Dr. Cameron Wedding’s curriculum Implicit Bias: Impact on Decision-Making, has been used to train judges, public defenders, practitioners in child welfare, juvenile justice, law enforcement and education in jurisdictions throughout the country since 2005. As faculty for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), she has trained judges at court improvement initiatives in over 40 states. In 2010, Dr. Cameron Wedding was featured in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) website, which showcased her work for “content, expertise and platform excellence”. She was also a consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, one of the largest child advocacy foundations in the U.S. In 2013, in response to the U.S. Department of Justice’s 3-year investigation and findings of civil rights violations, Dr. Cameron Wedding led a training team of five experts to provide implicit bias training to the entire Shelby County Juvenile Court.

From 2009 to 2011, she directed the Regional Training Project funded by the California Board of State and Community Corrections. This training project utilized an inter-disciplinary advisory board composed of educators, social workers, and law enforcement personnel to design an effective curriculum to mitigate the effects of the School to Prison Pipeline. This project delivered 43 trainings to identify practices that contribute to negative school outcomes that put students at increased risk of juvenile justice involvement.

Dr. Cameron Wedding has conducted implicit bias Train the Trainer Institutes, webinars, and curriculum development in numerous agencies and states throughout the country. Dr. Cameron Wedding’s work includes trainings and keynotes on implicit bias for the Texas New Judges College, the National Association of Children’s Counsel, the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Child Abuse and Neglect Institutes in Reno, Louisville, and Atlanta, the New York State Judicial Institute, Superior Court Judges in Hawaii and Illinois, and the Michigan Judges Association. In addition, Dr. Cameron Wedding provided expert testimony before the U.S. Commission on Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (2015) and conducted research for expert testimony on a federal jury trial (2016). She is a presenter for Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice and Reform Conference. In 2017, her curriculum on implicit bias will be incorporated into the police de-escalation curriculum for Fight Crime Invest In Kids and used to train over 5000 in-service and academy officers in the U.S.

As a Fulbright Scholar Dr. Cameron Wedding conducted research in Tanzania and South Africa. She has presented on national talk radio in Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa, taught at the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica and the United Nations University International Leadership Institute Conference on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in Amman Jordan. In 2014 she delivered a talk at an international conference in Athens Greece, and in 2016 she participated on a faculty panel at the City University of Hong Kong. She serves on the governing board of Global Majority, an organization dedicated to peace and conflict resolution throughout the world.

In 2012 Dr. Cameron Wedding was the recipient of the John C. Livingston Distinguished Faculty Lecture Award, the highest faculty honor awarded by Sacramento State University. Her most recent article on implicit bias “Implicit Bias: More Than Just a Few Bad Apples” was published in the Juvenile Justice Exchange (June 15, 2016).

Dr. Rita Cameron Wedding >

Sixto Cancel
Sixto Cancel first entered foster care when he was 11 months old, and moved through several foster homes during his childhood. Growing up in foster care in Connecticut, Sixto sought out leadership roles such as chair of the Southwestern Connecticut “A Voice to be Heard” Youth Leadership Board and participated in discussions with the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families and other agency leaders around reform of the Connecticut foster care system. He rallied his fellow youth participants in support of many different projects, organized community service activities, and recruited foster parents. Sixto designed, secured funding for, and implemented a pilot program called Stellar Works, a program to prepare children in foster care for postsecondary education. On the national level, since 2010 Sixto has served as a Jim Casey Young Fellow, a group of young people who provide valuable youth input regarding the implementation of Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative strategies and policy goals. Sixto contributed his own perspective to the national and state-level conversation about youth transitioning out of the foster care system. He has also been involved with Rising Tides, a crowd-funding website helping young people in foster care overcome finical barriers regarding post-secondary education. He has also been recognized as a White House Champion of Change in Foster Care and co-led the design and execution of the first ever White House Foster Care and Technology Hackathon. Mr. Cancel is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Founder and CEO of Think of Us, a non-profit with the goal of helping foster youth successfully transition into a prosperous adulthood.

Ron Chance
Ron Chance is currently the Community Programs Manager at Dane County Human Services overseeing the Joining Forces for Families initiative. This neighborhood-based teaming approach involves a community social worker, school personnel, law enforcement, and human services non-profit agencies. In 2016 this initiative stabilized over 1000 vulnerable families in 2016 through resource linkage and case management strategies.

Mr. Chance is also Manager of Dane County’s Early Childhood Initiative, an innovative home visitation program with an intensive employment and training approach targeted at economically challenged families. Additionally, he is currently overseeing an innovative restorative justice court model focused on offenders aged 17 to 25 in Dane County.

In his community work, Ron is Vice President of the Board of the Dane County Timebank. This citizen resource exchange network is one of the largest Timebanks in the U.S. He is an active member of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin-Madison, a group has raised over 1 million dollars for charitable causes, mostly international, since its inception.

Additionally, Ron is an Adjunct Lecturer at the UW School of Social Work currently facilitating a field unit for Social Policy and Administration.

Mr. Chance came to Madison as a community organizer for the Northside Planning Council. He was also Project Director of the National Youth Gang Project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and located at the University of Chicago. This project developed a community response model to gang violence which is still being replicated across the United States. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Kingdom of Nepal as a teacher. He has a Master’s Degree from the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago. Mr. Chance was selected as the Outstanding Social Worker for the State of Wisconsin by NASW in 2007.

Gregg Curtis
Gregg Curtis is in his fifth year as the Education Consultant for School Counseling and Suicide Prevention at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Gregg graduated from the University of Iowa in 1988 with an elementary education degree. After ten years as a middle school teacher in rural Iowa, Gregg returned to the UI; receiving a master’s degree in school counseling that he used in his work with 7th and 8th graders at South East Junior High School in Iowa City. Following his work as a school counselor, Gregg returned to the UI and received his doctorate in Counselor Education with a minor in the Social Foundations of Education in 2008. Prior to joining DPI, Gregg spent 6 years as a lecturer and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; working to prepare graduate students to work as counselors in schools, community mental health agencies, and higher education.

Brian Dean
Brian Dean is a school safety and AODA consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Previously, he was a school social worker for thirty years.

Denise Derdeyn
Denise has worked at Kenosha Human Development Services (KHDS) since 1983 as a teaching parent, crisis worker, home detention worker, and Prevention/Intervention Director. She currently supervises KHDS' basic center and street outreach programs as well as VOCA case management and therapy as well as Independent Living.

Gloria Doyle
Gloria L. Doyle has served as a La Crosse County Circuit Court Judge since 2015. Her interest in children's issues goes back to 1987 when she began to serve as GAL for children. She served as La Crosse County's full time Family Court Commissioner 2006-2015. She received her undergraduate and law degrees from UW-Madison.

John Elliott
John Elliott is currently the Deputy Administrator for the Division of Safety and Permanence for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. In this role, he is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Division. The Division of Safety and Permanence is responsible for oversight of the child welfare and youth justice systems delivered through Wisconsin counties and Tribes. His responsibilities include oversight of the Child Welfare Training System, eWiSACWIS Case Management system, leading major division initiatives, and overseeing the operation functions of the Division. John is an experienced leader in strategy development and execution, policy development and implementation, research, and leading large-scale projects in large complex public/private organizations.

Antwone Fisher
Antwone Fisher is an award winning writer, poet, and filmmaker. Born in an Ohio prison to an unmarried teen age mother, Antwone became a ward of the state for the next 17 years of his life. During his 14 years in foster care he was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Alone and homeless in the world Antwone joined the US Navy which he honorably served for 11 years.

His search for identity, meaning, belongingness, love, and value has captured the souls of millions of people who have seen his film, Antwone Fisher starring Denzel Washington, read his award winning poetry, explored his memoirs in his bestselling book, Finding Fish, or heard him speak.

When Antwone Fisher premiered in 2002, film critic Joel Siegel wrote, “More than one of the best films of the year, this is a film that can change people’s lives."

Antwone lives in Los Angeles with his wife LaNette and two daughters Indigo and Azure.

Antwone Fisher >

Yael Granot
Yael Granot is a Research Scholar in Law and a Justice Collaboratory Fellow at Yale Law School. Granot received her PhD in social psychology from New York University, where her research explored how attentional processes influence legal decision-making. In particular, she has used eye tracking to demonstrate how people systematically watch and make decisions about video evidence in discrepant ways. At the Collaboratory, her work focuses on examining adolescent perceptions of the criminal justice system. She is exploring how an increasing police presence in schools affects the development of adolescents' relationships to the police.

Laura Haas
Laura Haas, CPS, is a Certified Peer Specialist at the United Community Center (UCC) Human Services Department in Milwaukee, WI. She facilitates the peer support groups for residential and day treatment clients and meets individually with clients to work on recovery goal planning. Laura has organized several events including recovery month events, family art fairs, and sober social events for clients of UCC. In addition, she sits on the Governor’s Steering Committee for the Department of Children and Families. She is actively involved in various community settings including Milwaukee County Drug Treatment Court raising awareness and promoting recovery.

Kathy Hartke
Kathy Hartke, MD is the Legislative Co-Chair and Immediate Past Chair of the Wisconsin Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She was first elected to the Section’s Advisory Council in 2005, and during that time, has served as the Annual Section Conference Program Director for the past five years. Dr. Hartke is a past-president of the Milwaukee Gynecological Society and has been an active member in numerous other professional organizations, including the Wisconsin Medical Society. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Hartke attended medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and completed her residency training at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee. Prior to her retirement from Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin earlier this year, Dr. Hartke was the Senior Partner of WomenCare, a private practice in Waukesha for 27 years where she specialized in general obstetrics and gynecology as well as minimally invasive surgery, infertility, and adolescent gynecology. Throughout her career, she delivered more than 4000 babies including triplets, and spent over 30 years caring for low- and high-risk mothers, including those with substance use disorder.

Dr. Hartke is a tireless advocate for women’s healthcare. She has written several op-eds published by major newspapers, and has testified on multiple occasions, both in front of the Wisconsin Legislature and County and Federal Courts on legislation impacting healthcare for women. She was an expert witness for the plaintiff in the recent decision finding the Unborn Child Protection Law unconstitutional in Tamara M. Loertscher vs Eloise Anderson, Brad D. Schimel and Taylor County.

Dr. Hartke served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam Era. She and her husband have a blended family of 7 children and 7 grandchildren.

Wendy Henderson
Wendy Henderson is the Director of the Bureau of Youth Services at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Wendy manages the WI DCF efforts to improve outcomes for youth in the child welfare and youth justice systems. Current initiatives include improving outcomes for youth aging out of foster care, creating systemic change to end homelessness for youth aging out of care, developing a unified statewide approach to youth justice, and strengthening the adolescent service system for system-involved and at-risk youth. Wendy earned a BA with high honors from Wesleyan University and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law.

Isaac Hoffman
Isaac is currently the director of the La Crosse Area Family Collaborative (LAFC). LAFC is a voluntary, preventative, relationship based neighborhood social work program with a mission of being helpful, in any way, to families who may be struggling in targeted La Crosse neighborhoods. Isaac previously worked as the Northside Neighborhood Social Worker for LAFC for one year and as a Child Protective Services Social Worker for La Crosse County Human Services for 8 years.

Lance Horozewski
Lance Horozewski is the Children, Youth & Families Division Manager at Rock County Human Services.

Laura Huber
Laura Huber has served as the principal of Northside Elementary and Coulee Montessori Charter School since 2010. Laura moved to La Crosse from Madison where she worked as an assistant principal, an instructional resource teacher, an elementary teacher, and a high school special education teacher. Laura holds a master's degree in Administration from Cardinal Stritch University, a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from UW Madison, and a BS from UW-Madison in special education. Laura has a lifelong interest in serving the needs of students who have experienced trauma, and enjoys working with a variety of community service providers (including the La Crosse Area Family Collaborative) to make things happen for her students and their families.

Joy Ippolito
Dr. Joy Ippolito is the state-level Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator for DCF. She is the principal policy advisor on human trafficking issues, with substantial authority to develop and implement policies and programs that provide a coordinated and comprehensive state response. She sets strategic direction regarding changes and initiatives on these issues as they relate to Wisconsin’s child welfare and youth justice systems, and their interactions with the courts, law enforcement, health, and other systems. Dr. Ippolito leads the Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force by managing the Task Force and its workgroups, in consultation with its co-chairs: the DCF Secretary and Wisconsin Attorney General. She also assists stakeholder groups at the local, regional, state, and national levels, and manages the implementation of DCF-funded anti-trafficking programs. Prior to joining DCF, Dr. Ippolito was a researcher and professor at the University of Chicago. She holds a doctorate from Harvard University and master’s degrees from Harvard and the University of Chicago.

Aviva Kaiser
Aviva Meridian Kaiser is Ethics Counsel at the State Bar of Wisconsin. Prior to joining the State Bar, she taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School for 25 years. She taught Professional Responsibilities, Ethical and Professional Considerations in Writing, Problem Solving, and Risk Management. From 1992 until 2002, she was the Director of the Legal Research and Writing Program. Aviva received her B.A. in Chinese from the University of Pittsburgh and her J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Louis B. Garippo in People v. John Wayne Gacy and clerked for the Honorable Maurice Perlin in the Illinois Appellate Court. She practiced law in Chicago before beginning her full-time teaching career at IIT Chicago/Kent College of Law.

Barb Kultgen
Barbara is the Manager of the Juvenile Court Intake Unit with Sheboygan County Health and Human Services Department. She joined Sheboygan County in 1998 as a social worker. She was assigned to Tower Academy for 13 years working with adjudicated youth and their families through this self-contained special education program in the Sheboygan Area School District. She is currently the liaison for Sheboygan County Shelter Care and the Intensive Supervision Program as well as involved in work groups related to trauma-informed care and evidence-based practices. Barbara has been practicing mindfulness through yoga and meditation for over a decade and teaching since 2008 when she completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Yogaloft in Sheboygan. She has experience teaching yoga and meditation to diverse groups including in the workplace, to athletes, to children, and to at-risk youth. She is currently working towards completion of a Children’s Yoga Teacher certification.

Heather Lawrence
Heather Lawrence is the Outagamie County Department of Health and Human Services, Youth and Family Services Division Manager. Ms. Lawrence obtained her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and is an Advanced Practice Social Worker. She has worked in the field of Child Welfare for 15 years as a social worker and supervisor in both Child Protective Services and Juvenile Justice. Ms. Lawrence is passionate about juvenile justice diversion and prevention and co-leads the Outagamie County Dually Involved Youth Integration Project — a collaboration between Child Protective Services and Juvenile Justice aimed at preventing the crossover of youth from child protection into the juvenile justice system and effective cross-system collaboration for youth who are involved in both systems. Ms. Lawrence is a member of several committees and work groups including the Outagamie County Trauma Project, the Outagamie County Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Partnership, the Children's Integrated Services Team, and the Wisconsin Juvenile Justice Network.

Stacy Ledvina
Stacy Ledvina is a Social Work Supervisor in the Youth and Families Services Unit at Manitowoc County Human Services Department. Stacy has been working in the juvenile justice field for the past 18 years, with 10 years of supervisory experience. For the past three years Stacy has also been working as a trainer/consultant with The Carey Group.

Karie Lowe
Karie L. Lowe, MS LPC, has been working with youth and families since 1995. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in psychology, from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and her Master of Science degree from the University of Southern New Hampshire in Community Mental Health, specializing in working with severely emotional disturbed children. In 2001, Karie came to work with Lad Lake as the Connections Independent Living Coordinator, helping youth aging out of foster care. She has coordinated the program 14 years and in September of 2011 Karie was promoted to the position of the Director of Independent Living and Outreach Services. Throughout her time, she has witnessed great success for the programs and the young people who have participated. She has been able to learn what helps our youth become successful adults and what barriers are out there for them as they leave their life in care.

Rick Miller
Rick Miller is the founder and president of Kids at Hope, an international child and youth development organization that studies family, school, and community cultures to understand better the dynamics of success and failure.

Rick has spent 48 years in the field of child and youth development as a practitioner, researcher, teacher, public policy expert, and author. Rick’s research is revolutionizing the understanding of child and youth development and cultures.

His work is modeled in 19 states and Canada and has been cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is the author of three books and two comic books. He has received Arizona State University’s Visionary Award; the City of Phoenix, Martin Luther King, Jr. Living the Dream Award; and the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge George Washington Medal. Among his many keynotes, workshops, seminars, and symposiums, Rick will be delivering his first TED Talk in Washington DC this May.

Rick lives in Phoenix with his wife, Esther. They have two children and four grandchildren.

Kids at Hope >

Greta Munns
Twenty-eight year old Greta Munns is a Wisconsin native who has used her own foster care history to connect and empower a range of at-risk youth over the past ten years. Holding internships with non-profit and child welfare organizations such as Foster Club and The National Resource Center for Youth Development, she has testified before U.S. Congress and presented workshops across the nation focusing on meaningful youth engagement. Greta graduated from University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2011 and went on to teach in a high-needs school in Chicago. She continues to follow her passion working as the Outreach Specialist for University of Wisconsin-Stout’s Fostering Success program. She is a certified ACE Interface master trainer, TEDx presenter, and mom to three-year-old twins.

Marshall Murray
Marshall B. Murray graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, MA with a B.A. in Political Science and attained his J.D. in June 1986 from the New England School of Law in Boston, MA. In November 1999, Governor Tommy Thompson appointed him to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Branch 43, and Judge Murray was elected in April 2000, 2006, and 2012. Judge Murray has served as the Presiding Judge of both the Milwaukee Domestic Violence Court and the Milwaukee County Children's Court.

Judge Murray spent four years as a Milwaukee County circuit court commissioner prior to becoming a judge. Prior to his appointment as a court commissioner, he worked for the Office of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office leading the Domestic Violence Unit. He is currently a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, and the Milwaukee Bar Association.

Governor Jim Doyle appointed Judge Murray as member of the Wisconsin Sentencing Commission in November 2004 and the Common Council President appointed him as a member of the Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in 2006. Judge Murray is a founding member of the Wisconsin Judicial Committee on Child Welfare and is the current vice chair of the Wisconsin Commission on Children, Families and the Courts. He is also a lead judge for the Milwaukee Model Court and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) Project ONE initiative in Milwaukee County.

Rebecca Murray
Rebecca Murray is the Associate Director of the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board (Prevention Board). She is a certified trainer for both "Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work" and Youth Thrive: Protective and Promotive Factors for Health Development. The Prevention Board administers the Children’s Trust Fund, which was created in 1983 in state statute to develop and fund strategies that prevent child abuse in Wisconsin. The vision of the Prevention Board is for every child in Wisconsin grows up in a safe, stable and nurturing environment.

Michelle Rawlings
Michelle Rawlings is the Director for the Bureau of Safety and Well-Being for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. As Bureau Director, Michelle is responsible for prevention and early intervention programs, policy and program development for the casework practice functions of the child welfare system, the child welfare continuous quality improvement system, including critical incident reviews, and management of the state’s Title IV-E waiver program. Michelle has over twenty years working in Wisconsin’s child welfare system, beginning with, and most importantly as, an ongoing services child welfare case manager.

Leonard Sax
Dr. Sax earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from MIT, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in five semesters at the age of 19. He then went on to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned both his PhD in psychology and his MD. Next he did a 3-year residency in family practice at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster Pennsylvania.

In 1990, he established a family practice in Montgomery County Maryland, just outside Washington DC. He provided primary care services to children and adults in Montgomery County for more than 18 years.

He took a 5-year sabbatical to devote himself full-time to visiting schools and communities, and to writing. He returned to full-time clinical practice in the fall of 2013 near his home in Chester County, Pennsylvania, while continuing to lead workshops for teachers based on his visits to more than 400 schools over the past 16 years.

He has led workshops for teachers, spoken to parents, and visited schools, not only all across North America – from California to Nova Scotia and from Alaska to Florida – but also in Australia, Bermuda, England, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, and Switzerland.

He has written four books for parents: Why Gender Matters (Doubleday), Boys Adrift (Basic Books), Girls on the Edge (Basic Books), and The Collapse of Parenting (Basic Books) – a New York Times bestseller.

He has been a guest for the TODAY Show (five times), CNN (three times), Headline News, PBS, Fox News (four times), NPR, the BBC, and many other national and international media. His essays about a wide range of child and adolescent issues have been published in the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets including the web sites of The New York Times and Psychology Today. His scholarly work has been published in a wide variety of journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), American Psychologist, Behavioral Neuroscience, Environmental Health Perspectives, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Journal of Sex Research, and Annals of Family Medicine. You can watch streaming video of some of the TV interviews, read some of his articles, and review lists of his speaking engagements from 2006 to the present, at leonardsax.com >

Alice Skenandore
Alice Skenandore, an LCO (Lac Courte Orielles) tribal member near Hayward, Wisconsin, married since 1977, mother of 6 and now a grandmother of 4, served community as a home birth midwife for 27 years. In 1998 she founded Wise Women Gathering Place, a small non-profit to continue the work in a different way. As midwives, Alice and her co-worker and co-founder Beverly Scow were approached by many groups on the reservation (Oneida) to help with problem issues such as bullying in school, infant care, and breast-feeding, and later to other issues such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and historical generational oppression.

Kwn Smith
Kwn Smith is a long-time Wise Youth participant.

Ken Taylor
Ken Taylor has been the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (WCCF), a statewide research and advocacy organization, since 2009. WCCF, which was founded in 1881, works on a wide range of issues affecting children and families, including health, education, and child welfare, and has a particular focus on racial and ethnic equity. Ken's previous positions include Policy Advisor in the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families; Director at Dartington-I, an international research and practice organization focused on improving outcomes for children in need; Special Assistant to the Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Families; and Lieutenant U.S. Navy.

Ken has a Bachelors degree in Political Science from Duke University and a Masters of Public Policy degree from the University of Chicago. He resides in Madison with his wife Kristin and his son Will.

Melinda Tempelis
Melinda Tempelis is the Deputy District Attorney for Outagamie County and has been a prosecutor since 2003. In 2002, Ms. Tempelis received her law degree from UW-Madison and obtained a Masters in Public Affairs from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at UW-Madison. Ms. Tempelis is currently assigned to handle felony and misdemeanor cases, as well as the juvenile delinquency cases. She specializes in victim crimes, including sexual assault and child maltreatment cases. She is active on many multi-disciplinary committees and organizations associated with the criminal justice system. Ms. Tempelis has done training on a wide variety of topics for the Fox Valley Technical College, the Office of Justice Assistance and the Department of Justice. In addition, she has trained prosecutors, law enforcement, sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE), child protection workers, social workers, advocates, first responders, and medical providers on a variety of issues, including strangulation, sexual abuse, and domestic violence both locally and statewide. Ms. Tempelis is also a member of the Governor's Juvenile Justice Commission and a board member of the Wisconsin District Attorney's Association.

Stephen Teske
Judge Steven C. Teske is the Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, GA, and regularly serves as a Superior Court Judge by designation. He was appointed juvenile court judge in 1999. Judge Teske authored the School-Justice Partnership Model to reduce delinquency by promoting academic success using alternatives to suspensions and school-based arrests. Teske has testified before Congress on four occasions and several state legislatures on detention reform and zero tolerance policies in schools. The Governor has appointed him to the Children and Youth Coordinating Council, Governor’s Office for Children and Families, DJJ Judicial Advisory Council, JDAI Statewide Steering Committee, and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. Teske was also appointed to the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Commission that recommends evidenced based policies for juvenile justice. He has served on the Council of SAGs of the Coalition of Juvenile Justice and the Federal Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice, which advises the President and Congress on juvenile justice issues. He chairs the Southern Region of the Coalition of Juvenile Justice. He is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and has served on the Board of Directors. He currently chairs the School Pathways Steering Committee and is vice-chair of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. He is past president of the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges and the Clayton County Bar Association. He has written several articles on juvenile justice reform published in the Juvenile and Family Law Journal, Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, Juvenile Justice and Family Today, Family Court Review, and the Georgia Bar Journal. His book, Reform Juvenile Justice Now, is a collection of essays on juvenile justice issues. He is a Toll Fellow of the Council of State Governments and received his J.D., M.A., and B.I.S. degrees from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

John Tuell
John A. Tuell currently serves as the Executive Director for the Robert F. Kennedy National Resource Center for Juvenile Justice at Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps. The National Resource Center focuses on practice and policy reform through an active commitment to partnerships with state, local and federal agencies dedicated to improving the lives of our nation’s youth.

Mr. Tuell began his career working in the Fairfax County, Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District from 1979-1996. Mr. Tuell then served in the U.S. Department of Justice (1996-2001) and as the Director of the newly created Juvenile Justice Division at the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) from 2001-2009. In late 2009, Mr. Tuell began his affiliation with the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps providing consultation, technical assistance and training in juvenile justice, child welfare and multi-system reform and quality improvement until his appointment to his current position in January 2013.

Marcia Villa
Marcia Villa, MS, LPC-IT, SAC-IT, is the Manager of Operations at the United Community Center (UCC) Human Services Department in Milwaukee, WI. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the residential, day treatment, and outpatient substance abuse programs. Her previous experience includes working as an Ongoing Case Manager at the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services previously known as Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare. She also sits on the leadership team of Royal Family Kids, a camp for abused and neglected children in Milwaukee County.

Eunice White
Eunice White has 12 years of experience with treatment level foster youth in her dual role as an Independent Living Manager at a foster care agency and Program Manager for the Journey to Adult Success program in De Pere, Wisconsin. The program works to connect young adults and high-risk youth with information, resources, and support to successfully transition to adulthood. This model program assists youth in setting attainable goals and uses coaching, community collaboration, and support to help youth meet their goals.

Jason Witt
Jason Witt is Director of La Crosse County Human Services. He has worked at the state and local level in Wisconsin for over 16 years on issues involving children, youth, and their families. This has included roles with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services and the Rock County Human Services Department. In Rock County, Jason helped secure a grant from the MacArthur Foundation for work addressing Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) within the juvenile justice system. In La Crosse County, he has helped develop the La Crosse Area Family Collaborative (LAFC). LAFC uses a neighborhood-based and highly collaborative approach to stabilize families who are at risk of entering the child welfare system. Jason is a 2010 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s “Champion for Change” award for his work on DMC. He holds a Masters degree in Public Affairs and a law degree, both from the University of Wisconsin.

Debbie Zwicky
Debbie Zwicky has 25 plus years working with adolescents and families in a residential treatment setting. She has demonstrated skills in youth programming, youth development, crisis management, building relationships, coaching direct care staff and unit managers, training/educating staff, and leadership. Debbie is a certified trainer for Risking Connections, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, POSC/VDI, and Youth Thrive. She has presented on many topics related to youth programming/development in the Milwaukee community.

Debbie is a member of the board of the Wisconsin Association of Child and Youth Care Practitioners(WACYCP) and of the Child and Youth Care Certification Board (CYCCB).


Youth Advisory Council
Their mission of the Youth Advisory Council is to inspire change by providing education, advocacy, support, training, and awareness to governmental systems and the general public to better the image of youth by addressing the issues on behalf of current and former youth in foster care in Wisconsin. The Council is comprised of youth from all five regions of Wisconsin, with the goal of increasing youth voice in the foster care system. These voices of youth are efficiently and effectively included in the implementation and evaluation of policy and practice, as well as being a tool of education and training to other youth, resource families, child welfare workers, and the overall public in general.

Youth Leadership Team
The Youth Leadership Team is comprised of young people who have had contact with the juvenile justice system who have unique and valuable insight into which practices and services are most and least effective. Direct youth involvement is a necessary piece of any work to improve the juvenile justice system. The work of the Youth Leadership Teams benefit young people and their families, the state and counties, caseworkers and organizations working with the youth, and the community as a whole.