Over 200 attendees representing 12 counties statewide gathered for the 2019 Oregon Collaborative Conference in April. Sponsored by Catholic Community Services, The Ford Family Foundation and Safe Families for Children, the theme of this year’s conference was “Building Community Resilience.”
Fariborz Pakseresht, Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS); Dick Withnell, business and community leader; Jim Seymour, CCS Executive Director; and Dr. Dave Anderson, national founder of Safe Families for Children delivered an inspiring opening session.
The conference was held in observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month and also served as an inspirational launch of a multi-year Safe Families-DHS innovative pilot demonstration project to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect, ultimately reducing the number of children in foster care. Safe Families for Children, in partnership with the Department of Human Services, plans to scale up and eventually have Safe Families Chapters in every County in Oregon. Special recognition was given to Senator Peter Courtney for his enabling legislation with the passage of Senate Bill 991 in 2010, that made strengthening parents and prevention of abuse and neglect a focus by bringing Safe Families for Children to Oregon.
BJ Walker, who has successfully led reform efforts in Illinois and Georgia, and worked with human services for over 30 years, discussed the great need for change in services for families and discussed how we can assist families to move from risk to redemption and restoration.