2018 KCN State Conference - "Be for the Child"

Conference Photos  |  Conference Downloads

Thank you to all who attended the conference, and especially to those who helped make the event possible. We are proud of the positive feedback received in the evaluations for each session and for the overall experience. The KCN appreciates the tremendous turnout from volunteers - there were over 150 active advocates who attended - and we had more than 300 total attendees!

You can view or download the press release that officially recognizes the awards presented during the conference luncheon. As announced during the luncheon, CASA Program for Bullitt County will receive a $500 donation from Babbage Cofounder for being the Volunteer of the Year's local program. The KCN will pay for the Volunteer of the Year, Cheryl McGruder, to attend the National CASA Conference in Atlanta in 2019, including travel and registration. The KCN is also pleased to announce that we are providing funding for Nicky Jeffries, Program Director of the Year, to attend a Leadership Nonprofit Intensive offered by Whitney Bishop over the next three months. 


Conference Photos and Highlights

We are happy to share some of the photos taken at the conference, and some highlights from the conference evaluations. If you share the photos on social media, please tag the Kentucky CASA Network and credit Megan Resch Photography. For the full album, click here.


"The conference setting was beautiful - which makes participants feel valued and important - just like that chocolate dessert!"



"Very helpful! Thank you for being a participatory session meant for adult learners!"



"Hasan Davis was a very engaging speaker with an inspirational story that fit well with what we do as CASAs. I felt like he brought together many aspects of CASA, from the child's point of view to the advocate's."



"I enjoyed hearing the judges' advice and perspectives and felt energized by what they were saying."



"John Whitfield's presentation was well organized and designed to help us as CASAs in specific concrete ways, which I really appreciated."



"Very informative and comfortable environment to have dialogue. Presenters were very knowledgeable."





Opening Plenary Session Description

Away from NoWay: A Transformational Journey from J.D. to J.D 
Hasan Davis, J.D. 

Hasan Davis will share his journey through the education, justice, and social service systems - systems that often failed to provide him the support he needed to be successful. Hasan was lucky to find that on his journey there were, within each system, outliers and resisters who found a way to engage, encourage and empower him. With their support, he transcended his mounting list of “failures” to become an advocate for himself and eventually a champion for others facing difficulty. Hasan believes that each person in the community has the opportunity, and the responsibility, to influence and change the way youth encounter the education, justice, and social service systems. Hasan will share the simple strategies his personal champions employed to help him complete the “JD shuffle” and go from Hasan Davis Juvenile Delinquent to Hasan Davis Juris Doctor.   


Breakout Session Descriptions

Transforming Lives One Emotion at a Time: Social and Emotional Intelligence Training
Tom Wojick, CEO - The Renewal Group

Emotional intelligence includes the ability to identify, understand, use, and regulate one's own feelings and to accurately read and understand the emotions of others. Emotional development is critical to helping children navigate current challenges as well as form strong social and work relationships as adults. This session will provide child advocates with the ability to model and mentor emotional intelligence skills that can help transform children's lives.


National Trends in Child Welfare Prevalent in KY: Human Trafficking Training & Prevention and the Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children 
Laken Albrink – Office of the Attorney General; Tara Grieshop-Goodwin – Kentucky Youth Advocates 

This session will focus on two significant trends in child welfare – human trafficking and parental incarceration. Tara Grieshop-Goodwin of Kentucky Youth Advocates will discuss what parental incarceration looks like in Kentucky, how it impacts children and families, and what Kentucky can do to hold adults accountable in ways that allow them to still care for their children. Laken Albrink of the Office of the Attorney General will provide a brief overview of the definitions of human trafficking, identify potential indicators, and provide participants with the tools to report suspected instances to the appropriate authorities. 

The ELEVATED Volunteer: Strategies to Attract, Engage and Retain Your Most Valuable Volunteers 
Whitney Bishop – Nonprofit Leaders Network  

As a volunteer-driven organization you know how important it is to have enough volunteers. And, you know the importance of a robust and effective recruitment & training strategy. What you might not know is that there are some powerful and practical ways to create positive change in your volunteer program, effective immediately. We will explore what’s not working, what’s working and what’s possible during this interactive and engaging session designed to help you create a volunteer journey that the right people will be lining up to experience. 

Judges Panel: Q&A on Court Trends and Best Practices with 4 Family Court Judges
Moderator: William Myers – CASA of the River Region
Panel: Judge Denise Brown – Jefferson Co. Family Court; Judge Libby Messer – Fayette Co. Family Court; Judge Lauren Ogden – Jefferson Co. Family Court; Judge Brandi Rogers – Crittenden, Union, and Webster Co. Family Court

This session will allow CASA volunteers, staff, and board members the opportunity to hear from a panel of Family Court Judges from throughout the state as they share their perspectives on how CASA volunteers can effectively “be for the child.” Judges will discuss trends and issues that are currently present in their Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse Dockets and factors that affect permanency for children involved in the child welfare system. This session will look at the impact that CASA can make in these cases. Participants may come prepared with questions for the judges and should note that no specific cases can be discussed.

The ENGAGED Board: New Ideas to INSPIRE, ENGAGE & EMPOWER your Board
Whitney Bishop – Nonprofit Leaders Network  

Your board is the foundation on which your organization is built. These influential and pivotal volunteers can be a powerful force for positive change OR a significant distraction from moving the mission forward. Learn new ways to THINK and SPEAK about the opportunity to advocate for children through board service. Identify the key elements of engagement AND create a board that is INSPIRED, ENGAGED and EMPOWERED to help you move forward and make a difference in the lives of children and families in your community.

Understanding Childhood Trauma: How Best to Advocate as CASAs 
John Whitfield – KentuckyOne Health 

Unfortunately, many of people CASAs work with have experienced childhood trauma. This session will provide an overview of childhood trauma and help CASA staff and volunteers identify the signs and symptoms of various types of trauma. Attendees will learn to utilize techniques to minimize triggers, avoid re-traumatization, and provide support to victims of trauma.

Terminating Parental Rights: The Process to Achieving Legal Permanency
Tiffany Yahr – Dept. for Community Based Services; Joe Schuler – The Law Office of Joseph P. Schuler)

While reunification is always the goal, CASAs unfortunately see cases where termination of parental rights (TPR) is a likely outcome. This session will provide an overview of the TPR process and what a CASA’s role is while TPR is pending. The session will highlight differences between the roles of CASAs and Guardians ad Litem (GAL) and will provide tips for working with the GAL and parents’ attorneys throughout the process. The presenters will briefly touch on other issues that come up during TPR, such as appeals.

KY Legislative Session Update: HB1 and Other Changes that Impact Children in Foster Care and the Overhaul of the KY Child Welfare System
Michelle Sanborn & Kathy Adams – The Children’s Alliance

In April 2018, Governor Bevin signed House Bill 1 into law, effectively overhauling Kentucky’s child welfare system. This bipartisan child welfare reform bill aims to improve the effectiveness of Kentucky’s adoption and foster care system. Michelle Sanborn and Kathy Adams of The Children’s Alliance will discuss what CASA staff and volunteers need to know about HB1 and other Kentucky legislative changes impacting children and families.

Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors! 

Breakfast Sponsors




Campbellsville University - Carver School of Social Work

CASA of Lexington

Face It® Movement

Hasan Davis

Healthy Feelings

Holly Schlaack

Our Lady of Peace

Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY)


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