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Behavioral Health
Children and families

Registration is now open for North Dakota Health and Human Services Behavioral Health and Children and Family Services Conference Oct. 24-26 at the Bismarck Event Center or virtually by an online livestream for behavioral health and child care professionals. A preconference session on ethics starts at 1 p.m. CDT on Oct. 23.   

Individuals encouraged to attend include behavioral health advocates, service providers, professionals who work with children and families and the child welfare system; business and community leaders; faith-based organizations; first responders; law enforcement; tribal representatives and other interested North Dakotans. 

This is the third annual conference hosted by the agency’s Behavioral Health Division and Children and Family Services Section that focuses on blending behavioral health with family well-being and resiliency topics. The conference is an opportunity for behavioral health and child-serving professionals and other stakeholders to network, learn and share best practices in behavioral health prevention and recovery and safety, permanency and well-being of children and families.  

Some keynote speakers include:  

  • Dr. Carlo Diclemente, author and researcher, will share information on the process of human intentional behavior change particularly as it relates to health and addictive behaviors. He is the co-developer of the Transtheoretical Model that is used by researchers in the areas of cancer prevention, HIV risk reduction, dietary change, exercise, occupational safety and rehabilitation of health and addictive behaviors. 

  • Comedian and author Kristina Kuzmic will share an inspirational message as part of her nationwide Hope and Humor tour. Winner of Oprah’s “Search for the Next TV Star” in 2012, Kuzmic has published a book and created popular parent-centric videos about juggling all of life’s challenges. 

  • Josh Shipp, a former at-risk foster youth turned global youth empowerment expert will share his personal story of how one caring adult changed his life and offer practical strategies to help conference attendees do the same.  

  • Motivational speaker Brooklyn Dicent will discuss the science of happiness. She will share how to reframe change and transition in a positive way, create positive surprises to inspire creativity, look for ways to add humor to everyday life and spread joy to others. 

The three-day conference will also feature various workshops on topics including fentanyl and Narcan (naloxone); mental health in rural communities; importance of language; partnering with families; self-care through mindfulness and more. 

Registration is $175 for the entire conference and $25 for university students and foster and adoptive parents. People can also register at the door. All conference activities are at the Bismarck Event Center, 315 Fifth St., Bismarck, N.D.  

To register online or learn more about the conference, visit unite2023.vfairs.com

Conference organizers are pursuing continuing education units for various professionals. Details are pending.  

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