The Center for Public Service and Family Strengths (CPSFS) at UHD hosted its 4th Annual Family Symposium this week, entitled, “Equity: Partnering for Family Empowerment.”
The event gathered a diverse audience of leading psychologists, social workers, criminal justice educators and social science experts from across the nation for a series of seminars on substance abuse, child abuse, sexual assault in families, evidence-based parent education programs, suicide prevention and awareness for families, and the identification of family strengths in immigrant and refugee families. Participants also attended workshops that addressed the collaboration between school systems and law enforcement agencies regarding teen pregnancies and the role of forensic nurses in best caring for abused children in the hospital.
“This important symposium unites academics, community leaders and K-12 educational representatives and provides a forum for sharing best practices on family strengths, child protection, education, mental health within families and positive community change,” said Noël Bezette-Flores, Ph.D., executive director of CPSFS. “Attendees benefit from the Center’s extensive research on the preservation of family systems – especially those facing significant distress – and have the opportunity to develop collaborative relationships with leaders of participating nonprofit organizations and social service agencies.”
During the symposium, Dr. Bezette-Flores shared her own research – particularly the model she used in gathering key information about Houston’s immigrant and refugee families, which she provided to the mayor’s office to support the reorganization of the Office of International Communities.
Joyce James, LMSW-AP, associate deputy executive commissioner for the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission; and De Shaun Ealoms, M.Ed., parent program specialist for Child Protective Services, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, provided the symposium’s keynote addresses.
The mission of CPSFS is to support families by informing community-based services that promote and sustain family systems. The Center facilitates family, supervisor and agency training, promotes research and evaluation, and disseminates information that supports family-centered practices.
CPSFS – along with CHILDREN AT RISK and the Texas Medical Center Library – also produces the Journal of Family Strengths, an open-access, peer-reviewed publication that reaches more than 15,000 family-centered practitioners across the nation. Alvin Sallee, former CPSFS director; Angelo Giardino, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer at Texas Children’s Health Plan; and Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of CHILDREN AT RISK, serve as editors-in-chief for the online journal. Bezette-Flores serves as managing editor for the publication.
UHD President Bill Flores (left) and Alvin Sallee, former director of the Center for Public Service and Family Strengths (CPSFS), presents a scholarship to student Mirna Medrano at the 4th Annual Family Symposium, hosted by CPSFS at UHD.