WICFR 2019 Spring Conference

The Wisconsin Council of Family Relations mission is to utilize research acquired from the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) in order to improve the work of Wisconsin practitioners. Through the professional development, sharing of resources and networking this state organization offers, our members can strengthen the families of Wisconsin.


Friday, April 12, 2019 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM CDT
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Holiday Inn Conference Center 
750 S Central Ave
Marshfield, WI, WI 54449

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Krissy Brill 
Wisconsin Council on Family Relations 

Revamping Relationships - Successful Tools to Build Stronger Communities and Families 

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Join us for the Wisconsin Council of Family Relations annual Spring Conference! Gain new tools to support families and children and how to revamp relationships during traumatic times. Learn successful tips to build stronger communities and families while collaborating with professionals from around the state. See you there!

Conference Schedule 

8:00 Registration

9:00-10:00 Keynote: MEND

A Family Systems Approach to Managing Chronic Illness, Daniel Tapanes & Brian Distelberg- Loma Linda University
Families matter. MEND: Mastering Each New Direction, is an intensive family systems approach aimed at helping families manage a child’s chronic illness (CI). Children with special health care needs are over 3 times as likely to be neglected, physically and/or sexually abused. Likewise, the odds for negative outcomes for siblings and parents is also significantly increased. Multiple studies show the effectiveness of MEND in helping families better manage the CI as well as reduce psychosocial impacts of the CI. In addition cost/benefit studies have shown this program, using a family treatment approach, can reduce medical expenses for the family by 73% annually. This presentation gives an overview of the MEND model and highlights some of the recent data supporting its effectiveness laying the groundwork for pilot replication testing in Chicago Spring, 2019.

10:00-11:00 Breakouts

Extending on the Keynote. For those seeking a more in depth look at this innovative approach using a family treatment model to support an individual with chronic health issues. Come learn firsthand from the creators about the progress made, current pilot testing in alternative locations, and plans for the future to spread this model even further.
Madyson Main, Parent Educator from the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, presenting on the LENA Start Program: Building brains through early talk. LENA (Language Environment Analysis) technology measures talk in a child’s environment using a wearable digital recorder and software. It's the industry standard for measuring talk with children birth to three. Learn about the implementation and outcomes of the LENA Start program in Marathon County at Children's Hospital, the first LENA start site in Wisconsin.

11:00-12:00 Breakouts

1) MEND Continued
2) Connecting Your Way to the Future 
Crystal Wuethrich, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Alumni and second year student in the Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy Program at University of Wisconsin Stout, shares how the intersectionality of what you know, who you know, and what you do can lead you to where you want to be.  In this presentation, Crystal will share her journey from college drop-out to future business owner and the tips she learned along the way.  This presentation is perfect for students, new professionals, and anyone wondering, “where do I go from here”?

12:00 Lunch & Working Business Meeting

WICFR Elections (12:30pm)

1:00-2:00 Keynote: Revamping the Body and Mind: Why and How To Do It

Keynote Speaker Nick Lechnir shares a deeply personal story of his childhood experiences with family alcoholism and the detrimental effects this disease has on family dynamics and personal growth, in addition to struggles with anxiety and depression. Nick goes on to describe key pivotal moments in his life where he experienced monumental change and began a journey of positivity, healing, hope, and inspiration. Nick also talks about groundbreaking research by Stephen Ilardi at the University of Kansas with a program called Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC), and gives specific examples on the massive impact this program has made on his recovery, as well the recovery of many others who suffer from anxiety and depression.
Nick Lechnir is a published author, frequent regional speaker, writer, researcher, developer, and professional photographer. His book is based on his life experiences growing up with family alcoholism and abuse, and overcoming mental health challenges of anxiety and depression to become a professional public speaker. His mission is to teach extreme introverts and technical-minded people like himself to beat overwhelming fear and anxiety associated with public speaking. Nick’s primary occupation is Learning and Development Administrator at Logistics Health in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and he is the current Vice President of Education at La Crosse Toastmasters. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from UW-La Crosse with a double major in Psychology and Sociology, and is a former Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. Aside from work, Nick loves spending time with family, enjoys competitive running, and belongs to a number of local advisory committees.
Keynote speaker Heather Quackenboss will help us find joy in our ordinary day and provide realistic and simple tools and skills that we can infuse into our daily lives, practices, and work. Heather Quackenboss is the Human Development and Relationships Educator with Extension in La Crosse County.  Her work has focused on social and emotional wellbeing, culture and diversity, mental health, and community engagement.
2:00-3:00pm Breakouts
1) Trasforming Challening Child Behavior Using Parent Coaching - Center for the Challenging Child
For those wanting to learn more about the newly emerging and rapidly growing profession of Family Life Parent Coaching. Based on a mindfulness based model, and her book Present Moment Parenting, Tina Fiegal, on the Board of Directors for the Family Life Coaching Association, will share this innovative approach to letting parents and children out of jail, freeing them to live and connect in the present moment and, finally, have both their needs met. With a 95% stabilization rate for children in foster care, even in the midst traumatic and challenging circumstances, this is a powerful new way to help parents and children grow together.
2) Fierce Freedom . Every county in the state of Wisconsin has documented cases of sex traficking. Fierce Freedom has evolved over the last 10 years working with local and government officials to put a stop to these practices, and also working to provide a safe refuge for those seeking to escape this and other forms of modern day slavery. Come hear their stories, the next steps they are taking, and how you can help!!!

3:00-4:00pm Current Happenings in Marshfield

Raising a Thinking Child virtual parenting program, eParenting for Little Ones Presented by Jackie Carattini, UW Extension, Wisconsin Rapids

4:00-5:00pm Closing Keynote: Hope for Traumatized Children

By Tina Fiegal- Center for the Challenging Child
In a day and age where there are so many challenges facing children and families, Tina Fiegal also points out there is so much hope as well. Sharing her story, lessons learned, and what we are still learning about what REALLY helps children and families. Helping parents "get their mojo back."

5:00 Adjourn