Each year The Alliance brings together top mental health providers, counselors, therapists and trauma experts around the Greater Sacramento Region to provide valuable training on the effects of childhood trauma and strategies to build connection and promote healing.
Join us virtually or in-person for our 6th annual conference with a wide variety of valuable sessions for parents, foster/adoptive families, providers and anyone working or volunteering with kids from hard places.
*Resource Families are eligible to earn certificates for Parent Training hours and for the first time, CEUs will be available for Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists (LMFTs) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs). See details below.
Available Aug. 27-Nov. 30
Livestream Content On-Demand
Access all 8 recorded sessions from
the comfort of home for 90 days
Early Bird (Until June 15)
General Registration (Until Aug. 18) $50*/household
*Price Before Member Discount if applicable
Sat. August 27 | 8:30am-2:30pm
5770 Carlson Dr, Sacramento 95819 ·
Access ALL virtual content for 90-days PLUS attend the live event with lots of in-person extras (see below)
Early Bird (Until June 15)
$45*/person + $15/family member
General Registration (Until Aug. 18) $55*/person + $15/family member
*Price Before Member Discount if applicable
Resource Parent Training Hours
4 hours of training available
5 hours of training available
*Certificates provided upon completion
In partnership with Western Seminary,
LMFTs and LPCCs can earn 4 CEUs with registration for the Professional Track
*In-Person Reg. Only
Hear 4 Main Sessions Live
Keynote on "Reframing Expectations"
4 Breakout Session Options
Connect with Local Families
Conference Swag Bag
For ALL Attendees
Helping Kids Self-Regulate Through Mindfulness Exercises
Dr. Stephanie Caine | Therapist, Professor of Psychology & Counseling
Children experience trauma differently than adults, which can make it challenging for adults to understand how to help kids manage their triggers. Through mindfulness, children can recognize and manage how their bodies are responding to triggers, both physically and emotionally.
Deepening Attachment by Meeting Needs
Debbie McJimsey, LMFT | Marriage & Family Therapist, TBRI Practitioner
Foster and adoptive circles place a heavy emphasis on attachment - for good reason! In this workshop, we will look at the foundations of attachment: What is it? How does attachment develop in healthy ways and maladaptive ways? How our needs as infants drive the attachment process and the basics of building more securely attached relationships. The goal of this session is for you to come away excited about meeting the needs of kids in your care and deepening your attachment in the process.
Choosing Connection in All States of Regulation
Robyn Chu, MOT, OTR/L | Owner, Growing Healthy Children Therapy Services
Childhood trauma impacts the body’s ability to regulate and the sensory processing system. In this session experienced occupational therapist Robyn Chu will share self-awareness and sensory-based strategies for helping us all connect when we’re regulated and when we’re not.
Discovering Personal Change in the Process of Helping Others
Carvin Ayers | Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor
How do you stay in the place of helping when you are struggling with your own “stuff“? In this session we’ll discuss how to rise above the challenges of caring for kids from hard places while discovering your own healing in the process.
Enhancing Felt Safety Through Attunement
Casey Shortt, Ph.D.| Therapist, Kaiser South Sacramento
Emotional safety is one of the building blocks for creating healthy relationships and bolstering resilience. This talk will dive into building emotional safety with youth through tuning into how they feel, meeting them in their emotions and experiences, and creating spaces where children “feel felt”. We will explore the concept of attunement and offer practical application strategies.
The Top 10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Mental Health
Juline Aguilar | FCKE El Dorado Director, NAMI Trainer
In this session, participants will get a brief introduction to mental health and how to recognize when their child may be having difficulties, the steps to take in seeking help, how to support their child in the home and how to find support for their family.
Building Safe Connected Nests
Christie Griffith | Founder, Safe Connected Nests
In trying times and good we all need a safe nest where we can grow, heal and connect. Whether you are building or rebuilding your nest, this session will show you the basic pillars of safe nests and the order in which to work on them to build whole-family strength and resilience.
The Simplicity of Influence
Wesley Towne | Writer, Speaker & Founder, Better Days
Influencing people, especially children and teenagers who are hurting, can be a daunting task. Kids from hard places may not have had positive role models or healthy caregivers making them very skeptical of the adults around them. Thankfully the human heart has very simple needs that can be met in order to develop trust and gain buy-in. In this session we’ll discuss how to build a culture of influence with kids and teens through consistent patience, kindness and love.
Bonus SessionS & Breakouts
For In-Person Attendees
When Super-Glue Just Won't Do:
Repairing Attachment Ruptures in Relationships with Teens
Kristen Crichton, LMFT | Owner & Therapist, Bridge Counseling Group
Typical teens are caught up in a constant struggle with their parents/caregivers that stems from internal tensions created by their simultaneous longing for closeness and their pursuit of autonomy. For many teens who have experienced trauma, the resulting broken trust in adults to provide support, comfort and protection causes them to push away the very thing they want and need the most- healthy attachments. This workshop will explore how to help professionals and parent/caregivers to become a 'safe haven' for defiant and withdrawn teens by learning how to work with the teen to repair and resolve attachment ruptures without becoming dysregulated ourselves!
What Happens to "US" After We Say Yes to Foster Care/Adoption?
Tips for Married Couples
Dave & Banetta Bacchi | Foster-Adoptive Parents, Parent Coach
Taking children from hard places into your home changes the dynamics, expectations and stressors on marriage relationships. Between navigating behaviors, getting kids to therapy appointments and just making sure everyone is clothed and fed, many couples begin to wonder “What happens to us?”. Join experienced foster-adoptive parents, Dave & Banetta Bacchi, to learn some valuable tools to build and strengthen your marriage as you travel the sometimes raging storm of parenting kids/teens who have experienced trauma and loss.
Matters of the Heart are the Heart of the Matter
Dr. John Harris | Pastor & Consultant, Hearts Like His, Inc.
When we experience disappointments, rejection, betrayal, trauma and other painful life experiences we often refer to these moments as heartbreaking. In this session, we’ll discuss a faith-based perspective on what exactly is broken, how heart forgiveness differs from common views of forgiveness, what our hearts need to heal, and how this changes our behavior from the inside out. This helps us overcome the challenges of past experiences and helps increase the quality of our relationships with ourselves and each other.
Suicide Prevention Strategies - Mobilizing Hope in Individuals Who Have None
Bev Wiens, Ph.D. | Director of Counseling, Western Seminary
Suicidal thoughts and attempts are on the rise in our culture today and this reality is greatly impacting teens and young adults. As parents, caregivers, volunteers and providers, we need to know our role in suicide prevention and intervention. In this session we’ll discuss how to spot predisposing risk factors, the need for psychiatric evaluation, safety planning, involvement of the family in managing the suicidal individual and the impact suicide makes on friends, family members and therapists.
Provider Tips for Working with Children from Foster Care
(Exclusive to the Provider CEU Track)
Sherry Ehrhart, LMFT | Owner & Therapist, Oasis Kids Counseling
This session will focus on therapeutic techniques and strategies that Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs) and Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) can utilize when providing services to children and teens in the foster care system.
Bev Wiens, phd
LMFT, Director of Counseling | Western Seminary
Dr. Wiens did her Ph.D. work in Counseling Psychology as well as her License in Marriage and Family Therapy. Currently she is the Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling program at Western Seminary and has held positions of Chair of the Psychology Department at William Jessup University, Professor of Child Development at San Jose State University and San Jose City College. One of her biggest passions is equipping her students to become holistic, and powerful therapists, and she specializes in developing healthy understandings of sexuality and intimate partnerships.
Coach, Counselor | Private Practice
Carvin is a Business health coach, Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor with a B.S. in Theology and Christian Leadership and a certification in Addiction studies from Bethany College. He has been married for 26 years to his wife Tery and they have 7 grand kids and 1 great grandchild. He works with a variety of clients but specializes in adolescent addiction treatment. Carvin has a passion for helping adjudicated youth coming out of the juvenile justice and foster care system, to improve their quality of life and transition back into society.
Casey Shortt, MA, PHD
Therapist | Kaiser South Sacramento
Adjunct Professor | William Jessup University
Casey is a therapist, adjunct professor, and emerging researcher who is passionate about helping children and families build resilience. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Fuller School of Psychology, and is currently working as a therapist in a healthcare setting. Her primary research interests and clinical experiences focus on trauma, youth development and caring adult relationships, and resilience. As a researcher at the Thrive Center for Human Development, she has had the opportunity to study thriving and the importance of relationships as developmental assets. Inspired by the catalytic potential of relationships in promoting human thriving, Casey’s current research aligns with her clinical experiences working with youth and families. She aims to use her growing knowledge to work within her community and provide resources for caregivers, community members and clinicians facing burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious traumatization.
Founder & Director | Safe, Connected Nests
Christie, creator of the Safe, Connected Nest model, has over 15 years of experience in the mental health field. As a trauma survivor herself, she is passionate about cultivating healing and resilience. She helps organizations, women, caregivers and children build strong, healthy nests. She has also written the Women in Motion series, Winter Friends Keep Their Cool and the Challenge Journal.
Dave & Banetta Bacchi
Foster/Adoptive Parents, Banetta is a Parent Coach
David and Banetta fostered 68 teens in their 28 year career as foster parents. Dave and Banetta will celebrate the 40th anniversary in September. They have a biological son and 2 adopted sons from the foster care system. Dave is the program coordinator and placement coordinator for Koinonia Family Services in Loomis. Banetta is the trainer for the pre-approval program for the Loomis Koinonia office and she supports and coaches families during the pre and post approval foster process.
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.
Dr. John harris
Pastor and Consultant | Hearts Like His, Inc. | Harris Coaching & Consulting
John has served as a chaplain in the United States Air Force and Executive Pastor. He is currently a leadership coach and consultant that helps churches and non-profits overcome barriers to growth and health. He also facilitates emotional intelligence workshops to strengthen teams and increase productivity. He and his wife are the co-founders of Hearts Like His, Inc., an online ministry that now reaches people across the U.S. and several other nations. He received his B.S. in Sociology from University of Central Arkansas, followed by a Master of Divinity from Memphis Theological Seminary and his doctorate in Transformational Discipleship from Gateway Seminary. John lives in Roseville, CA with his amazing wife, Jeanine, and their three beautiful daughters Elise, Sydney, and Grace.
juline aguilar, mA
NAMI Trainer & Director | FKCE Program at Folsom Lake College
Juline is passionate about helping families find the resources, support, and information to help their foster/guardianship/adopted children grow and heal. She is the director of Foster and Kinship Care Education at the El Dorado Center of Folsom Lake College. Over the past 16 years in this position, she has worked closely with El Dorado and Amador Counties to provide high quality training for resource families. Ten years ago, she discovered the National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI), and its valuable education and support programs for families. Juline joined the board of NAMI El Dorado and became a certified trainer of NAMI Basics. She has two young adult children and lives in Placerville with her husband and two pugs.
Kristen Crichton, LMFT
Owner | Bridge Counseling Group
Adjunct Professor | Western Seminary
Kristen Crichton, LMFT, has been a therapist for twenty years with a private practice in Fair Oaks, CA. She has trained many therapists over the years as both a supervisor and a professor for undergraduate and graduate programs with a special interest in equipping professionals to work with adolescents and their families.
Robyn chu, MOT, OTR/L
Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Owner & CEO | Growing Healthy Children Therapy Services
Robyn earned her undergraduate degree in psychology with a biological emphasis from UC Davis. During that time, she worked with children with special needs in a variety of jobs, as a swim lesson instructor, coach, nanny, and instructional assistant for an applied behavior analysis program for children with autism. Robyn continued on in her education obtaining her master's degree in occupational therapy from Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, CA in 2005. Her work experience includes Shriners Hospital in Sacramento and the El Dorado County Office of Education as an Occupational Therapist and then the Lead Occupational Therapist. Robyn completed the Level 1 and 2 intensive mentorship programs and fellowship through the STAR Institute in Colorado. She has specialized in sensory processing for the last 15 years using the techniques and research taught through the STAR Institute. She is on the faculty of the STAR Institute and teaches all levels of mentorship in addition to passionately mentoring the team at Growing Healthy Children.
Sherry Ehrhart, LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist & CEO | Oasis Kids Counseling
Sherry is a licensed Marriage Family Therapy clinician who has over twenty years experience with children. Serving with a background in education and children’s programming leadership, Sherry has a passion for providing a trustworthy child-friendly space for effective healing work. Lasting effects in child therapy often include parent partnership and this service is integrated into weekly sessions to mentor each child’s long-term goals. Her clinical expertise includes trauma-informed therapy for children, even as young as infants. Sherry’s experience also includes collaborating with resource/ kinship/ foster/ adoptive families, child welfare services, churches, and schools.
Dr. Stephanie Caine
Professor of Psychology | William Jessup University
Director | The Cheatcode Academy
Dr. Stephanie Caine holds a doctorate degree in counseling. She has worked in education and counseling with a variety of populations including children, students, families, and adults for over 20 years. Dr. Caine is currently a professor of psychology and counseling at William Jessup University, the Program Director for a Master’s of Counseling Psychology program, a therapist, and the Director of The Cheatcode Academy which trains people to become mental health strengthening coaches in the area of trauma. Most importantly, she is a proud wife to Jason Caine and mother to amazing twins Joelle and Jason.
Founder & Director | Better Days
Pastor | Bayside Davis
Wesley is a writer, speaker and the founder of Better Days, a local nonprofit dedicated to bringing awareness, hope and education to the human experience of mental health + suffering. Wesley holds a Bachelor's degree and 2 Masters degrees in addition to being the Senior Campus Pastor at Bayside Davis Church. He is passionate about being an encouragement to people, especially those dealing with mental health issues. He currently lives in Davis, CA with his wife Kara and chihuahua Lucy. They love the sun, healthy eating, exercise and the ocean.