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Foster care in Montana

About 2,800 Montana children are in foster care.

Child Bridge, a nonprofit agency supporting foster and adoptive parents for Montana children in need, will host the Empowered to Connect conference in Billings, Kalispell and Missoula on April 8-9.

The Billings conference, which will be simulcast, will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Harvest Church’s Lockwood campus, 1413 Rosebud Lane.

According to a news release, the conference is designed to help foster and adoptive parents, biological parents, child welfare and social workers, court-appointed special advocates, teachers and ministry leaders better understand childhood trauma and history, attachment and effective methods for cultivating behavioral change. Attendees will also learn about the support and resources available for foster and adoptive parents.

“Attending a conference such as Empowered to Connect with world-renowned experts leading us can help parents make significant strides in building trust and communication in the home,” said Steve Bryan, executive director at Child Bridge.

Communications expert Karyn Purvis, director of the Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development and co-author of the book “The Connected Child,” is the conference keynoter.

Amanda Hiles Howard, assistant professor of psychology at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., together with Daren Jones and Henry Milton of the Institute of Child Development, will also speak.

According to Child Bridge, about 2,800 children are in the Montana foster care system. That number is expected to increase in the coming years

Tickets for the conference are $20, which include 16 hours of training, box lunches, snacks and the Empowered to Connect workbook.

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