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In partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services, Families Forward Virginia is proud to present the annual statewide Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Conference! The conference will take place on April 8-9, 2019 at the Richmond Hilton Hotel and Spa at Short Pump.

This year’s theme, Power of Prevention: Teaming Up for Virginia Families, promises to highlight recent advances and best practices in child maltreatment prevention, assessment, and treatment practices with emphasis on community-based programs that focus on keeping families together. Conference speakers include national child welfare experts as well as Virginia state government officials. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in dynamic workshops and network with other child welfare service providers and advocates in the field.

Location & Lodging
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Richmond Hilton Hotel and Spa at Short Pump

Enjoy the convenient location of Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa/Short Pump, off Broad Street and Interstate 64, just 20 minutes from Richmond International Airport. The nearby Short Pump Town Center features a selection of entertainment options including shopping, movie theaters and dining. The hotel features 254 rooms and suites, 23,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, Aura Spa and Salon and Shula's America’s Steak House.

12042 West Broad Street

Henrico, Virginia 23233


Room Block

A limited amount of rooms have been reserved for participants at the Richmond Hilton Hotel and Spa at Short Pump at a rate of $94 per night. Please call the hotel directly and reference “Child Abuse Prevention Conference” when making your reservation. You may also click this booking link to access the exclusive rates available for this conference. Please use the group name “FAMVA9” when making your reservation.

Please note that to take advantage of this room block, reservations must be received on or before 5 pm, Monday, March 18, 2019.

In addition to the Hilton, other nearby hotels are offering group rates for our conference.

Aloft Richmond West Short Pump 
3939 Duckling Dr, Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 433-1888 -  Group Code: Child Protection Conference

before 5 pm, Thursday, March 7, 2019
Book your group rate at Aloft


Hyatt House Richmond West
11800 W Broad St Ste 1098, Henrico, VA 23233
(804) 360-7021 - Group Code:  Virginia Tech APR 19

before 5 pm, Thursday, March 7, 2019
Book your group rate at Hyatt House  - Use online group code:  G-VTAP


Wingate by Wyndham Richmond Short Pump
13991 N Gayton Rd, Richmond, VA 23233
(804) 421-1600 - Group code:  VT Child Abuse Prevention

before 5 pm, Thursday, March 7, 2019 
Book your group rate at Wingate by Wyndham


Marriott Richmond Marriott Short Pump
4240 Dominion Blvd, Glen Allen, VA 23060
(804) 695-9500 - Group code:  Child Abuse Prevention Conference

before 5 pm, Monday, March 11, 2019
Book your group rate at Marriott

Agenda at a Glance

Day 1 - April 8, 2019

8 – 9 am                                       

Registration and Continental Breakfast


9 – 9:15 am                                 


Lisa Specter-Dunaway, Families Forward Virginia

Carl Ayers, Virginia Department of Social Services

9:15 – 10:30 am                           

Morning Keynote

Melissa Merrick

CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control 


10:45 am – Noon                         

Workshop Sessions A

Noon – 12:45 pm                         


12:45 – 1:30 pm                           

VDSS Leadership Update

Commissioner Duke Storen, Virginia Department of Social Services

Carl Ayers, Virginia Department of Social Services


1:45 – 3 pm                                 

Workshop Sessions B

3:15 – 4:45 pm 

Resilience Screening and Facilitated Discussion

Greater Richmond Stop Child Abuse Now


Day Two - April 9, 2019

8 – 8:45 am                                 

Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:45 -- 9 a.m.                               


Lisa Specter-Dunaway, Families Forward Virginia

9 – 10:15 am                               

Morning Keynote

Linda Chamberlain, Consultant and Founding Director

Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project


10:30 – 11:45 am                       

Workshop Sessions C


Noon – 12:30 pm                         


12:30 – 1:45 pm                         

Afternoon Keynote

Jennifer Jones

Change in Mind Institute at the

Alliance of Strong Families and Communities

Gabe McGaughey

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee


2 – 3:15 pm                                 

Workshop Sessions D


3:30 – 4 pm                                 

Conference Highlights and Closing Remarks

Lisa Specter-Dunaway, Families Forward Virginia

Slash Coleman, RVA Laugh Club

Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Get a Sneak Peek of the Keynote Speakers!


Dr. Melissa Merrick, Senior Epidemiologist with the Division of Violence Prevention at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

Duke Storen, Commissioner for the Virginia Department of Social Services

Carl Ayers, Director of Family Services for the Virginia Department of Social Services

Dr. Linda Chamberlain, Consultant and University of Alaska Adjunct Faculty

Jennifer Jones, Director of the Change in Mind Institute at the Alliance of Strong Families and Communities

Gabe McGaughey, Co-Founding Director of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Slash Coleman, RVA Laugh Club

Detailed Keynote Descriptions

Melissa T. Merrick, PhD

CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

“Preventing Early Adversity to Achieve Multiple Health and Wellbeing Outcomes”

Monday, April 8th | 9:15-10:30am


Childhood experiences have a tremendous impact on lifelong development, health, and opportunity. Child maltreatment and other early adversities have been linked to a host of negative outcomes, including decreased intellectual development and academic achievement, poor mental and physical health, and early death. While early adversity is a significant concern for child welfare professionals and advocates, it can be prevented. Assuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children is CDC’s vision and approach to preventing child abuse and neglect. By promoting contexts that help create communities in which every child can thrive, we can help children achieve their maximal health and life potential.  Learn more about the role we all play in prevention and how intentional, strategic partnerships across sectors are invaluable in our efforts to prevent child maltreatment and other early adversity.


About Dr. Merrick— Melissa T. Merrick, PhD, is a Senior Epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Dr. Merrick has over 18 years of clinical, research, and leadership experience related to the etiology, course, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Dr. Merrick is involved in multiple projects that examine safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments, as they relate to child maltreatment prevention, and examine the effects of adverse childhood experiences throughout the lifespan. Dr. Merrick leverages her clinical and research experiences to effectively communicate and disseminate the critical public health importance of preventing early adversity to key stakeholders, congressional audiences and policymakers, and community members and professionals with diverse priorities, backgrounds, and knowledge.  In partnership with the HHS Office of Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN), she serves as the Lead Scientist for the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study at CDC.  Dr. Merrick received her BA in psychology, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, and her masters and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, where she served as a program coordinator for the San Diego site of the Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) consortium. Prior to joining the CDC, Dr. Merrick was an NIH-funded Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Miami Child Protection Team (CPT) involved in a multi-site program of research that examined child maltreatment risk and protective factors in families evaluated by CPTs across the state of Florida.

Commissioner S. Duke Storen

Virginia Department of Social Services

“An Overview of the Family First Prevention Services: Shifting our Child Welfare System to Focus on Prevention”

Monday, April 8th | 12:45-1:30pm



The Family First Prevention Services Act was adopted in February 2018 and includes historic reforms to the child welfare financing streams by providing prevention services to families of children who are at imminent risk of entering foster care. Family First underscores the importance of children growing up in families and seeks to avoid the traumatic experience of children being separated from their families and entering foster care. Specifically, federal reimbursement will be available for trauma-informed mental health services, substance abuse treatment and in-home parenting skills training to safely maintain in-home family placements. This legislation sparks a sweeping overhaul of the child welfare system, the largest seen in nearly 40 years. Opportunities for real and lasting change are available, and the physical and mental health benefits to children and families will be extraordinary – shifting our child welfare system to a culture of proactive and targeted prevention services for families. Family First supports VDSS’s overarching mission that kids should grow up in a safe, stable and secure family that supports their long-term well-being.


About Commissioner Storen— For nearly 30 years, Commissioner Duke Storen’s academic and professional career has focused keenly on the alleviation of poverty.  Working in all sectors, including academia, community-based not-for-profits, state government, and consulting, Commissioner Storen has dedicated his time and efforts to social policy and programs designed to bring relief to low-income populations.  Prior to joining VDSS as Commissioner, Commissioner Storen served as the Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Program Development at Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit working to end childhood hunger in American through the national No Kid Hungry campaign.  As Share Our Strength, Commissioner Storen led federal and state advocacy, research on poverty and child nutrition programs, executive consulting with federal and state government, and a program innovation lab that developed and tested program improvements of nutrition programs.  Just before serviced under two administrations at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, where he led efforts to improve program access to nutrition programs and managed the child nutrition programs, Commissioner Storen served as the Deputy Director of a private government IT consulting company, State Information Technology Consortium (SITC).  Commissioner Storen also worked for state government in both New Jersey and Virginia where he was responsible for the administration of all safety net programs, including TANF, Child Care, Child Support, Child Welfare, and WIC.  Commissioner Storen spent a number of years at Rutgers University as a researcher, graduate student professors, and project director at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development while earning his PhD in Urban Planning and Public Policy.  Commissioner Storen also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Justice from the College of the Holy Cross, and a Master of Arts in Public Policy from Rutgers University.  Commissioner Storen grew up in Indianapolis, Louisville, Memphis and Atlanta before settling in Houston where he attended high school.  Commissioner Storen now resides in Fredericksburg, VA with his wife, Barbara and their five children between the ages of 4 and 18.  Commissioner Storen’s special interests include youth sports, volunteerism, social action, humanitarian relief, economic empowerment, health and human rights.

Carl Ayers, MSW

Virginia Department of Social Services

“An Overview of the Family First Prevention Services: Shifting our Child Welfare System to Focus on Prevention”

Monday, April 8th | 12:45-1:30pm



About Mr. Ayers— Carl Ayers, MSW, joined the Virginia Department of Social Services as the Director of the Division of Family Services in 2014. Mr. Ayers has more than 21 years' experience in the public child welfare system including numerous leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. Mr. Ayers serves as Chair of the Interagency Partnership to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness, is a Board member of the Child Welfare League of America and is on the Executive Committee for the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. He currently leads Virginia's Three Branch Initiative to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act and previous initiatives to reduce child fatalities.

Linda Chamberlain, PhD MPH

Consultant and University of Alaska Adjunct

“The Neurobiology of Stress and Brain-Mind-Body Practices”

Tuesday, April 9th | 9:00-10:15am

Handout Handout Handout Handout Handout Handout


While stress has an essential role in healthy development, overwhelming and prolonged stress, in the absence of self-regulatory and coping skills, can lead to predictable and preventable physical, mental, cognitive and behavioral challenges. The essential role of brain-mind-body interventions that work with the brain from the bottom up will be explained.  The growing body of science supporting the effectiveness of breath work, mindful practices, movement and other strategies to reset the autonomic nervous system and calm the brain will be discussed.  Dr. Chamberlain will demonstrate several brief practices with the audience and highlight resources that can be used in a wide range of settings to buffer the effects of stress and trauma.


About Dr. Chamberlain— Scientist, author, professor, dog musher, and founder of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project, Dr. Linda Chamberlain is an internationally recognized keynote speaker and advocate on domestic violence, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), brain development and trauma, and the amazing adolescent brain.  Known for her abilities to translate science into practical strategies with diverse audiences, she conveys a message of hope.  Her current work focuses on brain-body strategies that work with the brain from the bottom-up to address how stress/trauma are stored in the body and to engage our instinct to heal.  Certified in several practices to promote resilience, self-regulation and well-being, she demonstrates simple skills that can be taught to children, adolescents and families.   Dr. Chamberlain teaches at the University of Alaska and earned public health degrees from Yale School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University.  The author of numerous national curricula and the Amazing Brain Series, she recently released an online toolkit on Addressing the Intersections Between Domestic Violence and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).  Recognition for her work includes a Scientist Scholar with the Fulbright Arctic Initiative, a National Kellogg Leadership Fellowship, an Alaska Women of Achievement Award and the Inaugural Scattergood Foundation Scholar on Child Behavioral Health.

Jennifer A. Jones, MSW

Change in Mind Institute at the Alliance of Strong Families and Communities

“Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities”

Tuesday, April 9th | 12:30-1:45pm



The Change in Mind initiative was an international cohort of 15 sites aiming to develop policy and systems change responses to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and emerging brain science in communities across North America.  The collective goal was to use brain science to leverage sustainable policy and systems change that would revitalize communities and improve the well-being and long-term prospects of children, youth, families and communities.  Jennifer Jones will provide a brief overview of the initiative and share up-to-date learnings from this systems-based approach.  Representing one of the Change in Mind cohorts, Gabriel McGaughey will share strategies and interventions that Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin employed to integrate brain science to address complex, community challenges.  This will include an overview of the HOMES Initiative, a systemic intervention focused on the prevention of child maltreatment through the stabilization of housing for families. 


About Ms. Jones— Jennifer Jones currently serves as the Director of the Change in Mind (CiM) Institute at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities.  The Change in Mind Institute seeks to increase a common understanding of the core story of brain development and integrate this knowledge into the social and public sectors.  Through continuous innovation and alignment of practice and policy with knowledge, research and evidence on how the brain develops, the Change in Mind Institute aims to enhance the skills and capacities we all need to be healthy, happy and contributing citizens. For the past three years, Ms. Jones led the Change in Mind Initiative, a two-country peer learning laboratory of 15 sites.  The Initiative, a partnership between the Alliance, the Palix Foundation in Alberta, Canada and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation demonstrated the value and critical need for innovation in shifting organizational paradigms, practices and policies to align with the latest advances in neurosciences, and identified the longer-term opportunities and challenges of doing so at the systems level. Prior to her positions with the Alliance, Ms. Jones served as the Associate Director of the Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) and led the agency’s efforts on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Positive Community Norms. Jennifer was also responsible for CTF’s strategic planning, public policy, and communications efforts.  For her last two years at the agency, Ms. Jones served as Interim Executive Director, at the Board’s request, and coordinated all activities related to the Governor-appointed Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board.  Preceding her positions with the Children’s Trust Fund, Ms. Jones served as the communications specialist in the Secretary’s Office at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and as a child welfare policy advisor in the Wisconsin Division of Children and Family Services.  She also served as Director of Marketing with the Alliance for Children and Families, the Grants Manager with the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, and the Executive Director of the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. Ms. Jones received her bachelor’s in social work from Marquette University and her master’s in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Gabriel McGaughey, MSW

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin 

“Change in Mind: Applying Neurosciences to Revitalize Communities”

Tuesday, April 9th | 12:30-1:45pm



About Mr. McGaughey— Gabriel McGaughey serves as the Director of Child Well-Being for Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee Community Services and is a founding co-Director of the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being. In these roles, he works to move child welfare and other public systems toward a more holistic approach to working with children and families facing complex challenges, with the goal of improving their immediate health and long-term well-being. Mr. McGaughey’s current work focuses on systemic interventions around housing, health, and child welfare and the use of Human Centered Design to co-create innovative solutions with families and others. Previously, he served as the director of Children’s Child Welfare program, overseeing the implementation of a new program design, performance outcomes, and quality improvement. Mr. McGaughey holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Slash Coleman, MAed

RVA Laugh Club

“The Surprising and Dangerous Science of Laughter”

Tuesday, April 9th | 3:30-4:00pm


Is it possible to recapture the magic we knew as kids, the same magic that allows us to transform any given moment through silliness, joy and by making things possible that once seemed impossible? Join certified laughter yoga leader and acclaimed author Slash Coleman on a unique and revelatory journey as he helps you reimagine and rediscover what it’s like to live a more sensible, virtuous and joyful life.  Through a life-changing yearlong experiment using a formal system of inducing laughter called Laughter Yoga, Mr. Coleman will expand your understanding of laughter, and inspire you with what he’s learned since founding RVA Laugh Club, hosting weekly laughter sessions, laughter flash mobs, laughter event fluffing, laughing darshan and what it’s been like to help participants suffering from emotional and physical pain navigate life with greater ease and grace.


About Mr. Coleman— Slash Coleman, MAed and Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, (best known as the acclaimed author of “The Bohemian Love Dairies” and the writer behind dozens of off-beat storytelling shows which have been featured on stages internationally and on TV) is the founder of RVA Laugh Club, a weekly laughter club dedicated to creating healthier and happier lives in Virginia. Since 2017, he’s provided laughter yoga programs at: ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, Parham Doctor's Hospital, for veterans at the Richmond VA Medical Center and dozens of elementary schools and YMCA’s. He currently splits his time between writing, meditating, surfing, practicing yoga and working in his family’s business, Tinkers, as both an upholsterer and art conservator. More at:



For presenter bios, click here

Family First: Designing a Blue Print to Implement Evidence-Based Trauma-Informed Services in Virginia

Laura Reed, Virginia Department of Social Services and Lisa Jobe-Shields, University of Richmond

Presentation Handout

Come learn about the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First), which was signed into federal law in February 2018, and the Three Branch Model, which launched in June 2018 to implement this landmark legislation in Virginia.  This workshop will provide an overview of how all three branches of government are working together to address critical child welfare issues and will highlight the implementation plan for Family First, with a special focus on recent survey findings that will inform the ongoing development of a continuum of evidence-based, trauma-informed services for Virginia’s child welfare system. 

Community-Based Prevention and Intervention in Fairfax: A Local Look at Collaborative Efforts to Support Youth and Families

Allison Lowry, Fairfax Department of Human Services and Mary Jo Davis, Fairfax County Public Schools


Neighborhood Networks is a prevention / early intervention program administered in partnership with the public school system. Families are identified by school personnel and referred to this voluntary program to help them build upon their own support networks to strengthen their families and keep their children safe. This workshop will include an overview of this innovative program and review its development including lessons learned and outcomes, the exploration of creative funding opportunities, and strategies for utilizing a systems-approach for prevention work.


ACEs Connection Network’s Growing Resilient Communities 2.0 and Community Tracker

Samantha Sangenito, ACEs Connection Network

Presentation Webinar Link

Learn about ACEs Connection Network – comprised of, a news site for the general public, and its accompanying social network, Both sites focus on adverse childhood experiences science and how people are implementing trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on that science. Dive into how Virginia communities and others across the country are using the Network to support local ACEs initiatives, as well as the tools that can help measure their progress.


Health, Racial Equity and Trauma-Informed Care

Gabriela Alcalde, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

Jackie Washington, Six Point Innovation Center at Storefront for Community Design


This session will provide a framework for understanding how trauma-informed care (TIC) fits within the broader understanding and approaches to health, while examining how health equity and racial equity overlap and differ from the TIC approach. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss how a racial equity analysis could inform and complement a TIC approach and practice.

Improving Child Outcomes by Strengthening Adult Capacities

Dr. Debbie Blackburn and Dr. Jennine Moritz, Partners in Parenting, PC

This workshop draws on cutting edge research and tools from the Harvard Center for the Developing Child and Circle of Security® International.  We will examine and share a map for building core adult competencies in parents and explore how we as helping professionals can deliver services in a way that enhances parents’ self-efficacy, reduces stress, and increases engagement.  We will also review the latest brain research on understanding motivation and factors contributing to active learning and participation in programs intended to support parents and children facing adversity.  This training is intended for child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, and education providers.  Workshop participants will leave with new ideas and tools to support their work with parents. 


Modeling the Way:  The Power of Reflective Practice

Sheri Parcell, Families Forward Virginia and Juliana Weaver, Jefferson Area CHIP


Obtaining positive outcomes for children means we need an intentional approach for supporting and empowering every single person involved in the life of a child. By embracing and practicing a reflective approach at all levels, we can build a circle of support for providers and agencies that are involved in helping children grow up healthier and happier. Let’s talk about what that circle of support looks like and how we can organizationally integrate parallel, reflective practices that promote better outcomes for children and families; and increased job satisfaction for us. We’ll talk about the challenges of a reflective approach consider strategies for managing them, and reflect on our individual roles in taking this approach deeper into practice.


Mindfulness Using the Five Senses

Margo Buchanan, Greater Richmond SCAN and Annette Nelms, Mindful Matters, LLC

During this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the why and the how of practicing mindfulness. Presenters will explain what mindfulness practice is and how it can affect the brain by increasing awareness of the body and mind, increasing attention and focus and decreasing emotionally reactivity. Participants will then participate in mindfulness practices for all five senses, making these practices accessible throughout our day.


CDC’s Child Abuse and Neglect Technical Package

Dr. Melissa Merrick, CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

From a public health perspective, preventing early adversity before it begins by promoting safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments is strategic in order to achieve multiple health, well-being, and productivity goals across generations. To assure the conditions that prevent many early adversities, like child abuse and neglect, from occurring in the first place, comprehensive approaches that minimize risk factors and promote protective factors at all levels of the social ecology are critically important, particularly at the societal level. Learn strategies outlined in CDC’s Child Abuse and Neglect Technical Package and policies that improve the socioeconomic conditions of families to satisfy children’s basic needs, reducing risk factors for child abuse and neglect. The policies will be discussed within a health equity frame and will highlight the important role we all play in prevention.


Safeguarding Children from Sexual Abuse – A Training Resource Toolkit

Ian M. Danielsen and Emily Burleson, Longwood University

Social workers and other human services professionals are in a unique position to serve as effective trainers in child sexual abuse training models. Their “front line” expertise enables them to enhance the content found in curriculum-based trainings, through the sharing of direct experiences and resultant practice wisdom.  Come learn about four different community-based prevention trainings, including Stewards of Children® by Darkness to Light and Safe Church by Praesidium, and how you can teach others to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.  Workshop participants will also experience a mock training segment, bringing to life what child abuse prevention training “looks and feels like” when quality content is facilitated by seasoned professionals.


Advocating for a Trauma-Informed Virginia

Emily Griffey and Allison Gilbreath, Voices for Virginia’s Children

Handout Presentation

Voices for Virginia’s Children leads the Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia. This year, 40 organizations developed and advocated for a Unified Policy Agenda to promote trauma-informed policy and practice. Learn about the creation of the Campaign and the Unified Agenda and how partners were involved in advocacy efforts through storytelling, participating in advocacy days, and meeting with legislators.  This workshop will also highlight other tips for advocating at the state level.

Parent Leadership:  Effecting Community Change

Donna Guevara and Rachel Miller, Virginia Parent Council and Julie Rivnak-McAdam, Families Forward Virginia

Presentation Handout Handout Handout Handout Handout

This workshop will focus on how agencies can bring about meaningful parent involvement in their programs. Families Forward Virginia believes that parents need to be “at the table” defining the needs of their family and the families in their community.  This workshop will include two parents sharing their experience as parent leaders and the work of the Virginia Parent Council. Attendees will learn new ways to encourage parents to succeed as more effective leaders in their family, their child’s school and their community.

The Greater Richmond Trauma-Informed Community Network: Highlight on Trauma Screening Regional Collaborative

Gretchen Brown and Elizabeth Scholla, Henrico Department of Social Services, Lisa Tully, Virginia Department of Social Services, and Lisa Wright, Greater Richmond SCAN

Presentation Handout

This workshop will provide an overview of how a group of individuals who share a commitment towards the creation of a more trauma informed and resilient community within the Greater Richmond region joined together to build the Greater Richmond Trauma-Informed Community Network (GRTICN). Presenters will provide the history of the GRTICN, the collective impact approach, committee structures and a variety of impacts the GRTICN has had across the region and beyond. Panel members from a local agency will share about their collaborative work with the GRTICN and specifically about the pilot implementation of the modified North Carolina Project Broadcast Brief Trauma Screening Tool with children and families involved with the child welfare system.  A CPS investigator who has been implementing the tool for 4 years will share specific case examples. In addition, the Central Regional Foster Care Program Consultant will share about how the Virginia Department of Social Services serves as the conduit between local departments of social services and best practice efforts across the region.


Good News! Simple Tools for Resilience, Self-Regulation and Healing

Dr. Linda Chamberlain, Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project

In this skill-based workshop, participants will learn about the neurobiology of stress and practice brain-body tools that improve self-regulation, buffer stress and prevent compassion fatigue. Breath work, movement, visualization, HeartMath, and other simple strategies that can be easily taught to children, adults and families, individually, and in groups will be demonstrated. These techniques are used in a wide range of settings including clinical practice, family violence services and shelters, early education programs, schools, youth services, family shelters, refugee camps and areas of conflict. Dr. Chamberlain will highlight her work with Capacitar International, a popular education approach that is being used in more than 40 countries to empower families and communities with tools to promote resilience and self-regulation. 

Unlocking the Power of ACE, Trauma and Resilience Networks:  Lessons Learned from the Field

Leslie Lieberman, Health Federation of Philadelphia


In this interactive workshop, participants will learn how to unlock the power of local cross-sector networks to foster community resilience.  Leslie Lieberman will draw upon her experience as a founding member and leader of the Philadelphia ACE Task Force, a developer of the Community Resilience Cookbook and director of the Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities (MARC) initiative.  Key lessons learned, challenges encountered and overcome and tools and resources will be shared.


Achieving Success Through Diversity and Inclusion:  Recognizing and Challenging Our Own Unconscious Bias

Anne Gibbons, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities


This workshop is designed for individuals, regardless of your professional role, to learn about unconscious bias and how it impacts our work with clients as well as with one another.  Using real life examples, personal reflection and thought-provoking activities, participants will receive an overview in diversity awareness and bias reduction and learn basic skills for building a more inclusive environment in the work place.


Circle of Parents:  Helping Parents Succeed

Olivya Wilson and Teresa Jackson, Greater Richmond SCAN, Keli Lichty, NRV Cares, Cecilia Gonzales, Family Focus, Rachel Miller, Virginia Parent Council, and Julie Rivnak-McAdam, Families Forward Virginia

Presentation Handout Handout Handout Handout Handout

Learn about the dynamics of parent support group programs, which assist parents in developing stronger, more positive relationships with their family. A panel of Circle of Parents facilitators and parent leaders will share their experience with this effective program model that helps parents succeed at home and in their community.


Building Resilience Through Engagement:  A Survivor’s Story

Pam Wong, Norfolk Department of Human Services and Devitta Jones, Advocate


Despite experiences in a foster care system that failed her, hear the journey and success story of a survivor and advocate now helping others find hope and healing.  Participants will better understand the effects of trauma on the brain and behavior, and learn how to develop resilience to break the cycle of abuse and neglect.


Telling the Prevention Story:  Turning your Data into a Compelling Narrative for Funders, Stakeholders and Community Members
MaryJo Caruso, FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention

This skill building workshop will support attendees to effectively communicate their child abuse prevention message. In an interactive format, participants will learn how to describe the impact of their efforts, utilize program data to enhance their continuous quality improvement process and share their outcomes with a variety of audiences.  Attendees will develop an understanding of the elements of effective storytelling and how to organize narratives that depict their program’s impact and encourage listeners to form an understanding of the programs being described.  Participants will be able identify the data needs of their audience and utilize strategies to turn that information into compelling, accurate, and succinct messaging that describes their program’s practices and effectiveness which can lead to generating social capital and support.


Change in Mind:  Applying Lessons Learned on Brain Science Integration

Jennifer Jones, Change in Mind Institute at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Gabriel McGaughey, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Presentation Presentation

Stress from housing instability can impair parent functioning and increase the risk for child maltreatment.  Complex challenges like these require systems-based solutions.  This workshop will be a deeper dive into the keynote presentation on the Change in Mind Initiative, brain science, systems change, and the HOMES Initiative, a systemic intervention focused on housing and child maltreatment prevention. Attendees will learn about how brain science can inform policy, drivers of systems change, and the role of strategic learning in advancing solutions to complex problems.  


Strengths-Based Approaches That Build Positive Parent-Child Relationships and Foster Resilience

Sue Geller, Wingspan


Participants will gain an understanding of stressors and issues that parents face that may impede their positive parenting.  Evidence-based approaches to build on parents’ strengths and improve their relationships with their children will be highlighted including calming down methods, caring and nurturing, and conflict resolution.  An array of easy-to-use, practical resources will be shared.


Women and Addiction Across the Lifespan

Dr. Caitlin Martin, Virginia Commonwealth University Obstetrics and Gynecology


Addiction impacts families in many ways. Even though women are less commonly diagnosed with a substance use disorder than men, women generally are more severely afflicted by this disease and its co-morbidities. Providing comprehensive compassionate care to women with addiction requires a tailored approach. Come learn about addiction, the current epidemiology of substance use disorder among women, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and the advantages of opioid use disorder pharmacotherapies in the context of the mother child dyad.  You will also learn how to recognize common co-morbidities of and recommended components of specialized care for women with addiction across the life, including postpartum women.

Redefining Possibilities:  A Creative Approach to Service Development

Elizabeth Clark, Hampton Department of Human Services

This session will highlight the creative service development in areas of safety, supervision, and support in the City of Hampton.  This has led to a reduced number of young people entering the foster care system, eliminated the use of congregate placements for over ten years, and increased the positive outcomes for children and families.  A snapshot of these services will be reviewed highlighting the positive impact of collaborative and creative service development and delivery to the most vulnerable youth and families in the child welfare system.

Exhibitor Info

Exhibitor Opportunities

Our Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Conference offers the opportunity to exhibit to over 400 statewide child welfare service providers and advocates in the field including social service, mental and behavioral health, medical, juvenile justice and legal professionals. Your exhibitor registration includes a 3' x 6' table.

Exhibitor Fee: $45 per attendee; Exhibitor Extra Table Fee: $15 (space is limited)


Questions about the conference? Contact: Sarah Westphal

Questions about registration? Contact: Christy Wallace

Questions about exhibiting? Contact: Wayne Crotto

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