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Mental Health in Child Welfare Summit

Friday, Dec. 1 | 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Dallas CASA, 2757 Swiss Ave., Dallas, TX 75204

  • Welcome (coffee and light breakfast provided)
  • Keynote address: Creating Safety is Everybody’s Business
    • Linda Henderson-Smith, PhD, President and CEO of ATC Consulting, LLC.
  • Sesssion 1 – Health Trends and Needs
    • Moderator: Kate Volti, Senior Vice President for Child and Family Policy, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI)
    • Panelists: Trina Ita, Chief Strategist for Behavioral Heath, Department of Family & Protective Services; Kathy Ballee, Vice President Foster Care Operations, Superior Health Services; Amy Felker, Senior Director, Center for Child and Family Wellness, MMHPI
  • Sesson 2 – Learning from Individuals with Lived Experience
    • Moderator: Emily Williams, Mental Health Policy Fellow, TexProtects
    • Panelists: Lydia V., Ryan M., Dell A., Taaliyah W., Dashawn P
  • Lunch (provided)
  • Sesson 3 – Promoting trauma-informed partnerships, supports and care coordination
    • Moderator: Kristin Scott, PhD, Psychology Team Lead, Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence, Children’s Health
    • Carly Grimes, Clinical Therapist, Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence, Children’s Health; Karen Caldwell, Registered Nurse Manager for Flourishing Family.
  • Roundtable Discussion
  • Closing Comments and Next Steps 

Mental health providers, clinicians and administrators whose population served includes young people with child welfare involvement.


FREE, thanks to the support provided by the Meadows Foundation to the North Texas Foster Care Consortium.

Space is limited! Be sure to register soon!

Please direct any questions about this event to North Texas Foster Care Consortium.

Keynote Speaker:

LInda Henderson-Smith

Linda Henderson-Smith, PhD, LPC, CPCS, CCMP, is a licensed professional counselor, certified professional counselor supervisor, Six Sigma Black Belt and Certified Change Management Practitioner. She has over 20 years of clinical and administrative experience in community-based mental health. She is the founder and principal of ATC Consulting, LLC where she provides training, technical assistance and consultation on trauma, resilience and equity, as well as maintains a small client-base for individual and family therapy and provides clinical supervision. Dr. Henderson-Smith also serves as the Sr. Director of Crisis Product Management at Beacon Health Options and was previously the Sr. Director of Children and Trauma-Informed Services at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Prior to that she worked at Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health as the Director of Mental Health Planning and Policy. While at Georgetown she helped develop training regarding Trauma-Informed Systems, especially for people with co-occurring developmental and behavioral health disorders.

Prior to working at Georgetown, Linda worked at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities in numerous roles, the most recent being the Director of the Office of Children, Young Adults and Families, where she spearheaded the implementation of high fidelity wraparound, care management services, and mobile crisis services throughout the state, and worked with other state agencies to strengthen the service systems for vulnerable populations.

As a trauma-survivor herself, Linda brings a distinct perspective and knowledge base to mental health and addiction disorders services and is passionate about helping organizations, systems and communities move towards becoming trauma-informed, resilient and equitable.

More details on sessions and panelists:

Panel 1 Description: Mental Health Trends and Needs:  Our panel of experts will discuss the landscape of behavioral health needs and service trends for children, youth, and families with child welfare involvement. The Department of Family and Protective Services and Superior Health Plan will discuss current efforts and new opportunities to meet the mental health needs of the children and youth they serve. The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute will also share insights from their children’s mental health work in North Texas and their vision for providing a full continuum of mental health care for those in foster care. 

Moderator : Kate Volti is senior vice president for child and family policy at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. In this capacity, she has worked on assessments of children’s mental health systems, led an analysis on options to finance crisis mental health services, co-authored a toolkit to help communities prevent and respond to child sex trafficking, and supported community efforts to strengthen the foster care system.

Prior to this work, Kate held several positions with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, including Director of Community Access in the Office of Social Services, Senior Policy Advisor charged with designing the STAR Kids Medicaid managed care model for children with disabilities, External Relations Specialist, and lead for the Task Force for Children with Special Needs.

She arrived at HHSC after serving in the Texas Senate as a Senior Policy Advisor where she focused on initiatives to improve early childhood nutrition, increase coordination of services for children with special needs, require insurers to cover Applied Behavioral Analysis for children when medically necessary, and improve support for kin care providers of children involved with Child Protective Services. Kate received her Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas and her Bachelor of Arts in Cross-Cultural Anthropology and Political Studies from Pitzer College.


Trina Ita is the DFPS chief strategist for behavioral health, a position created by the Legislature to help DFPS better address the behavioral health needs of children and families. Before joining DFPS, Ita was the associate commissioner of behavioral health services at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, where she was responsible for the full behavioral health continuum of care for mental health, substance use, recovery, prevention, and disaster behavioral health services. She also served as deputy associate commissioner of the Office of Mental Health Coordination at HHSC. Ita holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in community agency counseling.

Amy Felker is the SENIOR DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CHILD AND FAMILY WELLNESS AT THE MEADOW MENTAL HEALTH AND POLICY INSTITUTE. Amy has worked in social services and behavioral health policy and program operations for 15 years, with a focus on programs providing mental health support for children and families. She began her career providing direct services in school and hospital settings, primarily providing short term and crisis intervention services. It was during this time that she witnessed firsthand the importance of individuals having access to the appropriate mental health services when and where they need them. Amy comes to the Meadows Institute from the Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) system where she led several key behavioral health programs and initiatives including the Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Waiver, development and implementation of the of the behavioral health assessment tool for children and youth entering conservatorship, and implementation of evidence based, high fidelity Wraparound. She served as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Mental Health Coordination leading projects to enhance collaboration across child welfare, education, juvenile justice, and other child and family serving systems. In her most recent role, she provided broad operational and implementation support for Medicaid and CHIP program operations. In her daily work at the Meadows Institute, Amy contributes to a variety of projects at the intersection between clinical practice, system design, and policy. Amy has a bachelor’s degree in government and a Master of Science in Social Work, both from The University of Texas at Austin.

Kathy Ballee – Kathy Ballee joined Superior Health Plan in 2012 and has served as the Vice President of  Foster Care Operations since May of 2020.  She is a licensed occupational therapist and spent 25 years working in direct patient care in a variety of settings prior to coming to work for Superior Health Plan.

Session 2 description: Panelists will reflect on their lived expertise to discuss their experiences with mental health supports and the strengths, challenges, and opportunities that have guided them through their journey and into their transition to adulthood. Panelists will also speak on the ways mental health providers and systems can uplift young people to promote mental health.

Moderator: Emily Williams is responsible for leading and executing TexProtects’ public policy agenda at the local and state levels. Her primary focus is to advocate and educate on behavioral health and trauma and the intersection between the two.

As a former ward of the state, Emily has had personal experience with the child welfare system. Since 2016, Emily has used her voice through speaking engagements throughout Texas to uplift youth who currently and have formerly experienced the system. She believes that first and foremost we should aim to protect children from abuse and neglect and to ensure that they receive the best standard of care when we cannot.

Session 3 description: Mental health exists on a continuum and is a family matter, and for families with child welfare involvement, trauma is often at the root. Meeting the needs of children in care involves taking a trauma-informed approach, and it often involves identifying additional supports in the community, including for caregivers. The aim of this session is to help providers with meeting the needs of children and families with child welfare involvement though the identification of trauma-informed care and treatment resources and support services available within our region.

Moderator: Dr. Kristin Scott is a clinical psychologist for the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Health. She is also Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. Scott earned her Ph.D. in school psychology at Tulane University. She completed her internship in Houston Independent School District’s Psychological Services-Crisis Intervention Department and then went on to complete her postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Health Dallas’ clinical child psychology program. Specifically, she trained in the Suicide Prevention and Resilience at Children’s (SPARC) program, an intensive outpatient treatment program for youth experiencing suicidality and mood disorders. Prior to transitioning to the foster care center, she served as the psychologist for Children’s Child & Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry Unit. In her current role at the foster care center, Dr. Scott participates in integrated care visits,  provides evidence-based trauma-informed therapy, conducts trauma-informed psychological assessments, conducts clinical supervision of trainees, and delivers teaching didactics. Dr. Scott is also involved in the center’s initiatives aimed towards enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to help optimize the care given to our racially and culturally diverse children and families. She is passionate about building supportive and collaborative relationships with families and communities to promote healing, recovery, and resilience in children exposed to trauma. 


Vorice R. Perryman, MA, CPLC, is the Director of Youth Intensive Services within Child & Family Services at My Health My Resources (MHMR) of Tarrant County in Fort Worth, TX, where he has served in various capacities for the past 12 years. Vorice received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi and completed his Master of Arts in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family from Liberty University. He is also currently pursuing doctoral studies at Liberty University. Vorice has over 15 years of experience working with adults, youth and families that have been impacted by mental health, addictions, suicide pre-and-postvention, and has served in numerous leadership roles. Vorice is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Empower Consulting & Healthcare Solutions, Inc., serving as a Certified Professional Life Coach. Vorice currently resides in Keller, TX with his lovely wife, Dr. K. Walton-Perryman.

Carly Grimes, MS, LPC is a Clinical Therapist for the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children’s Health. In that role, Carly provides outpatient trauma-focused therapy services and integrated behavioral health primary care to children and families with experience in the foster care system. Prior to joining the Rees-Jones Center, Carly was a therapist at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. Carly holds national certification in therapy interventions including Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Parent-Child CARE. Carly serves on the Rees-Jones Center’s Policy and Advocacy workgroup and as the team lead on the Center’s Trauma-Informed Organization Assessment (TIOA) Workgroup. Carly has a B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University and a M.S. in Counseling from Southern Methodist University. She serves as a board member on the Dallas County Child Welfare Board. She lives in Dallas, TX with her husband and their pets.

Karen Caldwell, Registered Nurse Manager for Flourishing Family, Metrocare Services. Karen has been a registered nurse for 22 years specializing in pediatrics and mother-baby. She believes that early intervention and caregiver education are crucial for making a difference in the lives of young children and she is passionate about the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Karen enjoys educating and aiding caregivers as they learn to care for this vulnerable age. Karen aims to improve maternal and infant outcomes, and she is excited to see the impact of Flourishing Families in North Texas. Karen is a Fort Worth, Texas native and a mother of three. In her free time, Karen enjoys spending time with family and traveling.