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Upbring hosts inaugural Thought Leadership Conference in Austin


Early feedback from attendees indicates our inaugural Upbring Thought Leadership Conference on the Prevention of Child Maltreatment was a tremendous success – thanks to the 20 different speakers and their willingness to provide expertise in such an engaging forum. We were thrilled to see attendees – representing a mix of researchers, practitioners, and community leaders – all working together to shape the way Texas cares for children.

Our goal with this conference was to bring together prominent thought leaders who possess shared values related to our ongoing efforts to break the cycle of child abuse. By sharing information and encouraging dialogue around what’s working and what else we can be doing, we hope to have sparked conversations and partnerships that will help us all to be more effective, even innovative, in our work to change the lives of those whom we serve every single day.

A summary of the day’s events:

Upbring’s CEO Dr. Kurt Senske gave the opening keynote on our mission – to break the cycle of child abuse by empowering children, families and communities – and shared stories from several individuals who embody our Continuum of Care.


“We are on a mission that never ceases.”


He introduced Rodney Brittingham, Associate Director of Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Child Welfare Strategy Group.  Mr. Brittingham shared the Foundation’s recent report “Every Kid Needs a Family” and its emphasis on the importance of family for some of our nation’s most vulnerable children.


“Healing happens in the context of relationships.”


Next up were Drs. Monica Faulkner and Tina Adkins from the Child and Family Research Institute at The University of Texas at Austin.  They presented their groundbreaking “Texas Youth Permanency Study” launching later this year and discussed what permanency means for youth.


Sharing the words of a young woman formerly in foster care, permanency is “To have a key to a house… somewhere I can walk around without shoes on… it’s forever.”


Over lunch, attendees enjoyed an interview of Dr. Dyann Daley, Executive Director of Cook Children’s Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment, conducted by our very own President/COO Michael Loo.  They discussed the use of predictive analytics in child welfare.


“We should plan for what we’re trying to achieve, not what we’re trying to avoid.”


The closing panel of the day was composed of experts in child abuse pediatrics from across the state of Texas – Dr. Chris Greeley, Dr. Anu Partap and Dr. Kelly Liker, moderated by Upbring’s Murray Chanow (left to right).


Children need to know “I have a right to be safe and strong.”


Our new Chief External Relations Officer, Donna Palmer, closed the day with a few touching remarks and a call to “Be the voice of the vulnerable.”



THANK YOU to our speakers, attendees and hosts for a wonderful day. You can look for information about next year’s conference in early 2017.




Read the presentations

Read the white papers

Conference photos

Questions? Email [email protected].

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