2024 Breakout Sessions

We are excited to have breakout sessions in the following topic areas: Elevating Lived Experience, Family Support & Engagement, Getting to Equitable Practice, Innovation Space, Policy, Supporting Workforce Care, and Working Together to Maximize Resources. 

Please note that this is only the breakout session schedule. In 2024, we will be welcoming three incredible keynote speakers—Dr. Donna Beegle, Sesame Workshop, and Dr. Tunette Powell—who will give engaging and inspiring presentations to challenge and encourage conference attendees. The full conference agenda, including details about our keynote presentations, is coming soon.

Day 1 – Wednesday, September 4, 2024


10:00am - 12:10pm

Welcome & Keynote


1:15pm - 2:30pm

Early Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Keynote Breakout Session: Communicating and Relating More Effectively Across Poverty Barriers

Dr. Donna Beegle

In Dr. Beegle’s research with parents living in the crisis of poverty, 92 percent reported that—when they leave a helping professional—“they do not know what to do next.” This session explores the impact of life experiences on communication styles and provides skills for communicating and relating more effectively across poverty barriers.

This session explores vocabulary, norms, and styles of communicating and relating by social class. Research has shown that people who live in the crisis of poverty and have limited literacy skills (much like the world that Donna grew up in) communicate more “word of mouth” or Oral Culture style. While people from middle class, literate, educated families communicate more dominant Print Culture style. In this highly interactive workshop, participants will learn about the differences in communication and relationship styles across social class and obtain skills for building stronger relationships and communicating more effectively with children and families who live in the crisis of poverty. Understanding these different communication styles can improve communication and relationship-building skills.

The Family Voice COMPASS: How to engage with community to start your own Family Voice Council

Princess Mack, Queen Dedria Johnson, Benu Amun-Ra, Ealasha Vaughner, Chelsey Hall

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

Creating an environment that understands why all of the super friends DEIB, JEDI, EDI reside in the Hall of Justice (COMPASS Model), for the enlightenment of Ubuntu and betterment of Caring Colorado Communities.

Family Experiences Navigating Developmental Services

Nikki Fitch

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

Families play a crucial role in optimizing their child’s development, but have you ever wondered how we can reach more of the families who may qualify for services but are not accessing them? Despite evidence of its effectiveness, research indicates fewer than 25% of children are accessing developmental services. This session will explore insights from families’ lived experiences that highlight key strategies to improve families experiences in accessing and navigating early childhood developmental services. Delve into the opportunity to learn how you can support increased family engagement and enhanced communication between systems and families.

Risk and Goal Statements: Promoting Transparency Providing Clarity Families

Laura Carter-Beck & Brittany Noble

Track: Family Support and Engagement

We welcome you to learn a new skill, or share your skill/knowledge with others. Risk and Goal Statements seek to clarify concerns and identify a clear and common goal for the family in child welfare. The workshop will break down writing risk and goal statements as well as how to incorporate family language, seek agreement, and provide opportunities for family input. Come practice with us!

Parents Just Don't Understand: 7 Strategies for Positive and Responsive Parenting

Emily Meeks, M.Ed. & Taneesha Thomas, M.Ed.

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Trying to figure out how to connect with SCREENAGERS? Parents Just Don’t Understand: 7 Strategies for Positive and Responsive Parenting, focuses on creating both short and long-term positive outcomes to support overall family wellbeing.

From Deficits to Strengths: Transforming Family Support in Summit County

Wendy Frazier

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Join us in Summit County as we embark on a transformative journey towards empowering families in our community. At FIRC, we embrace a strength-based lens, reframing outdated terminology and approaches to better serve and uplift those we work with. In this session, we’ll delve into the concept of asset framing, illuminating the power of focusing on strengths rather than deficits. Discover the profound impact of active referrals over passive ones, and learn how hands-on engagement can catalyze meaningful change within families. We’ll explore the shift from merely sharing information to actively participating alongside families, fostering deeper connections and more effective support systems. It’s time to move beyond the traditional “family support” model and embrace a progressive approach that truly empowers and uplifts. Join us as we challenge ourselves to do better, to do more, and to create lasting positive change in the lives of those we serve.

Crisis Resolution Teams for Children Youth and their Families

Steven Wells & Carey Boelter

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Crisis Resolution teams are a highly desired service, giving essential intensive services in the home for a child and their families. Services include individual and group therapy, as well as substance use treatment and whatever else is needed for the family. This program is highly successful and desired as a statewide service.

Beyond Land Acknowledgements

Colleen Gibley-Reed

Track: Getting to Equitable Practice

Ready to move your allyship efforts for Indigenous people to the next level? This is the session for you!

Policy Strategies to Promote Concrete Supports for Families

Lex Loutzenhiser, Christina Walker, Sarah Barnes, Caitlin Schneider

Track: Policy

Investing in concrete support in times of need for families is one of five crucial research-informed protective factors for preventing child maltreatment. Research has shown that many concrete supports, such as child care subsidies, Head Start, WIC, Earned Income Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, TANF basic cash assistance and other direct cash assistance can drastically reduce instances of child abuse and neglect and strengthen families. Join panelists to learn more about past, current, and future policy work that promotes concrete supports and ways to get engaged!

The Secret Sauce to Building a Culture of Staff Satisfaction

Marisol Velez & Kevin “Vin Glover”

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

Discover how to foster a resilient and supportive culture within nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable populations. Join us as we delve into practical strategies for addressing vicarious trauma and burnout among team members, from aligning interview processes with organizational values to integrating self-care practices seamlessly into workplace culture. Walk away empowered with actionable insights to cultivate environments where staff members feel valued, supported, and emboldened to continue their vital work in service of those most in need.

No, Really....How Are You?

Chuck Price

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

A trauma-informed approach to Human Services, and other systems, is certainly a great foundation, but what if being trauma informed is still not good enough? Let’s talk about taking care of the people that take care of the people, and bring the ‘human’ back in ‘human services’.

Connecting our System - Learn about the NEW Early Childhood Colorado Framework

Shannon Wilson, Kristina Heyl, Heather Craiglow

Track: Working Together to Maximize Resources

Come learn about the newly refreshed Early Childhood Colorado Framework! The Framework provides a shared vision for early childhood across the state, includes common definitions that you can use in your own early childhood efforts, and serves as a tool for alignment across regions, sectors, and levels of the early childhood system. This session will provide you with the knowledge, tools, and resources (both digital and physical) to share and use the Framework in your own community.

Accessing Behavioral Health Services for Children and Youth in Colorado through The Children and Youth Mental Health Treatment Act (CYMHTA)

Lindsay Edwards, PHD LMFT & Kelli Reidford LCSW

Track: Working Together to Maximize Resources

This session will introduce the Children and Youth Behavioral Treatment Act (CYMHTA), describe the eligibility criteria and application requirements for accessing clinical services through CYMHTA, and report program metrics that show how CYMHTA addresses an existing gap in insurance coverage for children and youth in need of behavioral health services.

2:45pm - 4pm

Late Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Elevating Lived Experience: Strategies from, and Q&A with, Young People with Lived Expertise

Cara Nord, Elizabeth Arrieta, Maddie Noyce Lang

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

YOUTH VOICE MATTERS! If your organization or agency is considering including the voices of young people with lived expertise in your programming, this session is for you! Elizabeth Arrieta and Maddie Noyce Lang (two members of OCR’s Lived Experts Action Panel), as well as OCR Youth Empowerment Attorney Cara Nord, will chat about why and how LEAP was created, as well as strategies for including the voices of young people in your programming. We will also answer your questions!

Advancing Early Intervention and Prevention through Hiring Lived Experts

Deb DeLuca-Forzley, Katie Heckman, Mary Maldonado, Tomas Quinonez

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

Come hear our lived experts talk about their work in our community providing early intervention and prevention services to families. You will hear how through their work and the meaningful partnerships with community agencies families are getting to the right resource from the beginning.

The Maze of Coercive Control: A Deeper Understanding of Domestic Violence

Amy Pohl

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Find yourself inside a maze of coercive control: the corners, turns, walls, and hedges made up of societal and social institutions and expectations that keep you in a coercive and controlling relationship. How will you find your way out? Join this interactive session where we will use The Maze of Coercive Control tool to better understand how domestic violence impacts the lives of those you serve so you can become a more effective service provider.

How Family Engagement Strategies Enhance Child Outcomes

Sue Kansteiner & Vicki Maestas

Track: Family Support and Engagement

The key component is to establish a trusting and respectful relationship with families understanding their culture and language. As early educators, we are aware of our biases and show respect for family’s preferences. As families identify goals, it is important that we celebrate their successes.

Harnessing Family Strengths: Support Planning Simplified

Laura Carter-Beck & Brittany Noble 

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Come discuss the Support Plan Toolkit, created by Colorado child welfare professionals in effort to engage the family and their supports. The toolkit provides tangible ways to connect with families and better understand how their resiliency and strengths can contribute to safety and better long term outcomes for their family.

Safe Babies: Collaborating on Equity and Access from the family up

AnnaMarie Neal, Erin Baker-Ojeda, Katie Newell, Melissa Pino, Veronica Ibarra

Track: Getting to Equitable Practice

Safe Babies leverages partnerships from the family to the national level to increase equity and access for infants, toddlers, and families. Our structure and strategies make real-time changes in the lives of families and communities. This session will feature strategies anyone can apply at the family, community, state, and national levels to move the needle for collaboration, practice improvement, and positive shifts in policy. The panel will describe the Safe Babies program’s strategies to elevate family voices in collaboration with professionals and policymakers. Our strategy has led to immediate and long-term changes that strengthen families and communities. Special considerations for equity and partnerships to build capacity for populations with intersectional disparities.

Dismantling Bias: Leveraging Protective Factors to Address Refugee and Immigrant Experiences and Overcome Barriers

Deborah Young, Edis Cardoza, Zarir Faizi, Fateme Jafari

Track: Getting to Equitable Practice

This session explores the pivotal role of protective factors in dismantling bias and confronting barriers for refugees and immigrants, fostering resilience and equity. Through interactive discussions and storytelling, participants gain insight into historical contexts and contemporary challenges, empowering them to become agents of change for social justice and inclusion.

Collective Action and Colorado's Statewide Early Childhood Strategic Plan

Kristen Lang & Nami Bhasin 

Track: Innovation Space

This session is an overview of the actions taken by the Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) and partners around the state to develop and promote Colorado’s new Statewide Early Childhood Strategic Plan, Elevating Early Childhood. Through the implementation of community-centered and human-centered collaboration, our unique approach to strategic planning – rooted in a collective impact approach- is designed to advance equitable practices in Colorado’s early childhood system and elevate pre-existing practices which have been developed by local communities. The session will share the resultant Statewide Early Childhood Strategic Plan and how the staff at the CDEC hope to elevate innovative community solutions to those strategies, while encouraging attendees to think about how they may wish to interact with the Strategic Plan and/or scale innovations across the state.

Independent Assessments 101

Meredith Villiers

Track: Policy

Join us to learn more about the scope and process of Family First and Medicaid Independent Assessments to gain a better understanding on how treatment recommendations are made. Come learn how these processes are impacting child welfare practice and access to Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs) in Colorado.

Regulate to Relate: First Steps in Creating a Culture of Care and Belonging

Vani Tangella & Audra Bishop

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

For people to be innovative, creative, and capable of effectively navigating change and cultural differences, workplaces must encourage staff to engage in strategies that support nervous system regulation. By developing a shared understanding of how stress impacts the brain & body while practicing simple yet meaningful embodied regulation strategies, individuals become increasingly attuned to their current experiences and needs, while creating conditions that nurture collective regulation and transformational change.

EMBRACE: Strengthening Educators, Caregivers, and Families through Mindfulness

Melissa Jewell & Myrna Leal

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

Join us for a transformative session focused on self-care for caregivers of young children. Learn practical strategies to enhance your emotional intelligence, resilence, and overall well-being while also reducing burnout and finding renewal in your endeavors. Discover mindfulness techniques that you can immediately implement and share with children and families. By priortizing your own self-care, you’ll be better equipped to provide the emotional support that children and families need. Say yes to yourself and join us in filling up your own bucket first.

The Healing Power of Positive Childhood Experiences Requires a Village

Paula K. Hergert & Jennifer Schulte

Track: Working Together to Maximize Resources

“Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation.” Dr. Robert Block, former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics Research clearly shows how childhood adversity and trauma change a child’s developing brain and influences health and well-being throughout the lifespan. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma are complex and multi-faceted issues, but there are steps we can take to treat, intervene, and hopefully someday, prevent adversity through positive childhood experiences. Let’s get the conversation started here today.

Overview of Accessing Long Term Supports and Services - Home and Community Based Services

Karli Altman

Track: Working Together to Maximize Resources

Colorado offers a continuum of quality long term services and supports to help individuals live safe healthy lives in their homes and communities, but knowing how to access and make appropriate referrals for these programs can be confusing. Come to this session to get it all sorted out!

Day 2 – Thursday, September 5, 2024


8:30am - 10:30am

Welcome & Keynote


10:50am - 12:05pm

Morning Breakout Sessions

Ambiguous Loss and Moral Injury in Child Welfare; A Truth Telling Session

Chase Hagen

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

Ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief are particularly relevant to children and families involved in the child welfare system due to the ambiguity, stigma, guilt, and shame attached to this intervention. Individuals may observe or act in ways that are contradictory to their own beliefs or moral code due to the demands of the system or greater societal construct. This incongruence is known as moral injury (MI) which is generally defined as psychological damage or distress as a result of the action or inaction of self or others that conflict with ones moral code. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in truth-telling and witnessing to further develop personal and collective compassion and consciousness surrounding ambiguous loss and moral injury to enhance child and family wellbeing in the child welfare process.

Who's in the Room?: A Lived Experience Workshop

Amanda Culbertson, Elizabeth Greene, Michelle Denae, and others from the Family Voice Council

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

Join the CDEC Family Voice Council in exploring lived experience as data.

Supporting Positive Family Involvement for Fathers: The Nurturing Dads and Partners (NDAP) Program in Colorado

Ashley Brock-Baca, Shauna Rienks, Kaylee Ortega, Matthew Mitchell 

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Come learn about engaging fathers in services to support their positive family involvement. You’ll find out about Nurturing Dads and Partners (NDAP) and engaging fathers and co-parents in the Colorado Fatherhood Program. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the NDAP intervention and lessons learned for program implementation!

Special Education: What You Need to Know

Roxanne Bradley

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Join me in this session as we explore the laws that support k-12 children with disabilities: medical disability vs an educational disability, the process involved in receiving support for a student, the differences between IEPs and 504s, and the types of supports that are available. With this knowledge, you will be better prepared to support these children and their families.

Connected Families: Enhancing Engagement through Bright by Text

Tara Stingley

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Do you support families and children? Come learn about Bright by Text, a free resource already available in your community.

Strengthening Student Success: Uniting Communities Through Family Engagement in Colorado's Community Schools

Shannon Allen, Elizabeth Lewis, Katie Wilberding Cross

Track: Innovation Space

Family engagement plays a critical role in advancing equity and promoting student outcomes. However, too often family engagement initiatives function in isolation instead of as coordinated elements of school transformation efforts. The community school strategy engages families, community partners and educators in shared and hyper-local decision making practices to strengthen conditions for student learning and development. Participants will learn how this strategy is implemented in Colorado schools to address community challenges through the promotion of local strengths.

What's New for Youth Behavioral Health in Colorado

Matt Holtman

Track: Policy

Most of the families we work with have been involved in behavioral health treatment or are current receiving behavioral health treatment. There are numerous statewide changes to this system which affect our families and you need to know about them.

Cultivating Risk Taking While Managing Risk

Maegan Lokteff

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

What is the worst that can happen? Participants will explore practical strategies for cultivating a culture of risk taking and how risk-taking can support quality improvement, change, and retention. Participants will also examine tools for mitigating actual risk while supporting those they work with to be bold innovators and ready for change.

Awaken Your Inner Rhino Resilience for Early Childhood Educators - From Burnout to Breakthrough!

Chris ‘Rhino’ Swenson

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

Embark on an empowering journey to “Awaken Your Inner Rhino” and shift from burnout to breakthrough in early childhood education. Join our interactive presentation designed to equip educators with resilience-building tools and inspiration, fostering a renewed sense of purpose and passion. Unleash your inner strength and thrive in the rewarding world of early childhood education – get ready to reignite your passion and claim your professional fulfillment!

Building Bridges Through Partner Collaboration: Addressing Childcare Capacity in Jefferson County with Triad Bright Futures and the Arvada Chamber of Commerce

Tess McShane, Jennifer Anton, Cecy

Track: Working Together to Maximize Resources

Dive into the transformative partnership between Triad Bright Futures and the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, where we tackle childcare challenges head-on. Explore how our collaboration enhances childcare access and capacity, empowering working families in Jefferson County and beyond. Join us to uncover valuable insights and success stories from this dynamic alliance at our enlightening session.

From Our Street to Yours: Sesame Workshop Resources for Everyone in the Neighborhood

Zoe Rochman

Sesame Workshop is the global impact nonprofit behind Sesame Street and so much more, harnessing the power of education, media, and research to support children in over 150 countries and empower each generation to build a better world. In this session, join Zoe Rochman, Content Manager in the US Programs Education department at Sesame Workshop, to learn all about Sesame’s digital platform – Sesameworkshop.org – and play in the sandbox with some of the free, research-based resources available on the site. We’ll explore topics and resources connected to emotional well-being, coping with tough topics, building resilience, and more and explore the many ways to integrate these materials into your work and play with young children and families.


1:15pm - 2:30pm

Early Afternoon Breakout Sessions

The Practical Value of Lived-Experience Experts

Michelle Denae Garcia-Morrissey, Jodi Lefayt, Donna Salvador, Elizabeth Greene, Sierra Maestas

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

The need for lived experience in the legislative process is palpable. Come hear about the implementation of how to better incentivise lived-experience experts and the journey the CDEC Family Voice Council has traversed as well as how you can unilitze the same methods better close the feedback loop within your organization!

Diverse Perspectives on Fatherhood

Dwayne Meeks

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

This panel discussion aims to shed light on the multifaceted experiences of fathers from diverse ethnic backgrounds. By hearing directly from these fathers, we can gain insights into their roles, family legacies, mental health challenges, co-parenting dynamics, and what strategies have proven effective for them in navigating fatherhood.

The Broad Spectrum of Substance Use

Jason Read

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Join this session to speak frankly about substance use and safety. Participants will explore concepts and misconceptions about substance use and will consider how their words and actions can have influence and add value.

Engaging Families and Supporting Youth with a Prevention Based Approach

Zac Hess, Donna Trujillo, Olivia Bachicha

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Supporting youth with a prevention based lens builds protective factors that are critical for bridging the gap between school based support, families, and youth serving providers. This session will explore how health promotion and prevention strategies create an aligned and integrated approach to supporting youth and families.

Authentic Family Engagement that Supports Belonging

Maegan Lokteff, Dallas Brown, Enola Garland

Track: Family Support and Engagement

How do we move beyond cute events to truly engage families and support them to belong within a community? Join with the presenters to engage in a conversation and gain ideas and tools informed by Justice, Equity, and Belonging principles to support authentic family engagement in a variety of settings that develop and enhance feelings of belonging for children and families within the community and programs.

Microaggressions and the LGBTQ+ Community

Colleen Gibley-Reed

Track: Getting to Equitable Practice

Microaggressions are anything but micro; they significantly affect those around us. Members of the LGBTQ+ community frequently encounter microaggressions. Attend this session to discover how to recognize and address them within yourself and others. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of microaggressions and learn actionable steps to support the LGBTQ+ community, embodying the wisdom of the esteemed Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Beyond Access: How CIRCLE Projects Strengthen and Empowered Families

Sydney Mock and Carrie Germeroth

Track: Getting to Equitable Practice

Seeking to support families and expand access to quality early childhood education? Join us for compelling look at the CIRCLE grant program. Through grantee stories and interactive data exploration learn how the program fostered innovative local level solutions, from culturally sensitive enrollment and navigation supports to career pathways for parents and mobile preschools. See how equitable grantmaking creates real-world solutions for all children and families.

Spark the Conversation: Sexting

Sadie Rose Pace

Track: Innovation Space

An opportunity to learn more about Colorado’s Juvenile Sexting Laws and how you can talk about them with the youth in your life.

Colorado's Child Welfare System and Mandatory Reporting

James Connell and Brittany Noble

Track: Policy

Dive into the heart of child welfare decision making. Ever wonder how decisions are made to respond to calls received by the 844-CO-4KIDS hotline or safety decisions are made? Curious about how child welfare operates? Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your understanding and engage in the conversation.

Everyday Mindfulness

Lisa Vratny-Smith

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

Intentionally incorporating brief moments of mindfulness into our daily routine enables us to release stress and tension throughout our day instead of allowing it to accumulate. Join Lisa Vratny-Smith, a School Social Worker and Sustainable Wellness Coach, to explore a range of mindfulness techniques that can enhance your well-being and self-regulation in your everyday life.

Early Intervention Colorado and its benefit to families

Erika Sexton and Danielle French

Track: Working Together to Maximize Resources

Representatives from EI Colorado will provide an overview of the EI Colorado program, how to refer, and how resources are shared with families through the child’s individualized plan! Come join us to learn more!


3pm - 4:15pm

Late Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Taking the Next Step in Program Evaluation: Featuring Family Voices and Experiences

Katie Golieb & Mica Arnett

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

This interactive panel event cuts across geographical boundaries to equip attendees with a toolkit for maximizing community connections and resources to make lived experiences a foundation of equitable and meaningful evaluation. The profound impact of program coordinators’ interpersonal bonds with families will be highlighted as these connections are rooted in shared lived experiences from which an atmosphere for collaborative growth emerges between families, CMP teams, and the evaluation team.

Heeding Lived Experts: The Work of Colorado's Reimagining Child Welfare Initiative

Rebecca Orsi-Hunt, Heather Hanson, Nathaniel Bustamante, Diane Smith, Joe Homlar

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

Come join us to learn about the Initiative and co-create by contributing your ideas toward one of our current goals, developing a Warm Line to support Colorado families. The Reimagining Initiative is a real-life example of a lived experience council. Lived experience councils can be formed around various systems, such as child welfare or mental health, or for a specific purpose, such as suicide prevention. Lived experience councils follow several principles, including power-sharing among members, self-care, trauma-informed perspectives, co-creation, and equitably compensating lived experts for their time and expertise.

Improved Payments and Child Success: A 2Gen Framework Addressing Barriers to Family Self-Sufficiency

Allie Lichota, Jessica Pearson, Keri Batchelder, Tosha Higginbotham

Track: Family Support and Engagement

IMPACS is an employment and case management program for non-custodial parents unable to meet their child support obligations, but unable to do so. By addressing basic needs barriers and improving employment outcomes, IMPACS aims to ensure more families receive their child support payments and enhance NCP’s relationships with their children.

Family Engagement from the Head Start Perspective

Heather Frenz & Heather Craiglow

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Family engagement is a collaborative and strengths-based process through which early childhood professionals, families, and children build positive and goal-oriented relationships. It is a shared responsibility of families and staff at all levels that requires mutual respect for the roles and strengths each has to offer. Family engagement focuses on culturally and linguistically responsive relationship-building with key family members in a child’s life.

Building the Foundation: The Essentials of FASD

Shannon Day & Shira Shump

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Join us for an in-depth training that unveils the critical aspects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Gain valuable insights into early identification, effective intervention strategies, and best practices for support and advocacy. Equip yourself with the essential knowledge to make a positive impact in the lives of individuals and families affected by FASD.

A Trauma-Responsive Lens to Supporting Families: The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Curriculum in Child Trauma

Ashley Brock-Baca

Track: Family Support and Engagement

This is your chance to participate in an interactive workshop to deepen your understanding of trauma-responsive practices! You’ll learn about supporting the whole family to heal from traumatic experiences, as well as approaches to addressing secondary adversities. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Core Curriculum!

LGBTQIA WHAT?!?! Asking the Tough Questions To Best Support Our Queer Loved Ones

Robert Benson Sanoshy

Track: Getting to Equitable Practice

Come ask the tough questions & talk the tough talk! Grow your ally wings with others looking to do the same! Learn, share and discuss with others who want to create community around how best to support our lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning and trans youth. Robert is looking to create a safe space where terms are defined, confusions are honored not judged and all questions are valid. Having spoken at conferences all across the nation, Robert believes that dialogue is the key to growth and community. What we’ll take from these roundtables is a sense of practice in having the tough conversations and learn how to take those skills home to continue growing, bridging the gap between the LGBTQIA community and us as allies! Come prepared to challenge yourself and be beautifully rewarded!

How is data quality important to you? A guided discussion with data activities.

Trent L. Lalonde

Track: Innovation Space

We all encounter data regularly in our work, but do you consider your role in data quality, and how data quality impacts what you do? We will have open conversations about our experiences with data, and help participants identify their roles in the data process to see where they benefit.

EPSDT: A Benefit is not a Benefit Unless You Can Use It

Gina Robinson & Cam Amirfathi

Track: Policy

Join us for an informative training session focused on the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) program, a crucial component of Medicaid designed to ensure children receive comprehensive healthcare services. This session is tailored for parents and child welfare staff, county administrators, and judicial staff seeking to deepen their understanding of EPSDT and its impact on pediatric care. In this training, participants will explore the foundational principles of EPSDT, its program criteria, and the wide array of services it covers. Through interactive discussions and case studies, attendees will gain practical insights into accessing EPSDT services within their organizations.

Healthy Home Visiting Staff: Strengthening Mental Health and Wellness Through Consultation and Education

Christine O’Brien

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

Join us to learn about Colorado’s Enhanced Home Visiting Project (EHV) to increase home visitor wellness. We will look at EHV’s goals, strategies, and evaluation results. Participants will engage in mindfulness and reflection activities.

Colorado's Framework for Action: an Updated Community Resource

Abby English Waldbaum, Jodi Hardin, Katelyn Lammie

Track: Working Together to Maximize Resources

Envision a Colorado where all children and youth are valued, healthy, and thriving. Let’s not just dream of this future, let’s work together to make it a reality! This interactive session will introduce participants to Colorado’s updated child maltreatment prevention framework, designed to guide state and local family strengthening efforts. Participants will have a chance to engage with the framework and related toolkit, consider how it might bolster their work, and learn from others across the state engaged in similar efforts.

Day 3 – Friday, September 6, 2024


9am - 10:15am

Morning Breakout Sessions

Voices of Strength: Empowering Families through Lived Experience

Dwayne Meeks & Tia Davis

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

Unveil the Power of Lived Experience! Join us for an eye-opening workshop, “Voices of Strength: Empowering Families through Lived Experience,” where we explore the transformative impact of inclusive practices. Dive into practical strategies for integrating diverse family voices, building empathy, and fostering resilience. Discover how equitable engagement and representation revolutionize family-centered programming. Don’t miss out on this empowering journey towards meaningful change!

Impact of Domestic Violence on Children: Insights from Empathy Panels and Lived Experience Experts

Barbara Dean & Randy Saucedo

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

Come learn about ways we may see children who have lived in a house experiencing domestic violence act and learn about the importance of addressing these behaviors with parents as well as utilizing the value of empathy. Barbara and Randy will share their understanding as a social worker and a domestic violence survivor and discuss the programs that they created and participate in that utilize lived victim experts sharing their story.

Honoring LEX should never be to make them "one of us"

Anna Neal, Melissa Pino, Sydney Salas

Track: Elevating Lived Experience

How the Safe Babies program elevates lived experts within Safe Baby Court Team cases, through innovative Best for Babies, and to advance practices and policies at all levels.

Not your Average Parenting Group

Toni Miner & Joan Holtz

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Join us to gain an understanding of Circle of Parents in Recovery as a unique parent peer support group that is not a 12 step program and does not have a curriculum.

Let's Talk about FAMLI: Paid Leave as a Family Engagement Resource

Lydia Waligorski & Yvonne Franklin

Track: Family Support and Engagement

What do you know about FAMLI? What do the families and caregivers you serve need you to know about Colorado’s new paid family and medical leave program? You have questions and we have answers. Join us for a session that will have you ready to serve your families as a resource on this new program.

Facilitating family engagement in voluntary early childhood family support programs

Tess Clendenen, Bryn Babbitt, Carsten Baumann, Marian Bussey, Wengel Tadesse

Track: Family Support and Engagement

Evidence-based early childhood programs and partnerships have positive impacts on family well-being, child cognitive and social-emotional development and parent confidence, but only for families that engage with them. We will discuss the barriers and motivators to engaging families with young children in programs such as home visiting and early intervention referral programs. We look forward to sharing what we have learned and what you may know and discussing strategies that work to engage families in voluntary support programs, especially families who may experience barriers disproportionately.

The impact of systemic racism and implicit bias in healthcare and education on youth and families

Nicole Kelly

Track: Getting to Equitable Practice

Given the disproportionality of youth involved in the child welfare system, it is crucial to understand how systemic racism and implicit bias impacts them and their families. This workshop will provide an overview of how systemic racism and implicit bias impact individuals in healthcare and education. Without this knowledge, it’s difficult to understand experiences of youth and families and support them.

Shedding Light on Abuse in Sport: Understanding, Addressing, and Preventing

Bobby Click

Track: Innovation Space

Step into the arena of change at our upcoming session as we unravel the disturbing truth behind abuse in sports, a reality too often overlooked. Through in-depth analysis and evidence from leading studies, we’ll explore the intricate layers of this issue and its profound impact on athletes and communities. By delving into best practices and fostering collaborative dialogue, we’ll arm attendees with actionable strategies to cultivate safer sporting environments. Together, let’s champion a culture of respect and accountability, ensuring the well-being and integrity of all who partake in the pursuit of athletic excellence. Join us in shaping a future where sports are synonymous with safety and empowerment.

FAMLI Matters: How Colorado's new paid family and medical leave insurance benefit is making the state stronger

Rachael McCombs

Track: Policy

Colorado voters decided in 2020 to institute nearly universal paid family and medical leave. Four years later, the benefit is live, and thousands of Colorado workers have been able to get pay replacement when they need to temporarily step away from their jobs to care for themselves or their loved ones. In this discussion, find out how many Colorado workers are using this benefit and how they can use FAMLI benefits in conjunction with other benefits to make sure they don’t have to choose between caring for themselves and their families and paying the bills.

Inspiring Contagious Resilience in Casework Practice

Lara Bruce, Kate Trujillo, Amy Montoya

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

This workshop will engage participants in a dialogue about what hope-centered child welfare practice could look like and how this framework, adopted as a leadership strategy, can proactively build resilience, and empower one another. Join us as we discuss the divide between child welfare, best practice, academia, and the realities of child welfare casework today. This workshop will help participants rediscover their why for this work and reflect on the difference they are making by partnering with children, youth, and families. While we don’t have all the answers, together we’ll explore new strategies to stay hopeful in this work and make resilience contagious!

Burned Out?!?! Come Rest Here! Tips & Tricks to Manage Compassion Fatigue

Robert Benson Sanoshy

Track: Supporting Workforce Care

Healing is the gathering of resources from within a person, their family (however they define that) and their community. In the unprecedented times we’re living in, our clients are not the only ones who are in need of healing and compassion. Often, it is us healers and compassionate caregivers that have the hardest time asking for help or recognizing when we are burned out. Sometimes we think that we shouldn’t struggle if we’re the helper or that its a sign of weakness to be burned out. This workshop is designed to squash all of those myths and to get you back to taking care of yourself, so that you can best be equipped to take care of others!

Pathways to Care for Children/Youth with Complex and Unmet Treatment Needs

Suzy Morris & Meredith Villers

Track: Working Together to Maximize Resources

Would you like to know more about the referral pathways to access community-based services, substance use residential treatment, Qualified Residential Treatment Programs (QRTPs), and Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs)? Join us to learn more about accessing appropriate treatment and services for children/youth with emotional, behavioral, and substance use disorders.


10:30am - 12:30pm

Keynote & Closing

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this program are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Colorado Department of Human Services or the Colorado Department of Early Childhood. Breakout session times are subject to change based on speaker availability.

Get Email Updates

Interested in attending the 2024 Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference? Sign up to get email updates as soon as new information is available.

* indicates required
Strengthening CO Families & Communities Conference

Questions? Contact Us.