Allison grew up in Maryland where she attended Towson State University. She received her Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Sociology/Corrections and Psychology.
After moving to California she received her M.S. degree in Counseling from California State University Fullerton. She began working as a clinical social worker with children who had experienced trauma, neglect, abuse and exposure to violence.
For more than 25 years, she has dedicated her clinical work as a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist to expert programs and practices in children’s mental health, attachment family systems, adoption/permanency and trauma. She is a clinical member of ATTACh, The Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children http://www.attach.org/
Allison is an educator, clinician and advocate who is passionate about helping children and families heal and thrive.
Allison is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of child welfare, adoption and children’s mental health. She specializes in Attachment, Trauma and Permanency/Adoption. As the Regional Executive for the Kinship Center and Seneca Family of Agencies, she helped create one of the finest adoption service and support programs in the country. She is the co-author and master trainer of Kinship Center’s ACT: An Adoption and Permanency Curriculum for Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals and co-author and master trainer of Pathways to Permanence 2: Parenting the Child of Loss and Trauma.
Her broad range of experience crosses all aspects of the non-profit sector including executive leadership, program development, board/staff training and engagement, clinical supervision and philanthropic partnering.
Allison provides training, public speaking and consultation services on a wide range of topics that include: Strengthening Systems of Care, Attachment and Child Development, Children’s Mental Health issues, Trauma-Informed Care, Adoption & Permanency Clinical Competence, Family Assessment, Developmental Trauma, Attachment and Neurobiology, Family Attachment Therapy, Kinship Care, Transitional Age Youth and others.
Allison frequently presents at national, state and local mental health and child welfare conferences including the Child Welfare League of America https://www.cwla.org/, American Adoption Congress https://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/, North American Council on Adoptable Children https://www.nacac.org/, San Diego County Children’s System of Care Training Academy and the prestigious Georgetown University National Symposium on Children’s Mental Health Systems of Care https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2016/10/04/2017-annual-conference/.
In 2017, Allison received a Congressional Coalition ‘Angels in Adoption’ Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. To learn more about their advocacy on behalf of children in foster care and adoption please visit http://www.ccainstitute.org/.
Allison has authored Children Learn What They Live, Fostering Families Today, May/June 2018, Adoption Trauma, Fostering Families Today, Sept/Oct 2017, What To Do With Challenging Behaviors, Fostering Families Today, July/Aug 2017, Helping Your Child Move from Anti-Social to Pro-Social Behaviors, Adoptalk Winter 2017, 10 Things Kinship Caregivers Need, Kinship Parenting Toolbox, 2015, The Dance of Permanence, Fostering Families Today, 2011, Becoming Your Foster Child’s Emotional Tutor, The Foster Parenting Toolbox, 2012, and is a co-author and master trainer of Kinship Center’s ACT: An Adoption and Permanency Curriculum for Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals (48 hrs of clinical training) and co-author and master trainer of Pathways to Permanence 2: Parenting the Child of Loss and Trauma (21/hrs).
Creator of The 10 Things Your Child Needs Every Day; a video training tool to assist parents/caregivers with specific strategies to strengthen their attachment relationship with their child.