In July, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona hosted our 27th Statewide Child Abuse Prevention Conference. With the support of fourteen sponsors, including NARBHA, Season for Sharing, the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and First Things First, 646 attendees convened from counties across Arizona to share diverse perspectives and learn about new approaches to child abuse prevention. This year’s conference was guided by the theme “Cultivating Trust,” intentionally weaving the role of trust in creating a robust prevention system that connects families to what they need to nurture their children.

Over the past few years, Prevent Child Abuse Arizona has clarified our focus, vision, and purpose, which has helped guide the content we choose to include in our conference. One attendee described, “I attended the conference two years ago in person, and I honestly feel the quality and of workshops and presenters blew me away this year compared to two years ago.” Another attendee shared, “Many of the presentations represented a crucial shift in mindset to a true prevention perspective.”

We believe the problem-solving process is just as crucial as the solution and that we sometimes must diverge from past models to get it right. This conference presented perspectives that help us reimagine what is possible in how we serve and support children and families. Attendees agree that the most valuable aspects of the conference included “paradigm-shifting opportunities,” “different perspectives,” and “new concepts and ways of thinking.”

However, this reimagining is only possible by centering stories of those with lived experience. When answering, “What was the most valuable aspect of the conference to you?” attendees celebrated the powerful stories shared by keynote speakers and presenters:

  • “Awareness of historical trauma and its deep impact; the overall tone throughout the conference of the importance of a partnership with the people we are supporting; endless references and tools to put into practice, not just keep in a notebook.”
  • “For me, it was the education of other cultures. Adding the film and finding the speaker for the indigenous community must have been difficult, but you can tell there was a shift in knowledge and respect for culture during this conference.”
  • “Having speakers with lived experiences is meaningful and impactful. It helps keep us grounded. Parent engagement is powerful.”
  • “Opportunities to be vulnerable to personal stories.”

Above all, the Child Abuse Prevention Conference emphasizes the importance of togetherness in creating a world free from child abuse. All 646 attendees, speakers, and presenters offered a diversity of experiences, perspectives, and strengths to help us get closer to delivering what families really need to flourish.