February 9th

8:30 - 5:00
open to anyone

February 10th
8:00-11:30
open to CASA volunteers and staff only for
peer-to-peer networking and discussion

The Church at Brook Hills
3145 Brook Highland Parkway
Birmingham, AL

REGISTER NOW THROUGH FEBRUARY 3RD

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Hotel Information:

Hyatt Place Birmingham/Inverness
4686 US-280
Birmingham, AL 35242
$75/night + tax

(breakfast included)
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR ROOM

CONFERENCE DESCRIPTION: 

Join the Alabama CASA Network for their annual state conference in Birmingham, AL! This event event will feature keynote speakers who are well versed in the area of child welfare and will also include breakout sessions for CASA staff, volunteers, Board members, foster parents, concerned community members, and more.

The conference will take place at The Church at Brook Hills in the Student Building and will begin at 8:30 a.m. on February 9th. Lunch will be provided and is included in the ticket price. 

On February 10th, all CASA program staff and advocate volunteers are invited back for a morning of networking and round-table discussion with your peers and the state staff. This will take place in the same location from 8:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Attendance to the second day is no additional cost and there is the option to add this event on at the end of this checkout form.

Conference Schedule

Day 1: Open to the public

8:30: Doors Open & Light Breakfast
9:00: Welcome by Alabama CASA Network
9:15: Keynote Speaker: Jenna Quinn
10:30: Breakout Session #1
12:00: Lunch
12:30: Keynote Speaker: Lauren Leeman
1:45: Breakout Session #2
3:15: Breakout Session #3
4:30: Closing Session 

Day 2: Open to CASA volunteers and CASA program staff

8:00: Doors Open & Light Breakfast
8:15: Welcome by Alabama CASA Network
8:30: Round table discussion facilitated by CASA staff
9:30: Break
10:00: Round table discussion facilitated by CASA staff
11:00: Closing by Alabama CASA Network

Meet Our Keynote Speakers

Jenna Quinn

Jenna Quinn was seventeen years old when she spoke out publicly for the first time as a survivor of sexual abuse and has dedicated the last twelve years of her life to preventing sexual abuse. With a Masters Degree in Communications, she enjoys personally connecting with survivors and building rapport with audiences, young and old. Jenna is eager to help others experience healing, and takes every opportunity to speak publicly and raise awareness. 

At the age of twenty, Jenna moved into the political system reaching out to Texas legislators about the need for schools to adopt age-appropriate curriculum (K-12) on sexual abuse. Supporting the cause, Texas State Representative, Tan Parker, championed what is now known as Jenna's Law in May of 2009. Jenna's Law passed the Texas State Senate unanimously making it the first child abuse prevention education law in the U.S. named after a survivor. In September 2011, Jenna's Law was expanded to reach additional public institutions and addresses both sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment. 

As a former educator, Jenna Quinn is committed to the cause of preventing child abuse. She has a passion for justice and social change to make the world a safer place for children. As an inspirational speaker she is transparent about her expeirence with sexual buse, how it has impacted her life and her family, and her transforming journey to healing. Her firsthand accounts of the harsh realities of sexual abuse and the truth its effects have captivated audiences and has the power to forever change the way society views sexual abuse and how it's preventable.

Jenna's new book, Pure In Heart, will be available for sale and she will be signing individual copies upon request.

Lauren Leeman

 Lauren Leeman is the State Coordinator for Colorado CASA, which provides trained volunteer advocates for children in the foster care system. As an alumni of the foster care system and the past recipient of a CASA volunteer, Lauren speaks to the necessity and benefits of one dedicated adult in the life of an at-risk child. As a child, Lauren experienced severe abuse and neglect due to her mother’s mental illness and alcoholism and the system’s lack of structure to support her family. 

As a result of her CASA volunteer’s efforts and Lauren’s hard work, Lauren graduated from high school with honors, had custody of her younger sister, and received a full scholarship to a private college. Upon graduating from college, Lauren dedicated her career to advocating for children in roles including development, legislative work, and marketing for nonprofits. 

Lauren now dedicates her time to her work with CASA and takes as many opportunities as possible to speak to groups of 10-2,000 about the necessity for caring adults in the life of at-risk children, as well as testifying in front of the Colorado Senate and speaking to legislators on Capitol Hill. Lauren is the evidence that just one person can save the life of a child. 

Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session #1: 10:30 a.m.

Cultural Competency by Jason Branch
While cultural competence and biases are areas that counselor previously addressed during their own counselor training, backlash from culturally different clients who have yet to address their own is common. This program examines theories, research, and pedagogy for counseling and teaching culturally different clients and students. Exploration of cultural biases in the existing theories and current research is encouraged throughout this experience. Participants will actively participate in experiential approaches designed to develop a higher skill base and advocacy skills when working with and teaching individuals from diverse backgrounds. Participants in this course will also be equipped with culturally competent best practices.
Suggested attendees: CASA volunteers, social workers, foster parents, guardian ad litems

Emma's Circle: Starting an auxiliary group and the critical needs fund
Meet with the leadership team of the state office's Emma's Circle auxiliary group to learn how they launched their program. If your program would like a fundraising and publicity group, or would like to revamp your group, this is the session for you. Tips on external fundraisers, community awareness, fundraising events, the critical needs fund and more will be the topics of this breakout session.
Suggested attendees: CASA program staff, CASA Board of Directors, state staff

Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections Family Violence and the Impact on Foster and Adopted Children 
The impact of violence on family systems have become more than ever before. It is important for us to recognize how violence in the home impacts the children we serve. This training will address the short and long term effects of family violence on children, provide understanding of complex trauma children experience in homes with violence and identify ways to promote positive parenting of these children. Suggested attendees: CASA volunteer, CASA program staff, CASA Board of Directors, Foster/Adoptive Parent, Emma's Circle member, social worker, guardian ad litem, general public
***CE credit offered for social workers and/or counselors

Breakout Session #2: 1:45 p.m.

Team Building & Leadership Training by Jason Branch
Working in the helping profession can present a variety of challenges when balancing professional relationships, client care, working in the community and self-care.  Learning innovative ways to effectively communicate with others can aid in the quality of working professionals and client care.  This interactive workshop will provide participants with hands-on tools to increase positive relationships in the workplace while demonstrating healthy ways of improving self-care.   
Suggested attendees: CASA program staff, CASA Board of Directors, state staff

Investigations by Darla Evans
To prepare for court, a CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers, and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. Darla Evans has been with CASA since 1986 as both a volunteer and staff member. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to CASA programs, training, and especially investigations by CASA volunteers. Join Darla as she dives deeper into CASA volunteer investigations as you prepare to be the best voice in court for the children you serve.
Suggested attendees: CASA volunteers, social workers, foster parents, guardian ad litems

Using CasaConnect by Gina James
Gina has 25 years of experience, having worked in GAL and CASA programs in Fayetteville, NC (Cumberland County) and Colorado Springs, CO (El Paso and Teller Counties) as the head the child abuse and neglect departments. Gina managed data collection and reporting in both urban and rural areas during her career. Gina will conduct a training session for CASA volunteers and staff on CasaConnect™.  CasaConnect™ compliments CasaManager by connecting the CASA Community using the Internet and the cloud to solve challenges for all parties working in and with CASA Agencies. 
Suggested attendees: CASA volunteer and CASA program staff

Q&A with our Keynote Speakers
We guarantee that you'll be impressed by the day's keynote speakers and we want to encourage you to connect with them throughout the day. This Q & A session will allow people to ask questions and get feedback from real people about the work and advocacy that CASA does in our communities. 
Suggested attendees: CASA volunteer, CASA program staff, CASA Board of Directors, Foster/Adoptive Parent, Emma's Circle member, social worker, guardian ad litem, general public

Breakout Session #3: 3:15 p.m.

Self Care with James Thomas
CASA's very own James Thomas, licensed counselor, will give an overview of stress, how it works and coping strategies he think everyone can benefit from. These included: 1) Neuroscience of stress: cortisol, dopamine, physiology; 2) The effects of stress on the brain and body; 3) Evolutionary psychology of stress; and 4) coping strategies for stress, mindfulness, cognitive restructuring, relaxation, exercise.
Suggested attendees: CASA volunteer, CASA program staff, CASA Board of Directors, Foster/Adoptive Parent, Emma's Circle member, social worker, guardian ad litem, general public

Digital Media & Fund Development with Jessica Morales
Another member of the CASA team will share how we can engage our public in the digital age. From social media strategies to fund development reporting, tracking and donor cultivation, join Jessica as she shares how your CASA program can grow its publics exponentially with just a little time and effort.
Suggested attendees: CASA program staff, CASA Board of Directors, state staff

Alabama Pre/Post Adoption Connections Maintaining Connections Training
Multiple transitions are very common for children within the foster care system and there are built in negative effects of these changes for children; however, when children maintain connections with whom they are attached, it has immeasurable benefits for them throughout their lives. This training will discuss the importance of maintaining connections for foster and adoptive children, especially sibling bonds, ways to maintain those bonds safely and how to mitigate the negative effects of the significant and oftentimes traumatic changes they have experienced 
Suggested attendees: CASA volunteer, CASA program staff, CASA Board of Directors, Foster/Adoptive Parent, Emma's Circle member, social worker, guardian ad litem, general public
***CE credit offered for social workers and/or counselors

Testifying in Court by Maggie Blaedow
We know that court can be intimidating, so join Alabama CASA Network Executive Director, Maggie Blaedow for a chance to sharpen those skills and even do a couple of practice rounds.
Suggested attendees: CASA volunteers, social workers, foster parents, guardian ad litems