Our 26th Statewide Child Abuse Prevention Conference, this year joined by the 7th Annual Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Consortium Summit, was a great success! With the support of eighteen sponsors, including NARBHA, Season for Sharing, and First Things First, from December 15 – 17th, over 800 attendees convened from counties across Arizona to learn, network, and generate solutions to childhood adversity. Our theme, “Connection: The Power of Relationships,” was especially relevant this year. Here’s what attendees shared about their most valuable takeaways from the conference/summit: 

  • “The breadth of knowledge represented was impressive and reflective of the burgeoning field.”
  • “It gave me the opportunity to refresh my mind and think beyond current strategies that I utilize to engage when working with families.”
  • “The cumulative array of topics was perfect for moving deeper into the action piece of this movement.”
  • “I am so glad that there was a focus on supporting and uplifting families of color and how we can all do our part to do better.”
  • “The collaboration between ACES Consortium & Prevent Child Abuse AZ was evident and much appreciated. The connections between adverse childhood experiences, positive childhood experiences, and prevention was powerful!”
  • “Throughout the conference, the quality presentations were an intersection of science and trench work.”
  • “The various exhibitors, partners, and sponsors showing how they are in action for eradicating child abuse.”
  • “The focus on continued collaboration – how we are all a team, all attendees and presenters all have the same goal, which is to prevent ACEs, be trauma-informed, and respond to ACES in a way that is healing.”
  • “I found it valuable to be reminded that child abuse prevention is everyone’s responsibility no matter what role you have in this life.”
  • “The topics addressed were very relevant to the issues we are all currently facing. I felt we were all in a similar place of stress and could relate with one another and get vulnerable.”
  • “Being able to connect with those all-around Arizona virtually was very cool. I loved being able to hear the stories of those who are in different fields than I am in and get insight on how to be a better advocate for children all around.”
  • “Preventing ACES and promoting Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) can literally save lives.”

As challenging as adjusting to a virtual conference can be for attendees, presenters, and conference organizers, the feedback confirmed that despite the learning curve, the event was successful in convening and inspiring our sector:

  • “As much as virtual life has been limiting, I really like the online conferences. I am better able to concentrate and take in the new information.”
  • “I was engaged by the ‘face-to-face’ aspects of the virtual platform. The combination of the complete accessibility of having the screen right in front of me and the interaction that was able to happen in the chat rooms and communities made it really feel more interactive than I have felt at most in-person conferences.”
  • “I love attending the conference each year. I liked this format because it allows those of us with large group anxiety to participate more comfortably. I was hesitant at first, but this was so smoothly done. I love that we can listen to the other sessions later and continue to learn more.”
  • “Initially, I was disappointed and skeptical about not having this be in-person conference as in previous years. However, it ended up exceeding my expectations in terms of sessions offered, pacing of the sessions with ample breaks, the ability to be interactive despite being online.”

The attendees, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors of the Child Abuse Prevention Conference and ACEs Summit made the experience unforgettable and confirmed that despite the challenges of 2020, Arizona has momentum in fighting for the wellbeing of children and families.