CAFCA Annual Conference:
Better Together 2024

Thursday, August 29  |  8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Mt. Vernon Canyon Club

24933 Club House Circle  |  Golden, CO 80401

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. Conference includes breakfast, lunch, two featured guest speakers, 2024 Excellence Awards, Champagne Yoga, six breakout Workshop Sessions, and much more!

Workshop Presentations

We have a fantastic line-up of Workshop Presentations for the 2024 conference, on a variety of topics that will intrigue and enlighten anyone working in the field of child welfare. The list of Workshops is below.

Better Together 2024: The CAFCA Annual Conference

Workshop Presentations for 2024

1. Core, Block, Family First, and Medicaid – Figuring Out the Funding Puzzle to Access the Right Service at the Right Time
Presented by Amy Sciangula, LCSW Prevention and Core Services Administrator, Division of Child Welfare – Child Protection and Prevention Services

2. Why TBRI®?
Presented by Darby Baldwin, MA Raise the Future

3. Empowering Youth to Change the Narrative Around Mental Health
Presented by Sharon Tuttle, MA, Youth Leadership Manager, Bring Change 2 Mind

4. Easy Equity
Presented by Michael Sykes BA and MA in Special Education EDS in Adminstration and Leadership Equitable Solution

5. Effectively Engaging Biological Parents, Kin and Fictive Kin in the Permanency Process
Presented by Stacy Gonzalez, Senior Training Manager, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

6. Resilience or not…
Presented by Hildegard Messenbaugh, MD, Founder and Medical Director Third Way Center


About Better Together 2024

Join us Thursday, August 29 at the beautiful Mt. Vernon Canyon Club in the hills of Golden, Colorado for the CAFCA Annual Conference, Better Together 2024. This unique event 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
Lisette Burton, JD Keynote Speaker

Our Keynote Speaker: Lisette Burton, JD

Chief Policy & Practice Advisor, The Assoc. of Children’s Residential & Community Services (ACRC)  |  Milwaukee, WI

Lisette joined ACRC in 2020 after serving on the board of directors as the Public Policy Committee Chair for several years. In addition to leading ACRC’s advocacy efforts, she builds coalitions and strategic partnerships and she utilizes her experience and skills to provide expert-level guidance, policy analysis, practice support, facilitation, strategic planning, and consultation services to ACRC’s membership and non-member systems, agencies, and associations.

Previously, Lisette was the Vice President of National Advocacy and Public Policy for the national nonprofit Boys Town, where she advocated for effective federal and state policies related to child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and health. Her foundational experiences are in direct care, and she joined Boys Town in 2007 as a Family Teacher caring for girls in foster care and boys committed to the juvenile justice system in a family-style, community-based, therapeutic residential program. Prior to Boys Town, she worked in North Carolina as a program director at a therapeutic residential wilderness program and later as a community organizer focused on quality early childhood education and parental involvement in schools.

Lisette serves on several national policy committees, coalitions, and working groups. She is a mayoral appointee to the Washington, DC Juvenile Justice Advisory Group and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma. She regularly facilitates conversations and shares policy and practice insight and expertise with local, state, national, and international audiences.

Lisette received her B.S. in Science from the Eberly College of Science at Penn State University. She earned her J.D. at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where she was a Leadership Scholar and Schweitzer Fellow, a pro bono law clerk representing children with special needs, a student attorney at the National Association of the Deaf, and a legislative intern with the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

We are honored to have Lisette with us as our keynote speaker for the 2024 CAFCA Annual Conference.

Kathy Snyder

Our Lunchtime Lecture Speaker: Kathy Snyder

Director, Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition  |  Midland, MI

Dedicated to improving wellbeing, Kathy Snyder serves as the Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition Director. In this role, Kathy does consulting, facilitating, presenting, training, curriculum development, and a variety of other collaborative endeavors. In addition to over 25 years of experience in public education, she holds master’s degrees in both counseling and applied positive psychology. She is also certified in Creating Positive Change, Bounce Back Better Resilience, Flourishing Skills Group, Psychological Safety, Inclusion and Diversity, PERMAH Organizational Survey, and Coaching and is trained in Design Thinking, Motivational Interviewing, Appreciative Inquiry. Additionally, Kathy is also a co-creator and teacher of two Wellbeing Lab programs, co-creator and instructor of a child psychology course for teachers in training, creator and facilitator of the Midland Wellbeing Certificate, and was an Assistant Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania for Martin Seligman’s Introduction to Positive Psychology course. Kathy is a member of the ROCK Center for Youth Development board, MAPP Alumni Association board, Midland Community Success Panel, Midland Cultural Awareness Coalition, Great Lakes Bay Region Suicide Prevention Council, and Midland County Mental Health Coalition. Kathy is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Community Leadership.

Kathy and her husband Mike are outdoor enthusiasts and have been married for 31 years. They are proud parents to two wonderful young adults, Haylee and Cayden.