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On average, 250,000 children enter the United States foster care system every year. This presentation will highlight children’s experiences of loss and ambiguity during their transition into foster care, as well as the questions children ask during this critical life transition. Child-centered research, practical examples, and healing suggestions will be offered to create a foundation from which a relational home can be built for children entering the foster care system.

Monique B. Mitchell, PhD, FT, an interdisciplinary professor in the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina, and an international scholar in the Enhancing Life Project. Dr. Mitchell is passionate about illuminating and enhancing the lived experience of children and youth in foster care. Her research focuses on life transitions, grief, loss, meaning-making, and self-empowerment, and she is regularly invited to present this child-centered research at state, national, and international conferences. Her specific expertise involves consulting with children, youth, and invested parties in the child welfare system to inform policy and practice and to develop resources and curricula that serve children and youth in foster care. Dr. Mitchell’s recent publications include, The Neglected Transition: Building a Relational Home for Children Entering Foster Care, from Oxford University Press, and the forthcoming Living in an Inspired World: Voices and Visions of Youth in Foster Care, from CWLA Press. 

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