In response to a call from local providers of children’s grief support, Safe Crossings Foundation (SCF) presented the 6th Annual Northwest Conference on Childhood Grief. As the leader in funding grief support services for children in the Pacific Northwest, SCF is hosts a conference each year that provides continuing professional development credits while building community and sharing ideas.

This one-day conference was held at Seattle University on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 and focused on the theme of Connecting Children to Support. The conference was designed for support providers such as clinicians, therapists and counselors, therapists-in-training, teachers, school staff, and healthcare workers.

Goals for Conference
• Provide education on best practices through the exchange of timely clinical information, programs, advances in research, and successful ideas for children’s grief support programming
• Provide practical tools and skills to use when supporting grieving children
• Create a space for sharing, connecting, and learning from each other and diverse perspectives
• Promote networking and support among colleagues

When: Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Where: Seattle University, 901 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

*Scholarships are available on upon request. Please email for more information.

2020 Northwest Conference on Childhood Grief – Presenters

Leah M. Batty-Hibbs, M.A., LMHC, Ph. D.
Robert J. Baugher, Ph. D.
Lynda Cheldelin Fell, M.A.
Helena P. Hillinga-Haas, M.A., LMHC, ATR-BC
Jennifer McCormick, LICSW
Jessica McKimmie, Chaplain
Kristin Michell, M.A.
Monique Mitchell, Ph. D., FT -Keynote
Kelsey R. Sawyer, M.A., R-DMT
Terri Steward, M. Div
Aida V. Wells, LICSW

Check out our Schedule at a glance to learn more about session topics and breakouts. Click Here.

Session Descriptions

Monique Mitchell, Ph.D., FT
Keynote: Loss and Grief: Youth in Foster Care

This presentation will discuss the experiences of death and non-death loss for youth in foster care, and how we can use what we have learned from peer grief support programs (which have been operating for over 30 years) to address the unmet needs of this grieving and marginalized youth population. The L.Y.G.H.T. program, a new intervention for grieving youth in foster care will be introduced, and preliminary findings from the program implementation with youth ages 12-16 will be shared.
Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the importance of addressing and acknowledging loss and grief for youth in foster care.
2. Describe a new peer grief support program for youth experiencing death and non-death loss in foster care.
3. Assess the needs and benefits for implementing a peer grief support program for a marginalized population of youth.

Monique Mitchell’s Handout

Kristin Mitchell, M.A.
What Providers Need to Know Before a Death by Suicide

This session will focus on counselor survivors of suicide loss. It will cover common stages of response that a counselor may experience after the death of a student/client by suicide as well as the impact on the counselor professionally and personally. It will also include information about self-care vs support care and suggestions on how to create a support care plan for counselors.
Learning Objectives:
1. Identify common emotional responses of counselor survivors of suicide loss.
2. Recognize impact of suicide loss on counselors professionally and personally.
3. Begin to develop individualized support care plan for counselor survivors.

View presentation here

Aida V. Wells, LICSW
Cultural and Linguistic Grief Support

Cultural and Linguistic Grief Support (Journey Program). This presentation will provide the audience information about how Seattle Children’s Hospital through the Journey Program is building community by using a grief and loss support model that is culturally and linguistically appropriate for those families who otherwise have no access to bereavement support in their own language.
Learning Objectives:
1. Will be able to learn about the needs of Latino grieving parents.
2. Will be able to identify culturally appropriate practices Latino parents use to cope with Grief and Loss.
3. Will demonstrate an understanding of how Latino parents honor their loved ones

Aida Wells Handout A Healing Journey and Constructs of a Mexican American Family. Powerpoint Here

Lynda Cheldelin Fell, M.A.
Compassion Fatigue: Bereavement and Burnout

The bereavement industry is the oldest care-giving profession in the world yet one of the biggest challenges professionals face is how to mitigate career burnout. Through Compassion Fatigue: 10 Ways to Mitigate Career Burnout, Lynda Cheldelin Fell explains the signs of compassion fatigue and teaches 10 self-care modalities, the evidence-based science behind why they work, and how to implement them between clients and in everyday life. Professionals will learn experiential exercises to help them cope with challenging days and protect against burnout down the road.
Learning Objectives:
1.The complementary roles of self-care and resilience.
2.10 Evidence-based modalities that help protect against career burnout.
3. Experiential exercises to help cope with challenging days.

View Lynda Cheldelin Fell’s Presentation here. View the handout here

Jessica McKimmie, M.Div. / Terri Stewart, Ph.D.
LGBTQIA and Incarcerated Youth and Grief

This presentation will cover the complexities that a youth’s queer and/or trans identity may bring to grieving (and healing) processes. The facilitators will invite participants to learn and explore their own identities to unveil ways they may be able to better connect with – and be support to – queer and trans youth. Other intersections with the LGBTQIA+ community that may be discussed: disability, incarceration, poverty, people of color, immigration and citizenship status, and homelessness.
Learning Objectives:
1. Special considerations for caring for LGBTIA+ Youth.
2. Appropriate language and considerations for working with transgender youth.
3. The intersection of Incarceration: special considerations for caring for incarcerated / formerly incarcerated youth.

View presentation here

Leah M. Batty-Hibbs, M.A., LMHC, Ph.D.
Providing Support for Grieving Children and their Care Givers: An Embodied and Creativity Focused Counseling Approach

The intent of this presentation is to enrich your awareness of your personal perspectives of loss and grief, your clinical skills (what theoretical approach or perspective resonates with your style of assessment and counseling), your critical thinking skills in conjunction with possible interventions and an opportunity to become more familiar with different types of loss and grief experiences, specifically when working with grieving children and their care-givers. The presenter’s personal approach “Embodied and Creativity Focused Counseling” teaches parents to co-regulate with their child (inter-personally), which in turn will encourage the child to self-regulate (intra-personally), therefore increasing parental connection and self-efficacy of the child. Being able to self-regulate allows an individual to control their emotional responses to their environment, at the same time, increasing their ability to grieve in their own way by honoring their own internal and external experiences. Increasing connection with a child’s primary care-giver, will have a positive impact on the child’s mental health, in addition to increasing connection and support within their relationship.
Learning Objectives:
1. At the completion of this presentation participants will be able to describe components of a grief group which provide connection.
2. At the completion of this presentation participants will be able recognize areas of improvement in their current offering of grief support.
3. At the completion of this presentation participants will be able to articulate the relational effectiveness of their grief program.

View the powerpoint here

Jennifer McCormick, LICSW / Kelsey R. Sawyer, M.A., R-DMT
Trauma and Grief in the Body

This presentation will explain how trauma shows up in our brains and where it remains dormant and the “flip your lid” model of brain mechanics during trauma. Furthermore, it will explain trauma stored in the body: why and how and how traumatic grief impacts kids over time and through developmental stages. Lastly it will describe the importance of the body and physical activity in grief therapy.
Learning Objectives:
1. Identify and explain ways in which trauma is stored in the brain and body.
2. Name three physical or somatic manifestations of traumatic grief.
3. Define movement therapy in its relation to grief. 4. Develop three ways to utilize movement or other creative expression modalities in a grief group with children

View presentation here

Robert J. Baugher, Ph.D.
Childhood Guilt During Bereavement

One of the most difficult issues for a child of any age following a death is coping with guilt. Because of their egocentric view of the world children often carry with them the heavy burden of guilt. In this workshop we will discuss a variety of child guilt reactions. We will then explore a number of suggestions for coping with guilt.
Learning Objectives:
1.Be able to list more than eight common child guilt reactions.
2. Be able to identify common child guilt statements.
3. Understand how to implement several suggestions for helping a child cope with guilt.
4. Learn how to ask a child important questions related to guilt.

View handouts here and here

Helena P. Hilinga-Haas, M.A., LMHC, ATR-BC
Art With Heart Activity

This presentation aims to show how to blend creative expression and grief therapy. It will focus on the ways to facilitate age specific and appropriate activities that utilize time efficiently and and provide opportunities for kids to process their feelings using creative expression.
Learning Objectives:
1. Blending creative expression with grief support in specialized ways.
2. How to facilitate age specific and appropriate creative expression activities.
3. How to utilize time efficiently when facilitating creative expression activities.

View it here:

Continuing Education Credits

This program is co-sponsored by Safe Crossings Foundation and The Institute for Continuing Education. The program offers 6.50 contact hours with full attendance required. Application forms will be available on site. There is no additional fee to receive continuing education credit. Continuing education verification is mailed to attendees following the Conference. If you have questions regarding continuing education, the program, speakers, learning objectives, contact The Institute for Continuing education at:

NOTE:  To receive continuing education credit, applicants must complete all CE materials, sign in/out at designated locations, and submit an evaluation form for the sessions attended. 

NOTE:  It is the responsibility of the attendee to determine if CE credit offered by The Institute for Continuing Education meets the regulations of their state licensing/certification board, including the Ethics Workshops scheduled.

NOTE:  Ethics credit is not offered for any workshop sessions

Continuing Education Credit Offered:

Psychology:  The Institute for Continuing Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor  continuing education for psychologists.  The Institute for Continuing Education maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  

Counseling/ MFT:   The Institute for Continuing Education and Safe Crossings Foundation  are cosponsors of this program. This co-sponsorship has been approved by NBCC.  The Institute for Continuing Education is an NBCC approved continuing education provider, ACEP Provider No. 5643. The Institute for Continuing Education solely is responsible for this program, including the awarding of NBCC credit.

Social Work:  This program has been approved for 6.50 social work continuing education hours for re-licensure, in accordance with 258 CMR, NASW-MA Chapter of CE Approving Program. Authorization No. D-81347.

Nursing:   The Institute for Continuing Education is an approved provider of continuing education in nursing by the California Board of Nursing, Provider CEP 12646.  Nurses are responsible for checking with their state board to determine if credit issued through an approved provider of the CA Board of Nursing is acceptable by their state board.   

Skills Level:   Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced.  Participants are urged to review the session descriptions to determine appropriateness for professional and personal needs.

Non-Credit Events: CE credit is not offered for registration, board meetings, meal functions, social events, and breaks.

Completed CE Materials:  Please bring your professional license information in order to include on CE application materials.  Completed CE packets should be returned at the end of the Conference.  There will be a box designed to drop off completed CE packets.

ADA:  If you have special needs, please contact Wendy Ozanne at:  or by phone at:  206-652-4723.

To view a list of speakers as well as program materials from the 2019 conference, visit our conference page HERE

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