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Partnerships for Well-Being Institute—A Virtual Success

Despite the challenges that COVID-19 brought, the Partnerships for Well-Being Institute successfully wrapped up its final day as a virtual conference on June 3, 2021. Though it was initially scheduled as a three-day in-person conference in June 2020, UC Davis Human Services quickly pivoted and revamped it into a three-part series of one-day virtual conferences in June 2020, December 2020 and June 2021. More than 1,600 people attended at least one of the virtual Institutes, breaking the record for attendance at any past conference.

Typically held biennially, the Partnerships for Well-Being Institute is an opportunity for professionals in the fields of child welfare, behavioral health, early childhood, education, probation and Tribal communities across California and beyond to learn from one another and build a network of support. It is a place to explore new skills and practices to create a culturally relevant and trauma-informed system of care for families.

The virtual conference in June 2021 included a Family Panel who used their lived experience to educate participants and foster a stronger connection between helping professionals and families. The third virtual Institute also recognized the 2020/2021 Partnerships for Well-Being Institute Award winners for their dedication and inspirational work in the field.


“It was an amazing and valuable experience hearing from the families that have received services. I am thankful, inspired and my passion for helping others is greatly reinforced after hearing the feedback from the family panelists.” —June 2021 Institute participant


Informative and Inspiring Keynotes

Several keynote speakers delivered insightful and thought-provoking presentations at each Institute. At the June 2020 Institute, internationally recognized freedom worker, author, speaker, poet, and youth mentor Dr. Jaiya John of Soul Water Rising gave a thoughtful presentation in which he discussed how to use different types of care to address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. He was joined by Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner of the Administration for Children and Families, who gave a welcome address, and Laurie Ellington, co-founder and CEO of Zero Point Leadership with her closing keynote “Moving from Protection to Connection: The Neuroscience of Engagement”. The December 2020 Institute featured Victoria Rowell, actor, director and author of The Women Who Raised Me, whose inspirational presentation chronicled her journey as a foster child. Dr. Bryant Marks, professor and founding director of the National Training Institute on Race and Equity, addressed the understanding of implicit bias in his presentation, “The Hidden Biases of Good People”. The June 2021 Institute featured a keynote address from Ijeoma Oluo, author of the New York Times Bestseller So You Want to Talk about Race.


“I really enjoyed the humanity of the Institute, the willingness to be vulnerable with one another and speak from the heart.” —June 2021 Institute participant


This Institute was co-hosted by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the Department of Healthcare Services, and was planned by a Partnerships for Well-Being Institute Committee comprised of members from CDSS, DHCS, CDE and SOC agencies, CalSWEC, Casey Family Programs, California service providers and county representatives from each region. The Resource Center for Family-Focused Practice at UC Davis Human Services has primary responsibility for Committee coordination and Institute oversight and logistics.






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