2021 Conference Details


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.

2021 Virtual Conference FAQ


From how to log in CEUs, and agenda info to connection issues and more, get answers to these frequently asked questions.

Thursday, April 15:
7:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Conference Registration and Vendor Displays Open

8:30 - 8:45 a.m.

Welcome: Ryan Mahr, HJSA President

Opening Remarks: DeMoine Adams

8:45 - 10:15 a.m.

Keynote Speaker: 

Joshua Wayne

Helping Kids Today Become Successful Young Adults Tomorrow

Continuing Education: 1.5 hours (LE, CLE, JJS, SA)

As parents, teachers and other caring adults in the lives of teens, we all want the same thing: to see them happy, self-confident and capable of thriving in the adult world. In a unique and insightful way, Joshua breaks down the essential tools we as the adults in their lives, need to help them make that a reality.

Virtual Annual Conference:
April 15 - 16, 2021

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

10:30 - 12:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions & Vendor Display

Kids & Tech: What to do when Devices Rule

Joshua Wayne

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS)

Teens in the United States spend about nine hours per day in front of a screen.  That amounts to 40% of their lives, and that doesn’t even include time spent on school work!  Truthfully though, the problem isn’t technology; the problem is moderation.  In this session Joshua shows how to find a healthy tech balance for our kids today.  

Drug Identification & Current Drug Trends in the Heartland

Wes Tjaden, Grand Island Police Department

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS, ABHS, SA)

This course will provide the student with the knowledge to identify drugs, drug paraphernalia and indicators of intoxication with drug use to assist when working with At-Risk youth. It will also provide professionals a deeper understanding of the common drugs used by at-risk youth, drug trends in the heartland and visual signs of impairment.

Project AWARE: Supporting School-based Prevention and Intervention

Mariella Resendiz, Nebraska Department of Education & Amber Hartsock, Nebraska Department of Education

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS)

The challenge of addressing the needs of Nebraska’s children and youth through a comprehensive continuum of behavioral health services being available statewide has come to the forefront in recent years. During this session, local and statewide initiatives focusing on school-based mental health programs in rural areas will be highlighted and an overview of the Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) grant provided. 

H.E.R.O.: Leading Through the Lens of a Role Model

DeMoine Adams, The Game Plan

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS)

This leadership session will empower professionals to lead by serving by becoming positive examples, and create an atmosphere of productive expectations and optimistic beliefs.  Attendees will be taught principles of prioritizing well-being over well-doing as well as the principles of producing outcomes that reap from sowing and how to embracing the role of a role model.

Identifying and Understanding the Gang Subculture

Abby Kassow, Nebraska State Probation

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS, SA)

This workshop will focus on identifying gang affiliation as a professional working with at risk youth, and focus on understanding the gang subculture, including the role of drug sales and substance use. This workshop will specifically address the influence of Peer Relations and the influence of Antisocial Companions. It will also cover the role of substance abuse, family circumstances.

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.

Breakout Sessions:

Building Motivation to Succeed in School and in Life

Joshua Wayne

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS, ABHS, SA)

The concern of many parents and youth workers is that their kids just aren’t living to their potential.  Further complicating the matter are record anxiety and depression rates amongst youth.  According to the American Psychological Association, 45% of high school students report being stressed about school.  In this talk, Joshua will discuss how to help reduce their anxiety while building their motivation and self-confidence to excel in school and life. 

Drug Use, Misuse and Abuse – an Old Problem with New Names

Dr. Ally Dering-Anderson, UNMC College of Pharmacy

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS, SA)

This program will explore prescription drugs used to treat teens with emotional and mental health disorders.  It will also explore drug misuse and substance use disorder among teens.  Participants will understand the implications of newer legislation intended to prevent death from substance use disorders

Through the Eyes of the Child; How Multidisciplinary Teams have Improved Nebraska’s Juvenile Courts

Deb VanDyke-Ries, Nebraska Court Improvement Project

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS)

Participants will learn about Nebraska’s judge led Through the Eyes of the Child teams that have spurred significant systemic changes in Juvenile Court. Presenters will provide a historical perspective of the Through the Eyes of the Child initiative, highlight early successes, and show the metamorphosis of the initiative, which has become a crucial venue for issue spotting, problem-solving, and building relationships across disciplines.

Working with Youth Who Sexually Harm

Mark Ward, M. Ward Counseling LLC., Mike Nehe, Nebraska Administrative Office of the Courts & Probation, & Dr. Susan Reay, UNO Grace Abbott School of Social Work

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS)

The Administrative Office of Probation for the state of Nebraska is working to improve and to broaden services for Youth Who Sexually Harm. This workshop is for participants who are interested in this important service area. The target audience includes therapists, probation officers, caseworkers, and direct line workers. The workshop objectives include an overview of sex offense behaviors, trauma, and assessment. Evidenced-based best treatment strategies will be identified. There is an important need for therapists who are willing, able, and trained, to provide treatment for Youth Who Sexually Harm. The criteria for being an approved probation therapeutic provider for Youth Who Sexually will be identified.

System Reform: Seeing the Child and Not the Charge

Kim HaweKotte, 

Deputy County Administrator for Juvenile Justice Services

Douglas County, NE

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS, ABHS, SA)

We have a great opportunity to change the climate and culture of our Juvenile Justice System for the betterment of our youth and families.  We can change the narrative from one that holds only youth accountable for the worst mistakes that they have made to a system that builds on the full potential of young people while still holding them accountable. While it is a delicate balance between accountability and rehabilitation, this can be done by looking deeper than what crime was committed but rather looking into why was the crime committed and how we can keep the youth from committing further crimes. We can have a system that looks at the needs of the youth and not just the criminal charge.  

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

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

2:45 - 4:15 p.m.

Afternoon Speaker: 

Dr. Emily Scoffield, LCSW, Provo Canyon Schools

I Am Rubber, You Are Glue: Resiliency, Human Connection and Addiction

Continuing Education: 1.5 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS, SA)

Workshop will focus on the decline in resiliency among adolescents and children. We will discuss how the lack of resiliency has led to negative coping skills, including an increase in substance abuse at an especially young age. Lastly, we will learn how increasing resiliency and the ability to cope with negative emotions will help prevent substance use.

Friday, April 16:
8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Keynote Speaker:

Sally Spencer Thomas, President, United Suicide Survivors International

Be a Shining Light of Hope, Everyone Plays a Roll in Suicide Prevention

Continuing Education: 3 Hours (LE, CLE, JJS, ABHS, SA)

Sally Spencer-Thomas is a national speaker and expert in suicide prevention.  As a psychologist, mental health advocate and survivor of her brother’s suicide, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas sees the problem of suicide from many perspectives.  In her presentation, “Be a Shining Light of Hope”, Dr. Spencer-Thomas offers participants inspiration and a solid understanding of the personal and community issues surrounding suicide as she guides listeners through her own journey from bereavement to activist.  Positioning suicide as a social justice issue, she empowers everyday citizens to get involved in the suicide prevention movement by giving many examples of community-level action.  She teaches participants strategies that can shift culture, increase help-seeking, and ultimately save lives.  She will also address the risk factors and warning signs of suicide which do involve impulsivity, peer support and substance use in adolescents.