©2018 by Hope Conference.

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Providing hope  for foster and adoptive families

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Dr. Tina Bryson

Tina is a psychotherapist and the Founder/Executive Director of THE CENTER FOR CONNECTION and PLAY STRONG INSTITUTE in Pasadena, California Dr. Bryson has an unusual knack for taking research and theory from various fields of science, and offering it in a way that’s clear, realistic, humorous, and immediately helpful.

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Katie Walker, LCSW

Katie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Clinical Director of the Chenal Family Therapy North Little Rock office. As a Registered Play Therapist, she specializes in working with kids experiencing a variety of problems, such as, anxiety, depression, anger, defiance, life adjustments, attachment, and more. Adopting a sibling group from foster care, she specifically has a passion for working with foster and adoptive families.

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Mischa Martin

Mischa is the Director of DCFS in Arkansas.  Leading the team at DCFS, Mischa has been crucial in mobilizing the agency to provide services and support for the families and children in our state.

Rachel Hubbard

Rachel Hubbard is the director at Second Chance Youth Ranch in Benton, AR.  In their 12 years at the Ranch, they have helped parent over 200 children.  Rachel’s experience has given her a passion for helping others stay the course in foster care and learn how to provide the best support possible to children from hard places.

Dr. Derek A. Brown

Derek serves as the Executive Director of Arkansas Baptist Childrens Homes providing clinical training and direction of ministries around the state while overseeing counseling, family care, foster care and residential care programs in Central Arkansas.


Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a USA Today Bestselling Author of 73 books, including her newest book Calming Angry Kids, and a sought-after conference speaker. Tricia and her husband John are the parents of ten children, including seven adopted children. They live in Little Rock, Arkansas where she leads a teen mom support group.

Megan Greenwood, LPC

Megan is a Licensed Professional Counselor, TBRI Practitioner and adoptive and foster mom

Kathy Helpenstill, LCSW

Kathy is an associate at Harding University in Searcy, AR.  She has been teaching Social Work and Child Welfare classes for over 19 years. Kathy works with White County Children’s Safety Center in Searcy as a contract Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) provider as well as a forensic interviewer. She is a charter member of the Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma (AR BEST) steering committee program developed through UAMS and is the author and provider of Trauma Informed Care training for all DCFS Family Service Workers. 

Greg Adams, LCSW, ACSW, FT
Program Coordinator for The Center for Good Mourning and Staff Bereavement Care

Greg has worked with the Center for Good Mourning at Arkansas Children’s Hospital since 2001.  

Adam Baker 

Adam has worked as a state law enforcement officer for 17 years.  He is also a husband and father of 5. He is an adoptive and foster parent, PRIDE trainer and advocate for children in foster care. 


Karen Farst MD, MPH

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics

Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Team for Children at Risk


Crystal Hogg, LCSW 

Kinship Placement Panel Discussion

This panel will consist of adoptive families, and a family who has guardianship, of children with connections to extended family.  The panel discussion will discuss the similarities and differences between kinship placements and traditional adoptive and foster care placements with non-relatives, the unique challenges and benefits to such placements, and tips for keeping the entire family healthy. 


Tabitha Houk, LPC

Tabitha has been on staff at Immerse Arkansas for six plus years working with youth aging out of foster care and homeless and runaway youth. Tabitha is a TBRI practitioner and educator. 

Becky Bruns, LBSW

Former Pregnancy Counselor and Director of Bethany Christian Services for 25 years

Shiann Metheny, MSMFT, LPC

Shiann has been in practice as a counselor since 2001, having counseled with adults, youth, and families. She has worked in direct care in a residential facility, foster parenting, and now as an adoptive mom to two. She is certified as a TBRI Practitioner and Educator. 

Leighsan Harrod and Emily Robbins

Leighsan L. Harrod, MPA is Training & Outreach Coordinator for ARBEST and previous foster parent and CASA for Pulaski County. Emily Robbins, LCSW is a Clinical Therapist at UAMS Child Study Center as well as ARBEST Care Coordinator. She is trained in evidenced based trauma treatment for children ages 0-17. 

Aleisha Mortensen, MS, OTR/L

Aleisha is a pediatric Occupational Therapist with a master's degree from the University of Central Arkansas.  She received her OTR/L certification in 2002 and recently entered her 17th year of practice. She has experience working with children in all age ranges, with many different emotional, developmental and medical issues, in various settings that include daycares, head start, developmental centers, public schools, and free standing clinics. She has been at her current location for over 12 years in South West Little Rock serving a typically underserved and under privileged population. 

Sherry Rogers, M.S. Education Administration

Sherry is the DHS/DCFS Education Specialist and Liaison working with schools, foster parents and DCFS staff associated with the Child Welfare system.  Sherry spent many years in Arkansas' education system in a variety of roles, including that of building-level administrator. She now works for DCFS in an effort to strengthen our partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and its local school districts.


Dina Vinson, LSW

Dina is an adoptive mom, Licensed Social Worker and an Adoption Specialist with Bethany Christian Services 


Julie Whalen, LPC

Julie is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She began a private practice in 2008 and joined the Napa Valley Counseling team in 2015. She has experience counseling foster children and has also served as a foster parent to youth in the Arkansas foster care system. She has also worked as a school based counselor with children and youth in the Little Rock and North Little Rock school systems. 


Wes Johnson, LPC

Wes Johnson is a licensed professional counselor in Arkansas with 24 years of inpatient and outpatient mental health experience.  He is currently employed at Centers for Youth and Families in Little Rock, where he holds the position of Staff Development Coordinator for the agency.   Wes also has 16 years of college teaching experience as an adjunct college instructor for the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College and has previously taught as a concurrent credit instructor for University of Central Arkansas.  

Glenn Mesman and Joy Pemberton

Glenn R. Mesman, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Psychiatry. He specializes in empirically-supported psychotherapies for children and adolescents and is nationally-certified therapist in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP). Dr. Mesman also currently participates as a Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Level 1 Trainer in Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma (AR BEST), a program sponsored by the state legislature to improve outcomes of traumatized children throughout the state of Arkansas. Dr. Mesman is the Assistant Training Director of the UAMS Doctoral Clinical Psychology Internship.


Joy R. Pemberton, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Psychiatry. She specializes in empirically-supported psychotherapies for children and adolescents and is a nationally certified therapist in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Dr. Pemberton is also a Level 2 (regional) Trainer in PCIT and serves as the State Director for PCIT Training through Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma (AR BEST), a program sponsored by the state legislature to improve outcomes of traumatized children throughout the state of Arkansas. Dr. Pemberton also provides psychological assessments for children and adolescents through both the UAMS Child Study Center and the UAMS Child Diagnostic Unit and is actively involved in medical student education.



The Central Arkansas Orphan Coalition is an orphan ministry partnership of Central Arkansas churches and nonprofits including The CALL, Bethany Christian ServicesImmerseAR, Project Zero, Second Chance Ranch as well as partners at the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services.

Our purpose is to provide hope and support for foster and adoptive families in Arkansas through cooperation among our partners and quality educational opportunities through the annual HOPE Conference.


For more information about how your church can be involved, please contact us.