29th Annual Conference on Youth

Trauma and Addictions: Making Sense and Offering Hope

Childhood trauma, left unaddressed, is associated with at risk behavioral choices that lead to adverse physical and mental health issues. Substance abuse, violent media and social media addiction are fast rising as susceptible behaviors for children with traumatic experiences. Join us for the 29th Annual Conference on Youth on Thursday, October 4th, as we explore these addictions and the resulting implications. Our goal is that you will come away equipped with the knowledge and background to apply appropriate and beneficial responses as we walk alongside those living with addictions. — Judge Charles F. Pratt, Allen Superior Court,
Family Relations Division

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
4000 Parnell Avenue
Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46805

The 29th Annual Conference on Youth features keynote speakers, three special interest sessions, and a variety of workshop topics. The conference includes a service provider fair, showcasing area agencies and services, and opportunities to network with other youth and family serving professionals.

  • $40 Conference registration fee ($60 beginning September 21) includes: continental breakfast, lunch, access to the conference and all conference materials.
  • Parking fee of $6 per car (CASH ONLY) is the responsibility of conference participants.
  • CEU’s are available for an additional $10 fee. In order to receive CEU’s, participants must register ahead of time, sign in upon arrival AND sign out before leaving.


Opening Keynote:

Dreamland: America’s Opiate Epidemic and How We Got Here
Presented by Sam Quinones
Time: 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.

A talk discussing the factors that went into creating America’s deadliest drug epidemic, including pharmaceutical marketing, changes in our heroin market, and changes to American culture. Hear a journalist’s analysis of how capitalism catastrophically ran amok and how black tar heroin assaulted small towns and midsize cities across the US using an almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Gain insight into how these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon and Indiana to New Mexico.

Special Interest Sessions: 

Schools Must Be PREPaRE’d, Are You? Establishing Best Practices and Sustainability in School Crisis Prevention through Recovery
Presented by Dr. Melissa Reeves
Time: 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

This session will provide an overview of best practices in school crisis prevention through recovery. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) PREPaRE School Crisis Prevention and Intervention curriculum is seen as the “gold standard” for training school crisis teams, with a specific focus on balancing physical and psychological safety. This session will provide an overview of the PREPaRE curriculum with an emphasis on the critical components that must be included in school safety and crisis plans. In addition, when a crisis occurs it is critical to evaluate the degree of psychological trauma and respond to the psychological needs using a multi-tiered approach to crisis intervention and recovery in order to mitigate traumatic impact. The PREPaRE model builds on existing personnel, resources and programs; emphasizes collaboration between school professionals and community providers and agencies; can be adapted to individual school needs and size; and includes a Training-of-Trainers (ToT) component to build long-term sustainability within districts. Learn how to be better PREPaRE’d!

Technology and Social Media Addiction and Responsible Media Use: Defining the Problems & Developing Toolkits
Presented by Dr. Michelle Drouin
Time: 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

On a daily basis, 36% of parents have arguments with their children about technology use. These technofeuds often arise when there are not clear guidelines implemented about technology use. But why are there no clear guidelines? Parents, educators, and policy makers still have questions about basic technology usage among children, such as “How much media should children consume each day?” “Should children use social media at all?” and “Should I let my children play Fortnite/watch YouTube/connect with people on Xbox?” At Dr Drouin’s talks and workshops across the country, these are the most common questions she get from parents. Parents want to know how to protect their children’s mental health and how to implement guidelines that will support their physical, psychological, and social development. In this talk, Dr. Drouin will give an overview of the most prevalent technology questions facing today’s parents, educators, and youth service providers, with a focus on technology/social media addiction and responsible social media use. Additionally, she will also review the guidelines and resources provided by two reputable agencies: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and CommonSense Media to help audience members design developmentally appropriate, organizational- and family-based solutions for addressing technology/social media addiction and responsible media use. Participants will leave with immediately implementable action plans that are relevant to their family or organization.

Violence – The #1 Killer of Hope, Health, and Happiness (Part One)
Presented by FW UNITED – Pastor Luther Whitfield, Joe Jordan, Tabitha Ervin and Iric Headley
Time: 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

From exposure to experience, violence has irreversible consequences that negatively impact the victim and the perpetrator. Families, communities, and countries have all been severely damaged by the disruption and destruction that violence leaves behind. In this session you will hear from and speak to people who have been forever changed by violence. While they themselves have become physical survivors, they will transparently share components of  damage to their mental, emotional, and spiritual health that they have suffered. Learn more about the impacts of violence and homicide, but learn how we as a community can lead with genuine empathy for those who have been impacted. This Special Interest Session represents a collaborative effort between Great KIDS and Fort Wayne UNITED.


Violence – The #1 Killer of Hope, Health, and Happiness (Part Two)
Presented by Rev. Charles Harrison in conjunction with FW UNITED
Time: 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

A continuation of the Special Interest Session, with a question and answer and panel discussion. In this session you will hear from and speak to people who have been forever changed by violence. While they themselves have become physical survivors, they will transparently share components of their mental, emotional, and spiritual health that have suffered. Learn more about the impacts of violence and homicide, but also learn how we as a community can lead with genuine empathy for those who have been impacted.  This Morning Workshop represents a collaborative effort between Great KIDS and Fort Wayne UNITED.

Conduct Disorder vs. Complex Trauma…or can it be both?
Presented by Dr. Melissa Reeves
Time: 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Youth who demonstrate behaviors consistent with a conduct disorder are often seen as socially maladjusted, impossible to reach, and are often prevented from accessing specialized supports due to not having an “emotional disability”. This presentation will compare and contrast behaviors consistent with conduct disorder and complex trauma to better understand the etiology of their challenging behaviors. Participants will better understand how complex trauma impacts behaviors, social-emotional development, academic achievement, and the ability to connect with others. The negative outcomes of ineffective interventions will be highlighted and interventions on how to more effectively reach these students and address the underlying complex trauma will be shared.

Dreamland: a Q & A Session
Presented by Sam Quinones, Moderated by Marcia Haaff with guests
Time: 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Join us for two real life stories of addiction, as well as a Q & A session with Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. Also, stick around to get your copy of Dreamland autographed by Sam.

Meeting the Needs of Crossover Youth
Presented by Shay Bilchik
Time: 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

In this session, Professor Shay Bilchik will provide an overview of the Crossover Youth population, including the characteristics and correlations associated with their crossing over between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  He will highlight the evidence-based, multi-systems approach of the Crossover Youth Practice Model developed by Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform.  The practice model, now introduced nationally in over 110 counties, identifies the policies and practices needed to improve system operation and outcomes for crossover youth.  The session will also address ways to prevent the crossing over of youth.  Participants in this workshop will learn about the outcomes achieved in the implementation of the model in communities across the country.  Judge Charles F. Pratt, Administrative Judge of the Allen County Superior Court, will join Professor Bilchik in exploring the work underway in Indiana designed to address the needs of the crossover youth population.

Who’s Squeezin’ Your Grape? The Response to Trauma from the Faith Community
Presented by David Lockridge
Times: 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

The faith community is perfectly positioned to help those who have experienced childhood trauma. Discover how to understand and overcome the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Connect the dots between childhood trauma, family dysfunction, and addiction. Learn how to retrain the brain and reset the nervous system by integrating solid science and sound biblical principles.

Social Isolation, Bullying, and Self-harm in an Online World: Links with Depression, Suicidality, Violence, and Deviant Peer Groups
Presented by Dr. Michelle Drouin
Times: 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

In our modern world, mobile technologies penetrate youth social interactions. This has led to a myriad of effects on socialization, including increased rates of social isolation and loneliness, high rates of cyberbullying, and the formation of deviant online peer groups that encourage a host of digital self-harm behaviors, including eating disorders, cutting, and suicide attempts. Not surprisingly, the Internet has also been dubbed a “sadist’s playground,” enabling individuals (both adults and youth) to spread threats and violence at rapid rates to large numbers of individuals. These digital harms pose immediate (but often unreported) threats to the children we parent, teach, and serve. How can we respond to these threats and help to support youth and their healthy psychological development in this tech-saturated world? In this interactive workshop, Dr. Drouin will define the common problems associated with digital harm and assist you (in small groups) in developing research-based solutions for addressing these issues within families and organizations.

21st Century Brand of Justice
Presented by Adam Foss
Times: 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

Our justice system was created hundreds of years ago. Since then society has undergone radical changes, and our civilization continues to innovate and grow with changing populations, technologies, resources, and information about how human beings interact. Some institutions, like the health care system, have been transformed to adapt with the times. Our jobs, though, just as important, remain stuck in the same framework as the time it was invented. This workshop looks at the history and potential future of our system, giving practitioners ideas and tools to shape their practice to look more like the 21st Century.

Suicide Prevention through Postvention: Practical Strategies for Schools
Presented by Dr. Melissa Reeves
Time: 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

This workshop will discuss the essential components needed to establish suicide prevention through postvention activities. Critical factors discussed will include: current statistics and legal cases, early identification of warning signs (including how to integrate QPR), primary prevention strategies to break the code of silence, an overview of suicide assessment procedures, and strategies for effective intervention and postvention activities to prevent contagion.

Understanding the Impact of Trauma on the Brain, Bonds and Behavior
Presented by Dr. Debi Grebenik
Time: 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

This presentation will look at how trauma changes the brain which can result in challenging behaviors, relationships, and outcomes. Come ready to hear about innovative intervention strategies that you can use with those with trauma histories. The focus will be on practical and tangible ideas to promote healing encounters.

Media Violence and the Pathways of Human Aggression
Presented by Dr. Andrew Weaver
Time: 1:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

The recent decision by the World Health Organization to identify “gaming disorder” in the ICD has renewed debate about the impact of media consumption, especially in the context of violence. Too often, this debate in the public sphere is reduced to hyperbolic claims on both sides that are not representative of what we actually know about how and why human aggression occurs. In this presentation, Dr. Weaver will review some of the recent research on aggression and present a risk/resilience model for contextualizing the impact of media consumption. He will also discuss the implications of this model for both policy debates about video game and television violence and for practical interventions designed to reduce aggression, especially in at-risk youth.

Closing Keynote: 

Swords and Shields
Presented by Adam Foss
Time: 3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m.

In this session, we will take a look at how the power we wield in the decisions we make can radically alter the course of people’s lives. With a better understanding of the cradle to prison pipeline, we can be empowered to intervene and inspire change. This talk will focus on one prosecutor’s journey to a different understanding of the people impacted by the criminal justice system and how that understanding informed many of the decisions those of us are forced to make every day in our jobs. Highlighting a case study, this talk will empower all stakeholders to move from a reactive to preventative mindset.