Child welfare strengthens families - State conference highlights child welfare like never before.

The Strengthening Colorado Families and Communities Conference this fall, sponsored by the Colorado Department of Human Services and Illuminate Colorado, will include a focus on child welfare like never before.

One of the featured speakers, Corey Best, is a single father involved with the child welfare system more than a decade ago when his first son was removed from his home due to substance abuse and parenting concerns. He overcame personal challenges to develop a strong relationship with his young son and become a local and national advocate for birth parent and family engagement .

Earlier this year, Best was honored with a Casey Excellence for Children Award for birth parent; and, just last week, Casey Family Programs highlighed his experience in a short video where he shares his thoughts on fatherhood and helping others in honor of Father's Day. Excerpt from the Casey Family Programs blog:

Men get the message to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” he says. “You put all this weight on yourself, and you’re not supposed to crash or have any emotions or show any sense of fear or weakness. And I see now today that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Because what I need is a support network.”

He adds: “I really enjoy the responsibility and the obligation of being a father.”

Corey used the lessons he learned to support other families as a volunteer in developing their parenting and advocacy skills. That led to full-time work as the family engagement manager with the Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties in Florida, where he trains child welfare staff. He spearheaded a pilot Parent Partner program to aid families in meeting case plan goals and achieving reunification, and he serves on the Substance Exposed Newborn Task Force, advocating for more substance abuse and mental health treatment programs.

As a member of the Birth Parent National Network’s Parent Council, Corey ensures that the voices of parents are respected. He also serves on the Casey Family Programs Birth Parent Advisory Committee, advising key Casey Family Programs staff about making changes to child welfare services and systems.

Break out sessions highlight issues impacting child welfare practice  

Child welfare professionals are highlighly encouraged to attend the conference. Don't take our word for it. Take it from a Boulder County Child Welfare Supervisor who said that last year's conference " was one of, if not, the best, conferences that I have ever attended. I appreciated that there was such a diverse number of opportunities for ‘break out sessions,’ as well as EXCELLENT keynote speakers. Combined with BEAUTIFUL Winter Park, in the early-Fall, it was simply perfect." 

Organizers have highlighted some of the break out sessions that professionals in the child welfare workforce may find enlighting. Click HERE to review child welfare related break outs. 

Child welfare scholarships

There are a limited number of scholarships available for those working in county child welfare agencies - anyone that is interested can email Emily White at ewhite@illuminatecolorado.org. 

Don't wait to register

Space is limited and filling up quickly. Learn more about lodging and register today. 

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Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1‑844‑264‑5437)
Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don't hesitate to call and get help. 
Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.