“What a sight to see. The view of all of you gives me chills,” said distinguished surgeon and novelist Dr. Dana Suskind as she gazed upon the 850+ attendees at the 29th Statewide Child Abuse Prevention Conference. Like those attendees, Dr. Suskind is committed to building a Parent Nation by advocating for policies that provide families with the critical support they need to pave a path of potential for their children. Dr. Suskind saw the magic in convening so many passionate people around a shared vision for Arizona.

Convenings like the CAP conference are essential to take a reprieve from our daily roles and set aside time to be present, connect, and learn. In the day-to-day grind of busy life, it can be hard to see your role in the bigger vision of an Arizona in which all families have what they need to nurture their children.  That’s why we chose this year’s theme, “I Am Prevention.”  We wanted to remind attendees of the unique and crucial part they play in preventing child abuse and neglect.

One attendee shared, “I felt so much synergy among the participants. ‘I Am Prevention’ is a very appropriate theme, and I believe the keynotes, the breakouts, and the conversations around tables were well-focused on this theme.”

Synergy was a common theme, as another attendee expressed the value of being among others who “share the same passion and are dedicated to the same goals.” Another attendee relished “how passion and drive landed everyone in the same place.”

And yes, they certainly have passion and drive, exemplified by their vast reach across Arizona. When asked how many families attendees each serve annually, the total number equated to 999,364 families. That’s about one-third of all Arizona families!

Attendees serve families through roles in behavioral health, home visiting, early childhood education, child protection, family resource centers, schools, and so much more. 

They make a difference every day for the families in their sphere. However, the conference highlighted additional ways to make large-scale change through advocacy and policy. One attendee summarized, “I most valued the honest discussions about how systems and organizations are designed to keep families down. Those conversations are imperative in making changes in those areas.”

Another attendee highlighted the challenges of prevention and the tenacity it requires: “Thank you for continuing the work to prevent child abuse rather than just reacting after the fact. Prevention really is the key, but it’s a big fight because prevention often goes against the design of systems in this country.”

Despite the difficulty in promoting prevention in an intervention-focused culture, we are fortunate to recharge while we are together. Synergy can provide energy! “This was my first time, and I can honestly say that I am invigorated and ready to head back to work tomorrow with new ideas and a refreshed mind.”

We thank our sponsors for their commitment to prevention and all those who work to achieve it. This event could not have happened without the financial support from our sponsors.