Who We Are

About the Attachment & Trauma Network

EMPOWERING TRAUMA-INFORMED FAMILIES, SCHOOLS, AND COMMUNITIES

At the Attachment & Trauma Network, it is our mission to promote healing of children impacted by trauma through supporting their families, schools, and communities.

We Believe

  • We believe that children impacted by trauma and those with attachment disorders can heal.
  • We believe that parents, who are supported and taught therapeutic parenting, are the best healing agents of their traumatized child.
  • We believe that children impacted by trauma need trauma-informed, attachment-focused therapies.
  • We believe that all children learn best in trauma-sensitive schools where strategies are in place to help the children and adults feel safe, stay regulated, get connected, and not be re-traumatized or triggered.  We believe trauma-informing schools empowers trauma-responsive educators.
  • We believe that providing resources to the families from the start (once a traumatized child has been identified) is the best way to minimize crises and reduce disruptions and potential “re-homing”.
  • We believe that ongoing parent-to-parent support is critical in arming the families with strategies, tools, and strength to persevere daily.
  • We believe that “touching trauma at its heart” is more than a tagline, it’s a healing mission.

Our Mission

Where It Began

In 1995, three mothers, who were parenting children diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder were connected by their children’s therapist. The goal was to support each other, and as they realized how similar their journeys were and that they truly were “Not Alone,” ATN was born.

Initially organized as the KC Attachment Network, these mothers found that families from all over the United States were looking for ways to connect with others raising children struggling with early trauma and attachment disorders. The founding members began providing a “warm line” to adoptive parents in the area. They offered assistance in finding resources and support as parents navigated the challenges of finding residential treatment, considering adoption disruptions, marital strain, searching for respite, and frightening encounters with child protective services due to false allegations of abuse. This small, dedicated group of volunteers spent countless hours supporting others and realizing how many thousands of families needed the support. ATN’s first 2-day educational workshop was held in October 1995, with both parents and professionals attending.

In 1999 the KC Attachment Network, led by Executive Director Nancy Spoolstra, had incorporated as a non-profit and then merged with the Attachment Disorder Parent’s Network, developed by Gail Trenberth of Colorado, changing its name to the Attachment Disorder Network, Inc. (ADN).

In early 2004, ADN developed a long-term strategic plan that emphasized a three-prong mission of Support, Education and Advocacy and organized the all-volunteer board and staff into work groups based on these mission areas.  From 2006-2008, ADN hosted the Parenting Traumatized Children Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007, ADN changed its name to the Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc. (ATN) to reflect the growing understanding through neuroscience that early childhood trauma (attachment trauma) was at the root of the struggle that traumatized children have with attachment disorders.

Focusing on providing Support, Education and Advocacy nationwide (and in some cases internationally), ATN’s services and programs rely heavily on the internet and virtual communication to reach the most families possible.  Upon Nancy Spoolstra’s retirement in 2009, Julie Beem, a long-time ATN volunteer, parent of a traumatized child and successful business owner took over the Executive Director role. In 2010, ATN’s volunteers led the organization to receive a Pepsi Refresh grant that enabled the organization to design and implement the ATN Learning Center to provide webinars and other online training materials to help parents learn Therapeutic Parenting as well as educational resources for families and professionals on attachment & trauma in general.  In 2012, ATN’s Advocacy efforts began to formally organize.

In June 2014, ATN hosted the first National Attachment Trauma Awareness (NATA) Day. In 2018, the first issue of the Therapeutic Parenting Journal  was published. In February 2018, ATN held the first international Conference for Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools. The result of years of online summits and dedicated team of educators, the Conference brought educators from around the world to Washington D.C.  Each year the CTSS Conference grows exponentially.  

In March 2020, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation gave ATN a large grant to expand the Parenting Program.  Projects, such a comprehensive, searchable Resource Directory of trauma-informed, attachment-focused services is underway.

Where We've Been

Where We're Going

ATN has grown into the VOICE for traumatized children and their families, schools and communities. With membership that reaches around the world, we are proud to be the premier support, education and advocacy system for those raising or educating traumatized and attachment-disordered children.

Remaining true to the vision of our founder, Nancy Spoolstra, our focus is on helping  children impacted by trauma and struggling with attachment by equipping the adults — the parents, caregivers and teachers.  

Today, our Board of Directors and a growing team of staff, consultants and volunteers reaches out to families and schools who are meeting the needs of our most precious resource — our children — who struggle with the impacts of their early trauma.

Through it all, our message is simple and has remained the same for over 25 years: “You are Not Alone” and there is “Hope for Healing”.

Meet your ATN team

Empowering Trauma-Informed Families, Schools & Community

Julie Beem, MBA

Julie Beem, MBA

Executive Director

Julie has been the Executive Director of the Attachment & Trauma Network since 2009 and an active member and volunteer since 2005.

Stephanie Reh Garde

Stephanie Garde, JD

Operations Manager

Stephanie volunteered with ATN for 9 years and was a Board Member before becoming the Operations Manager in 2018. 

Dr. Melissa Sadin

Dr. Melissa Sadin

School Director

Dr. Melissa Sadin is the Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools Director,  a published author, and education consultant. 

Ginger Healy

Ginger Healy, MSW, LCSW

Program Director

Ginger is a licensed clinical social worker with a background in post-adoptive support, now leading ATN Parenting Program.
Alex Englander

Alex Englander

Coordinator

Alex is ATN’s Social Media and Communications Coordinator, responsible for sharing ATN’s message across the various social media platforms and traditional media.

Julie Michelle Henderson

Julie Henderson

Coordinator

Julie Henderson is the Trauma-Sensitive Schools Coordinator at ATN.

Kirsten Murdoch Resource Coordinator

Kirsten Murdoch

Coordinator

Kirsten is the Resource Coordinator at ATN.

Meet your ATN Board

Empowering Trauma-Informed Families, Schools & Community

Lorraine Schneider

Lorraine Schneider

Board President

Responsible for much of the behind-the-scenes administration of ATN, Lorraine is an experienced business owner, corporate trainer and financial manager.

Neil has been in the substance abuse and mental health fields since 1976. 

Taneesha is an educator with a passion for developing trauma-informed leaders.

Janyne completed a forty-year career in education before retiring to fully heal from the effects of her own early childhood trauma.

Danny Pancratz

Danny Pancratz

Board Member

Danny Pancratz is the Director of Product Development at Americas’ SAP Users’ Group. 

Sandy Wirtel

Sandy Wirtel

Board Member

Sandy Wirtel is an attorney in Kansas City, Missouri whose practice focuses on children in the law.
Ralph Rothacker

Ralph Rothacker

Board Member

Ralph is a life-long educator who is now a trauma-sensitive school trainer and published author.
Temeka is a licensed clinical social worker with over 16 years of experience in child welfare.
What attendees have to say about our workshops

Drew Lacefield, MS, LPC, NCC

Board Member

Drew is a former educator who has found a passion for therapy.

Meet ATN’s Advisory Council

Susan Craig, Ph.D.

Susan Craig, Ph.D.

Advisory Council

Dr. Craig is the founder and president of SEC Enterprises, Inc. 

Adam Pertman

Adam Pertman

Advisory Council

Mr. Pertman is president of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency (NCAP) 
Ross Greene, Ph.D.

Ross Greene, Ph.D.

Advisory Council

Dr. Greene is the originator of the innovative, research-based approach now known as Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS)

ATN Resources

Parenting

Therapeutic Parenting - Empowering Trauma-Informed Parents to be Therapeutic.

Trauma-Sensitive Schools

Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools- Empowering Trauma-Focused Educators and Schools

TSS Conference

Annual Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools Conference.

Get Involved

Join ATN - Together we can end the silence around childhood trauma!

Professional Development Programs For Educators

Resource Directory

Coming soon an online directory of trauma-informed professionals.

Shop ATN

Join ATN. Shop for resources, swag and tools to help us empower and support children families schools and communities.

Recent Posts

Alex Englander

Meet Alex

Alex has contracted with ATN for communication-related tasks since 2014.  This time around, Alex is ATN’s Social Media and Communications Coordinator, responsible for sharing ATN’s message across the various social media platforms and traditional media.  He holds a Bachelor of

Julie Michelle Henderson

Meet Julie Michelle

Julie Michelle Henderson is the Trauma-Sensitive Schools Coordinator at ATN and attends the University of Texas at Arlington where she is earning a Masters Degree in Social Work. She is the single mom of five children (ages 13-23), three biological and

Kirsten Murdoch Resource Coordinator

Meet Kirsten

Kirsten is a mother to 4 kids (2 adopted and 2 bio). Kirsten started her career over 20 years ago working for nonprofits and providing support to individuals with special needs. She oversaw a variety of programs and learned that in