University of Pittsburgh
April 11, 2005

University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development to Cosponsor 12th Annual Family Support Conference

Participants will explore ways to help children reach their full potential in a rapidly-changing world

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Where can an overwhelmed teenage mother turn for assistance? What issues face children whose parents are recovering from addiction? How can parents and caregivers better understand the world of today's young people?

All of these questions will be addressed at the 12th annual Family Support Conference, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. May 3 in Pitt's David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Ave., Oakland. This year's theme is Family Support: Today and Tomorrow's Children.

The conference is designed for parents, community leaders, social service workers, and others to identify the developmental and emotional needs of today's and tomorrow's children. In addition to three keynote speakers, the conference includes a series of workshops pertinent to caring for and relating to children and young people. These include "The Power of Partnerships," "Moving Men from Manhood to Fatherhood," "Kids These Days: Understanding Generation Y," as well as sessions ranging from kindergarten readiness to teen suicide. The conference is cosponsored by Pitt's Office of Child Development, within the School of Education.

Keynote Presentations

(Main Auditorium, David Lawrence Hall)

9:45 a.m. "Preparing Our Children for Success"

Harriet Dichter, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare's Office of Child Development and policy director of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Dichter leads the state's efforts to bolster early care and education for Pennsylvania's children. She previously has worked as director of children's policy for the City of Philadelphia, director of policy, planning, and public engagement for the Southeastern Pennsylvania United Way, and as a lawyer for Community Legal Services.

10:15 a.m. "Building a Plan for Today and Tomorrow's Children: National

Trends, Programs, and Policies"

Ralph Smith, senior vice president, Annie E. Casey Foundation.

This private philanthropy is dedicated to building better futures for our disadvantaged children by funding programming on the community, city, and state level. Smith, a nationally recognized legal scholar and attorney, was a member of the law faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for more than 20 years. He has authored briefs on landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, and was the founding director of the National Center on Fathers and Families and the Philadelphia Children's Network.

1:45 p.m. "A Personal Journey"

Tena Staley, mother of Pittsburgh Steeler running back Duce Staley.

A native of Dixianna, S.C., Tena Staley raised three children—Keisha,

32; Duce, 30; and Travis, 24—as a single mother. She endured financial hardships and saw to the needs of her son, Travis, who was born with slight brain damage. When Duce played football for Mississippi's Itawamba Junior College, Staley would sacrifice buying groceries with her weekly salary so that she could rent a car and drive 400 miles to watch her son play. After a 26-year in public safety, she now assists with Duce's Catch 22 Foundation.

The family support concept encourages families to build on their own strengths using community resources. As families learn how to help themselves, guided by the staff at Allegheny County's 34 Family Support Centers, they contribute to the community and improve the quality of life for themselves and their neighbors. These centers receive staff training and technical assistance from Pitt's Office of Child Development.

Conference registration is $70. To register or for more information, call

412-244-5420 or visit Continuing education credits are available.

Other conference cosponsors include: Pitt's School of Education and School of Social Work; Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Family Support America; Mid-Atlantic Youth and Family Network; Pennsylvania Center for Schools and Communities; and Allegheny County's Executive Office, Department of Human Services, Health Department, and Family Support Policy Board.