2023 Annual Conference:
Better Together

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023  |  8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Shiloh House Family Resource Pavilion

9700 E. Easter Lane  |  Centennial, CO 80112

Join experts with lived and learned experience to discover how we can be “Better Together,” and how it can help us do more for Colorado’s families and children.

2023 CAFCA Annual Conference

About Better Together

Join us Thursday, October 5 at the beautiful Shiloh House Family Resource Pavilion in Centennial, Colorado for the 2023 CAFCA Annual Conference. This year’s conference is entitled Better Together, and it provides a day for learning, professional development, networking and celebration of everyone working in child welfare, mental and behavioral health, foster care and community-based services for children and families. Participants include and are not limited to agency leaders and staff, local and state government partners, foster and kin parents, policy makers, and others working to support these stakeholders.  

mom and daughter

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jerry Yager

Dr. Jerry Yager is a Clinical Psychologist, in private practice, with more than 40 years of experience in the assessment and treatment of traumatized children and adolescents. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults and their families, who have histories of trauma and are exhibiting biological, psychological and social challenges in reaction to these overwhelming life experiences. Before moving to private practice, Dr. Jerry served as Director of Training & Community Education at Denver Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Executive Director of the Denver Children’s Home, which shares a mission with Denver Children’s Advocacy Center to provide high quality mental health care for low-income children, whose problems would otherwise go undiagnosed and untreated. He is a fellow with the ChildTrauma Academy, under the leadership of Dr Bruce Perry, and conducts professional training in Colorado, nationally and internationally. Dr. Jerry has served as the president of the Colorado Association for Family and Children Agencies. He was a clinical consultant for Devereux Cleo Wallace Behavioral Health Services, Lutheran Family Services, Tennyson Treatment Center for Children and Families and the Nurse Family Partnership Program. Dr. Jerry was a member of the Colorado Court Improvement Project and Colorado’s Systems of Care steering committee. Dr Jerry coordinated a clinical consultation team for the Colorado Department of Behavioral Health. He has testified in court as an expert witness on the developmental impact of abuse and neglect on children and adolescents and has testified at the Colorado State Legislature for bills related to children and adolescent’ crime victims’ rights. Dr Jerry was honored at the 2016 National Crime Victim Law conference as the Child Advocate Victims’ Rights Partner of the Year.

Conference Schedule – Thursday, October 5, 2023


8:15am – 9:00am

Main Dining Room

Continental Breakfast + Networking


9:00am – 9:10am

Main Dining Room

Welcome + Introducing the Day

By Becky Miller Updike, Executive Director, CAFCA


9:10am – 10:20am

Main Dining Room

Keynote Address: Dr. Jerry Yager


Better Together: Facilitating an Optimal Environment for Learning, Growing and Innovating

Human beings are social creatures. Their natural environment for optimal growth and performance is a safe, responsive, relational milieu. Our social engagement, reward and stress response systems are interconnected. Individuals and groups’ capacities for healing and discovering innovative solutions to complex problems are directly related to their ability for self-reflection and openness to other’s experiences. This keynote will highlight the idea that we all have the potential for resilience and creativity and the role of compassionate connectedness in actualizing that potential.


10:30am – 12:00pm

Main Dining Room

Morning Breakout Session 1

Promoting Health: Collaborative, trauma-informed care for children and
youth in out-of-home care

By Giovanni Billings, PsyD; Liesel Scott, LCSW; James Kaferly, MD; Matt Pesko, MD  |  Denver Health & Hospital

Children and youth placed in out-of-home care have unique health needs.  Providing coordinated and trauma-informed health care to this population can be challenging due to placement and health care disruptions as well as synthesizing trauma-informed care across systems. This session will highlight the work of the Connections for Kids Clinic (CFKC) to address these challenges and provide high-quality, trauma-informed health care to for young people in out-of-home care.


10:30am – 12:00pm

Main Dining Room

Morning Breakout Session 2

Understanding Our Role: Cultural Humility, Cultural Responsiveness,
and LGBTQ+ Affirming Care

By Cydney Brown (They/Them)  |  LGBTQ+ Health Education Trainer, Denver Health

In this session, we will discuss cultural humility, how LGBTQ+ specific biases that show up in care, and barriers to affirming care for LGBTQ+ populations. We will then look at case studies to discuss culturally responsive practices when engaging with LGBTQ+ youth.


10:30am – 12:00pm

Main Dining Room

Morning Breakout Session 3

Self Care Is Not a Cliché: How to Maintain Your Own Emotional Health While Giving
to At Risk Youth

By Kristi Edmonds, PhD, LPC  |  Clinical Director, ThirdWay Center

Working with youth who have experienced trauma can be both rewarding and exhausting. This presentation will focus on understanding the emotional risks associated with working in the helping field and ways to maintain your own emotional health. This presentation will provide information, discussion, and experiential exercises to help you understand the impact of this work and practices that will help you to prevent and address burnout and vicarious trauma. The work you do and the care you give youth is meaningful and important. Taking care of yourself isimportant both for you and for the youth in your care.


12:00pm – 1:15pm

Main Dining Room

Lunch and Awards Presentation

State Senator Rachel Zenzinger

Recipient of CAFCA’s 2023 Legislator of the Year Award

Colorado Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D)-Arvada

Special Presentation for 2023 Excellence Awards

Awards presented by Becky Miller Updike, David Sevick, Benjamin Teevan  |  CAFCA


1:30pm – 3:00pm

Main Dining Room

Afternoon Breakout Session 1

Why TBRI®?

By Brooks Kaskela, MA LPC  |  Director of Family Support Services, Raise the Future

Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) is an evidence-based parenting and intervention model developed by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development (KPICD) at Texas Christian University (TCU). It is a holistic model rooted in research and provides tangible tools to foster healing and growth for youth that have experienced relationship-based traumas. During this brief overview, the discussion will cover why individuals and organizations might consider utilizing TBRI® and how the model can benefit individuals in professional and personal journeys.


1:30pm – 3:00pm

Main Dining Room

Afternoon Breakout Session 2

This Is Real Life Equity: Finding Your Authentic Voice

By Jasper Armstrong M.A. Ed.D.(in progress), Equity Partner  | Cherry Creek School District

This fast-paced interactive equity workshop will transform the way you see yourself as an Equity Leader in your role. We will survey methods to help you find your authentic equity voice and examine ways of being that will elevate your interactions with all people. We will dispel common myths about DEI work and equip you to take your equity journey to the next level no matter what stage of development you find yourself in. 


1:30pm – 3:00pm

Main Dining Room

Afternoon Breakout Session 3

Showing Up for Ourselves: Secondary Trauma and Creating Wellness

 By Rebecca Carpenter, LCSW  |  Child Placement Agency Coordinator, Savio

Self-Care is touted as a be-all end-all to address secondary trauma. But if it works, why do so many of us still feel the symptoms? This session will look at what makes up secondary trauma, and how taking a wellness, rather than self-care, approach, can make the difference.


1:30PM - 3:00PM

Main Dining Room

Afternoon Breakout Session 4

Supportive Approaches to Trauma-Informed Care: Enhancing Performance Management Outcomes

By Tony Jackson, MA, Adrienne Palazzolo, LCSW, Dixie Gray, Josh Brinkman, Brett Ketler  |  CDHS, DCW, Provider Services Unit

The Performance Management Outcomes (PMO) Team within the Division of Child Welfare, Provider Services Unit focuses on quality assurance by assisting providers with implementation of Trauma Informed Care and Department Quality Improvement Plans. They use proactive methods to enhance care quality for children, youth, families, and employees in QRTP and PRTF facilities. The team fosters positive provider-county relationships and offers technical assistance, training, and support to Colorado Providers. They work independently but indirectly support Licensing and Monitoring Teams to ensure high-quality services. Their approach is proactive and prevention-oriented, aiming to prevent out-of-home care and regression by providing training, collaboration, resources, and ongoing support to providers.


3:15pm – 4:30pm

Main Dining Room

Closing Session

Trauma Informed Yoga: Research-Based Mindfulness Practice and Participatory Practice  

By Sarah Crisafi  |  Founder + Director,  Bloom Yoga, Illuminate Colorado

Presentation (30 minutes):
Trauma Informed Yoga: Research-Based Mindfulness Practice for Clients, Agency Staff, Children and Families

Participatory Practice (45 minutes):
Trauma Informed Yoga Session

Participants may bring comfortable clothing and mats. Mats also provided for use free of charge


Certificates of training hours will be provided for all participants


For more information, contact Becky Miller Updike, Executive Director, CAFCA

Email: [email protected]  or Cell: 720-560-3810

Pricing &  Registration

CAFCA Members: $90.00

Non-Members: $110.00


Scholarships available for foster families and students. Contact Becky at 720.560.3810 for more information.

Excellence Awards

Every year CAFCA is honored to recognize individuals and groups who exemplify excellence in their service for children, youth and families. This is a great opportunity to celebrate colleagues who lead with professionalism, compassion, and dedication. Nominees and award winners will be announced at the 2023 CAFCA Conference on October 5, 2023.

**Nominations due by 5pm, Friday, September 15, 2023.