Conference explores Building a Community of Practice
October 24, 2016
The Residential Child Care Project (RCCP) hosted its fourth international RCCP Conference this summer in Lake George, NY. The conference brings together professionals who work with vulnerable children and families to explore ways to provide the best care for the populations they serve.
Approximately 250 people from 13 countries, including Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, N. Ireland, Bermuda, Ireland, Burundi, Israel, Switzerland, Uganda, and South Korea, as well as 18 different states, attended.
In keeping with this year’s theme, Building a Community of Practice, the event encouraged conversation and collaboration through a variety of workshops, community of practice forums, and social events. The unique format included:
- Community of Practice forums where professionals met in facilitated groups to share experiences and learn from each other.
- Children and Family Experiences sessions where attendees heard the voices of children, families, and adults who live or have lived in care settings.
- Stories of Practice sessions where professionals could record their stories of experiences with children and families in order to share them with other professionals. RCCP plans to release the stories of practice recordings in a series on their web site.
- Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) program instructors and Children And Residential Experiences: Creating Conditions for Change (CARE) practice model consultants were available to answer questions about their program's implementation and training.
- Workshops on understanding self-injury, research, proposal writing, trauma and healing, CARE principles and implementation, TCI implementation, threshold concepts, TCI training innovations using modern media, and many others.
The conference opened with a performance of original songs by The Hillside Youth Voice Band, made up of children in care from the Varick Campus, which is part of the Hillside Family of Agencies in Rochester, NY. Songs included,“I’m Gonna be Me,” “Can You See Who We Are,” and “You Make a Difference.”
Highlights included presentations by Anthony Burrow on Purpose in Life: Evidence of a Psychological Resource, Howard Bath on Translating Trauma: From Complexity to Clarity, Junelei Li on Simple and Deep Right Before Our Eyes – Simple Interactions as the Active Ingredient for Human Development, Xavier McElrath-Bey with No Child Is Born Bad, and John Lyons on Managing the Business of Personal Change: Transformation Collaborative Outcomes Management.
Keynote speaker Xavier McElrath-Bey has noted,
My childhood traumas of living in poverty, having a mother diagnosed with mental illness, living in fear of an abusive step-father, and being placed in and out of foster care made me ripe for the occasions of impulsive and destructive behavior -- especially gang involvement which gave me the sense of having a new family.
I am a firm believer that no child is born bad...and that all children deserve another chance for positive change.
The final event of the conference, was the panel presentation Children and Families Speak out on “What Works.” The panel was moderated by James Anglin and featured youth and young adults formerly in care and parents of children/youth who have been in care facilities. Panelists spoke of the pain and difficulties surrounding being in care, but also of facility staff that helped and encouraged both the youth in care and their families.
Please see the conference page for further information, including some presentation powerpoints.