Registration is now open for the Bridges to Resilience Conference set for Monday, Oct. 14, and those planning to attend are being advised to sign up early, as the event is expected to sell out.

Santa Barbara County KIDS Network will present the conference from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Beachfront Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara.

The conference is intended for anyone who works with children, youth and families, is interested in understanding, preventing and addressing childhood trauma and wants to help make the county a resilient community, a KIDS Network spokeswoman said.

Attendees will learn tools for the classroom, exam room, living room and the street as well as hear updates on local projects.

“The conference has sold out every year,” said Barbara Finch, event co-chair and KIDS Network manager. “This new location gives us space to welcome more attendees from communities throughout Santa Barbara County.

“We expect about 400 people this year,” she added. “A lot of the interest is driven by increased awareness of the impact of adverse childhood experiences.”

Known as ACEs, adverse childhood experiences are specific childhood traumas that include abuse, neglect and family dysfunction.

Finch said researchers have found ACEs can cause chronically elevated levels of stress hormones that have a negative impact on a child’s brain and immune system development.

The result is an increased risk of physical and behavioral health problems in adulthood — from heart disease and stroke to alcoholism and suicide.

The more ACEs a child experiences, the greater the risk, she said, noting children with six or more ACEs have 20 years shorter life expectancy.

Research has also identified factors that can build resilience, mitigating ACEs.

The keynote speaker for this year’s conference will be Laura Porter, a national leader in helping communities use ACE science to make investment and policy decisions that improve outcomes for children and families.

The conference also will include 12 breakout sessions by 19 presenters on a variety of topics, from tools for teachers to local trauma-informed care collaborations, and will provide opportunities to network and discover community resources.

The conference cost is $125 and includes breakfast and lunch buffets. Continuing education units are available for an additional $60.

For more information about the conference and to register, visit

The KIDS Network of Santa Barbara County was created in 1991 by the Board of Supervisors as an advisory body on children and family issues and is administered by the County Department of Social Services.

For more information about the network, visit


News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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