The National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect is known for its inclusive scope and ability to attract participants, which includes field professionals, researchers, policy makers, parents, youth with lived experience, volunteers representing a wide variety of disciplines, and community-based providers. It provides a unique opportunity for those who are committed to achieving better outcomes for children, youth, and families to come together, gain new knowledge, connect with peers, build shared understanding, and inspire each other’s continued dedication to children and families.
Focus on strategies to address long-standing inequities within child welfare, including deepening our understanding of how race and equity issues feed into the over-identification of neglect; addressing inherent biases in the system; addressing the intersection between poverty and neglect; and building workforce capacity to recognize and address race equity issues, including internal bias.
Prevent Children from Coming Into Foster Care
Explore new strategies for preventing children from coming into formal care, including new partnerships on the ground and new approaches to working in and with communities; efforts to address poverty; re-examining the front end of the system, especially around neglect; legal supports for families; and support for LGBTQIA+ youth.
Support for Kinship Caregivers
Explore how to better support kinship care providers, including addressing barriers to licensing; building a support system that goes beyond navigation; supporting informal care providers; managing complex family relationships within the context of kinship care; and looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on kinship care.
Ensure Youth Leave Care with Strengthened Relationships, Holistic Supports, and Opportunities
Explore new strategies to ensure youth leave care with the relationships, supports, and opportunities necessary to succeed in life. This will include the importance of youth voice in decision-making; mental health and well-being; strategies for relational permanence; and supports during transition. There will be a special focus on LGBTQIA+ youth and parenting youth in care.
Invest in the Child Welfare Workforce
Explore strategies focused on the well-being of the child welfare workforce, including workplace and organizational culture; recruitment and retention; understanding trends in the workforce; building capacity and focus on race equity in the workforce; and the impact of COVID and “the great resignation” on the workforce. There will also be a special focus on non-traditional workforce members, including peer workers and those with lived experience.