Children’s Network 26th Annual Conference

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)–Children’s Network will host our 26th Annual Conference at the Ontario Convention Center on September 26th and 27th.  The conference has become one of the premier events in the Inland Empire, attracting attendees from across the state.  This year’s conference will feature Ashley Rhodes-Courter, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Three Little Words, a memoir of her experiences in the child welfare system. Ashley’s story is one of resilience and triumph.  Her book has received numerous awards and is currently used in classrooms across the country. Ashley has served on several national and local child welfare boards, including the American Humane Association, was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and is now a licensed foster parent. She has a passion to share hope with struggling youth and professionals, encourage adoption and permanency, and promote community action.

The 2nd day of the conference will feature Lauri Burns, founder of The Teen Project, a grassroots organization in Orange County dedicated to serving transition-aged sytem-involved youth. A troubled childhood led Lauri to turn to drugs for comfort eventually becoming addicted.  Five years after her emancipation from the juvenile dependency system, Lauri turned her life around and became determined to make a change in the lives of other system-involved youth. She has been caring for at-risk youth for the past 20 years and serving as a foster parent for the past 13. Her autobiography, Punished for Purpose, is a compelling story of abuse, hardship, inspiration, and healing. The Teen Project, Lauri’s story and her advocacy efforts have been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR, as well as in People Magazine and Family Circle and she has been named one of Oprah’s Ambassadors of Hope.

The 60 workshops will offer topics and training opportunities for parents, foster parents, kinship providers, teachers/preschool teachers, counselors, health care and mental health professionals, social workers, law enforcement personnel, and many more. The workshops include sessions on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Educational Advocacy, Trauma-Informed Therapy, Internet Safety, Childhood Obesity, Mentoring Programs, Emancipated Youth and much more.

This conference would not be possible without the support of First 5 San Bernardino, San Bernardino County Children and Family Services, Children’s Fund, San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, Workforce Development Department, IEHP, Kaiser Permanente, San Bernardino County Preschool Services Department, and Molina Healthcare. The support of our sponsors helps make this a quality conference, with something for everyone.  Please contact Children’s Network at (909) 383-9677 for more information or visit our website www.sbcounty.gov/childnet

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