FOCUSING ON PREVENTION- A WEBINAR SERIES

During Child Abuse Prevention Month in April of 2021, the Office of Child and Family Services and Maine Children's Trust partnered to offer a year-long webinar series on strategies that everyone can use to increase Protective Factors for caregivers, families, and communities, as well as highlighting state and local efforts. Held on the first Tuesday of every other month (February, April, June, August, October & December at 10 a.m.), this webinar series provides educational information and connects providers and community members to also partner in supporting child and family well-being in Maine.

After each webinar, check here for an updated Resources for Prevention Document with information, programs, and resources provided by our presenters. Recordings of the webinars, PowerPoint slides, and local resources are available below. For more information please email info@mechildrenstrust.org.


February 6, 2024: Strategies Everyone Can Implement to Strengthen Families in Maine

Description: We have shared through past webinars about the movement in Maine, and across the nation, to keep children safe by making families strong. This has included information on the development and implementation of Version 1.0 of Maine' Child Safety and Family Well-Being Plan, which establishes the foundational principles to building a system of shared responsibility for strengthening families. We know that there are many state and community level strategies that support this effort of which everyone can have a role in implementing. During this webinar, participants will learn about these strategies that everyone can do to be a part of this effort so that we can all work together to strengthen and support families in Maine to be safe, stable, happy, and healthy.

Participants will be able to:
• Learn briefly about the Child Safety and Family Well-Being Plan.
• Identify multiple strategies and everyday actions that everyone can do to work together to strengthen families in Maine.
• Engage in conversation with other participants to learn about resources, tools, and opportunities for collaboration and coordination.


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link

Webinar Slides



October 2, 2023: Strengthening Families Through Economic and Concrete Supports: Actionable Tools and Resources, presented by Clare Anderson, MSW, Senior Policy Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

As heard in the June webinar, there is a great deal of research on the role that poverty plays in the occurrence of child abuse and neglect. By connectingfamilies to economic and concrete supports, we can help to strengthen families and reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment. During this webinar, Clare Anderson, will provide additional information and resources with the audience with an emphasis on actionable tools and resources. Clare is a national expert and thought leader in child welfare and family strengthening policy. Her work includes partnering with states and jurisdictions to transform systems through capacity building and the implementation of policies, programs, and services that make a difference for children and families.

Participants will:
• Explore the use of an actionable policy tool to review policies and guide expanded availability and access
• Further explore implications of this research and policy options associated with it for the strengthening family movement in Maine
• Explore the connection to the Maine Child Safety and Family Well-Being Plan


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link

Additional Resources:
1. From Chapin Hall
a. https://www.chapinhall.org/research/economic-supports-child-welfare/ 
b. https://www.chapinhall.org/project/a-key-connection-economic-stability-and-family-well-being
c. https://www.chapinhall.org/wp-content/uploads/FINAL-ECS-Tool-with-Intro_6.14.23.pdf


2. Maine's Child Safety and Well-Being Plan:
a. https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/sites/maine.gov.dhhs/files/2023-05/Maine%20Child%20Safety%20and%20Family%20Wellbeing%20Plan.pdf

Webinar Slides



August 1, 2023: Maine's Child Safety and Family Well-Being State Plan, presented by Christine Theriault, Office of Child and Family Services and Melissa Hackett, Maine Child Welfare Action Network.

On May 9, 2023, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Child Welfare Action Network announced the release of the newly developed Child Safety and Family Well-Being Plan. The purpose of the Plan is to set forth an initial vision and immediate strategies for action to keep children safe by keeping families strong. As a result, this is Version 1.0 of the Plan. This Plan is informed by the understanding that strengthening families by increasing protective factors and decreasing risk factors will reduce the risk of child maltreatment. The Plan envisions increased partnership between the state and communities, a shared responsibility for strengthening families, and lays out a roadmap for further action.

Participants will be able to:
• Learn about the foundational frameworks underlying the Child Safety and Family Well-Being Plan.
• Gain information about the strategies included in the Plan.
• Develop knowledge of tools and resources that everyone can use individually to get involved and be a part of the strategy to strengthen families in Maine now and in the future.


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link

Additional Resources:
Webinar Slides



June 6, 2023: The Importance of Economic and Concrete Supports in Keeping Children Safe and Families Strong, presented by Clare Anderson, MSW, a Senior Policy Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

There is a great deal of research on the role that poverty plays in the occurrence of child abuse and neglect. By connecting families to economic and concrete supports, we can help to strengthen families and reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment. This webinar will provide more information about aspects of poverty as underlying factors in child maltreatment as well as solutions for how this barrier can be overcome. Clare is a national expert and thought leader in child welfare and family strengthening policy. Her work includes partnering with Casey Family Programs to guide states and jurisdictions to transform systems through capacity building and the implementation of policies, programs, and services that make a difference for children and families.

Participants will be able to:
• Gain a shared understanding of the importance of Economic and Concrete Supports and the relationship with child welfare involvement.
• Gain a shared understanding of state policies that impact the growth of Economic and Concrete Supports for families.
• Explore implications of this research and the strategies associated with it for the strengthening family movement in Maine.


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link


April 4, 2023: Keeping Children Safe by Making Families Strong, 2023 Child Abuse Prevention Month, presented by Heidi Aakjer, Maine Children's Trust and Christine Theriault, Office of Child and Family Services and panelists Bobbi Johnson, Associate Director of Child Welfare, Christine McMillen, Penobscot and Piscataquis Prevention Council, Joe Whitmore, Parent

The Office of Child and Family Services, in partnership with the Maine Children's Trust, is kicking off Child Abuse Prevention Month with a statewide conversation about strategies that all of us can use to reduce child abuse and neglect through strengthening families. This webinar will provide information about what we all can do to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting families and raise awareness about the role we can all play in keeping Maine's children safe.

Participants will:
• Learn about the National and Maine specific movement to strengthen families as a child abuse and neglect prevention strategy.
• Develop knowledge of tools and resources that everyone can use individually to get involved and be a part of the strategy to strengthen families in Maine now and in the future.
• Learn about opportunities for how we can work together at the state and community level to create stronger families and communities to prevent child abuse and neglect.


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link


December 6th, 2022: Front Porch Project of Maine, Offering Support as a Child Abuse Prevention, presented by Heidi Aakjer and Denise Trafton, Maine Children's Trust and Christine Theriault, Office of Child and Family Services

As we heard in our Child Abuse Prevention Webinar series to date, the presence of protective factors for youth and families is a strength in preventing child abuse and neglect. In our last webinar, we learned about cultivating youth mattering as well as the strategies that we can all employ to enhance youth resilience as a child abuse prevention strategy. At our December webinar, we will be sharing more information about the Front Porch Project of Maine, a statewide effort and resource to learn how to support child and family well-being in your community using the protective factor framework.  We will also discuss an upcoming opportunity for participants to talk about the prevention efforts happening in their community and across the state in an effort to share resources and highlight all of your work.  

Participants will be able to:
• Learn how the Front Porch Project supports individuals and communities in reducing child abuse and neglect by offering caregiver support.
• Gain a practical understanding of how connecting with others, especially in times of stress, decreases isolation and builds relationships that fosters the idea that it's okay to ask for and receive help.
• Learn about local Front Porch Project efforts and how to get involved. 
• Hear how your prevention efforts can be highlighted at the next webinar in our prevention series in February 2023. 


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link


October 4th, 2022: Examining Youth Mattering as a Child Abuse Prevention Strategy, presented by Kini-Ana Tinkham and Melissa Doyle, Maine Resilience Building Network

As we heard in our Child Abuse Prevention Webinar series to date, the presence of protective factors for youth and families is a strength in preventing child abuse and neglect, mental illness, and substance use disorder. In our last webinar we identified the importance of the existence of caring adults and youth mattering as a protective factor that can strengthen resilience in youth. This month’s webinar will provide education and information on cultivating youth mattering as well as the strategies that we can all employ to enhance youth resilience as a child abuse prevention strategy.

Participants will be able to:
• Gain a deeper understanding of the concepts of youth mattering as a child abuse prevention strategy.
• Identify the importance of youth mattering through the examination of Maine specific data.
• Identify multiple strategies and everyday actions that professionals and other adults can use to enhance youth mattering in Maine.


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link


August 2nd, 2022: Making the Connection: Mental Health, Substance Use and Child Abuse Prevention, presented by Megan Scott and Sheila Nelson, Maine CDC.

There is a significant connection between the prevention of Mental Illness, Substance Use, and Child Abuse and Neglect. We can all work to prevent Child Abuse and Neglect by also improving mental wellness and employing strategies to prevent substance use. Increasing protective factors, as we heard about in June’s webinar, is just one strategy that can address all three of these risk factors. There are many other strategies for mental wellness and the prevention of substance use and child abuse and neglect that fall across the continuum of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention that are being implemented in Maine. By working together we can strengthen and enhance the prevention services continuum to help support families in Maine to be safe, stable, happy, and healthy.

Participants will be able to:
• Gain an understanding of Mental Wellness promotion, Substance Use Prevention and the intersection with Child Abuse Prevention.
• Identify multiple strategies and everyday actions that professionals working within these three categories can do to work together to strengthen the prevention continuum in Maine.
• Learn about resources, tools, and opportunities for collaboration and coordination.


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link

Additional Resources:
Webinar Slides



June 7th, 2022: Strengthening Communities, Families, and Practices through the Protective Factors Framework, presented by Denise Trafton, Maine Children's Trust

Protective factors are characteristics or strengths of individuals, families, communities, or societies that act to mitigate risks and promote positive well-being and healthy development. Most often, we see them as attributes that help families successfully navigate difficult situations. The Protective Factors Framework is also an organized set of strengths-based ideas that are used to guide programs, services, supports, and interventions aimed at preventing child maltreatment and promoting healthy outcomes. The Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework from the Center for the Study of Social Policy distills extensive research in child and family development into a core set of five protective factors that everyone can understand and implement in communities, practice in working with families, and in our own lives.

Participants will be able to:
• Gain an understanding of the Strengthening Families Framework: The Five Protective Factors and working in a strengths-based way.
• Identify multiple strategies and everyday actions that help build Protective Factors.
• Learn about resources, tools, and local implementation of the Protective Factors.


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link

Additional Resources:
Webinar Slides (Powerpoint Format)



March 25th, 2022: Child Abuse Prevention: It's Everyone's Role, presented by Heidi Aakjer, Maine Children's Trust and Christine Theriault, Maine OCFS

We all have a role in supporting families in Maine to be safe, stable, happy, and healthy. Raising awareness about child abuse and neglect and sharing strategies for prevention are examples of the many things that we all can do to reach this goal. Nationally, April has been designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month and is the perfect opportunity for all of us to raise awareness about this important topic as well as learn how we all can prevent child abuse and neglect in Maine.

The Office of Child and Family Services, in partnership with the Maine Children's Trust, is kicking off Child Abuse Prevention Month with a "Preventing Child Abuse in Maine: It’s Everyone's Role" webinar to share information about what we all can do to prevent child abuse and neglect, support families, and raise awareness about the role all of us play in keeping Maine's children safe.

Participants will be able to:
• Gain an understanding of the National and Maine specific efforts and strategies to provide information about the prevention child abuse and neglect,
• Develop knowledge about tools and resources that everyone can use to raise awareness about child abuse prevention in the month of April, and
• Learn about opportunities and resources for the prevention of child abuse and neglect beyond Child Abuse Prevention Month.


Click below for the webinar recording.
webinar link