Amplifying Advocacy Conference

Amplifying Advocacy Conference 2022

“A Person’s a person, no matter how small”

September 15th & 16th (Thursday/Friday), 2022 at University Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville.


Come refresh, renew, and reignite your call to serve abused children and hurting families.

Keep reading for more information.

Those who pour into the lives of the community’s children often need a revival, a reminder, a revelation of the importance they play in building a safe and successful future for all. Whether one is a teacher, a peace officer, a social worker, a CASA advocate, or any number of other occupations which work to encourage children and to steer them towards a path of purpose; each individual needs to fellowship with other professionals and to refine skills needed to impact our youth.

Join CASA of Walker, San Jacinto, and Trinity Counties as we host our Amplifying Advocacy Conference – a two-day training conference held September 15th and 16th. Conference topics will include Self Care, Bullying Prevention, TBRI, Confidentiality, and MORE. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet and network with fellow advocates (not just from our program, bur from others around the state as well).

Conference is open to ALL. Registration cost is $50.00 and includes Friday lunch, snacks, and all conference materials. Late registration begins September 10th and will cost $65.00 for all registrants.

Questions? Contact


***2022 conference schedule***

Thursday, September 15th

  • 1:00pm   Check-In
  • 1:30pm    Welcome
  • 2:00pm    Breakout #1
  • 4:00pm    Breakout #2

Friday, September 16th

  • 9:00am    Welcome
  • 9:15am    Opening Keynote “If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.” -Dr Seuss
  • 10:00am    Breakout #3
  • 11:15am    Lunch
  • 12:30pm   Lunch Keynote “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
  • 1:15pm    Breakout #4
  • 2:45pm    Breakout #5
  • 4:00pm    Closing Keynote “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so…get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!


A room block has been reserved at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites located at 148 Interstate 45 S in Huntsville. This hotel is located 3 miles (about 8 to 10 minutes driving) from the conference venue. The room rate for conference attendees is $113.05 per night. To book rooms, click HERE.

***2022 conference BREAKOUTS***

THURSDAY, September 15th

Breakout #1

Suicide Prevention

Presented by Diane Kaulen, Sr. Community Initiative Coordinator for the Public Health Division at Texas Children’s Hospital

Diane Kaulen currently serves as the project manager over the Suicide Response and Prevention workgroup at Texas Children’s Hospital. In this session, she will review current statistics around suicide in youth, warning signs and practical steps you can take if you suspect someone is thinking of hurting themselves.

Advocating for Children with Special Needs: Tips and Tools for Healthy Relationships

Presented by Region 6 Education Service Center (Fabiana Bezerra, Pam Bumpass, & Stephanie Duer)

Participants will learn strategies on how to experience effective restorative practices with children. This session’s goal is to provide information on how to address the needs of children who present challenging behaviors and to inform participants of the diverse needs associated with trauma and disabilities.

Putting A Stop to Bullying

Presented by Dr. William Roberts, Principal-Huntsville High School

When adults respond quickly and consistently to bullying behavior they send the message that it is not acceptable. Research shows this can stop bullying behavior over time.  Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy. In this session, participants will be encouraged to talk about mental health, take responsibility for their own attitudes and actions, and ultimately unlock their full potential. Helping kids improve their emotional intelligence and their mental health creates a tidal wave of positive school culture, ensuring every student feels safe, supported, and accepted.

Breakout #2

Identifying Community Assets & Resources

Presented by Andrea Rincones, Research Administration Specialist at Baylor College of Medicine

Andrea Rincones has over a decade of experience helping families overcome social barriers while developing and implementing strategies to improve the quality and cultural competence of services delivered within Harris County. In her presentation, she will discuss how a CASA can locate, connect, and refer families within the Foster Care System to necessary support services or resources.

TBRI Introduction & Application

Presented by Jennifer Reitmeyer, TBRI Manager at CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County

Jennifer is a part of the TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) Team at CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County, which has trained over 100 advocates on the various techniques and strategies of TBRI. This session will introduce participants to the three principles of TBRI and share why they are so important in reducing fear in children from ‘hard places.’  The group will also learn simple hands-on activities that advocates can take with them and replicate with their CASA children on visits.

Self-Care: Caring for Yourself Well While Caring for Others

Presented by Christine Hoover, LPC, NCC

Caring for traumatized children can be filled with paradox: it is both beautiful and exhausting, life-giving and soul draining. It is not either/or, but both/and. This practical breakout will focus on the causes of burn-out and practical ways to implement self-care. The presenter will address why stress is problematic when caring for kids from hard places, and how to identify burnout in yourself and others. The group will also look at the importance of self care, discuss practical self-care tips, and learn how to care for one-self over the long-haul.

FRIDAY, September 16th

Breakout #3

Understanding Kinship & Grandparents Rights

Presented by Adam Dietrich, Board Certified Family Law Attorney

Over the span of his career, Adam has litigated dozens of CPS cases and has represented numerous children while in CPS care or during custody cases. In this session he will help attendees understand the legal rights grandparents and kinship caregivers have during a CPS case.

Maximizing the Special Education Process

Presented by Dr. Will Blackwell, Associate Professor – SHSU

Dr. Blackwell has spent the past 25 years working on behalf of children with disabilities and their families. “Maximizing the Special Education Process” will describe several action steps that CASA advocates can take to help children benefit from special education services provided in Texas public schools.

Addiction and the Family

Presented by Navor “Sonny” Casares Jr., LCDC

In this session, the presenter will address addiction and it’s impact on the family as a whole. Participants will learn what addiction is, how it affects the addict/alcoholic, how addiction affects the family, and ways to practically deal with addiction within the family.

Breakout #4

Can I Share It?

Presented by Andrea March, Texas CASA Legal Resource Specialist

Confidentiality is one of the most crucial concepts to understand when advocating for children and youth. In this session, participants will explore the practical and legal aspects of gathering and protecting confidential information, the limited parameters for sharing it with others, and how the disclosing protected information can have real-life consequences for the families served.

Understanding & Promoting Normalcy

Presented by Sarah Crockett, Texas CASA Director of Public Policy

“Understanding and Promoting Normalcy” will help advocates understand the vital importance of normalcy for children and youth in foster care. Sarah will share resources available to CASAs and detail what CASA advocates can do to promote normalcy for the kids on their cases.

Supporting & Caring for Queer Youth

Presented by Ty Neely, LPC, Heights Family Counseling

Ty will be sharing from his training, experience, and expertise from working with LGBTQ+ youth and their families. Participants can expect to learn about the lived experience of LGBTQ+ youth, learn terms and language to increase ability to communicate around topics of sexuality and gender, explore the effects of shame and heteronormativity on mental health, and discover how advocates can best support queer youth from various walks of life.

Breakout #5

Substance Use Among Texas Youth

Presented by Meredith O’Neal-Flatley, Research Coordinator, UTHealth

This presentation will provide evidence-based facts and strategies for assisting youth who use substances or have substance use disorder. Participants will receive relevant information regarding substance use and substance use disorders among Texas youth; and the group will discuss substances and substance use as well as strategies for prevention, harm reduction, and treatment for substance use disorder.

Angel Reach

Presented by Jean Radach

What happens to kids who age out of the foster care system?  This is often a forgotten population.  Angel Reach helps these young people become emotionally stable and financially independent.  In this session, attendees will learn how Angel Reach works to support these youth and aim them toward success.

Utilizing Effective Conflict Resolution Skills for Advocacy

Presented by Debbie Guedry, Dallas CASA Volunteer Supervisor

Child welfare cases are flooded with emotions and different perspectives but require effective teamwork for successful advocacy. Conflict is a choice and can be avoided. This workshop, facilitated by Dallas CASA Supervisor Debbie Guedry, will lay out the anatomy of conflict, the root causes, and how to respond with empathy and compassion.