“Putting Families First” – Inaugural Virtual DCYF Conference

DCYF Conference.

April 15, 2020

Concord, NH—On April 5 to April 9, 2021, the Child Welfare Education Partnership (CWEP) and the State of New Hampshire’s Division of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) marked the first ever Virtual DCYF conference. The event, coordinated and facilitated by CWEP, serves as an engaging learning opportunity to help benefit DCYF staff, community partners, and stakeholders.

With 61 individual workshops, more than 850 participants attended this conference, including social workers, juvenile probation officers, attorneys, foster parents, guardian ad litems, public and private agencies.

This year’s conference invited national leaders in children and family service and covered emerging trends and best practices such as: enhancement of prevention services, law enforcement collaboration, ethical issues, implicit bias, LGBTQ+ involved youth, and more. The conference also included sessions on new skill development and self care.

Dr. Heather Forkey, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a pediatrician at UMass Memorial Medical Center, delivered a keynote presentation called “Tend and Befriend: How the Science of Stress Provides a Road to Resilience.” This session explored the science of stress responses and the impact on developing brains and bodies of children, how foundational relationships provide buffering, and ways to impact stress responses and supports to ensure positive long-term outcomes.

One conference participant shared: “There was so much great info shared and she was such a phenomenal speaker. I thought it was really poignant how she discussed how the brain gets ‘mapped’ at such a young age and ways that adults and peers can help children learn to regulate in safe, empathetic, and predictable environments.”

The 2021 Virtual DCYF Conference was funded by NH DCYF and collaboratively planned with the Child Welfare Education Partnership (CWEP) at Granite State College.

To learn more about CWEP’s programming and initiatives, please visit: cwep.granite.edu.