The National Foster Parent Association is proud to announce Josh Shipp, nationally renowned motivational speaker and former foster youth will keynote the  49th Annual Education Conference, Navigating the Future, to be held June 12 – 15, 2019 at Delta Hotels by Marriott Anaheim Garden.  On Saturday, June 15, 2019, Shipp will engage many hundreds of  foster, adoptive, and kinship families, advocates, and child welfare professionals nationwide.  His message is simple, powerful, entertaining and provides inspiration and strategies to care for and work with children and teens who have been abused and neglected.    

He inspires others through telling his own life story of triumph over tragedy. Shipp urges his audiences to live life to its fullest and illustrates how to overcome some of the common and not-so-common struggles facing today’s youth.  “I am who I am today because I chose to take advantage of opportunities given to me,”  Shipp tells his listeners. “If you don’t identify who you are, others will.”

His mother abandoned him at an Oklahoma City hospital. Consequently, Shipp ended up being shuffled around the foster care system for the next 14 years of his life. During those difficult years, Shipp was abused physically and sexually, he said.

“If you don’t talk it out, you’re going to act it out,” Shipp said. Shipp’s way of acting out was to form figurative walls between himself and the world, to protect himself from getting hurt. He tried to sabotage his foster situations, did poorly in school, was desperately overweight and became severely depressed and suicidal.

But then along came Rodney and Christine Weidenmaier, of Yukon, Oklahoma (they now live in Missouri). The couple were practically professional foster parents. They’d taken in dozens of kids in need over the years, and when Shipp was 14, he was invited into the Weidenmaiers’ home, where he stayed until he graduated high school.

“They were truly one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Shipp said. “The encouraging thing for other parents, whether your kids are your own or they’re foster kids, is that my parents did miraculous work on me, but they’re just your average, everyday parents. They don’t have some kind of magic wand that the rest of us aren’t capable of. They are just consistent and loving and gave me an environment of stability.”

The National Foster Parent Association’s mission focuses on education, networking, and advocacy.  This conference has all of that — and more.  With the theme, “Navigating the Future” you can easily find your way by car or plane to beautiful, sunny Garden Grove (Orange County) California.  In preparation for the 3rd decade of this century, you can participate in more than 50 workshops provided by presenters from across the country with lived expertise as foster and adoptive parents, kinship caregivers, and credentialed  professionals.  

More than 50 workshops will focus on strategies to parent children who have experienced loss and trauma, issues regarding sexual abuse and self-harm, and unique perspectives for parenting children and teens with diverse ages and stages of development.  We are featuring caring for special populations of children and youth with an emphasis on cultural diversity, sexual diversity, children who self-harm, and young people who have been exploited and trafficked.  Navigating the internet and keeping your children social media-safe is back by popular demand.  Have you experienced a disruption in your family or in families with whom you work? Learn about prevention and intervention strategies.  A major factor in disruptions is the impact of fostering on birth children, so learn how to give your children an essential voice.

Register for Navigating the Future at

About Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp’s speaking career began in Edmond, Oklahoma at age 17 when he began serving as a member of DECA, a national student leadership organization. He joined the group, by his own admission, because he heard it was an easy class, he could get out of school an hour early, and they served cookies. Shipp later became the DECA state president and he quickly adapted to the spotlight by speaking at pep rallies, workshops and local conferences. He gained a reputation for making audiences both laugh and think, and he continues to build on that with nationwide appearances.  For more information on Shipp, visit his website at  Shipp now makes his home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

About the National Foster Parent Association

The vision of the National Foster Parent Association is to have families and communities in which there is no child abuse and neglect and no unnecessary separation of children and parents.  The National Foster Parent Association is a non-profit, volunteer organization established in 1972 because of the concerns of several independent groups that felt the country needed a national organization to meet the needs of foster families in the United States with a focus on education, networking, and advocacy.  The NFPA is the respected national voice for foster parents, relative caregivers, and adoptive parents.  To help achieve this mission, the Association provides resources through its website and holds an annual education conference to promote best practices.  For more information, visit

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