Laura Ornelas, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker, with a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California. She has been working in the field of foster care and adoption for over 25 years, and has been instrumental in the startup of multiple programs throughout California. She has been immersed in all angles of child placement and public and private adoptions in Los Angeles, and has worked with children of all ages, specializing in the birth-to-5 population, as well as with widely diverse families.
For nearly a decade, Laura served as the Regional Director of Mental Health Services for Kinship Center, during which time she designed and oversaw specialty mental health clinics for children who had been adopted and/or were being raised by kinship caregivers. Having studied with the leaders in attachment- and trauma-informed care, she created a powerful clinical model rooted in relationship-based healing.
Laura educates parents and professionals across the country about the effects of ruptures in relationships and best practices in child welfare and adoption. A seasoned trainer, Laura has also written several works, including Effectively Addressing Mental Health Issues in Permanency-Focused Child Welfare Practice (Child Welfare Journal), Attachment Through the Senses (Fostering Families Today) and numerous white papers, including Childhood Trauma: A Multi-Dimensional Approach and Yoga as Trauma Treatment for Children. She is also a contributing curriculum developer and master trainer for ACT: An Adoption & Permanency Curriculum for Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals and Pathways to Permanence 2: Parenting Children Who Have Experienced Trauma and Loss.
In 2018, Laura joined the team at C.A.S.E (Center for Support and Education) as lead writer, consultant, and trainer of trainers for the NTDC, the National Training and Development Curriculum. During the pandemic, Laura jumped in to contribute to articles, webinars and a support group series for C.A.S.E. families, and most recently has been asked to launch the new training and demonstration clinic at C.A.S.E.