Families At Heart Conference: Connecting the Caring

Connecting the Caring

Social service artists are often called upon to sketch a person’s personality traits based on conversations and consultation, and then help them effectively deal with those traits in a healthy way. 


This year, as the Texas Baptist Children’s Home Family Care Program hosts its 5th annual Families At Heart Conference, they have chosen the theme “Connecting the Dots” to best describe its goals for helping attendees “sketch” ideal ways to help care providers.

“We started this conference as a way of coming together as social service professionals and helping each other by sharing our knowledge,” said Melanie Martinez, Family Care Program Supervisor. “And we believe that this year will be our best conference yet.

Drawing more than 60 attendees, the Conference is something case managers, counselors and social service professionals look forward to each year. But this year, thanks to subject matter borrowed from “The Connected Child” materials, there is even more anticipation of a fulfilling event.

The Connected Child, created by Drs. Karyn Purvis and David Cross, has been adapted for this particular group who deal with at-risk children and adults.

“We want to help these professionals make the connection between a clients’ histories and futures so they can better understand the hard places they have been in their lives,” Melanie said. “That way they can help their clients heal and grow in a healthy way.”

In fact, this year’s conference has several goals, one of which is to reveal how brain functions respond to fear, its effect on the ability to trust, and sensory dysfunctions that result from traumatic experiences.

“One of the main points we will be discussing at this year’s conference is the Trust-Based Relational Interventions model,” Melanie said. “The three principles outlined in the model can be helpful to so many people.”

The first of these is the Empowering Principles, which focuses on subjects like nutrition, safe touch, and predictability and transitions. Connecting Principles follows, covering topics like attachment, understanding and nurturing interaction. Finally, Correcting Principles includes emotional regulation and proactive and re-directive strategies.

“Our hope is that those attending the conference will take these principles to their clients and help them better relate to their own children,” Melanie said. “That’s one way they can connect the dots, by sharing the wealth of information they receive.”

Speakers at this year’s conference include Lisa Martin, LPC, LMFT, LCPAA, the Director of Clinical Programming for Caring Family Network, CPA. Also tapped to speak is Sara Mercado, Director of Adoptions/Ministry Outreach for Caring Family Network, CPA; and Marshall Lyles, MA, LPC-S, LMFT, RPT-S, who counsels with children, adolescents, couples and families at the Center for Relational Care.

“We are very excited about our speakers this year,” said Melanie. “They each have a wealth of information and have experienced training with Dr. Purvis. We are confident everyone will walk away learning something new.”

The Families At Heart Conference will take place September 22 and 23 at the Children At Heart Ministries building, second floor, 1301 N. Mays, Round Rock, TX 78664. Cost to attend is $50, or $70 after September 2. To register, call Sandy Waley at (512) 246-4263. Registration forms may also be faxed to (512) 828-0658. For more information, e-mail sandy.waley@tbch.org.