10th Annual Early Childhood Mental Health Conference – We Didn’t Wait!

A Decade of Progress – A Future of Hope

September 12-14, 2019

Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resort

Course Description:

For the last 9 years, our conference tag line has been: We Can’t Wait! There has been an urgent need to ensure that children in all our communities receive the help they need in order to grow, learn, and thrive in San Diego County and throughout southern California. As we celebrate our 10th Annual Early Childhood Mental Health Conference, we are proud to say: We Didn’t Wait! This conference has participated in A Decade of Progress, and our goal for this educational activity will be to outline A Future of Hope for children, their families, educators, clinical providers, and the community as a whole.

Distinguished speakers will provide clinical education on evidence-based and evidence-informed practices, trauma informed care, and innovative interventions that support hope for children and families with mental health concerns, substance use issues, intergenerational trauma, child welfare services involvement, community violence, and other stressors that families deal with on a daily basis. While there is a lot still to be done, there is so much that the San Diego ECMH community has gotten “right” in the last decade when it comes to early childhood mental health. The goal of this year’s conference is to weave together a review of the progress that has been made with a platform of hope to launch future directions of collaborative work. This conference is a unique opportunity for professionals who impact early childhood mental health in so many different ways to come together to share ideas and instill passion and hope to continue the work for the children and families we work with.

This conference will address the unique and complex needs of children and the families who are raising them despite challenging circumstances they may be facing. This Conference will bring physicians, clinicians, therapists, substance use treatment providers, educators, childcare workers and their perspectives together to improve understanding, knowledge and expertise, and add to the growing ECMH community here in San Diego.

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this activity, the participants should be able to:

  • Review the progress made in areas of early childhood development and trauma-informed care of children and families
  • Discuss evidence-based, cooperative strategies for how parents, family members, teachers and other can positively support a child’s developmental experience
  • Identify implications for partnerships among healthcare, education, behavioral health, probation and child welfare professionals to address children in need of services from diverse cultural/experiential backgrounds
  • Recognize the struggle and decisions that families go through to seek services, the needs that clients have, and the current best practices that engage children and families in services
  • Coordinate school support and behavioral health care for children who are not making academic or social/emotional progress at school as a result of trauma, toxic stress and/or development challenges

Target Audience:

The target audience includes those involved in providing assessment, treatment, education, support, and advocacy for children and families. Attendees will include psychiatrists, pediatricians, marriage family therapists, social workers, psychologists, mental health workers, substance abuse and addiction professionals, counselors and case managers, nurses, OT/PT, teachers, educators, child welfare workers, early childhood education providers, childcare specialists, mental health administrators and other healthcare and educational providers.

What’s New:

The sessions this year will spotlight the progress made in the past few years around critical and pressing issues that face children and families.   Presenters will explore the unique challenges of serving children and families who have complicated diagnoses with underlying trauma, who are typically underserved when it comes to behavioral health, and who are working to be hopeful in seemingly hopeless situations.

In addition, attendees will examine the unique challenges of families raising grandchildren as they work to overcome the loss of the children’s parents as caregivers (and children to the grandparents) and try to support the grandchildren in their healing and development.  Attendees will discuss the issues relevant to raising young children from the perspective of caregivers not yet well supported by the mental health systems, such as military families, LGBTQI+ led families, and foster children-turned parent families.

Saturday’s program will focus on topics related to the skills, knowledge, collaboration and cooperation that is needed between behavioral health providers and early childhood educators.  Early childhood educators spend a large amount of time with children and are in a unique position to notice their unique needs and intervene early. Specific areas to be covered include trauma-informed practices in early childhood education settings, prevention and recognition of child abuse and children at risk of abuse or neglect, creative strategies for behavior management, and interventions to support social-emotional competence, and engaging parents & creative teamwork between educators and behavioral health providers to support children.

This Year’s Speakers

Casey Gwinn

Casey Gwinn is the President and Co-Founder of the National Family Justice Center Alliance. Casey is also the visionary behind the Family Justice Center Movement, first proposing the concept of the Family Justice Center model in 1989. He is a national expert on domestic violence, including prosecution, strangulation, and best practices. Prior to this position,…

Samantha Fuentes

Samantha Fuentes On February 14, 2018 a gunman wielding an AR-15 entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and fired on students, faculty, and staff. Seventeen people lost their lives and many others were wounded. Samantha Fuentes was amongst the injured in the Parkland tragedy, and while fortunate to be alive, her body and life changed…

Victor Rivas Rivers

Victor Rivas Rivers A veteran film star, best-selling author, renowned advocate for violence prevention, and the first Cuban-born football player to land a tryout with the Miami Dolphins, Victor Rivas Rivers has come a long way since being an abused, angry gang member. In fact, given his violent upbringing, few of those achievements were ever…