On Monday, April 1, 270 participants gathered at Grappone Conference Center in Concord for New Hampshire Children’s Trust’s 8th annual Strengthening Families Summit, Hope Starts Here: The Prevention Connection. The day is meant to inform and inspire action that strengthens policies, culture and behaviors that prevent child abuse and neglect and promote health and well-being.
Opening remarks led into a presentation about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in New Hampshire given by Laura Miliken, Director of Spark NH, and Patricia Tilley, Deputy Director of the Division of Public Health Services, NH Department of Health and Human Services.
The keynote speaker for the day was Robert Sege, MD, PhD. Dr. Sege is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington and serves on the boards of the Massachusetts Children’s Trust and Prevent Child Abuse America. During his address, he shared his work on the HOPE (Health Outcomes of Positive Experiences) Framework, an approach that builds on the important insights of the ACEs study.
Attendees chose from 15 workshops and panels led by some of the field’s most knowledgeable professionals. Asked about the biggest highlight of the day, one DCYF professional said, “The HOPE framework. It’s about time we begin to look at positive and strength-based approaches from the get-go.” An executive director of a family resource center answered, “The ability to provide services through a lens of hope. It is refreshing to think that if we can get people to build connections, we could transform mental health services.”
The conference was sponsored by 29 businesses and organizations. Major sponsors included Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Maternal and Child Health Section, Merrimack County Savings Bank, Bank of New Hampshire, Northeast Delta Dental, Measured Progress, NH Healthy Families, and Eastern Bank.
Next year’s conference will be held in April at the Grappone Conference Center.