The Center for Adoption Support and Education™ (C.A.S.E.) to Launch a National Demonstration & Teaching Clinic for Adoption Competent Mental Health Therapy

 The Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) announces plans to launch a National Demonstration & Teaching Clinic for Adoption Competent Mental Health Therapy. C.A.S.E.’s vision in undertaking this bold new strategic direction is to make all clinical therapy for the families of children who have been adopted, are experiencing foster care, or guardianship, adoption competent, accessible so that all families have access to this specialized support.

Due to traumatic life experiences and compromised beginnings, many children who are adopted or experiencing foster care have higher risks for developmental, health, emotional, behavioral and academic challenges. In addition, there are often complex racial, ethnic and cultural issues inherent in families who adopt transracially/transculturally. Understanding and addressing the impact of these experiences is vital to positive outcomes. Yet, most professionals who work with these youth have not been trained in adoption competent mental health therapy.

Currently in concept development, C.A.S.E. is in the process of identifying the resources and external partners needed to successfully launch this endeavor in fall 2023. “Embarking on this new, exciting chapter in C.A.S.E.’s history is the culmination of decades of training in best practices and a rigorous strategic planning process launched in fall 2020 involving both internal staff and external stakeholders,” said Debbie B. Riley, LCMFT, C.A.S.E. CEO and co-founder. “The learnings revealed during that process were both extensive and transformational and clearly pointed us in this direction.”

C.A.S.E. is at the forefront of innovation through training, evaluation and program development with the focus on providing therapy to adoptive, foster, kinship and guardianship families and bolstering the skills of professionals who support them. C.A.S.E. has developed two nationally recognized adoption competency trainings for professionals: the accredited and evidence-based Training for Adoption Competency™ (TAC), which has trained over 2,000 clinicians nationwide since 2009, and the web-based National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative™ (NTI) funded by the Children’s Bureau and evaluated in 2018 with over 10,000 professionals across the country.

TAC is a comprehensive, 72-hour classroom-based and rigorously evaluated training for post-Master’s licensed clinicians accredited by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. It is the only accredited, assessment-based certificate program on adoption competency in the country. NTI is a 20–30-hour, web-based, self-paced training to provide child welfare and mental health professionals the foundational understanding of the needs and mental health challenges for children and their foster, adoptive, and guardianship families. Both trainings are embedded in C.A.S.E.’s current clinical service delivery, providing their therapists with the skills, insight, and experience to help families navigate the many challenges they face.

To lead this first of its kind National Demonstration & Teaching Clinic for Adoption Competent Mental Health Therapy, C.A.S.E. has named Laura Ornelas, LCSW, as Director. A licensed clinical social worker with a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, Ms. Ornelas has specialized in the field of foster care and adoption for over 25 years and has been instrumental in the startup of multiple adoption placement and adoption specialty mental health programs throughout California.

She has been immersed in all aspects of child placement in public and private adoptions; has been running mental health clinics for nearly 15 years and has worked with children of all ages and with widely diverse families. She has been training professionals on best practice nationwide for the last two decades and brings her unique combination of experiences to launch this important effort. “I am so excited to join the C.A.S.E. team for this one-of-a-kind endeavor,” said Ms. Ornelas. “It feels like the perfect match for my background, and I am so honored to be asked to contribute to the field at such an important time in our nation.”

C.A.S.E.’s investment in building this national cadre of adoption competent mental health professionals is doubly important, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s youth, many of whom will sadly become more vulnerable to involvement in the nation’s child welfare system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that to date, more than 140,000 children have lost a primary caregiver due to COVID-19. Children’s Health Advocates and the American Psychological Association have made it clear that lawmakers need to invest in more long-term solutions to build the pediatric mental health workforce and C.A.S.E. is answering the call.

“Providing adopted children and their families access to quality mental health services is key to supporting their long-term happiness and stability,” said Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen. “For decades, C.A.S.E. has delivered these crucial services to families in Maryland and across the country. This new Demonstration & Teaching Clinic for Adoption Competent Mental Health Therapy will help continue their incredible work by developing the next generation of therapists to support the mental health needs of foster and adoptive families. I am proud that C.A.S.E. calls Maryland home, and that their leadership promotes improved outcomes for thousands of children and families.”

The Center for Adoption Support and Education is a nationally recognized leader in mental health services for the adoption, foster care, and guardianship community. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to improve the lives of children who have been adopted or in foster care and their families through counseling, lifelong education, advocating for adoption-competent enhancements in child welfare and mental health systems, and a growing national network of trained professionals. C.A.S.E. has trained over 17,000 mental health and child welfare professionals in 31 states. With offices in the Baltimore-Washington metro area, C.A.S.E. has provided clinical services for more than 6,800 clients and their families since its founding in 1998. Visit to learn more.

Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.)

Jennifer Jankowski



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Adoption Agency Hosts Live Panel in Honor of National Adoption Month

 Nonprofit open adoption agency, Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH), is hosting “Heart-to-Heart with the Adoption Community”, a live panel to celebrate National Adoption Month. The event takes place Wednesday, November 10, 2021, from 7:00-8:30 pm. This insightful discussion will be held via Zoom with no cost to attend.

AFTH is offering the opportunity to get an inside look at what life is like for individuals involved in an adoption and the unique role they each play in each other’s lives. The panel includes two individuals from each section of the adoption triad: birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. Guest speakers will share why they chose adoption and what they would like the public to know about the triad. AFTH is excited to bring this live discussion to viewers as November is designated as National Adoption Month and the event takes place nearly one week before the 36th anniversary of the agency’s founding.

From now until the event’s conclusion on November 10, 2021, AFTH will run a fundraiser via Donations are welcomed as all proceeds will support the agency’s programs and services for birth parents, such as the Birth Parent Scholarship Fund, which has helped over 25 parents to date.

AFTH invites all who are interested in adoption to join the conversation, learn more about the triad, and celebrate National Adoption Month with the community.

To learn more or to register online visit:

Adoptions From The Heart

Mayra Herrera




  • Philanthropy & Non-profit

Digital Adoption helps ACKO Auto Insurance Business Grow 120 percent Over One Year

Increasing digital adoption accelerated by COVID-19 has contributed to more than 120 percent increase in the number of auto insurance policies sold in Q1 FY 22 vs Q1 FY 21, by ACKO, a purely digital insurer. ACKO’s growth numbers highlight its digital-first approach from purchase to claims settlement that has put it in the lead position of being able to capture this change in purchasing behaviour, of a move to value-based purchasing and online shopping.

ACKO has posted INR 81 Cr. in Gross Written Premium in the Q1 of FY 22, registering a growth of 1.16X for their auto business when compared to the same quarter of FY 21. New customer growth from non-metro cities grew by 3.5X in the year while it grew by 2.5X in the metro cities, signalling a confirmed shift in customer’s digital experiences across industries, including insurance.

The interest in ACKO insurance has risen tremendously as evidenced in its website traffic. ACKO’s website currently gets over 4 million monthly users and has also seen a consistent and steady increase in traffic by 161 percent in the April-May-June quarter of FY 22 when compared to the same time period in FY 21.

ACKO is one of India’s leading digital-native insurance companies. Till date, the company has distributed insurance policies to over 62+ Mn unique customers and issued 800 Mn insurance policies. Designed for the digital consumer, it offers customers a seamless and convenient platform with no offline hassles. There is zero paperwork, with everything from purchase to claims and renewals being done digitally. ACKO’s differentiated direct to customer approach for auto insurance has inherent advantages over traditional channels – making insurance buying transparent and effortless.

Animesh Das, Head of Product Strategy, ACKO, said, “What the pandemic has done is accelerated the shift to digital and the comfort of transacting digitally, across generations. Since its launch, ACKO’s approach of being digital first, has been the disruptor of the traditional insurance model. Adding to that the last one year has been definitive in terms of customer’s demand as the convenience, value and experience of the digital medium got reinforced. We’ve been ready and poised to capture this growing demand.”