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2024 Conference Details & Schedule


Our annual conference brings together professionals from a wide variety of disciplines and agencies that provide services to juvenile justice youth including members of the justice system, juvenile service providers, direct care/probation/parole officers, social workers, case managers, educators, mental health counselors, substance abuse counselors, child and youth advocates, law enforcement and other stakeholders in mutual efforts to provide education on the implementation of best practices to strengthen and improve residential and community-based services for youth and their families.

Stay tuned for key speaker announcement, schedules and more conference information.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023


6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

How Early Onset Trauma Impacts Addictions in Individuals

Nina Catalano LCSW

Continuing Education: 2 hrs (JS, SA, ABHS)


Nina works as an LCSW with youth at Provo Canyon School in Utah where she works as a therapist with youth who have experienced trauma and addictions.  


When an individual experiences trauma, early in life, their propensity to gravitate towards addiction tendencies and behaviors are heightened.  Through education, and information we will be discussing what this looks like as well as do an activity to have more experience in the process.  As a result, each attendee will gain more insight to the ACES assessment, the neurological impact of early onset trauma, an understanding of what populations are more susceptible to addiction, and be able to understand and explain the "Window of Tolerance"  

Thursday, April 13, 2023


8:30 - 8:45 a.m.

Welcome: Jeremy Hugins, Southern Peaks RTC

Opening Remarks: Roger Garcia


8:45 - 10:15 a.m.

Keynote Speaker


Be a Life Line: Empowerment to Intervene!

Keynote Speaker: Ashley Bendiksen

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS)

This presentation helps adults understand the prevalence and secondary impact of dating violence on students, and their role to help a student in need. Participants will discover red flags for abusive relationships as well as intervention strategies and tactics.

10:30 - 12:00 p.m.

Choice to Attend One of Five Following Breakout Sessions and
Vendor Display


Supporting the Transition from Victim to Thriving

Ashley Bendiksen
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS, ABHS)

This presentation unfolds the complexities of abuse and teaches best practices.  Participants will learn trauma-enforced advocacy skills and empowerment based coaching models while hearing Ashley’s personal experiences and real cases from her work.

Annual Conference:
April 11 - 12, 2024


1001 Cass St, Omaha, NE

Sponsored by

Criminogenic Continuing Education Credits and Code Definitions


A certificate of attendance will be given to each participant to submit for CEU hours. 


JJS = Juvenile Justice Services CEU
(NE Probation)

SA = Standardized Model for the delivery of Substance Abuse CEU
(NE Probation)

ABHS = = Adult Behavioral Health Services for Probation have been approved and exact number of hours are listed for each session
(NE Probation)

LE = Law Enforcement CEU

CLE = Continuing Legal Education (Nebraska) This conference has been approved for (75647) hours of Nebraska CLE credits

Navigating the Complexity of Social Media with Youth

Amie Konwinski
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS)


Amie is the founder and CEO of Smart Gen Society, a nonprofit providing proactive educational and restorative justice services to students, caregivers, and educators impacted by the effects of a 24/7 digitally connected society.  This workshop will discuss protective factors associated with online digital technology including healthy boundaries toward screen time, limitations for specific media, and account restrictions. Amie will work through the developmental, emotional, and psychological impact of social media as well as an in-depth exploration of trending applications and how to implement digital family plans


Using Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports to Achieve Positive Student Outcomes

Katie Barmettler, B.S.E., M.Ed., Ed.S., Nebraska Department of Education; Mackenzie Riedel and Jill Guenther, NeMTSS SEBL Specialists
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS)


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based practice which develops a systematic process to increase academic and social-emotional success and decrease challenging behaviors. Participants will receive an overview of the key features of PBIS as well as the essential elements of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS).

Katie Barmettler has worked in the field of education for 35 years as a teacher, curriculum specialist, school principal and district administrator for drug, alcohol, and violence prevention programs. In her current position as a Nebraska PBIS Coach, she supports districts across the state as they implement a strategy-based, three-tiered framework to improve and integrate all of the data, systems, and practices that affect student outcomes.

Mackenzie Riedel and Jill Guenther are Social-Emotional and Behavioral Learning (SEBL) Specialists with Nebraska’s Multi-Tiered System of Support (NeMTSS). They provide professional development, technical assistance and coaching to educators
regarding the social-emotional and behavioral learning needs of educators and students across the state. Prior to joining the NeMTSS team, Riedel worked as a school psychologist. During the course of Guenther’s 15 years in education, she worked as a
speech-language pathologist and in special education leadership at the secondary level.

When Kids Aren’t Alright: Adolescent Development, Juvenile Antisocial Behavior, and the Brain

Stu White
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS, SA)


Mr. White is a juvenile justice and adolescent mental health consultant and expert witness based in Lincoln, NE.  This workshop will provide an overview of antisocial behavior in adolescence, focusing on why even typically developing teens are at risk for antisocial behavior and exploring the main developmental pathways to antisocial behavior, including trauma and callous unemotional traits. Attendees will explore the environmental, biological, and developmental factors that impact youth who present antisocial traits.  

Where in the World are Evidence-Based Practices…for my Population

Anne Hobbs PhD and Monica Miles-Steffens, MA, Juvenile Justice Institute at University of Nebraska-Omaha
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS)


Anne Hobbs is a licensed attorney, special appointment faculty, and the Director of the Juvenile Justice Institute and Monica Miles-Steffens, MA is the Juvenile Compliance Coordinator with the Juvenile Justice Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  This workshop will discuss the constant evolution of evidence based work.  Programs must be open to exploring new techniques and responses.  Even if the research remained the same, which it does not, our populations change.  Either the grant regulations get revised, or you begin operating under a new funding source.  Or, in the case of Covid-19, everything changed: our priorities, our service delivery, and even how we felt about our work!


How can you consistently achieve good outcomes? How can you adapt evidence-based principles if you must constantly change?  The answer is in following the risk-need-responsivity framework.  In the is presentation, participants will travel around the world in search of best practices, we will start our journey in Risk where there are dozens of opportunities-across various disciplines.  Then we will travel to needs, where you will learn to match services to risk levels.  Finally, this workshop will conclude in responsivity, where we delve into the individual factors, like race, culture, gender, socio-economic status, and personality.  Throughout the journey, you will need to be flexible, and potentially adopt some new customs.

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Lunch & Vendor Display

Don't forget to visit our Vendors and sign up to win prizes!

1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Choice to Attend One of Five Following Breakout Sessions:


Bystander Intervention as a Proven Violence Prevention Tool

Ashley Bendiksen
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS, ABHS)


Bystander intervention is a proven tool to reduce and prevent violence and power-based harms.  This includes but is not limited to the common issues of domestic/dating violence, sexual assault, bullying, peer pressure, and hate speech.  This workshop will provide enhanced awareness of gender based and hate based violence and it’s prevalence among teens and even colleagues/peers.

Reducing Stigma: How to Support Someone After a Suicide Attempt

Ciara Warden, LISW
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS, ABHS)


Ciara Warden is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in the State of Iowa.  She is currently employed by the University of NE – Omaha in the Grace Abbott School of Social Work and co-owns a private practice while working on her PhD in Gerontology.  Ciara will walk participants through myths and stigma surrounding he issues of suicide and suicidal attempts.  In this session Ciara will discuss the complexity of supporting a person and/or family after a suicide attempt and returning to a sense of normalcy.  Attendees will develop effective support and suicide prevention skills from a compassionate and strengths-based perspective.

Centering Youth Voices in Mental Health Treatment: Keys to Engagement, Momomentum, and Allyship

Alison DeLizza, PhD
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS, SA, ABHS)

Dr. Alison DeLizza is an Assistant Professor and Clinical Psychologist in the Dept. of Psychiatry at UNMC.  She is also the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska.  This workshop will discuss how to engage youth to become active participants in their mental health care and to build motivation and improve outcomes.  Key concepts of Identity, the use of values, and rapport-building will be used as lenses to understand a framework of working with youth.  Adolescents are often not given a choice about their health care, especially their mental health care.  This workshop will address how we can empower youth to become active participants in their own mental health.   


Understanding Promotive and Protective factors of At Risk Youth

Lara Swerczek, NE DHHS Northern Service Area Services Administrator
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS, SA, ABHS)


In this workshop Lara will take participants through each of the promotive and protective factors and discuss developmental experiences of children and adolescence as well as their abilities to develop resilience and recognize needed supports.  Through this process, Lara will also discuss positive social connections and their link to social-emotional competencies developed in teenage years.

The Impact of Brain Injuries on Justice Involved Youth

Peggy Reisher, Brain Injury Alliance
Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS, ABHS)


A lifetime history of brain injury can result in impairments in physical, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.  This session will discuss the impact of brain injury on the juvenile justice system. This workshop will provide an overview of brain injury signs and symptoms’, the prevalence of brain injury in justice involved youth, and simple tools and strategies you and the justice involved youth can utilize to minimize the effects of brain injury once it is identified through a screening process.  

2:30 - 2:45 p.m.
Break and Vendor Display

Don't forget to visit our Vendors and sign up to win prizes!


2:45 - 4:15 p.m.

Afternoon Speaker


What happens when they grow up?: Engaging young people in social enterprise -The Astute Coffee Experience!

Miah Sommer, Astute Coffee, Omaha, NE

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (JS, SA ABHS)


Astute Coffee connects young adults to the workforce and supports their self-sufficiency through personal and professional development programming. When you purchase your coffee from Astute, you are supporting an organization with a purpose – an organization that gives right back to our community. 

Opportunities for young adults impacted by the foster care system.  Programming, which includes financial literacy, cooking and nutrition, mindfulness meditation, academic tutoring, and more.  There will be an overview of the program offered by Astute Coffee, and youth participant panel will share how this social enterprise has prepared them for real life experience and support they would otherwise not have had.

4:15 - 6:00 p.m.

Networking Reception and Prize Raffle

Friday, April 14:


8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Keynote Speaker

Surviving Change, Chaos, & Confusion / Take what you Do Seriously While Taking Yourself Lightly

Keynote Speaker: Dane Wysocki
Continuing Education: 3.5 hrs (JS, ABHS)


Dane Wysocki has been a professional speaker for 34 years, bringing his message of HOPE, HUMOR, and LAUGHTER, to audiences nationwide.  He has spoken in thirty-six states, Canada, and Mexico.  Frustrated with the traditional, yet unsuccessful therapeutic interventions of dealing with emotionally unattached, depressed, and angry children, Dane developed his own innovative, and creative techniques using MAGIC and HUMOR to build rapport, establish relationships, and achieve results.  


During this workshop Dane will highlight aspects of team building and cohesion essential to an overwhelmed workforce who may not be fully engaged in joyful work. He will guide participants to challenge themselves and their own personal barriers to achieving more joy in the workplace, through small group exercises and discussions.  Because of the field we work in, many of us experience seemingly never ending stress and anxiety and when we let that affect us we are not our best.  Dane will guide participants through activities that will challenge us to take what we do seriously while taking ourselves lightly.

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