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Welcome to the 2018 Illinois CASA State Conference

Building Bright Futures for Children

May 3 and 4, 2018

Radisson Hotel & Conference Center
Bloomington-Normal, Illinois


Illinois CASA is pleased to have the opportunity to bring child welfare professionals, volunteer advocates, program staff, and friends of CASA together from throughout the state for our conference. The event provides a great opportunity to network with one another,  learn and grow, and to renew our commitment to Illinois’ youth.  We hope to see you in May.

Thursday, May 3 Staff Conference Sessions

10:30 a.m.    Welcome & State of the State
11:00 a.m.    Staff Support and Directors Sessions
12:00 p.m     Lunch
1:00 p.m.      Staff Support and Directors Sessions
4:00 p.m.      Session Closing

Friday, May 4 General Conference Session Snapshot

6:30 a.m.     Optional Morning Yoga
7:30 a.m.     Registration and Breakfast
8:30 a.m.     Welcome
8:45 a.m.     Morning Plenary
11:30 a.m.    Lunch
12:15 p.m.    Afternoon Plenary
1:45 p.m.      Afternoon Breakout Sessions
4:00 p.m.      Conference Closing

Friday, May 4 Morning Plenary Sessions

On Friday, May 4th, our morning includes impactful stories and insightful reminders of how we must continue to effectively work on behalf of Illinois’ children.  We welcome these three presenters to Building Bright Futures for Children 2018.

Exavier B. Pope I, Esq.

Exavier B. Pope I, Esq.

Founder and Principal Owner of The Pope Law Firm

Who You Serve Can be Great and Powerful

Mr. Pope will share his humble beginnings and journey with us through the path he took as a ward of the state.  His story promises to inspire us to truly believe in the youth we serve and will challenge us to discover new an innovative ways to create more success stories through The Pope Power Plan.

Diana Mendley Rauner, Ph.D.

Diana Mendley Rauner, Ph.D.

President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund

Breaking the Cycle of Intergenerational Trauma

Diana Mendley Rauner is president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, a public-private partnership that prepares children for success in school and in life. The Ounce believes in starting early to unlock the power of human potential, advancing program and policy efforts interactively to foster systemic change. We are honored to welcome the First Lady of Illinois to our conference.

Susan Evans

Susan Evans

Executive Director, Child Protection Training Academy at the University of Illinois Springfield

The Impact of Bias:  Attitudes, Beliefs and Assumptions on Decision-Making in Child Welfare

Illinois CASA is delighted to have Ms. Evans return to our conference this year.  In this presentation, we will look at how personal and institutional biases can impact the children and families we serve.  We will look at outcomes for children who are raised in the foster care system and will learn strategies for recognizing our biases.

Make the Experience Your Own

When you register for this year’s conference, you will be invited to personalize your experience by selecting from among these afternoon breakout sessions.

Early Afternoon Breakouts

When registering, choose one of these early afternoon sessions, or choose one of two full afternoon sessions.

Session A: Voices of Youth

Youth in care bring a unique perspective about the child welfare system.  During this panel discussion, hear how youth in care and former youth in care experience “the system,” the people who are on their team and what they think the solutions are!  There will be time allotted during this session for questions and responses.

Session B: The Tough Stuff: Establishing and Maintaining Rapport with Kids
Oftentimes, the most intimidating part of CASA work is learning how to talk to children in a way that builds trust and opens the lines of communication.  This energizing and engaging workshop will explore issues related to establishing and maintaining rapport in challenging situations and provides practical strategies to bust down barriers to communication.
Session C: Trauma 101
This is an introductory training on trauma and its lifelong effects.  The presentation will address how traumatic experiences impact brain development in children, and what that impact has into adulthood.  The training also explores the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study and the movement toward trauma-sensitive care.
Mid Afternoon Breakouts

When registering, choose one of these mid afternoon sessions, or choose one of two full afternoon sessions.

Session A: Fictive Kin, Relative Care and Shared Parenting
This presentation will provide an overview of fictive kin (people who are “like family”) and relative care, touching on state laws, what it means for youth in care, the rights of parents and children and responsibilities of workers. Relatives and fictive kin are often better prepared to share the family history, cultural connections, and promote healthy support.  Shared Parenting will be explored as a process that is used throughout the State of Illinois in order to partner Foster Parents, Birth Parents and workers.  This process allows information to be shared regarding youth in care so children have a sense of normalcy in their lives.
Session B: "I Don't See Color" - Lessons in Cultural Humility
Cultural Humility is “the ability to maintain and interpersonal stance that is “other-oriented,” or open to the other, in ways that are most important to that person.  In this session, participants will explore their own hidden biases, and learn about ways to purposefully identify and address them. We will also explore the potential biases of our CASA clients and how those biases might affect the relationship and outcome of a case.  We will also explore the intersectionality of poverty and child welfare.
Session C: Courtroom Advocacy & Connecting with Youth
This session will teach you effective strategies to use in court.  You’ll learn how to present your concerns more clearly, communicate your position more effectively, and acheive best outcomes for youth.  You’ll receive tips and tricks for connecting with your youth outside the courtroom, as well as strategies on how to represent the best interests of older youth.
Full Afternoon Sessions
If you prefer, you may choose one of these two full afternoon sessions.
Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children
Two trained facilitators from the McLean County CASA program will offer Darkness to Light training for our attendees.  Darkness to Light provides tools and resources that educate and empower adults to prevent sexual abuse, recognize signs of abuse, and take action to protect children.
Developing a Model of Trust
Conflict usually has two sides to it. In order to bring about successful outcomes, the two parties have to trust each other. This isn’t easy to do in the heat of the battle, or even when the problem doesn’t seem to be that big. You want to win, right? Using a model of trust that is based on the latest research of neuroscience, coaching, and real world situations, you will learn a five step process to effectively resolve problems without running over the other person or giving up what you hoped to achieve.


How do I register?
Online registration is accessible by selecting the REGISTER TODAY button at the bottom of this webpage.  Registration payment is made via PayPal.  NOTE:  You may register as a guest on PayPal if you do not have a PayPal account.
Will I be eligible for Continuing Education Credits?
Each year, Illinois CASA has been granted continuing education credit for its conference.  This year we are seeking MCLE, Social Work CEU, and DCFS CEU credits.  They are currently pending.  We will update this website when credits are approved.
Will session handouts be provided?
Yes, session handouts will be made available on our website prior to the conference.  You are encouraged to print them if you like having them during your session attendance.  We will not be providing handouts at the conference.
Can I order a special meal to accommodate my dietary restrictions?

Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free alternatives will be available at every meal.

Are discounted hotel rates available?
Yes, the Radisson Hotel is providing a conference discount.  Contact Radisson Reservations at 1-800-333-3333.  Reference the Illinois CASA Association.
Will there be any social events during the conference?

Yes.  We hope you’ll come into town on Thursday so that we can mingle that evening.  The hotel bar is reserved for conference attendees from 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – we’d love to see you there.

What if I have to cancel my registration?
If you are unable to attend, your conference registration fees will be considered a donation to Illinois CASA.  No refunds will be provided.

Thank you

Illinois CASA would like to acknowledge the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Illinois Children’s Justice Task Force for helping to make this conference possible.

Register by March 16th for Early Bird Conference Rates

May 3 and 4 Staff Attendees:  $100 by 3/16; $125 after 3/16

May 4 Conference Attendees:  $75 by 3/16; $100 after 3/16