Webinar: Overview of the National Building Bridges Initiative

2017-04-13 |

Date/Time:       May 23, 2017, 1:00-2:30pm EST           

Webinar Title:  Overview of the National Building Bridges Initiative (BBI):  Best Practices for Supporting Sustained Positive Outcomes for Youth and Families Post Residential Discharge

Intended Audience:  Residential and community leaders, clinical and direct-care staff, oversight agency leaders and staff, family and youth advocates, and families and youth

Webinar Registration:  Please contact Kelly Pipkins Burt at kpb54burt@gmail.com with questions.

Go to:  https://theinstitute.adobeconnect.com/e89t8kup60e/event/event_info.html

By phone: 1-719-325-2711/Participant Pin: 189-109#


Overview of Webinar:  This Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Webinar will provide an overview of residential best practices across the country.  Beth Caldwell, Director of BBI, will share the framework and principles of BBI that lead to residential transformation, and provide examples of residential best practices from programs across the country that focus on sustained success post residential discharge. The webinar will feature Karen Anne Johnson, a residential family advocate and Katie Rushlo, a youth advocate. They will share critical strategies for engaging families and youth, and specific practices that operationalize the BBI principles of family-driven and youth-guided care.


Participants will:

  1. Increase their understanding of national residential transformation efforts;
  2. Increase their understanding of critical factors for achieving long-term positive outcomes for youth and families served in residential programs;
  3. Increase their understanding of practice elements used in residential programs that have engaged in transformation towards improving long-term positive outcomes post-discharge;
  4. Increase their knowledge-base about the importance of family-driven and youth-guided care, and increase understanding of different practices/strategies to operationalize these values into practice;
  5. Learn from a family member/family advocate about strategies to engage families;
  6. Have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss challenges that participants have faced or think they may face in implementing these transformations in their respective programs; and
  7. Will leave the webinar with renewed enthusiasm for going back to their programs to continue:
  • to improve overall focus on family-driven, and youth-guided practices; and/or
  • to improve their overall focus on ensuring sustained positive outcomes post discharge for youth and families.






Elizabeth (Beth) A. Caldwell, MS, Director, Building Bridges Initiative/ bethcaldwell@roadrunner.com

Ms. Caldwell is the principal consultant in a consulting group dedicated and committed to supporting individuals with special needs and organizations who serve these individuals in achieving their missions, and fully implementing their values, so that each individual, child and family served can realize his/her full potential. Well versed in the literature on effectiveness in the fields of mental health, substance abuse, child welfare, juvenile justice and education, and utilizing state-of-the-art training and consultation practices, Ms. Caldwell has been called upon frequently to provide technical assistance and to develop written documents relating to issues in the field. She is the director of the national Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), an initiative dedicated to moving children’s residential programs, and their community counterparts, to the best practice arena. She also serves as a faculty member for the National Center for Trauma Informed Care (formerly the Office of Technical Assistance, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors; as an individual consultant and faculty member, she has provided training, consultation, and/or on-site reviews for staff and programs in all 50 States and several countries since 2001 on BBI best practices, trauma informed care, resiliency and recovery, consumer–driven care and preventing the need for coercive interventions, including restraint and seclusion.


Karen Anne Johnson, FDC, FPC, Residential Family Peer Advocate/kaw390@icloud.com

Karen Anne Johnson is a single parent of a special needs adult son. Karen Anne was orphaned at birth and raised in out-of-home settings. Her life path is an example of grace, perseverance and receiving support from friends, family, and colleagues. Karen’s early professional titles include: EKG technician, medical sales support manager, medical marketing sales analyst, Database Manager, and CRM Specialist. Karen earned her Family Peer Advocate Credential from FTNYS/OMH in 2011, and her Family Development Credential from Cornell University in 2010. She is currently pursuing her BS in Health Care Administration and Community Advocacy from New York University. She has worked as a Residential Family Peer Advocate for six years at SCO Family of Services located in New York City.


Katie Rushlo, BS, Youth Advocate/katierushlo1990@yahoo.com

Katie is from Syracuse and has a decade of experience in Youth Advocacy. At 14 years old Katie and her two younger siblings were placed into foster care. Katie was introduced to the regional youth leadership team Youth In Progress (YIP) and was eager to help better the foster care system, for all youth going through similar situations. Katie suffered from depression, OCD, and anxiety due to her foster care placement and separation from her siblings; however, Katie overcame those issues and was then able to turn those feelings into a passion for change. Katie participated in coalitions such as: clothing vouchers for youth in care and siblings visits. She also was employed as a Youth Ambassador where she educated At-Risk Youth about higher education. She aged out of Foster Care at age 21, where she discovered the difficulty of being an adult after care.  She is eager to seek change for the aging out process and discovering services for after-care.  Katie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology from Walden University in 2013. As the Central Regional Youth Partner, Katie will make sure that youth voices are heard and will continue to push for change in the concerned areas of her region.