Each year Defending the Cause brings together top experts from around the Greater Sacramento Region and beyond to provide valuable training on the effects of childhood abuse, neglect and trauma.  We believe every child deserves to grow up in a safe, loving family environment and when parents, caregivers and providers understand of the implications of childhood trauma, they can meet needs more effectively, promote healing and build resilience in the next generation. 


This year we're excited to bring the Training Up Conference directly to you in a new online format and our 2020 theme is "What Kids Need Most in the Midst of Chaos & Disruption." The main conference, held on Saturday, August 29th, will include valuable tools and resources for ALL parents, foster/adoptive families, teachers, social workers, counselors and anyone working or volunteering with children. We're also hosting 5 FREE workshops just for caregivers throughout the fall. 

We'll miss seeing you in-person this year but look forward to gathering online. We're all in this together!

Children Embracing in Circle




Saturday August 29th

8:30am - 12:00pm


General Registration $30*

*Price before Member Discount if applicable

Conference schedule

8:15-8:30am       Login Open
8:30-8:45am       Welcome Message

8:45-10:00am     Session 1 Keynotes

10:00-10:15am     Intermission
10:15-11:30am     Session 2 Keynotes

11:30-12pm          Conversation on Resilience

Event Sponsors

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Keynote Talks




Protectors - Adults Able to Recognize & Report Child Abuse & Neglect

Mike Mason | KidsFirst

Space & Time to Process Emotions

Debbie McJimsey, LMFT | Adoption Therapist, TBRI Practitioner

Early Training on Equality & Acceptance

Nicole Fladger | Sacramento County Child Welfare Services​

A Balance of Structure & Nurture

Tiffany Saathoff | Destiny Community Center

Adequate Academic Support

Judy Knapp | PreventionWORKS

Healthy Doses of Activity & Touch 

Rose-Stella Pierre-Louis, OT | Ms. Rose's TheraPlace

Conversation about Hope & Resilience 

Special Guest Dr. Ashley Cross




Monday Evenings

Sept. 14th - Oct. 12th

8pm - 9pm


Sign up for the Sessions that Interest You

Cost: FREE



Secondary Trauma & Compassion Fatigue

A Night of Community

& Hope

Responding to Chaos & Disruption Using TBRI

Secondary Trauma & Compassion Fatigue

Bringing Reconciliation Home

Understanding Developmental Reflexes


MONDAY SEPTEMBER 14 - A Night of Community & Hope


MONDAY SEPTEMBER 21 - Responding to Chaos & Disruption Using TBRI

Charlotte Fritz, LMFT | Growing Hope


MONDAY SEPTEMBER 28 - Secondary Trauma & Compassion Fatigue  

Mark O’Sullivan, Senior Chaplain | Educational Ministries, Inc. & O’Sullivan Consulting


MONDAY OCTOBER 5 - Bringing Reconciliation Home

Heidi White | DTCRA  &   Nicole Fladger | Sacramento Child Welfare


MONDAY OCTOBER 12 -  Understanding Developmental Reflexes

Leanne Liddicoat, O.D. | ClearVue Eye Care  &  Teri Gelgood, LMFT | Creating Joy Now

Speaker Bios

Dr. Ashley R. Cross

Dr. Ashley Cross established the first girls’ home in Tulsa, OK and raised awareness in the city about the issues concerning girls in foster care. Dr. Cross lives to help vulnerable children build hope that the future will be better and help them see that they have a part to play in it. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Generation Two in Rochester, NY, runs the Monroe County CarePortal through the Hub585, Inc., and Pastor’s alongside her husband at Glory House International. Dr. Cross has her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Not-for-Profit Management, and Doctor of Educational Leadership, all from Oral Roberts University.

Charlotte Fritz, LMFT

Charlotte has been married to her husband Scott for 13 years. They adopted two beautiful children locally through foster-adoption over the course of the last 7 years, and fostered two other children who later reunited with their birth family. Charlotte has been a Marriage and Family Therapist since 2007, and currently specializes in working with families who are raising children who have experienced trauma. Charlotte is a certified TBRI provider and her passion is connecting foster and post-adoptive families with the resources they need.

Debbie McJimsey, LMFT

Debbie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the Founder/Director of West Roseville Counseling Center. She is a Certified Adoption Competent Therapist, Certified Trainer for the Adoption Competency program and has post-graduate training in EMDR, TBRI, and EFT. She is the trainer for Resource Parents at Lilliput Families and for therapists/social workers who are seeking post-graduate certification in Adoption Competence (an 18-month long certification program). Debbie has been married for 25 years and is the parent of three children: two biological and one through international adoption.

Heidi White

Heidi majored in Sociology in college and began her career with Koinonia Family Services where she worked for 4 years as Child Care Counselor in group homes and as a clerk in adoptions. Heidi joined staff at Bayside Church in 2013 as the Women’s Student Life Director of Thrive School. Her passion for foster care and adoptions began when she was 15 years old and currently Heidi is transitioning into a full-time role with Defending the Cause Regional Alliance as the Church Relations Director connecting the heart of the Father with the hearts and homes of the Church.

Leanne Liddicoat, O.D.

Dr. Leanne Liddicoat completed her undergraduate studies at UC Davis in Economics. Motivated by her own vision issues, she chose a career in optometry out of a desire to help others see and function better.  She graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Optometry in 1998, receiving awards for both her theses work on vision related learning disorders and emergency eye care.  Dr. Liddicoat's passion for pediatric eye care leads her to coordinate school vision screenings, publish articles, and give presentations on vision therapy to other colleagues, pediatricians, school teachers, administrators, and parents.  She and her family reside in the Loomis/Newcastle area, and she's been practicing optometry in the Roseville, Rocklin & Granite Bay area for almost 20 years.

Mark O'Sullivan

Mark has been a career Law Enforcement and Public Safety Chaplain for over 38 years. He holds a Masters of Ministry Degree in Public Safety from Trinity Biblical University and attained Master Chaplain Certification with the International Conference of Police Chaplains. Chaplain O’Sullivan has served as the Senior Law Enforcement Chaplain in Placer and Sacramento Counties, as a Senior Chaplain with the F.B.I. and Past President of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. He is a “Certified Expert” in the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and an educational provider in the field of Critical Incident Stress Management, Crisis Response and Traumatics. He is currently the President and Executive Director of Educational Ministries, Inc. and President of O’Sullivan Consulting. Chaplain O’Sullivan and his wife Patti have three grown children, Daniel, Michael and Erin. 

Mike Mason

Mike has been with KidsFirst Counseling and Family Resource Centers for over 6 years. He is a graduate of the Defense School of Public Affairs & has a B.A. in Communication Studies as well as two Professional Life Coaching certifications. A father of 2 adult children, Mike’s background is Marketing & Public Relations, but he found a new passion in social causes - particularly in advocating for child abuse prevention as well as positive father involvement. In addition to his community relations & development duties at KidsFirst, he teaches Mandated Reporting, Child Abuse Signs & Symptoms and ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Awareness in California as well as manages his agency’s Forever Fathers dads support groups.

Nicole Fladger

Nicole is a Social Worker and African American Cultural Specialist with Sacramento County where she assists families in reunification. Nicole is passionate about giving back to her community and helping individuals over come mental, physical, and emotional blocks in their lives. She also has a heart for racial reconciliation and in 2017, Nicole founded "Wisdom and Worth Ministries", an organization to help educate and empower people. Nicole holds degrees in Christian Education and Human Services with a concentration in Child and Family Services and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Social Work. i

Rose-Stella Pierre-Louis, OT

Rose-Stella is an intuitive pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT) and the owner of Ms. Rose's TheraPlace, an outpatient clinic in Rancho Cordova.  Since 2008, she has been providing early intervention treatment for infants through ALTA Regional Center, teaching special education classes and treating children at her clinic.  Ms. Rose holds a Master’s degree in OT from Samuel Merritt University, is certified in the Dr. Porges Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) which helps children achieve a grounded state of emotional and physiological well-being and is also certified by the Sensory Processing Therapy and Research (STAR) Institute. Ms. Rose enjoys staying current with evidence-based treatment practices and research contributing work to the Sensory Processing Measure Quick Tips. She serves as a consultant to the Sacramento Children’s Museum and is a co-founder of its free Autism pre-school program called ExplorAbility.

Teri Gelgood, LMFT

Teri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked with foster and adopted children and their families for over 25 years in various capacities and settings.   Teri specializes in the area of neurodevelopmental trauma and is a clinician, trainer, consultant and expert witness.  Teri is the creator of Healing Difficult Beginnings:  Neurodevelopmental Parenting and is in private practice in El Dorado County. 

Tiffany Loeffler, DPT

Tiffany is the founder and director of Defending the Cause Regional Alliance (DTCRA) in addition to working in the healthcare field as orthopedic physical therapist.  She firmly believes that every child deserves a family who loves them and that collaboration is the only way to see wide-spread impact. Tiffany and her husband Matt led short term mission teams to Haiti for 7 years plus founded a local church-based foster care and adoption ministry where she made connections with agencies and nonprofits all around the Greater Sacramento Area prior to launching DTCRA in 2016. They have 2 amazing kids, James (13) & Laurie (18), who were adopted from Haiti after a miraculous 6 1/2 year international adoption process.

Tiffany Saathoff

Tiffany and her husband Eric have been married 13 years, have two children, Blake and Paige, who were adopted from Placer County Foster Care and a baby on the way. Together, Eric and Tiffany have a heart for strengthening the family unit. They were children's pastors at Destiny Christian Church for 10 years and now are Directors of Destiny Community Center where they offer resources to strengthen and support families. Trained in Love & Logic and Kimochi Social Therapy, Tiffany teaches West Coast leaders in churches, community centers and public schools and she developed a 3-week Co-Parenting curriculum for separated/divorced/foster/adopt/blended families. With a degree from UC Davis in Psychology emphasizing on Child and Family Development, Tiffany is trained in assessing and implementing family health strategies. Eric and Tiffany's goal is simple, to provide the resources and education necessary to see stability and health in local homes. 

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Contact Us:

Defending the Cause Regional Alliance

4010 Foothills Blvd. #310 PMB #1

Roseville, CA 95747


(916) 633-1KID

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A proud Regional Alliance Member of Christian Alliance for Orphans 

© 2019 by Defending the Cause Regional Alliance.