fortifying those who help to strengthen our communities and families



april 10-12, 2017

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

Welcome to THE Institute for Strengthening Families, April 2017!

As we reflect on the success of THE Institute, we are reminded of the role we all play in the lives of children and families in our communities. At the end of 2016, there were just over 23,000 Hoosier children under the custody of the Department of Child Services (DCS). The only way to reduce this number is prevention, so prevention matters! In addition to reducing the number of children in DCS custody, prevention of child abuse and neglect can save money and build our economy in the future. Healthy children grow up to be healthy adults. I am proud to say THE Institute is still one of the greatest opportunities for DCS staff, providers, partners and home-visitors to acquire trusted information, strategies, and resources to help implement prevention based practices as we serve                                                            Hoosier families. 

In our 13 years of coordinating THE Institute, I see our Hoosier communities have focused on building protective factors and promoting the strengths of families to reduce risk, and create optimal conditions for child and youth development.  We have developed top-level training, making early prevention efforts less costly to communities and individuals. THE Institute builds on the concept that we are all mutually responsible for finding solutions that result in better outcomes for children and youth in our communities.  THE Institute offers many sessions that provide strategies and collaborative partnerships to support each of us in our efforts to prevent child abuse and promote well-being. 

THE Institute for Strengthening Families allows us to learn, network and collaborate to discuss ideas that will make our workforce more efficient in all efforts. 

Thank you for joining the Indiana Department of Child Services this April, and for being so dedicated to the process of building your skills to ensure Hoosier children, families and communities reach short and long term positive outcomes. 


Mary Beth Bonaventura, Director
Indiana Department of Child Services

spring 2017 focus:

Family Engagment

Keynote Speaker, Monday, april 10, 9am


Dr. Kyle Pruett
Authority on Child Development

As one of the most well respected experts on child and family development, Dr. Kyle Pruett is considered a parenting visionary who takes parents deep into the hearts and minds of their children. He puts the emotional wellbeing of children right where it belongs: at the center of child development.
A pioneer in defining the role of men as fathers, Dr. Pruett focuses on fathers as one of the great, often untapped, resources in their children's lives. "There's a stronger sense today, among the public and among social scientists, that fathers are valuable," he says.
Dr. Pruett makes the case for the merits of fathers in his award-winning books The Nurturing Father and Fatherneed. Coupling fatherhood with parenting, he has hosted the television series, Your Child Six to Twelve with Dr. Kyle Pruett. A frequent contributor to The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, and Child, he serves as consultant for CBS Morning News and has appeared on Good Morning America, Oprah, CBS This Morning, and NPR.
Dr. Pruett provides parents, especially fathers, the tools for understanding, nurturing, and enjoying a child's early development. Offering a thoughtful approach based on decades of groundbreaking research, he demonstrates the skills parents need to steer their children on to a healthy and happy course in life.

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.