SARASOTA, FL – On April 13 and 14, 250 child welfare and youth mental health experts and practitioners from across the state gathered at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota for Safe Children Coalition’s 11th Annual Conference. The event was at full capacity as the conference returned to an in-person format.
The conference opened with a Child Welfare Celebration Breakfast, to recognize and celebrate the important work that is being done in the child welfare community. In attendance was Secretary Shevaun Harris of the Florida Department of Children and Families, who spoke to the attendees.
Safe Children Coalition vice president of Community Based Care, Kathleen Cowan, addressed the crowd and then recognized 10 award-winning “Champions for Children”: Tonia Hutchinson, Pam Hodge, Tiffany VanDeMark, Melissa Lancsarics, Christian Cross, Wendy Sims and Joshua Matlock, Bridge a Life, The Twig, and CarePortal.
Conference sessions addressed topics including: the dangers of social media, coping skills for kids, pregnancy and post-delivery trauma, human trafficking, trauma and brain development, developmental surveillance, sleep’s impact on function, psychological trauma, self-care for providers, evidence-based domestic violence screening tools and assessments, combating opioid addiction, grief and loss, supporting LGBTQ teens and community, adolescent development and mental health, and the power of prevention.
Presenters – who came from as far away as Colorado and Canada – hailed from private practice, area businesses and youth-serving nonprofits, Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit, Healthy Families Florida, the Florida Department of Children and Families, and the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking.
“Safe Children Coalition has the distinction of being the first Community Based Care lead agency in the State of Florida,” said Brena Slater, president and CEO of SCC. “As we celebrate our 25th year, we are proud to host this annual conference – bringing together child welfare professionals from near and far to share best practices, learn new research-based strategies, and to gather more resources to help children.”
For more about Safe Children Coalition, visit sccfl.org.
About Safe Children Coalition, Inc.
Safe Children Coalition, Inc. (SCC) serves as the lead agency for community-based care for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. SCC is a collaboration between local community agencies that provide services to children and families in need. SCC is committed to protecting children, strengthening families, and building community. The core functions provided by SCC include: child welfare case management, foster care, adoption, independent living, prevention, diversion, quality management, and support services as well as other social service programs. Visit sccfl.org or call 941-371-4799.