There is a powerful African proverb that says, “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” But what does this actually look like in practice? Sector leaders are searching for effective strategies for organizational development, funding, and community justice. More than ever, leaders in the sector are understaffed and challenged by pay, an even heavier burden for smaller community-based organizations. Do past management styles hold value in today’s environment? What changes should leaders make?

A phenomenal cast of experts, ranging from leaders of a small community-based organization to a large state-based agency, will discuss sector-wide challenges that need to be addressed. Leaders want practical methods for diversity and inclusion development within their teams. They must also acknowledge all partnerships as equal to build a community that values safety, justice, and voice. Systemic change is always the call, but there are many power dynamics leaders must recognize in collaborations that can serve as a catalyst to change. The leaders in this workshop will share examples of the successful strategies their organizations have implemented as well as challenges they’ve experienced.

Learning Objectives


Romero Davis
Senior Program Manager
Social Current

Crystal Bennett, LMSW
DEI Specialist, CEO

Joseph Alonzo
Cocoon House

Undraye Howard
Vice President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement
Social Current

Marlena Torres
Children’s Home Society of Washington

Taneshia Miller
Ladies In Power

Many social service providers want to improve outcomes for families. To do this, they seek tools that draw deeply from the science of early childhood development and use a two-generation approach to easily incorporate principles of human-centered design. This workshop will discuss an overarching framework for the kind of support caregivers really need—holistic support that builds executive functioning, is grounded in respect, and structured around tangible economic mobility and family goals. Engaging with all types of families collaboratively and responding in the moment to how they are experiencing a program so that it can be adapted appropriately will also be highlighted. The focus is on designing programs that don’t cause further stress and re-traumatization to families, but rather to help them feel more in control of their futures.

The Children’s Home Society of America (CHSA) member organizations have partnered with Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child (HCDC) and EMPath to inform the development of two tools that can be easily and affordably applied across a range of human services settings to help improve child and family outcomes. Science X Design (SxD) from Harvard is a process that supports organizations and teams in identifying a problem informed by three dimensions: Science, the family voice, and the wisdom of program staff. SxD has recently been adapted as a digital open access tool. EMPath’s Mobility Mentoring provides much-needed tools for staff to engage with parents and caregivers as well as to measure the impact of the program. It features the Bridge to Self-Sufficiency which has been proven to support families while they achieve goals that improve financial stability, like securing employment, housing, building up savings, and completing professional training.

Learning Objectives


Susan Crowley
Senior Program Manager
Harvard Center for the Developing Child

Nicki Ruiz de Luzuriaga
Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Gabriel McGaughey
Director of Child Well-Being
Children’s Wisconsin Community Services

Marlo Nash
Managing Director
Children’s Home Society of America

In this workshop, Starr Commonwealth will discuss the integration of trauma-informed, sensory-based occupational therapy into behavioral health therapy via the “co-treatment approach.” This specialized approach enhances the developmentally appropriate, play-based tactics that help young children who have experienced trauma heal. This session will include discussion and demonstrations of activities conducted to assist participants in understanding the foundations of this specialized approach as well as how the developmentally informed strategies appear in practice.

Check out this article, authored by presenters Jenny Sloan and Sara Gariepy, referencing these practices in the Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy.

Learning Objectives


Jenny Sloan, LMSW CTRT CTP-C
Clinical Supervisor
Starr Commonwealth

Sara Sulkowski
Behavioral Health Clinician
Starr Commonwealth

Sara Gariepy
Occupational Therapist
Starr Commonwealth

Woods Services’ System of Care is comprised of six organizations that share a common mission: Providing life-cycle care to people with intellectual disabilities, autism, medical and behavioral health challenges, and those involved in the child welfare system. Across the system of care, a diverse workforce of 6,000 people are employed. Their robust employee engagement strategy serves as one of the transformational cornerstones Woods has experienced over the last six years. Qualified employees who stay over time are critical to carrying out their shared mission, leading directly to improved consumer outcomes. Woods System of Care recognizes by doing better for employees, everyone wins.

In this dynamic workshop, an executive leader from Woods and one of its affiliates will highlight case studies to illustrate best practices along the continuum of recruitment, retention, training, professional development, and support of employees who are tasked with delivering services to multiple populations across 200 programs. These best practices are aligned with COA Accreditation standards, going beyond role clarity by matching job requirements to training. They promote innovative thinking and creativity, offer professional development, and provide trauma-informed support to staff. Woods and its affiliates have implemented diverse strategies, such as designing accessible career ladders for advancement, providing free onsite health care, as well as heavily subsidized degree programs with a dedicated staff person working to help employees navigate enhanced benefits and coach them through barriers to earning their degree. In addition to innovative trauma-informed approaches, such as offering vicarious trauma workshops and a “Sanctuary” meditation room, Woods System of Care provides career mobility across organizations where they are located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Join this workshop to hear examples and strategies relevant for all types of health and human services providers.

Learning Objectives


Karen Coleman
President and CEO
Tabor Children’s Services

Erin Drummond
Assistant Vice President of Employee Training and Development
Woods Services

Karen Wilkins, MHRM, SHRM-CP, PHR
Chief Human Resources Officer
Tabor Services

Kinship navigation programs across the country are innovating rapidly to meet the needs of families and prevent entry into foster care—but how are these programs strategically and equitably meeting the learning needs of their frontline staff and kinship caregivers? Join Ohio’s Kinship and Adoptive Navigation (OhioKAN) regional director and statewide trainer to learn how their program tackled the redesign of their onboarding training for new hires as well as the implementation of neuroscience-informed trauma training for kinship caregivers. In this workshop, you’ll learn about Ohio’s statewide approach to gathering feedback on staff onboarding experiences, how to leverage a variety of learning tools to promote learner engagement, how to strategize the implementation of a new learning management system (LMS), and a practical application of equity principles in developing curricula for frontline staff and kinship caregivers. If you or your organization are committed to equity and looking to facilitate a culture of continuous learning for both your staff and the communities they serve, this workshop is for you!

Learning Objectives


Yvonne Fox
Associate Policy Analyst
Chapin Hall at University of Chicago

Maria Laib
Regional Director

Joe Sack
Project Manager

Teresa Scrimenti
Statewide Trainer

As organizations continue to seek increased impact with children, families, and communities, it is key to create a culture of continuous learning, improvement, and innovation. This session will cover various strategies for effectively implementing quality improvement and human-centered design (HCD) systems.

This session will share how human-centered design can be helpful for engaging staff at all levels and delve into how Congreso de Latinos Unidos implemented a comprehensive HCD that spanned the whole organization and more than 50 programs. Participants will leave with practical tools, tips, and techniques for shifting from a culture of compliance to a culture of innovation.

Learning Objectives


Stan Capela
VP for Quality Management
HeartShare Human Services of New York

Brendan Conlin
Chief Program Officer
Congreso de Latinos Unidos

The “Great Resignation” is creating a burden on organizations nationwide, especially in meeting contractual deliverables, retaining skilled staff, and recruiting new staff. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics stated that COVID-19 contributed to one of the largest employee attrition rates, particularly in health care. Nonprofit management teams critically rely on strong leadership from within, and oftentimes, staff are promoted into management roles based on clinical excellence but are not provided a strong foundation related to leadership competencies like:

That is why every organization needs a “bench” of skilled players on their team. This workshop will discuss a Leadership Training Academy’s 12-month curriculum for new and emerging leaders that develops these competencies.

By examining behavioral health case studies, participants will learn about components of a successful organizational response to low staff morale and burnout. Participants will also learn about needs-based assessment processes aimed at identifying future leaders internally and gain practical tools to improve retention in their own organizations.

Learning Objectives


Erin Saylor
Managing Director of Behavioral Health Services
Child and Family Agency of Southeastern CT

Courtney Seely
Senior Director of Behavioral Health Services
Child and Family Agency of Southeastern CT

The child welfare system is impacted by and is an agent for systemic racism in the U.S., with Black and Brown children disproportionately represented. Inequity and trauma are negatively impacting the children in their daily functioning, as well as staff dealing with vicarious trauma and burnout. All these factors and more encourage us to avoid conversations about race and identity within residential treatment facilities, and we simply cannot.

This workshop is an introduction to ways in which the Hephzibah Children’s Association has puzzled through these complex issues. The organization’s Children’s Equity Committee tackles ways to address issues of race, ethnicity, power, and gender both in direct work with the kids and in support of staff and the Hephzibah community. It is a voluntary and open group of staff within the group home in varying roles ranging from direct care staff on the units to the social workers, therapists, a behavioral-analyst, and a nurse. Its focus has been twofold; creating safety within the group to support difficult and emotional topics and not burden staff of color, and consistently reassessing according to the feedback from the children on what they need. This session will help participants prioritize perseverance over perfection with lessons learned from Hephzibah Children’s Association.

Learning Objectives


Lucy Scott
Clinical Coordinator
Hephzibah Children’s Association

Nicole Roby
Behavior Analyst
Hephzibah Children’s Association

Focusing on simple, practical, and adaptable strategies that can be effectively integrated into the busiest of days, this workshop will provide an overview of the impact of chronic elevated stress on physical and mental health based on our current understanding of neuroscientific research. Utilizing a combination of didactic information and experiential exercises, participants will learn the seven evidence-based stress busters and how to incorporate them into their own daily lives, as well as applying them to their work supporting others.

Learning Objectives


Ellen Kinoy
Clinical Director
Lincoln Families

Phoebe Harris Millman
Clinical Director for School-Based Services in Contra Costa County
Lincoln Families