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June 13-15, 2024   Nashville, TN

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Sponsored By:

Now more than ever, those of us working with children, youth and families in Haiti need one another. Together we can strive to find ways to remain committed in a country struggling under a heavy burden of conflict.

 

The Better Together conference will provide a dedicated space and time to convene, share, and learn over two and half days in Nashville. Workshops will be focused on topics related to supporting children in families with special emphasis on the complexity of the current context. In addition to workshops, there will be plenty of time dedicated to connecting and growing relationships.

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your conference experience

Find Your Fit

No matter how you are engaged in this work, there is a place for you.

This is an opportunity to gather as missionaries, humanitarian workers, board members, donors, sponsors - anyone who has a heart for working with children, youth, and families in Haiti. 

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Workshops

Come participate in interactive classes with presenters representing a variety of sectors sharing best practices, on-the-ground experience, strategies in responding to current issues in Haiti, and ideas for long-term program sustainability. 

connection

There will plenty of time throughout the three days to connect with others who are passionate about this work. This is a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with friends, new and old, to network and collaborate, as well as strengthen and support one another.

Thematic groups

If your work intersects with children, youth, or families in Haiti- from economic empowerment to education to healthcare, and everything in between- you are a part of the larger picture of support necessary for keeping children safe and ideally thriving in families.

 

As an opportunity to continue to engage in important conversations, networking and sharing of resources beyond the conference we will expand the thematic working groups formed in 2023.

something for everyone

I run an orphanage/children’s home- is this conference for me?

Absolutely! This conference will provide you with workshops designed to help you more closely consider and meet the needs of children, families and staff in your program. You may leave considering an expansion into family care or community development if you have not already. Either way, we offer non-judgemental feedback, the vulnerable experience of others that have been exactly where you are, free resources/tools that will elevate your work and the opportunity to build connections.

We are an international NGO- is this conference for us?

In no other place will you find such a large, committed, and passionate group of community based organizations that your INGO can connect with for future collaboration in Haiti. We know that you have a lot to offer in child protection or sectoral expertise, funding and project management. But we believe you can always learn from community-based organizations with a permanent commitment to their communities. Many CBOs are never featured as speakers, lack the funds to publish their data and case studies and are overlooked as partners on the ground due to lack of visibility. Come to share and to learn!

My church partners with projects in Haiti- is this conference for me?

If you are a mission coordinator, a church-church partnership representative or a donor this is an excellent place to learn more about the context of care for children and families in Haiti. This conference will help you to explore the bigger picture in which your project operates, find out about best practice and ultimately we want you to come away with an improved understanding of the needs of children, youth and family in the country you are passionate about.

workshops

Child Development and the Impact of Care

What do children need to thrive in childhood and what factors need to be in place for a successful transition into youth and adulthood? What challenges do multiple moves, paid caregivers and congregate care present to childhood development? The Faith to Action Initiative, a global faith-based family care movement, will present an overview of family care, global research on childhood brain development and the importance of meeting the diverse needs of children through a continuum of care options. 

Social Work Skill-Building for Successful Family Strengthening and Reunification

Every program working with children, youth and families needs competent social workers to support community outreach, promote family preservation, recruit foster carers, work with vulnerable youth, conduct reunification and implement the types of training and messaging needed for family based care. This workshop will provide some of the basic building blocks for skilled social work within any type of program.

Trauma, Stress and Mental Health Impact Every Level of Your Work in Haiti…What Can You Do?

The majority of Haitian children, youth and families have extremely high ACE scores due to traumatic childhood experiences. In addition, the high levels of violence and extremely unpredictable flare ups of community unrest keep many people in a chronic state of trauma and stress. This workshop will provide guidance on identifying and addressing staff and caregiver trauma and an introduction to mental health care through TBRI training.

Inclusive Support for Children, Youth, and Families Impacted by Disability

No person should be invisible and yet so many children, youth and their families impacted by disability in Haiti fear the accompanying stigma and discrimination. These are people uncounted and left unrecognized by traditional “development” programming. This workshop will highlight the challenges facing families impacted by disabilities, some of the reasons children with medical needs or disability are over represented in orphanages and will present ideas for any program in any sector that intersects with these children and families in a way that promotes family preservation instead of separation or isolation as a “solution.” 

Transitioning Dependent Youth/Careleavers to Independence and Adulthood 

Many programs in Haiti working to help transition youth to adulthood report that children who grew up in orphanages are the ones who struggle most in their programs…Why is that? What are the links between a childhood spent separated from family and the struggle to successfully transition into independence? This workshop will provide insight from organizations that work with this population of youth in order for the audience to gain an understanding of what skills and supports are necessary to have in place during childhood and throughout adolescence and early adulthood. Children do not stay little. This is a complex topic made even more complex by the institutionalization of over 30,000 children and youth across Haiti who will ultimately need to find employment, connect with their community and build healthy families of their own.

Meeting the Needs of Children and Families Through Education Programming

At the intersection of family preservation and family separation is often the issue of education. In Haiti a dominant factor for family separation is the belief that a child will be able to access education if sent out of the home. This is due to the high cost and low access of education programming in the country. This workshop will provide an overview of the ways that education programming intersects with many other sectors to centralize support for strengthening families.

What Can “Alternative Care” Options Look like in Haiti? (Includes a foster care case study)

Although Haiti developed a foster care framework over a decade ago, it has not been widely implemented as a family-based “alternative care” option. This workshop will provide some of the background related to the framework, challenges it has faced, and examples of pilots and programs that have implemented alternative family care initiatives with success. Additionally the workshop will touch on global learnings as well as Haitian examples of practical formal and informal foster care and the support structures needed for adequate child protection.

Working Directly with Mothers Improves Outcomes for Children

Pregnancy and parenting young children are a time of extreme vulnerability for mothers in Haiti due to lack of access to prenatal care, minimal labor and delivery services available in Haiti, poor nutrition and misinformation about parenting and self-care. This workshop will present case studies of two orphanages that turned into programs working with both mothers and their children together and the types of training, skills, support and follow up that make them successful family care programs.

Expanding Your Model of Care

A practical application workshop addressing the barriers organizations experience to expansion into family care programming. Let’s talk about the steps necessary for Board communication, staff buy-in, cost, donor retention, and the numbers of children, families and community members that can be impacted by expansion. This is relevant for any type of programming and may be particularly helpful to existing organizations or networks interested in challenging their current assumptions, making shifts particularly due to loss of mission trip visits/funds and those wanting to weave family strengthening messages into the way they are already conducting outreach or managing programs.

Schedule

(Central Time)

We reserve the right to adjust the following order of events if necessary to accommodate speaker needs or timing.

day

1

Thursday

June 13

  • 9:00 AM - Check-In      

                  

  • 9:30 AM - Introductions    

  • 9:45 AM - General Session: Challenges Facing Family Care in Haiti 

       

  • 10:00 AM - Workshop: Child Development and the Impact of Care

  • 11:00 AM - Break

  • 11:15 AM - Workshop: Inclusive Support for Children, Youth, and Families Impacted by Disability

  • 12:45 PM - Lunch

  • 1:45 PM - Workshop: What Can “Alternative Care” Options Look like in Haiti? (Includes a foster care case study)

  • 2:45 - Workshop: Social Work Skill-Building for Successful Family Strengthening and Reunification

  • 3:45 PM - Break/Connection Time

  • 4:30 PM - General Session: Haiti's Role in Care Reform

  • 5:00 PM - Closing Remarks

2

day

friday

June 14

  • 9:00 AM - Welcome

  • 9:30 AM - General Session: Introduction to Workshops

  • 9:45 AM - Workshop: Transitioning Dependent Youth/Careleavers to Independence and Adulthood 

  • 11:15 AM - Break

  • 11:30 AM - Workshop: Working Directly with Mothers Improves Outcomes for Children

  • 1:00 PM - Lunch/Thematic Groups 

  • 2:00 PM - Workshop: Trauma, Stress and Mental Health Impact Every Level of Your Work in Haiti…What Can You Do?

  • 3:30 Break/Connection Time

 

  • 4:15 Discussion: Operating in the Current Context

 

  • 5:00 - Closing Remarks

Optional Evening Activity: Pizza Party!

3

day

saturday

June 15

  • 9:00 AM - Welcome

 

  • 9:15 AM - Workshop: Meeting the Needs of Children and Families Through Education Programming

  • 10:15 AM - Workshop: Expanding Your Model of Care

 

  • 11:15 AM - Break/Connection Time

 

  • 11:45 AM - Thematic Group Activities

  • 1:00 PM - Closing Remarks

Location

The Fellowship 

490 Industrial Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122

plan your trip

Mt. Juliet is a beautiful community about 15 minutes from the Nashville Airport.

where to stay

The following recommended hotels are near the venue and include a convenient breakfast. Book a room at one of these neighboring hotels or find other accommodations that best fit your needs.

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Getting around

  • The Nashville International Airport is 11 miles from Avid Hotel Mt Juliet. Cost of Uber or Lyft is approximately $30 depending on time of day.

  • Avid Hotel to The Fellowship is 3.5 miles. We suggest planning shared rides.

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There are many dining, shopping, and entertainment options throughout the area, so come ready to enjoy all that Nashville has to offer!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

Are there registration discounts available?

Yes! An early bird price of $175 is available if you register before May 8th. After May 8th, the regular registration price is $200. If financial hardship would prevent you from attending please contact us directly contact@haitifamilycarenetwork.org

Q:

Are tickets refundable?

Tickets are non-refundable. If you are unable to attend, tickets are transferable to a friend, family member, or colleague. Contact us if you need to transfer your ticket.

Q:

Can I participate virtually?

We are not able to provide virtual participation or recordings this year.

Q:

Are children invited?

Unfortunately we are not able to provide childcare at the conference, so we ask that other arrangements be made for children. (Mothers with breastfeeding infants are welcome.) Mature youth over the age of 15 may attend with a parent/guardian but must be registered in order for us to provide meals and snacks.

Q:

Will any meals be provided?

Your conference registration fee includes the cost of 2 lunches and light refreshments available throughout the 3 days.

Q:

How are conference speakers or speaker organizations selected?

We try very hard to research each potential speaker and organization to ensure that they are respected in their field, prioritize Haitian expertise, and demonstrate the value of family care. We also look for speakers willing to be vulnerable in sharing challenges and lessons learned. We request that speakers do not offer content that promotes their organization for fundraising purposes.

Q:

I want to get involved. Are there volunteer opportunities?

If you are interested in organizing an outing on Thursday night or when the conference is finished on Saturday afternoon please let us know and we can direct interested participants to you. We’d love to see everyone enjoy the nightlife in Nashville or attend a baseball game!

Q:

Are you able to provide special accommodations?

If you need any special accommodations, please let us know well in advance.​

Q:

What do you do with additional donations or sponsorships?

Funds donated beyond registration help to cover speaker travel and expenses and/or the cost of conference snacks, food and drinks. (Registration fees simply do not cover all of the costs associated with producing the conference.)

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we can't wait to see you in Nashville!

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