National Christian Family Conference to focus on risk and resilience in kids

Dr Trafford Fischer: "We need to develop resilience in kids so they can learn the skills of remaining true to what they value."

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Risk and resilience in children is the focus of the 32nd National Christian Family Conference, which will be held next month in Wahroonga, Sydney.

Organised by the Adventist Institute of Family Relations, the conference will cast a spotlight on issues relating to children, including obesity, mental health, maltreatment, drug danger and technology, as well as the ways to raise resilient kids.

Keynote speaker is Dr Kiti Freier Randall, a paediatric neurodevelopmental psychologist with expertise in developmental disability, trauma, and pre and postnatal substance exposure. She is the director of psychological services, Department of Paediatrics and Public Health at Loma Linda University.

Clinical counsellor, supervisor and educator Dr Paula Davis and family counsellor, educator and child consultant Cherie Gibson will also be speaking at the event.

Dr Randall.

Conference co-convener Dr Trafford Fischer said there is growing evidence for parental concerns about the risks to their children’s wellbeing, particularly the impact of the digital era with cyberbullying and its often tragic consequences.

“We need to develop resilience in kids so they can learn the skills of remaining true to what they value; to learn how to stand up and protect themselves from those who may wish to do them harm; to learn to make positive decisions about their lives that will enhance wellbeing and strengthen them socially and emotionally,” Dr Fischer said.

“Our wish is that those who attend will leave with some current research into these issues, as well as some effective, research-based strategies that will assist them in their work with vulnerable children and families.”

Dr Fischer said the conference is designed primarily for people in the “helping professions”, including counsellors, psychologists, therapists, clergy and university students studying the social sciences.

“However, each year we also have non-professionals who sign up because they have a key interest in the topic. They are most welcome. It’s open to anybody.”

The conference is being held at the Clinical Education Centre, Sydney Adventist Hospital, on July 16-17. To register, go to For more information about the conference contact

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