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Each year The Alliance 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, providers, and educators understand of the implications of childhood trauma, they can meet needs more effectively, promote healing and build resilience in the next generation. 


Join us for our 5th annual event as we explore the concept of Moving Closer to Brokenness: Proximity Brings Healing. With a wide variety of topics, there is something for everyone whether you're a foster/adoptive family, birth parent, counselor, therapist, teacher, childcare provider or volunteer.

*Resource Families are eligible to earn 4.5 hours of Parent Training for watching these keynote sessions. Digital certificates can be downloaded from after the conference page once material is released.


Online Conference Access

Includes access to watch all sessions on demand between Aug. 28th - Oct. 31st


*Before Alliance Member discount

In-Person Hosted Event

Due to overwhelming online conference sign-ups and new COVID safety guidelines, all in-person conference events have been transitioned to online. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to see you at future in-person events.

Event Sponsors

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Conference sessions

Addressing Trauma Behavior with the Skill-Building Approach

Debbie McJimsey, LMFT | Adoption Therapist, TBRI Practitioner

Let's take the judgment out of kid's behavior and look at it through a lens of skill-building.  Supplement your parenting tools from Nurtured Heart and TBRI by using this proven system to help kids gain new skills and abilities. This is an excellent model for people longing to *notice* progress and improvements in a concrete way.

The Gift of Presence

Heidi White | Educator & TBRI Practitioner, The Alliance

One of the most precious gifts that we can offer others is our authentic, present self. Join TBRI expert Heidi White as she unpacks the important skills of being mentally and emotionally available when engaging with kids from hard places. Bringing your whole self to each engagement dismantles shame, enlarges the capacity for empathy and promotes healing.

Healing Touch: Engaging the Sensory System to Promote Felt Safety

Amy Oettle, OT | Owner, Highest Potential Therapy

There is great power in physical touch and proper activation of the sensory system. Childhood trauma or mental health issues cause an imbalance in the body which can begin to repair with healthy sensory input. In this session we'll look at ways parents and caregivers can create felt safety and connect with kids of all ages using healing touch. 

Connecting with Teens - Navigating Confrontational & Avoidant Behavior

Dr. Michelle Cook, LMFT | Regional Director, Institute for Children's Aid

The teenage years are an interesting time as the brain is rewiring and kids start to develop a sense of identity and desire independence. Teens with a trauma history experience even more emotional highs and lows so those parenting or connecting with youth between the ages of 13-18 need to have extra patience and some special skills. In this session, we'll discuss age appropriate connection strategies for traumatized teenagers, typical avoidant and confrontational behavior patterns, and how to respond well when working with teens as a professional or parent/caregiver. 

Actionable Strategies for Managing Triggers

Makela N Mims, LMFT | Founder, Owner Still Waters Counseling

Children learn through a myriad of ways, one of which is modeling, or learning through watching. Emotional dysregulation is often the result of triggers or a reexperiencing of a traumatic event, or a painful moment. This is not limited to children; often times adults are unaware of how a current event may trigger past pain. In this session, we’ll share some practical and actionable strategies for identifying and managing your own triggers in order to assist children with theirs.

Diffusing Hard Situations Using the IDEAL Response

Charlotte Fritz, LMFT | Adoption Therapist, TBRI Practitioner

One of the greatest challenges of caring for children from hard places is responding appropriately to negative or hurtful behavior without causing shame.  The I.D.E.A.L. response, taught in Trust Based Relational Intervention, is a highly effective strategy for parents and caregivers that both corrects behavior while maintaining connection. In this sessions, TBRI Practitioner Charlotte Fritz, will unpack the 5 components to a healthy response and give practical examples of using this in real time with your kids. 

Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First

Ricardo Garza | Community Life Pastor, Southport Church

"Should an emergency situation occur, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first, before attempting to help the children around you.” We understand the importance of this concept on an airplane but instinctively think this analogy is selfish or even counter-intuitive in our everyday lives. Caring for children with a trauma history can be complicated, time-consuming and at times very draining. We need to invest in meeting our own needs so that we can be fully available to care for others to the fullest. In this session Ricardo, an adoptive dad, pastor and soon-to-be counselor, shares his personal self-care journey along with practical tips to implement self-care into your life.

18 Love Languages

Debbie McJimsey, LMFT | Adoption Therapist, TBRI Practitioner

Did you know there are way more than 5 love languages? You may be familiar with Dr. Gary Chapman's concept of love languages: physical touch, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation & acts of service. In this sessions we'll discuss an expanded list of love languages and provide you with practical ways to give and receive love that will enhance relational growth with the kids in your life.



AMY Oettle, OT

Occupational Therapist | Highest Potential Therapy

Amy is a pediatric occupational therapist with many years of experience in out-patient clinics and school based settings. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California (USC) and received training from the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy. Amy also earned her Certification in Sensory Integration (AKA “SIPT-certified”), holds training in Handwriting without Tears and completed Level I and level II hippotherapy training from the American Hippotherapy Association. Whether working in a therapy room or a horse arena, Amy is passionate about helping children improve their fine motor, gross motor and sensory processing skills to achieve their highest potential.

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Charlotte Fritz, LMFT

Adoption Therapist, TBRI Practitioner | Private Practice

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

Adoption Therapist, TBRI & Nurtured Heart Practitioner | Private Practice

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.



Educator, TBRI Practitioner | The Alliance

Heidi's passion for foster care and adoption began at age 15 and inspired her to pursue a degree in Sociology which she attained at Sacramento State University. She began her career at a local foster family agency, first as an adoptions clerk and later working in a group home. Heidi then transitioned into a church staff position at Bayside’s Thrive School for 7 years before joining our team here at The Alliance. Heidi utilizes her experience as a CASA and her knowledge as a certified Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner to equip families and churches to bring hope and healing to the kids in their care.

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Dr. Michelle Cook, LMFT

Regional Director | Institute for Children's Aid

Michelle, a Northern California native, is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and registered Play Therapist.  She received her B.A. in Youth Ministry from William Jessup University, followed by an M.A. in Counseling Psychology (emphasizing in Marriage & Family Therapy) from the University of San Francisco, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Management from Alliant International University. Michelle first worked with teachers and students in public schools and school districts, then moved into private practice serving foster/adoptive youth and their families. Currently Michelle is the Regional Manager for International Christian Adoptions, a local Non-Profit agency specializing in foster care, adoptions, counseling and refugee work.


Makela N Mims, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist | Still Water Therapy

Makela is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the Founder/Owner of Still Waters Therapy, Professional Counseling. She works with a variety of clients, and specializes in working with blended families, clergy, clergy spouses, individuals with depression, and anxiety.  She believes it is an honor to walk with those who are seeking to grow, bloom, and thrive in this journey called life. Makela has been married for 5 years and is the parent to 4 sons; two of her own, and two bonus sons, and she is a Mimi to two grandchildren.


Ricardo Garza

Masters in Counseling Intern, Pastor | Southport Church

Ricardo is the Community Life Pastor at Southport Church in West Sacramento and also a graduate student at Western Seminary, studying to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. He has been married to his wife, Tiffany, for over 10 years and they have four vivacious children Penny, Jude, Ryland, and Skyler. Their two youngest were adopted through the foster care system.

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