fortifying those who help to strengthen our communities and families

september 12-14, 2016

Marriott Indianapolis East, 7202 E. 21st St.,      Indianapolis, IN 46219

april 10-12, 2017

Marriott Indianapolis East, 7202 E. 21st St.,
Indianapolis, IN 46219


Welcome to THE Institute for Strengthening Families, September 2016!

This year I anticipate great success and there is no better way to establish this other than coming together for THE Institute for Strengthening Families.  Last year was an exceptional year, and I am proud to say that THE Institute is still one of the greatest opportunities for DCS providers, partners and home-visitors to acquire trusted information, strategies, and resources to help fortify Indiana families.  As I watch it mature and exceed its efforts to protect children and advocate welfare for families in Indiana, I can see the impact that it has made across the State.

In our twelve years of coordinating THE Institute, I can say without a doubt that we have exponentially grown and honed our ability to obtain and provide the best resources for our communities.  We have developed top-level training at an affordable price, making early prevention efforts less costly to communities and individuals.  THE Institute produces the finest results, allowing providers to expand their knowledge and understanding on how to provide for Indiana families.  THE Institute offers many sessions that provide strategies to support all of us in our efforts to prevent child abuse and promote well-being. 

THE Institute for Strengthening Families allows for us to learn and network so that we can collaborate and continue to discuss ideas that will make our workforce more efficient in all its efforts.  So many DCS partners have joined our new initiative "Motivate to Innovate", and it goes without saying that this initiative has increased quality improvement and has provided us with evidence informed practices.  Workgroups have been created so that we can ensure that we meet the training needs of our providers, partners, and home visitors.

Thank you for joining the Department of Child Services this September, and for being so dedicated in the process to obtain the best resources to support children, families and communities in Indiana.

Mary Beth Bonaventura, Director
Indiana Department of Child Services

fall focus:

Protective Factors

Keynote Speaker, Monday, September 12, 9am

Chief Troy Riggs
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

Chief Troy Riggs was named as Chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department by Mayor Joe Hogsett in December 2015, and took office January 1, 2016.

Chief Riggs’ background includes working at all levels of policing and government. He is recognized nationally as a leader in the field of public safety, whose work as a police chief in Corpus Christi, Texas, was studied for a report issued by the Police Executive Research Forum. Chief Riggs met with and provided information to the United States Attorney General on violent crime-reduction initiatives, and was invited to and attended the Presidential announcement of the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

Throughout a career that has spanned more than 25 years, Chief Riggs has lobbied at state legislatures and the U.S. Congress, and established national best practices in community policing. Chief Riggs is also known for having established effective and efficient business models in government that led to reductions in crime, improvements in quality of life, and saved millions of taxpayer dollars.

Chief Riggs served as Director of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis from October 2012 to July 2015. Prior to Indianapolis, Chief Riggs was an assistant City Manager in Corpus Christi, Texas, and had previously served that city as police chief. He also spent 20 years in Louisville, Kentucky as a police officer departing with the rank of Lt. Colonel.

Cost: $50 per person
One, two or three days


Home Visiting Programs such as:

  • Healthy Families Indiana
  • Community Partners
  • Head Start
  • Early Head Start
  • Nurse Family Partnership
  • Parents as Teachers
  • First Steps


“I wanted to let you all know that this was the best institute I have attended in the 5 plus years I have been attending. The flow, the sessions, and the networking were all superb. You all should be proud. I am just disappointed I couldn’t stay for the entire conference. I look forward to September!!!”

”Once again, a great Institute! You and your staff do a very good job.”

”THE Institute is a terrific value. We bring staff every year!”

”I love the variety of topics...all related to the work we do with families and children.”


To provide ongoing professional development, support, and networking to those who serve families and children in Indiana at all levels and from all communities.


Continuing Education

Indiana Administrative Code 839 IAC 1-6-2 (f) (86) covers the following Level I Continuing Education Units:

  • Social Workers
  • Mental Health
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Clinical Addiction Therapists

Attendees will receive individual session certificates upon completion of each workshop.