Happy family standing outside their home

Safety Organized Practice Conference Fosters Growth for California’s Child Welfare Workforce

Nearly 550 child welfare professionals from across the state participated in a two-day event aimed at improving the safety and well-being of tens of thousands of vulnerable children and families. Hosted by the Northern Academy at UC Davis Human Services, the California Safety Organized Practice Conference took place on June 15-16, 2021, as a free virtual event.

The goal of the conference was to bring together California counties that are implementing Safety Organized Practice (SOP) to deepen their practice and share their experiences in the interest of collaborative learning and continuous quality improvement. This event offered two training tracks—one for child welfare practitioners with a focus on work with children and families, and another for child welfare leaders with a focus on implementation, sustainability and organizational climate.

“I’ve attended some really good conferences [within] the last year, but I think this is the best one to date,” wrote one conference participant. “I learned so much and became so inspired. It was such a good mix of amazing speakers and topics, but they all meshed together very well.” 


Highlights from the SOP Conference

In two days of professional and personal enrichment, conference participants enjoyed the opportunity to:

  • Explore strategies for rigor and depth of practice across the child welfare case continuum, from Emergency Response through Permanency
  • Share strategies and tools to support the implementation and sustainability of SOP
  • Examine the current landscape of SOP, including integration with the Integrated Core Practice Model, Child and Family Teaming, CANS and more
  • Examine fidelity and evaluation tools and outcomes
  • Learn from nationally and internationally known expert keynote and plenary speakers Lindsey Godwin, Laurie Ellington and Nicki Weld (the creator of the Three Houses!)
  • Expand their thinking about how to understand and address racial trauma from keynote speaker Kenneth Hardy
  • Get inspired by hearing closing keynote speaker Sade Burrell share her personal story
  • Build a network of support by learning with and learning from one another

“Best conference I have ever attended—the speakers were exceptional. The information on neuroscience was super interesting and provided me a new perspective. Sade Burrell was inspiring and infectious. Dr. Hardy was amazing, he brought up so many thoughts and emotions, so engaging, his words spoke to my soul. Over all, what I heard and learned in the last two days were so impactful, it gave me hope for a positive change in practice on how we can not only better serve our families but supporting the staff on the changes needed. Our work is so impactful, the conference validated that for me.” ~2021 SOP Conference participant

Learn More about the Event

This conference was presented by the Northern Academy at UC Davis and the SOP Backbone Committee, and was supported by funding from the California Department of Social Services. The SOP Backbone Committee is a collaborative workgroup that takes a statewide collective impact approach to implementation and fidelity of SOP in California. The Committee is made up of members from CDSS, the Regional Training Academies (Northern, Southern, Bay Area and Central), CalSWEC, Casey Family Programs, and county representatives from each region. The Northern Academy has primary responsibility for Committee coordination.

If you are interested in learning more or finding out how you can get involved, please contact sopconference@ucdavis.edu.

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