Past AFCC-Minnesota Events

A summary of past events hosted by the Minnesota Chapter of AFCC.

For more information on past AFCC Conferences sponsored by the parent organization, click here.

12:00 - 1:00 PM

Ramsey County Courthouse  - Room 42

15 West Kellogg Blvd

St. Paul, MN

Best Practices for Applying the AFCC’s Guidelines for Examining Intimate Partner Violence in Child Custody Evaluations

Save the date! Please join us April 27, 2017 at the Ramsey County Courthouse for a Lunch & Learn 


Nancy Ver Steegh of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law

and a panel of experts including Karen Irvin, PhD, LMFT, Referee Jim Street (Second Judicial District), and Victoria Brenner (Attorney at Collins Buckley and President-elect of AFCC-MN)


Register Now! 

A special film screening hosted by AFCC-MN with generous support from AAML - Minnesota Chapter:  


The Woman's Club of Minneapolis

410 Oak Grove Street

 Minneapolis, MN 55403 

Lower Level Theater

 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Reception followed by the film and facilitated discussion



$20 for AFCC-MN Members

$35 for Non-Members*

Free for Students (with valid Student ID)

*New members who join at the screening will receive the AFCC-MN Member rate.  

 Join us for a special screening of the documentary film, Resilience:  The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope

Resilience chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, educators and communities, who are using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction and disease.


“The child may not remember, but the body remembers.”

The original research was controversial, but the findings revealed the most important public health findings of a generation. Resilience is a one-hour documentary that delves into the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the birth of a new movement to treat and prevent TOXIC STRESS. Now understood to be one of the leading causes of everything from heart disease and cancer to substance abuse and depression, extremely stressful experiences in childhood can alter brain development and have lifelong effects on health and behavior.

When it was controversial to even think of asking patients about taboo subjects, the ACE Study dared to ask questions like, Were you sexually abused as a child? Did you have a parent who was an alcoholic? The answers produced a public health revelation. For the first time, adverse childhood experiences were conclusively linked to both physical and mental health problems later in life. Understanding that a child who experiences toxic stress is more likely to suffer from illnesses as an adult has professionals of all kinds asking, How can we help children before their physical and mental health problems emerge as adults?  

As experts and practitioners profiled in Resilience are proving, what’s predictable is preventable. These physicians, educators, social workers and communities are daring to talk about the effects of divorce, abuse and neglect. And they’re using cutting edge science to help the next generation break the cycles of adversity and disease.

The significance of adverse childhood experiences has also garnered the attention of federal lawmakers. Minnesota Senator Al Franken, along with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Senator Dick Durbin (IL), has introduced the Trauma-Informed Care for Children and Families Act (S. 3519) in the final weeks of the 114th Congress. For more information on the nature of the bill, please click here.  

Event Moderator:

Mindy Mitnick, EdM, MA, will join us to introduce the film and facilitate a discussion after the screening about ways the family law process, and we as practitioners in our respective fields, can better support children and their parents who are experiencing significant conflict and trauma.

When, Where & What:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis

410 Oak Grove Street

Minneapolis, MN 55403

Lower Level Theater

Additional parking is available at the Episcopal Diocese parking lot at 1730 Clifton Place, about 1 block from The Woman's Club.  


5:00 pm – 5:45   Registration and Reception*, 

5:45 pm – 6:00   Introduction – Mindy Mitnick

6:00 pm – 7:00   Film Screening of Resilience

7:00 pm – 7:45   Facilitated Discussion

7:45 pm – 8:00   Wrap Up

*Appetizers will be served and a cash bar will be available. 


AFCC-MN is applying for 2 hours of continuing legal education credit for this event. Event Code: 234853 


Overnights for Young Children: Parenting Plans that Grow with the Child 


Continuing Education and Conference Center

1890 Buford Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55108 

Room 42

Continental Breakfast: 8:00 am – 8:30 am

Program: 8:30 am  12:00 pm  


$70 for AFCC-MN Members

$140 for Non-Members


 AFCC-MN is applying for 3 hours of continuing education credit for this event.

AFCC-MN is hosting a half-day continuing education seminar on overnights for young children. Featuring Dr. Marsha Kline Pruett, this presentation combines practical clinical experience and the latest empirical information to illuminate what we know and to distinguish it from what we wish we knew about young children and overnights. The talk will focus on young children’s developmental tasks and hallmarks, developmental risks relevant to separation and divorce, red flags for child stress, and tips for co-parenting. A grid, developed collaboratively by researcher-clinicians, offers a way of integrating what we know about young children and families into parenting plans that stimulate and protect early child growth and development.  

Participants will learn:

*About how attachment and parenting involvement can co-exist as bases for making parenting plan decisions 

*How to understand what we know about young children and overnights and how to distinguish it from what we wish we knew

*How to use a decision making grid based on child development research to ask relevant questions and make decisions about overnights for children under age 4 

Featured Speaker:

Marsha Kline Pruett, Ph.D., M.S.L., is the Maconda Brown O’Connor Professor at Smith College School for Social Work. She has been in private practice for over 25 years, specializing in couples counseling and co-parenting consultation, legal case development for attorneys, mediation, and intervention design and evaluation. She has a national and international reputation for the development, implementation, and evaluation of preventive interventions in courts and family-focused community agencies and has published numerous articles, books, and curricula on topics pertaining to couple relationships before and after divorce, young children and overnights, and child outcomes. She has written extensively for academic and lay audiences, coauthoring Your Divorce Advisor (2001) and Partnership Parenting (2009). She is a member of the board of editors of the Family Court Review and she was awarded the AFCC Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award in 2004. The California Supporting Fatherhood Involvement (SFI) project is a major focus of her current intervention and research efforts, and she is currently the President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).    

12:00 - 1:00 PM

Hennepin County Family Justice Center  - Room 172

110 South 4th Street, Minneapolis


Judicial Oversight and Support of Parenting Consultants

Join us for an hour-long panel discussion on the topic of Judicial Oversight and Support of Parenting Consultants. The panelists will discuss the judicial response to some of the most frustrating family law conundrums facing parenting consultants today including:

  • How PC appointments should and could be written
  • What the bench does and does not want to see from PCs
  • What to do about unilateral refusals to cooperate post-appointment
  • Viable options when one or both parties lack the funds to continue

Our distinguished speakers include:

Judge Patrick D. Robben

Referee Richard Stebbins

Referee Holly Knight


AFCC-MN members register for free!

$15 for non-members



October 6, 2016 Lunch & Learn

12:00 - 1:00 PM

Ramsey County Courthouse  - Room 40

15 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul

The ACES Study is Powerful, but How Can We Use the Power for Good?

The continuing research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) is now recognized for its relevance to criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health, pediatrics, social services, and public health. During this session, we will review Minnesota's trends, directions and policies since the state entered the national conversation in 2011. Specifically, AFCC professionals will determine whether or not ACEs information has, or should, change his/her interaction with client, influence ultimate case decision or alert to unintended negative consequences. Attendees will leave with practical suggestions for actions within their systems. 

Our distinguished speakers include:

Retired Judge Mary Lou Klas

Judge Mary Lou Klas is a retired Ramsey County trial court judge who formed ISAIAH's Domestic Violence Task Force, which was one of the collaborating agencies to bring St. Paul's Blueprint for Safety to fruition. 

Jan Jeske, JD, MBA

Jan Jeske is a public interest and family law attorney who serves on various amicus, family law, domestic abuse and public policy committees.


$10 for AFCC-MN members

$15 for non-members



Consultation Group with Dr. Benjamin Garber

Radisson Hotel Roseville

July 15, 2016


Registration and Breakfast:     8:00 - 8:45 AM

Consultation Group:     9:00 - 11:30


Join Dr. Benjamin Garber on Friday, July 15 after the 2016 AFCC-MN Annual Conference for a lively and informative small group discussion on the topic of alienation and estrangement.  This half-day morning session will allow participants to bring to the table real life situations that present the challenges and issues surrounding ADR processes. This is an opportunity to interact in a more intimate setting with Dr. Garber and your colleagues.    


Register Now!


Space is limited to 36 participants.


"You Can't Make Me!!!"

Reunification Therapy: The Oxymoron in Family Court?

Exploring Alienation, Estrangement & Reunification


U of M Continuing Education and Conference Center

July 14, 2016

Registration:                 7:45 AM - 8:30 AM

Annual Meeting:           8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Conference Program:   9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Cocktail Reception:      4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

 What’s the difference between Estrangement and Alienation?

What IS Reunification Therapy and how does it work?

What resources are available in our community?

Which practitioners use Best Practices?

When should the process stop, and why:  Was it successful or not effective?


Our featured speaker for this exciting and informative day is Dr. Benjamin Garber. Dr. Garber is a clinical child psychologist, freelance writer and director of HealthyParent.com in Nashua, New Hampshire. Dr. Garber holds advanced degrees in child and family development, clinical psychology, and psycholinguistics from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Michigan. He is the author of "Keeping Kids Out Of The Middle" (HCI, 2008) and "Developmental Psychology For Family Law Professionals" (Springer, 2009) as well as several other books and hundreds of articles in all areas of child and family development.


Dr. Garber consults with schools, communities, corporations, professional organizations and courts across the country and in Canada in matters concerned with better understanding and serving the needs of children. He is a former Guardian ad litem, a Parenting Coordinator, and a closet cartoonist. To learn more about Dr. Garber, go to www.healthyparent.com and www.FamilyLawConsulting.org.


Register Now!

Early Registration: $185 (through June 14)

Regular Registration: $215 (after June 14) 

What’s Happening:  Options for Supervised Parenting Time and Best Practices

April 8, 2016
Noon-1:00 p.m.

 Ramsey County Courthouse
Room 40

A panel consisting of organizational representatives and private parenting time supervisors will discuss protocols, pitfalls, and best practices for supervised parenting time.  Attendees will learn more about options for supervision as well as tips for finding the right fit for particular types of cases. 


Fee: AFCC Members $10
Non-members $15

 Panel Members Include:

Ann Gaasch from FamilyWise,
Matthew Meyers from Traverse Counseling & Consulting,
Jean Hariman from ProParenting Services,
LeeAnn Berkholtz from Perspectives, and
Laura Sahr Schmit from Walling Berg & Debele

Click Here to Register. 

Court-Involved Therapy for Young Children:  When, What & How

February 12, 2016

8:30am to Noon

University of Minnesota- St. Paul Campus 



AFCC-MN  is sponsoring a half-day continuing education seminar on therapeutic intervention for young children caught up in parenting time disputes. Attendees will receive information about the nuts and bolts of doing therapy with young children in these situation, the pitfalls for therapists doing court involved therapy, relevant issues for court proceedings; and a proposed model order and the AFCC guidelines regarding best practices. 

Marie-Gabrielle Reed, PhD, LP will address effective therapeutic modalities and speak as a clinician regarding the pitfalls/best practices of child therapy in the context of family court - when parents are aligned against each other and the child is placed in the therapeutic middle.

David Gapen, Esq. and Sonja Larson, Esq. will present a family law perspective on the unique challenges for attorneys representing parents whose children's therapeutic issues are brought into the courtroom.  

There will be a panel discussion with members from the Boards of Psychology, Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy. They will address questions about the special challenges that sometimes occur when doing court involved therapy results in conflicts with the ethics requirements set by professional boards. 

Michael Boulette, Esq and Nancy Berg, Esq will unveil a model order. The document will provide attorneys with a starting point when drafting a proposed order for child therapy to submit to the Court.


$120 For AFCC-MN Members/Guardian ad litems/Public Employees
$140 For Non-Members/Other Professionals


Click Here to Register. 


Rock the Boat:
How to Use Conflict to Heal & Deepen Your Relationship

January 8, 2016
12:00 Noon- 1:00 p.m.

Hennepin County Family Justice Center
Room 172

Resmaa Menakem, of Unbound Therapy Services, will present a theory challenging the idea that conflict between partners is unhealthy or something to avoid. Instead, he encourages both people to stand by what they need and who they are—but to do so with compassion rather than competitiveness or vengefulness.

AFCC-MN Members: $10
Non-members: $15
Students: Free


Eventbrite - AFCCMN Lunch & Learn: Rock the Boat, How to Use Conflict to Healh & Deepen Your Relationship

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