We're going virtual!

Register for your Digital Pass | Sessions Available October 1 - 31

All Access. All Digital.

This year, we come to you.

Our world has changed. But for many children, nothing has changed.

We believe every child deserves a loving family. Thornwell’s Foster Care Conference is designed to equip and empower current and potential foster care parents, those who support them, and those in the community who are eager to help. Traditionally held in Upstate South Carolina, where some of the greatest need for foster homes is felt right now, we’ve decided to take our conference virtual this year.

We’re thrilled to offer a safe and flexible option for attending care, our Foster Care Conference. This year’s conference features powerful messages and useful information to empower and equip any individual, organization, or community interested in serving children in foster care. 

General Admission Pass for current foster parents, those interested in learning more about fostering, and the communities of support that rally around them.

October 3 - 31, 2020

Register now for your Digital Pass and experience the inspiration and motivation of care from the comfort and safety of your home.

Sessions will be available to view the entire month of October for all registered attendees. Sessions qualify for required training hours for current foster parents.

Founded over 145 years ago as a home for orphaned children, Thornwell believes strong children are the result of strong families. Our annual Foster Care Conference will renew your spirit and connect you with education resources, training, and support networks in the area.

Register now for access to informative sessions, a keynote message from Jason Johnson, and more—all with a community of leaders, experts, friends, and foster families that share your heart for vulnerable children and families.

**Disclaimer: You will earn foster care training hours by attending these sessions! Certificates will be issued upon completion of each course. Please note certificates will only be sent to the person registered by email. If you have registered multiple people with one email, and need to receive credit, you will need to register another email account.

Conference Sessions & Speakers

We know that Building Tomorrow’s Families isn’t always easy. In this workshop, we will acknowledge the difficult realities of foster care through the lens of God’s truth so that you can reframe those experiences in a helpful and sustaining way.

Together, we can all take our next best steps forward!

Jason Johnson is a writer and speaker who encourages families and equips churches in their foster care and adoption journeys. Jason currently serves as the Director of Church Ministry Initiatives with Christian Alliance for Orphans. In his work he speaks and teaches at churches, conferences, forums, and workshops on church-based ministry strategies and best practices as well as encouraging families that are in the trenches and those that are considering getting involved. Jason and his wife Emily live in Texas with their daughters. He has authored three books: Reframing Foster Care, Everyone Can Do Something, and ALL IN Orphan Care and he blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com. 

We believe that a strong community of support is essential for anything, especially for fostering. In this session, we will explore the importance of love in our intimate relationships. Join us to:

  • Hear how everyday moments either make or break connection
  • Discover your love language
  • Practice filling your partner’s emotional bank account
  • Learn tactics for protecting your relationship

Together, we can love one another better!

Sonya O’Neal holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Erskine College and an M.S.W. from the University of South Carolina. With over 30 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families, her trauma experience includes working with families as a Crime Victim Counselor and as the Clinical Program Director for SAFE Homes Rape Crisis Coalition as well as providing therapy for the children’s advocacy centers in Spartanburg and Greenville, SC. Sonya has also provided school-based therapy and family reunification work through Family Preservation. She is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Child Centered Play Therapy, EMDR and IMAGO Therapy and has provided individual and family therapy at Thornwell since 2007. 

Kim Minnick is an LISW-CP, Master Addictions Counselor, certified Imago therapist, and Imago workshop presenter. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and her master’s in social work from Texas State University. She has been in private practice since 1999. She practiced out of Turning Leaves Therapy in Spartanburg for 14 years before she moved her practice to a beautiful historic house on the Eastside of Spartanburg in September of 2013. She enjoys working with couples, families, and teens. In her private time, she stays busy with her 17-year-old adopted daughter, three dogs, and two cats. 

We believe in a world where every child belongs to a thriving family! In this workshop, we will explore hospitality—”loving the stranger”—as a means to create a world where children and families are thriving. Join us to: 

  • Learn the biblical basis for hospitality and what it means in the here and now
  • Be challenged to notice the ‘stranger’ in your community (the least, the last, the lost, the lonely)
  • Hear from practitioners of hospitality and the ‘strangers’ they loved
  • Discover three attitudes that can promote the practice of hospitality

Together, we can change a child’s life forever.

Herb Codington, born and raised in Korea of medical missionary parents, is married to the former Suzan Taylor, born and raised in Brazil of church-planting missionary parents. Herb and Suzan have nine precious grandchildren and five children serving the Lord in California, North and South Carolina, and Albania. Herb has been active in missionary work with pastors, teachers, and schools in Haiti for the past twenty years and pastors a three-church yoked field in Laurens County that has planted two New Worshiping Communities in the county. For countless years, he has also been engaged in Scout leadership training and in raising adventuresome goats.   

The humanity of foster care is easily lost in the bureaucracy of it all. 

In this session, we will look beyond the training hours, paperwork, court hearings, and doctor’s appointments to see the real people involved in it all.

Together, we can remember our common humanity!

Jason Johnson is a writer and speaker who encourages families and equips churches in their foster care and adoption journeys. Jason currently serves as the Director of Church Ministry Initiatives with Christian Alliance for Orphans. In his work he speaks and teaches at churches, conferences, forums, and workshops on church-based ministry strategies and best practices as well as encouraging families that are in the trenches and those that are considering getting involved. Jason and his wife Emily live in Texas with their daughters. He has authored three books: Reframing Foster Care, Everyone Can Do Something, and ALL IN Orphan Care and he blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com. 

While the foster care system can be daunting, you’re not alone. With Thornwell, you have an advocate and a support system to help you navigate and focus on what’s important: the children in your care. 

Enjoy a session with Thornwell Foster Care Recruiter Jon Sampson and SCDSS Parent Liaison Amber Peeples to answer your most frequently asked questions. 

Together, we are making a difference for children and families. 

Jonathon Sampson is a Jesus-loving foster and adoptive dad. During his six years at Thornwell, he has cared for over 65 children as a Family Teacher and has worked with many families, churches, and businesses as a Foster Care Recruiter. He educates on foster care needs in the community and leads others to make a difference. Jonathon and his wife started a foster care ministry at their church in Clinton where he serves as the Director of Foster Care and Adoption Advocacy. Their church maintains a foster care resource closet and hosts the Laurens County Foster Parent Association’s monthly meetings. Jonathon also facilitates a support group for biological kids of foster parents during the monthly FPA meetings. 

Amber Peeples is one of the Foster Parent Liaisons for the South Carolina Department of Social Services. While she is new to this particular role, she has worked at SCDSS since 2012. She has been able to work in several different program areas and has experience in both Foster Care and Foster Home Licensing. She’s always enjoyed working with foster parents and being in a position to advocate for them.  

We believe every child deserves to feel loved! In this workshop, we will leverage best practices from Family Expert Becky Bailey to learn fun, everyday rituals that can help you connect with and love on your children.

Join us in learning these tools that: 

  • Promote learning and literacy
  • Increase attention span and cooperation
  • Decrease power struggles
  • Enhance self-esteem

Together, we can create an environment where love abounds every single day.

Jamesha Williams is the Family Specialist for Thornwell’s Building Families program in Spartanburg. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – Supervisor Candidate in the State of South Carolina. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina at Aiken and her Master of Marriage and Family Therapy from Converse College. Jamesha has worked extensively with children, adolescents, couples, and families from various cultural backgrounds. Jamesha continues to further her education and is certified in several evidence-based parenting curriculums. Jamesha enjoys serving others and is relentless in her approach to ensure her clients achieve their identified goals to be successful. A woman of many talents, she loves traveling, crafting, spending time with family, and serving the youth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. 

Rachel Roberts is native to South Carolina, and she is licensed in the state of South Carolina as an LPC. Her professional background includes working with at-risk families, children, and adolescents with varying emotional and behavioral disorders in a variety of settings that include outpatient, in-home, and residential psychiatric treatment facilities. Rachel brings specific work experience with children on the autism spectrum as well as youths and families with a history of trauma and other related trauma-stressors.  She resides in Greenville as the Upstate Supervisor to the Building Families program. 

We believe that all people are worthy, important, and valued. In this presentation, you will be equipped with the tools you needed to successfully foster children of different races and cultural backgrounds. Join us to: 

  • Learn to communicate more effectively
  • Become comfortable with asking for assistance when needed
  • Acknowledge the elephant in the room
  • Encourage fostering beyond race

Together, we can be part of the way forward.

Ebony Young is a sought-out leader with nearly two decades of experience in improving communities and proudly serves on the board of multiple organizations. With a heart dedicated to neglected populations, she continually advocates for children in foster care as a Guardian ad Litem. Ebony is a national children and families advocate serving various organizations in improving the well-being of children and families across the country. As CEO of Unique Interventions for Youth and Families, a non-profit that educates families in holistic approaches to life success, Ebony specializes in five key areas: youth development, behavior modification, social and life skills, family advocacy, and community engagement. She is also the founder and Senior Research Consultant at Shifting Solutions, a firm that specializes in business development workshops and personal consultations on achieving operational excellence. A true change agent who fulfills the proverb, “Each one, teach one,” her bold, passionate motivational speeches push entrepreneurs to shift their mindset, climb outside the box, and take their dreams to new heights.  Ebony is a Certified Transformational Coach, helping parents overcome abandonment, fear, rejection and equipping them with the tools to break down barriers and raise healthy and happy children.