Training Workshops

STLCANN Past Training Workshops

6/21/2024Addressing Community Violence and its Impact on St. Louis Tammy L. Walden & J.C. Dennis
3/15/2024Bridging the Gap- The Intersection between Community Violence and Community Healing Melik Coffey MSW, LCSW and Keyria Jeffries, MSW, LCSW
12/15/2023Spotlight on Well-Being: For Our Clients, For Ourselves Spotlighted agencies that focus on the wellness and self-care of their employees.
09/15/2023Queer and Trans Youth 101: Language, Change, and Possibility Katie Heiden-Rootes, PhD, LMFT Associate Professor | Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Family & Community Medicine, Medical Family Therapy Program Assistant Vice President | Division of Diversity & Innovative Community Engagement at Saint Louis University Angie Nickell, MS, Associate Director of New Programming/Kinship Caregiving Yvette Chambers, Statewide Kinship Navigator
06/16/2023Kinship Navigators: Supporting Formal and Informal Caregivers ParentLink staff: Angie Nickell, MS, Associate Director of New Programming/Kinship Caregiving Yvette Chambers, Statewide Kinship Navigator
03/17/2023Empowering Parents to Prevent and Health from Child Abuse and Neglect PACT-STL Team
06/17/2022Navigating Difficult Behaviors: Self Regulation and De-escalation Nicki Schoonover, MSW LCSW
03/18/2022Connecting with Teenagers Who Don’t Want to Connect with You Katrina Taylor from Katrina Taylor and Associates, a long-time contractor with Children’s Division
12/17/2021A Panel Presentation: Services for Children and Families Brenisha Banks-Boys and Girls Club St. Louis, Lindsey Jeffries-Provident Counseling, Carl Green-Peoples Health Center, Debbie Wolf-Lutheran Family and Children’s Services, Yolanda West-Parents and Children Together St. Louis, Nathan Ivy-Project LAUNCH, and Jawana Hammonds-System of Care
07/16/2021An Informative Session on the Children’s’ Division Family Centered Services program, Intensive In Home Services, Children’s Treatment Services, and Mo Health Net Managed Care Crystal Wilson-Children’s Division Program Specialist, Nancy Reid-Children’s Division Program Specialist, Karin Oelzen-Children’s Service Supervisor, Aquila Rives-Intensive Family Preservation Program Manager Great Circle, Heidi L. Strickler-Director of Foster Care Capabilities United Healthcare, Nikki Ashley-Missouri Health Net
03/19/2021An Informative Session on the Child Abuse Hotline and Investigation Process in Missouri Sara Smith, Children’s Division Deputy Director + Children’s Division Team
12/18/2020Preparing Foster Parents to Work with Trauma, Boundaries, & Expectations Sarah Wright, LPC with Great Circle
9/11/2020The Ethics of Supervision Joseph Pickard, PhD, LCSW and Diane Beckerle O’Brien, MSW, LCSW
6/19/2020Understanding Suicide: Prevention, Assessment, and Response Mary Mogg, MSW, Kendi Satterfield, MAIS and Lisa Wegman, M.Ed
12/13/2019Parents at the Heart: Evolving Your Practice to Support Parents and Kids Katrina Orlet, LCSW
9/20/2019Stewards of Children®, a child sexual abuse prevention training Jenny Dodson-Weihl
6/21/2019Using the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics: A Developmentally Sensitive Approach to Assessing and Treating Complex Trauma and Neglect Sharon Skidmore Stern, MSW, LCSW
3/15/2019Changing the Child Welfare Response in Missouri: Using the Signs of Safety Approach to Work With Families Mary Mogg, MSW, and Sara Smith
12/14/2018Stress Less & Create Healthy Models for Children Regina Whittington, LCSW and Mary Mogg, MSW
9/21/2018Healing the Effects of Substance Abuse Disorders on Children & Families: The Family Centered Approach Abigail Green, MA, LPC, Clara S. Stevenson, MA, and Angela K. Marvin
6/15/2018The Drug Epidemic & the Positive Impact of Family Drug Court Shondrella Turner, MA, MAADCII, MPS and Tomika Golden, BSW, CADC
3/16/2018Using a Team Approach to Address Human Trafficking Keaton Strong, Office of Missouri Attorney General
12/8/2017Debunking Myths, Defining Hope for Children with Problematic Sexual Behaviors Kelly Snider, MSW, LCSW
9/15/2017An Introduction to TF-CBT, DBT, & PE Emily Dreher, M. Ed, LPC, NCC and Brianne Serdar, LCSW
6/16/2017Introduction to Art Therapy and Music Therapy Michelle Clark, MA, LPC, AT, Skylar Brussee, BME, MT and Skylar Brussee, BME, MT
4/14/2017An Introduction to Play Therapy and Animal Assisted April Duncan, Dianne Peters, Nola Ewars, Dina Vitoux
12/9/2016Taking Care of Yourself: Compassion Fatigue and Mindfulness Connie Fisher, Melanie Fitzgerald, Sarah Lehman
9/16/2016Bringing Families Together: Working with Children of Incarcerated Parents Vashell Anderson, Rachel S. Cramsey, LCSW, Hakee Mitchell
6/24/2016What Happens Now? The Multidisciplinary Team Response to Child Abuse Allegations Sergeant Mickey Owens, Jennifer Szczucinski, Dr. Linda Shaw, Dana French, Megan Marietta, Amanda Williams, Beverly Tucker, Connilee Christie
3/18/2016Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children Linda Shaw, MD, MSSW and Sarah Norman, MSW, LMSW
12/4/2015Interventions with Families Julia Pickup, MSW, LCSW; Epworth Children & Family Services
9/18/2015Aging Out: Service Provision to Older Youth Allison Lageose, Epworth Children & Family Services
6/19/2015Is It a Backpack or a Child? Interventions with Young Children Christi Moore, Ph.D.; Ebony Brabham, MSW, LCSW; Our Little Haven
3/20/2015Treatment Planning: Formulating High-Quality Service Plans Laura Bilsland MA, LPC, CCDP-D; Sharon Skidmore MSW, LCSW
12/05/2014Share Relentlessly, Steal Shamelessly Brett Drake, Ph.D.
9/19/2014Training Workshop: Poverty Simulation
6/20/2014Strengths-based Strategies and Interventions with Immigrant and Refugee Populations Dr. Bob Bertolino
3/07/2014Immigrant and Refugee Populations: Special Considerations and Child Welfare Research Brett Drake PhD, Anita Barker MEd
12/06/2013Targeted Populations and Issues in Attachment: A Panel Presentation Jessica Allen, MSW, LCSW; Neha Navsaria, PhD; Jennifer Beavers, MSW, LCSW
9/20/2013Creating Connections: A Comparison of Two Treatment Models Addressing Parent-Child Relationships Jerry H. Dunn, Ph.D., Kate Drewry, MSW, LCSW
6/21/2013Home Visitation and Its Impact on Bonding and Secure Attachment Linda Spina, Lora Gulley, Vanessa Davis, Parents as Teachers representative
3/8/2013Attachment: Translating Research to Practice Patricia Kohl
12/14/2012Treatment of Children Traumatized by Chronic Neglect Bill Krenn
3/16/2012Don’t Neglect, Neglect: An Overview of Child Neglect from the Missouri Children’s Division Perspective Anthony Harper, Ashley Ralph
10/7/2011Treatment Options for Complex Trauma Joan Benz, Shirley Chrenshaw, Casey Limmer, Megan Schacht
7/8/2011Mind and Brain in Early Complex Trauam: Engaging Parents in a Novel Approach to Damage Control John Constantino, Ryan Lindsay
4/1/2011Understanding the Impact of Complex Trauma on Youth Matt Kliethermes
1/7/2011Building Developmental Assets in Youth Lora Gulley
10/22/2010Understanding Autism and Effective Support Strategies Julie Donnelly
9/24/2010Teen Dating Violence Carrie Marsh, Kelly Schneider
7/30/2012Rape 101 Kathleen Hanrahan, Christina Meneses
3/26/2010Conceptualization and Treatment of Children and Youth Who Have Sexual Behavior Problems Natalie Wilcox
12/11/2009Legislative Advocacy Peggy Barnhart, Mattie Moore
9/18/2009Compassion Fatigue: Surviving Your Career Nancy Spargo, Ryan Lindsay
7/10/2009Helping Children and Teens Cope with the Death of a Loved One Kelly Karavousanos
3/27/2009Strengths-Based Therapy: Putting Hope in Motion Bob Bertolino
12/4/2008Domestic Violence and Its Effect on Children Sandra Naeger
8/22/2008The Effects of Abuse on Children’s Development Rachel Neukirch, Sarah Boeker
5/30/2008Autism Spectrum Disorders: Transition Strategies Jeanne Kloeckner
8/3/2007Trauma in Children and Adolescents Matt Kliethermes

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Upcoming Events



System of Care & Project LAUNCH Council

Focused on children, youth, & family wellness.

PACT-STL Vitality Café​

Parents charting their own paths, together, toward holistic wellness.

Parent Café​

Connect with other parents and caregivers to strengthen your family.

Children’s Data

Children of Metropolitan St. Louis
A Report to the Community

Vision for Children at Risk informs the community with data and information on child well-being in the St. Louis area, builds and drives collaboration and strategic action for children, and advocates for policies and investment in children that support child well-being.

Network of Practice Purpose

Decision makers from each key system will be convened in the Network of Practice to develop the infrastructure necessary to facilitate better communication amongst collaborative partners involved in the CMHI Project.

These SOC enhancements will help meet an existing priority of collaboration between all involved CMHI partners to decrease SED amongst at risk youth, with an emphasis on black/brown youth, unhoused youth and the LGBTQIA+ youth population by detecting their mental health needs early enough to provide the appropriate level of  support/treatment. MOUs will be obtained from each Network partner to outline how each system will advance the SOC Approach, including providing services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate and trauma informed.

Mia Daugherty
Family Engagement Specialist: Project LAUNCH

Mia was first introduced to VCR when a friend invited her to a Community Café. She had heard the cafés were impactful and looks back now to say that it truly was life changing! She sees a real opportunity for positive change by the way these cafés center the conversations of change around community voice.

At the end of 2019 Mia joined the VCR family. She now serves as a Family Engagement Specialist with PACT-STL, bringing life experience, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, energy, and passion to supporting families navigating behavioral health needs.

Outside of VCR you might find Mia and her daughter roller skating and also embracing all the wonderful and exciting events in the St. Louis area.

Jawana Hammonds, MSW​
System of Care Project Director

Jawana first connected with VCR through the Project LAUNCH initiative as a council member and joined the staff team in 2020. As the System of Care Project Director, she oversees the collaborative network of organizations, agencies, and families committed to a family-driven and youth-guided approach to providing care for children and youth with mental health challenges. The System of Care is working to ensure children and youth can thrive by getting the total support they need to become physically and emotionally healthy at home, in school, and in their communities. 

Outside of VCR Jawana enjoys listening to music and fashion design. 

Anita Blagajcevic, MSW
Compliance Coordinator

Anita first connected with VCR by utilizing the CMSL Data Book, finding the data impactful and helpful. Anita later joined the VCR team in 2018 to focus on improving access to and coordination of early childhood screenings. She now serves as VCR’s Compliance Coordinator, helping manage the applications, data, and reporting for our federal and local grants.

Outside of VCR Anita enjoys spending time with her husband and family. If she’s not doing that, you can find her watching reality TV and pretending she’s viewing it through an anthropological lens.

Alicia D. Hall, M. Ed., LPC, NCC
Behavioral Health Coordinator: Project LAUNCH

Alicia joined VCR’s team in 2020, already familiar with and connected to VCR’s collaborative efforts and MO Project LAUNCH (2012). As the Project LAUNCH Behavioral Health Coordinator, Alicia drives our work integrating behavioral health into primary care health and early care and education. She works to increase and integrate the use of screening tools and mental health consultation for children’s well-being.

Outside of VCR Alicia enjoys anything outdoors in the sun with a special appreciation for the Caribbean. She loves eating and trying new restaurants, travel, sand in her feet, water, and blue skies. Alicia also enjoys spending time with family and her grandchildren that keep her young.

Liz Hoester
Data & Research Coordinator

Liz, a VCR team member since 2007, coordinates the overall data and research functions for the agency. This includes production of the Children of Metropolitan St. Louis Data Book (CMSL) as well as community assessments and special reports on key policy issues for community organizations and collaborative groups. She also provides customized child well-being focused data to various entities including local foundations, legislators, and numerous community initiatives and organizations. These data are used in everything from securing grants to informing funding and policy decisions. 

Outside of VCR Liz enjoys exploring her neighborhood by foot and the city by bike.

Isaac McBride, MS
Project LAUNCH Director

Isaac connected with VCR because of our prevention work with children and families. Having worked on the intervention side previously, he truly sees the importance and impact of prevention and early intervention. Isaac joined the team in 2020 as our Education Coordinator with Project LAUNCH and now serves as the Project LAUNCH Director.

Outside of VCR Isaac enjoys being outside with his significant other and dog, jiu jitsu, reading, and playing games with his brother. Isaac also loves to cook and bake and has some pretty great skills thanks to his mother. He is notorious for modifying the recipe every time.

Breann (Bree) Schubert, MSW
Communications Coordinator

Bree joined VCR in 2015 as the Project LAUNCH Activities Coordinator. Since that time, Bree’s role has shifted, but she remains dedicated and motivated by the mission of VCR. She now serves as VCR’s Communication Coordinator and loves being able to help share the story of VCR (alongside all of our awesome partners and families) working toward child well-being.

Outside of VCR Bree and her family can be found playing ultimate frisbee, hiking, and learning and advocating alongside their church family.

Ruth Ehresman, MSW
Interim PACT-STL Director

Ruth was a VCR Board member before fully joining the VCR family in 2013. She started out coordinating the Family and Community Partnership (now known as St. Louis Child Abuse and Neglect Network), served as the VCR Advocacy Coordinator for many years, served as the Interim PACT-STL Director, and now continues to support VCR as a consultant.

Outside of VCR Ruth enjoys reading, playing the piano and flute, playing tennis, and spoiling her dog.

Sam Blue
Family Engagement Specialist: PACT-STL

Sam joined VCR in 2013 as a MO Project LAUNCH team member and is now serving as a Family Engagement Specialist with Parents & Children Together St. Louis (PACT-STL). He helps connect families to resources and opportunities, and to think strategically about how they can strengthen their family. Sam leads the Parent Cafes and is a certified trainer.

Outside of VCR Sam enjoys being in nature, gardening, building connections with others, and spending time with his family.

Katina (Tina) Johnson
Family Engagement Specialist: PACT-STL​

Katina joined VCR in 2019 excited and motivated to help families, parents, and children by sharing her life experiences, prior work experience, and her education. She serves as a Family Engagement Specialist through PACT-STL, which involves connecting with families throughout the community to reduce entry into foster care. She helps connect families to the resources that can help families be their best version of themselves.

Outside of VCR Katina enjoys spending time with her four boys, expressing their spiritual beliefs, and networking and meeting new people from all walks of life.

Critical Case Staffing Purpose

• The purpose of the Critical Case Staffing Team (CCST) is to support the referring agency in determining what system barriers exists in cases where resources have been exhausted.

• The referring agency should be able to resolve most issues prior to referring to CCST by utilizing community resources.

• However, when system barriers prevent the delivery of services and/or additional needs have been identified for which services do not exist, a referral to the CCST may be appropriate. 

Connie Rigas
Family Support Partner: System of Care

Connie joined VCR in 2020 as a Family Support Partner for the System of Care (SOC). She brings professional training to her work, as well as personal experiences from raising her daughter. She walks alongside families in their journey navigating behavioral health and social emotional supports for their child(ren).

Outside of VCR Connie enjoys reading, planting flowers and herbs, and spending time with her family and friends.

Shelnise Ellis, MSW
Project Coordinator: System of Care

Shelnise joined the VCR family in 2020 and serves as the Project Coordinator/Lead Family Coordinator for the System of Care. She has spent most of her career working with children and adolescents around mental health and is passionate about serving her community, empowering others to live better lives. She works alongside organizations, families and caregivers, and the community committed to strengthening the systems of support. Shelnise also supports the Family Support Partners walking alongside families who are connecting to and navigating mental health services.

Outside of VCR Shelnise enjoys spending time with her family and friends traveling and exploring new journeys.

Yolanda West, MM
PACT-STL Director

Yolanda first engaged with VCR as a board member of COCAN (now STLCANN) in 2012. She went on to serve as the Board Co-Chair of STLCANN before joining the VCR team in 2021 as the PACT-STL Director. Yolanda now oversees the work of Parents and Children Together St. Louis (PACT-STL), a federally funded initiative through the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF). She is leading this initiative focused on developing, implementing, and evaluating strategies that prevent child maltreatment, reduce entry into the public child welfare system, and enhance overall well-being outcomes of children and families.  

Outside of VCR Yolanda enjoys spending time with her family and God, reading, listening to music, and watching TV.  

Integrated Family Treatment

Integrated Family Treatment is a multi-generational approach to mental health care. The client is the family unit, not only the child or adult separately. The goal is to improve family relationships, functioning, and well-being. Evidence-based mental health services and trauma focused treatment will be provided by Places for People and Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis.

Family Support Partners

Family Support Partners (FSPs) provide peer support to families as they connect to and navigate mental health services. The FSPs have lived experience as a parent or family member of a child with a serious emotional disorder, as well as a deep connection to the communities in the St. Louis Promise Zone. FSPs are certified by the Missouri Dept. of Mental Health and employed by Vision for Children at Risk.

A person with a Serious Emotional Disorder (SED)

An individual with a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder that interferes with or limits daily functioning.

Tyree Thomas
Family Engagement Specialist: PACT-STL

Tyree originally connected with VCR in 2015 when he attended his first Parent Café. He stayed connected and officially joined the VCR family in 2022 as a Family Engagement Specialist for PACT-STL. He serves as a family mentor and assists families with understanding their rights and helping them navigate the child serving systems. He works alongside families that have either been hot-lined already or are at risk of being hot-lined.

Outside of VCR Tyree enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, and listening to music.

Jamila Valentine
Family Engagement Specialist: Project LAUNCH

Jamila first engaged with VCR when she attended a Parent Café Training Institute. After this experience she went on to become an active Project LAUNCH parent leader and gained experience hosting Parent Cafés at Clay Academy of Exploration and Civics. She officially joined the VCR family in 2022 as a Family Engagement Specialist for Project LAUNCH, walking alongside parents and caregivers, connecting them to helpful resources and supporting them as they strengthen their family.

Outside of VCR Jamila enjoys attending family friendly events with her children, along with all the adventures, laughter, and joy that comes with being a parent of multiple children under age 8.

Alexis Williams
Family Support Partner: System of Care

Alexis first joined the VCR family in 2022 as a practicum student. She enjoyed working with the team, serving families, and believed in the mission so deeply that she joined the team afterwards. Alexis serves as a Family Support Partner (FSP) for the System of Care (SOC), walking alongside families that have a child or children with a Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED), mental health concern, or behavioral health concern.

Outside of VCR Alexis enjoys cooking/baking, hiking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Carmenlita (Carmen) Montgomery
Family Support Partner: System of Care

Carmenlita joined VCR is 2022 as a Family Support Partner (FSP) for the System of Care (SOC). She is passionate about empowering others and giving back to her community, helping families and children navigate their everyday life. She brings her own lived experience, work experience, and educational experience to her role as an FSP where she compassionately walks alongside families, providing peer support as they connect to and navigate mental health services.

Outside of VCR Carmenlita enjoys mentoring and tutoring children, being a mother and a nana. She also enjoys decorating, cooking, and traveling with family and friends.

Sanaria Sulaiman, MA
Chief Executive Officer

Sanaria became Executive Director of Vision for Children at Risk in 2018, leading VCR’s efforts to promote the well-being of children, youth, and families. She joined Vision for Children at Risk in 2013 as director of Project LAUNCH, a federally funded program to improve young child wellness in north St. Louis. The success of Project LAUNCH allowed VCR to secure three new federal grants, all aimed at supporting families. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of VCR and overseeing the federal grants, Sanaria also serves on the board of Kids Win Missouri.

Outside of work at VCR, Sanaria loves to travel around the world with her two beautiful children to learn about different cultures, learn different languages, and try new food.