SFTI: Strengthening Families Training Institute
Every year the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund convenes the Strengthening Families Training Institute (SFTI) which brings together over 200 child advocates, prevention practitioners, educators, and parents from throughout Idaho to learn how to prevent child abuse and neglect from national and local experts and to share their experiences with each other.
2022 SFTI Wrap-Up
Theme: Planting the Seed of an Idea: Bringing our Work to Scale
After two long years of no in-person events, we were all anxious to gather together. This year’s SFTI was so special as we got to reunite. Most of the meeting format was very familiar to previous SFTI attendees: an opening keynote, followed by a workshop by the keynote, 3 parallel workshop sessions, a final panel discussion, and the conference culminated in an awards ceremony where several organizations were commended for their contributions to preventing child abuse and strengthening families in their Idaho communities.
Christina Bethell delivered her Keynote “From Awareness to Action: Taking the Leap to Bring Healing, Equity, and Flourishing to Scale” Dr Bethell’s keynote had a focus on promoting child, family and community flourishing, even amid the adversity and trauma present in society today. Steps and skills to shift to a flourishing paradigm will be outlined, including key skills, enabling policies and foundational mindsets essential to restore innate capacities for individual, relational and community resilience and healing.
Through collaboration across health, education, social services and with families and communities, we can implement the science of thriving and create a joyful process that establishes the transformational resilience needed to face current challenges with hope, creativity and commitment to the well-being of all children, families, communities and ourselves.
Participants then had their choice of 8 workshops. On Day 2, there were more workshops and we closed the event with awards and an inspiring panel with Luis Granados and students from the Breaking Chains Academy of Development.
The Ed Van Dusen Legacy Award
The Ed Van Dusen Award for Exemplary Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, or The Ed! for short, is presented each year to a program selected by the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund‘s Board of Directors, which exemplifies deep commitment to and successful practice in preventing child abuse and neglect. This year we celebrated the work of the Bikers Against Bullies Idaho Falls Chapter.
Bikers Against Bullies USA is a not-for-profit group created by bikers, but not limited to bikers, that is committed to creating awareness and educating both children and adults on the benefits of living in a society of respect for each other combined with self-empowerment.
What do we do to impact the kids?
1-We do an interactive assembly in schools. We teach the kids to be themselves and to accept others differences as well.
2- We place buddy benches in the schools and teach the kids what the meaning of a buddy bench is. The Buddy Bench is a place where children can go if they have no one to play with. Kids who see someone on the bench can then go over and ask them to play.
3- We go to kid’s residences that have been bullied and empower them. We let them know they have people who care about them and their situation.
4- We work with Clandestine Kringle and take 5 families each year and do a special Christmas event for them. We buy all the gifts for the families from proceeds throughout the year and from sponsors.
5- We work with many resources like Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center, Food Bank, etc., and make sure families are cared for and getting the proper help to address the types of abusive behaviors in their lives.
Why does our program work?
We use the power of the motorcycle to open the kids’ eyes and ears in what we call the wow factor. We get to know them better and do interactive skits to show them how to deal with a bully as well as who to speak with if a situation arises. Most importantly, we teach them to be kind to each other with non-violent actions.
We strive to create a society in which our mutual respect will create a new role model for others, and through our actions enable others to have the confidence to emulate non-violent behavior and reiterate our positive message of inclusion for others. Our hope is to provide early intervention within the schools and other community resources that work with youth, providing education on the difference between abusive (bullying) and non-abusive behaviors.
The Pinwheel Awards
In 2016, the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund Board began a new tradition to recognize people and groups who have made significant contributions in the past year. The Pinwheel Awardees for 2021 -2022 are:
Idaho Public Television – When the idea for a documentary focused on how Idahoans faced with adversity developed resilience was presented, IPTV did not flinch. Resilient Idaho: Hope Lives Here has become a tool for learning about ACEs and how we can prevent and respond to them.
Upper Valley Child Advocacy Center– Faced with the community trauma of a school shooting, UVCAC brought its skills in dealing with individual trauma to the community level. Upper Valley has consistently placed prevention alongside their intervention work.
Imagination Intitative – When schools went online in North Idaho, this project went to work rehabbing computers and making them available to families that didn’t have adequate technology. Over 250 families have been helped since Imagination Initiative Inc. started in 2020.
United Way North Idaho– Advancing the common good in a community is less about helping one person at a time and more about changing systems to help all of us. We all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy. These successes alone surely help diminish community issues of child abuse, neglect and sexual abuse.
Region I CASA—Over the years CASA NI recognized the need not only to help the children per se but to also assist reunited families. Recognizing the positive aspects of providing “concrete support” as a foundation of Strengthening Families NI CASA added Project Permanency to their task list.
2022 SFTI Materials
2021 SFTI Wrap-Up
The 2021 annual Strengthening Families Training Institute was held online!
Day One KEYNOTE: The Power of Prevention
Melissa T. Merrick, PhD, is President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, the nation’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. She has nearly 20 years of clinical, research, and leadership experience related to the etiology, course, and prevention of child abuse and neglect.
Previously, Dr. Merrick was a senior epidemiologist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Atlanta, and served on a detail in the Office of the Commissioner at the Children’s Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families. In partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Abuse and Neglect, she served as the lead scientist for the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study at CDC for 8 years. Dr. Merrick successfully leverages her clinical and research experiences to communicate and disseminate the critical public health importance of preventing early adversity to key stakeholders with diverse priorities, backgrounds, and knowledge, including legislators, business and civic leaders, and members of the academic and medical communities.
Dr. Merrick received her BA in psychology, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, and her master’s 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 consortium. Dr. Merrick was a National Institutes of Health-funded postdoctoral fellow at the University of Miami Child Protection Team (CPT), where she was 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.
Dr. Merrick is married and has two young children who keep her grounded, thankful, and hopeful for a brighter future for all children.
Day 2 Keynote: Dr. Sarah Watamura
Sarah Enos Watamura, PhD, Professor & Chair, University of Denver
Dr. Sarah Enos Watamura is Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Denver where she directs the Child Health & Development Lab and co-directs the Stress, Early Experience and Development (SEED) Research Center. After training with Megan Gunnar, PhD, at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development, she received her PhD from the Department of Human Development at Cornell University in 2005. She has longstanding interests in children¹s physiologic regulation, their development within caregiving contexts, and in understanding mechanisms and trajectories from early life stress to later physical health, mental health, cognitive/educational, and socio-emotional outcomes. Her work focuses on the unique stressors and buffers in families experiencing poverty and among newly immigrated and refugee families and includes testing promising intervention approaches. Recent projects test and develop interventions to support families facing adversity, including those that target the wellbeing of the adults in children’s lives who themselves may have history of adversity.
CAPNOTE: Corey Best and a panel to discuss race equity in Idaho
Corey B. Best is first, a dedicated father. While originally from Washington, DC, he now resides in Florida. This is where Corey began his transformation into leadership training, systems building, family engagement, anti-oppressive practice, promoting protective factors, social equality and highlighting “good enough parenting” for those impacted by the child welfare system.
Mr. Best is commonly known as a leader and skilled facilitator that brings a combination of lived and professional experience as he organizes for child welfare justice and transformation. His innovative style and approach led him to receive the 2016 Casey Family Programs Excellence for Children’s Award. This work has allowed Corey to take leadership to the next level. His perspective is that a leader must have a set a values and behaviors that embrace diversity, shared power and social contribution to see lasting changes within our communities.
Corey is Certified in the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Fund’s Bringing the Protective Factors to Life in Your Work. In addition to several speaking and technical assistance opportunities, he proudly serves as an active member Board member with Alia. His role has also morphed into a Professional Guide for the Alia Innovation Cohort. Corey has also mobilized countless communities to intentionally share power, while infusing perspectives of constituents in practice and policy changes that directly impact communal wellbeing. In short, Corey’s mission is to positively influence the lives of children, families, and communities through curating emotionally safe and racially equitable relationships.
2020 SFTI Wrap-Up
Theme: Flourishing In Hope
After postponing from March due to the coronavirus, this years’ SFTI was a fully virtual format and was held on September 2-4. Despite the distance between us, we embraced the new format and delieved all the elements that make our in-person conferences so special. Most of the meeting format was very familiar to previous SFTI attendees: an opening keynote, followed by a workshop by the keynote, 3 parallel workshop sessions, a final panel discussion, and the conference culminated in an awards ceremony where several organizations were commended for their contributions to preventing child abuse and strengthening families in their Idaho communities.
Dr. Sege and his team from Tufts University in Boston presented a keynote focused on “Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences” (HOPE) with a follow up workshop to help us learn to use new tools for building Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs).
On Day 2 participants had their choice of 8 workshops. On Day 3, there were more workshops and we closed the event with awards and a panel of formerly homeless mothers who talked about their experiences raising children while dealing with unstable housing. CATCH’s Abby White helped guide the discussion.
Link to Worskshop Presenters handouts and slide presentations: Conference Padlet
We assembled all the recordings of our recently wrapped SFTI2020 onto our YouTube channel. So much important and inspiring information was conveyed during the 3 days of the conference and we want it to make it available to as many people as possible! If you attended but missed a workshop, you can now watch it; and if you didn’t attend the conference at all, you can now obtain the valuable information conveyed as if you did.
SFTI2020 Online YouTube Channel with all conference recordings: SFTI2020YouTube
The Ed Van Dusen Legacy Award
The Ed Van Dusen Award for Exemplary Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, or The Ed! for short, is presented each year to a program selected by the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund‘s Board of Directors, which exemplifies deep commitment to and successful practice in preventing child abuse and neglect. This year we celebrated the work of the Protect Idaho Kids Foundation.
Protect Idaho Kids Foundation (PIK) was founded by Bruce Wingate in 2011 in the wake of the death of Robert Manwill from unthinkable abuse. Hundreds of people came out to look for Robert before he was discovered dead in a canal near his home. Bruce was so moved that he felt he needed to do something to make sure nothing like that would happen again. For the last five years, PIK has organized groups working to change the religious exemption to medical neglect in the community and at the legislature.
Bruce and PIK have been champions for children’s rights and protections. Like Ed Van Dusen, Bruce has a passion for protecting kids who need adults in their corner. He and the organization he heads received well-deserve recognition for never giving up on these kids.
The Pinwheel Awards
In 2016, the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund Board began a new tradition to recognize people and groups who have made significant contributions in the past year. The Pinwheel Awardees for 2019 -2020 are:
Janet Goodliffe – as a member of ICTF’s board for 15 years and previous work with Madison School District, Madison Cares, and other community involvement, she has shown incredible dedication to improving the lives of Idaho families.
Idaho Resilience Project – for bringing Idaho together to build resilience. IRP has accomplished a lot in a year including creation of the Resilient Idaho collaboration with Idaho Public Television and the launching of 2C Kids Succeed as a place-based initiative.
Panhandle Health District – has played a strong role in strengthening families through a variety of strategies including WIC, two home visiting programs, and pro-moting literacy through collaborations with local libraries.
Idaho Commission for Libraries – for promoting strong families through its network of over 150 libraries throughout Idaho. The Commission’s efforts in concert with library staffs in small and large Idaho cities, afford re-sources to Idaho families that help them learn skills and resil-iency to prevent abuse and neglect
Thomas Patterson, MD —for leadership in encouraging use of ACE and resilience screening tools for medical practices in Idaho. His enthusiastic and passionate efforts kicked off a learning collaborative statewide that now involves several practices throughout the state.
2019 SFTI Wrap-Up
Theme: Sharing Our Stories
The momentous 20th Anniversary of our Strengthening Families Training Institute for 2019 was held March 7- 8. Thanks for joining us in Boise for “Sharing Our Stories”, this year’s theme. Patrick Mitchell, the “Down-to-Earth Dad” was our keynote and addressed the conference on “Getting and Keeping Good Men Engaged”. (Click on the image below for 2019’s conference program.)
Ed VanDusen Award
The Ed Van Dusen Award for Exemplary Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, or The Ed! for short, is presented each year to a program selected by the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund’s Board of Directors, which exemplifies deep commitment to and successful practice in preventing child abuse and neglect. This year we celebrate the work of The Mahoney House.The Mahoney House is a great example of the kind of work that can be done in a rural and isolated community–of which Idaho has many! Because it is a small agency in an isolated rural community, The Mahoney House staff has to wear a lot of hats. Although organized as a domestic violence program, it has taken on youth empowerment, protective factors based parenting classes and a broad effort to educate about ACES and protective factors. The Mahoney House staff has worked with schools, the local hospital, social service organizations, and city government to increase awareness of the impacts of adverse childhood experiences and the importance of building protective factors in an impressive way. Through an ICTF grant The Mahoney House trained its staff in the STRONG curriculum and has been providing parenting classes.
Pinwheel Award Winners:
Wickes MacColl— Stewards of Children Instructor and early pioneer in Idaho’s use of this child sexual abuse prevention curriculum.
Katie Simmons— Director of ICARE, a project of St. Vincent de Paul, Coeur d’Alene.
Jane Zink— Leadership Director, IdahoSTARS Project, Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children.
Advocates Against Family Violence in Caldwell serves victims of domestic abuse and their families in Canyon County.
Here are the Powerpoint presentations and other documents that select workshop speakers were willing to share with participants:
Jane Zink / Maureen Durning: What Connects Us
Rama Dean / Kevin Smith: Strengthening Families During Resettlement
Dr. Sheila Sturgeon Freitas: In-Depth Look at Resilience for Children Raised with Trauma
Lori Watson: Pick a Model – Ethical Decision-Making
Phyllis Vermilyea / Audra Green: Increase Access & Decrease Barriers Through 5 Protective Factors
Julie Meek: Hand Model of Brain
COMPASSION SATISFACTION AND COMPASSION FATIGUE
Resiliency Plan 2
Symptoms of Secondary Trauma & Stress
The Healthy Mind Platter
The Rain of Self-Compassion
Three Good Things
SFTI 2018 Wrap-Up
Theme: Together We Build Hope
The 2018 Strengthening Families Training Institute was held March 6-7, 2018 at the Riverside Hotel. The theme was “Together We Build Hope” and the keynote address was from Dr. Beverly Fortson from the CDC
2017 SFTI Wrap Up
Theme: “We’re All in this Together”
Keynote Speaker: Dr. David Sanders
Evolution of Hope: How we can ensure the safety and success of every child in America
The Ed Van Dusen Award 2017 is presented to Family Services Alliance of Southeast Idaho
The Ed recognizes and rewards a particular child abuse prevention effort in Idaho that is
creative, innovative and impacts the community in a positive way by preventing the abuse
and neglect of children.
Sarah O’Banion FSA Staff Members
SFTI 2017 Pinwheel Awards:
Recognizing individuals and organizations whose work embraces the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
Boise School District Buhl school District
Parma School District Janet Guerin
Our Refugee Panel:This panel of trained refugee storytellers shared their challenges, insights,
and experiences of parenting or growing up in their home countries and now in Idaho.
2016 SFTI Wrap Up
Theme: Connect the Dots
Opening: What’s your dot?
1C- Why Words Matter
1D- ACE’s Onward!
- Tools for Involved Dads
- How to Effectively CoParent
- How to Discipline Your Child
- How to Talk with Mom and Child
- Tips for Raising Healthy Kids
3B- Self Care
2015 SFTI Wrap Up
Theme: Two Days of Hope and Resilience
Materials provided by presenters of the 2015 SFTI:
Beverly Haugen and Sherry Iverson Crying plan workshop
Dr. Paul MacPherson on Shaken Baby from Call to Action 3
Heather Kemp- Nurturing Parenting
Pat Stanislaski workshops and key note
Dr. Noreen Womack
- Early Brain & Child Development
- 5R’s Bookmark
- Screen Time Brochure (ENGLISH)
- Screen Time Brochure (SPANISH)
Alyssa Reynolds Ethics Workshop
- Cultural Humility and Ethics
Presenting The Ed Van Dusen Legacy Award check to Richard Johnson of Family Advocates
2014 SFTI Wrap Up
Theme: Sending Forth Ripples of Hope to Take Prevention to Scale
- Materials provided by presenters of the 2014 Strengthening Families Training Institute. Click on the links to access presentation information from:Dee Wilson, MSW, Director for Casey Family Program’s Knowledge Management unit
- Economic Interventions in Child Neglect
- Preventing Child Maltreatment: How is Neglect Different?
- What if Child Protection Was Organized Around Neglect?
- Promising Approaches in Child Neglect
Cailin O’Connor, MS, Coordinator for the Strengtheining Families National Network for the Center for the Study of Social Policy
- Strengthening Family Tools to Promote Child’s Well Being
- Core Functions and Roles at Each Level of Strengthening Families Implementation
- Core Functions of Strengthening Families Implementation Handout
Roberto Bahruth, PhD, Professor of Teacher Education in the Department of Bilingual Education and Applied Linguistics at Boise State University
2013 SFTI Wrap Up
Theme: Making the Connections
Materials provided by presenters of the 2013 Strengthening Families Training Institute.
Click on the Presentation titles to access Power Point slides.
Caren Kaplan MSW, National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds
“The Social Ecology of Child Neglect and its Prevention”
“Role of Child Maltreatment Prevention in Differential Response Systems”
Anne Tierney M. Coun., LCP, Idaho Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers
“What is INCAC?”
Beth Jacob OTR/L and Kelly O’Leary MS, CCC-SLP, St. Luke’s ELKS Rehab
“Parenting Special Needs Children”
Erika Wainaina LMSW, Marian Woods LCSW, Laura Alfani MPH, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
Ross Mason BA, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
“Children of Incarcerated Parents: What You Need to Know”
Satya Kline M. Ed., Healthy Families America
“Untangling the Power that Binds: Working With Parents With Histories of Early Childhood Trauma”