Conference Schedule

Due to the current status of the COVID-19 (corona virus), the Grandparents/Relatives Raising Children (GAP) Conference has been postponed. This decision was made with the highest regard for the health of our community. This highly regarded conference is rescheduled for September 17, 2020 at the Clarion Hotel. Registration information will be available closer to the event date.

On behalf of the conference facilitators, thank you for your cooperation and we look forward to seeing you in September.

18th Annual Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Conference

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Clarion Hotel, 1950 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511

Featured Speaker: Dr. Malcolm Smith

Dr. Malcolm Smith has earned a well deserved reputation as one of the nation’s leading authorities on bullying, peer victimization and the epidemic of anger that our young people are experiencing. In-spite of giving his parents a really hard time; he has been caring for and about young people for almost 40 years.

Malcolm is currently the Director of The Courage to Care Project (, a national research project and training center that has proved that we can teach empathy, compassion and caring to 5th-9th graders in just nine weeks—one hour per week.

Dr. Smith was a teacher at the renowned Menninger Clinic and also served as the Director of the Karl Menninger, MD, National Youth Care Training Center. Malcolm’s research has taken him into the lives of over 400 young people under the age of 18 who have committed acts of murder, school shootings, or violence towards peers or community members. He has responded to over 54 school shootings including recent incidents in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, California and Oregon.

8:00-8:30 AM: Registration—Resource Fair Opens

8:30-9:00 AM: Conference Starts

Welcome/Successfully Raised - Brandon Nichols

9:00-10:30 AM: Keynote Session

Understanding Bullying - Dr. Malcolm Smith, Courage to Care Project

This vital session by America’s premiere peer victimization researcher will help you understand the causation and the cure for American’s civility crisis. Dr. Malcolm Smith will bring over 40 years of research and observation to bear on how we can solve our nation’s empathy crisis. The workshop will include the following: a historical and cultural understanding of the bullying crisis; identifying four types of empathetic behavior and four types of bullies based on behavioral indicators; understanding how to promote empathy as opposed to narcissism in young people; and understanding current legal ramifications and parental rights in bullying investigation.

10:45-12:00 PM: Workshop Session One

1. Navigating the Legal Path to Guardianship, Custody & Adoption - Carl Devine, Attorney at Law

An overview of current law; basic process and considerations for grandparents and other relatives in seeking guardianship, custody and adoption. Participants will also learn the differences between child custody, guardianship, conservatorship, powers of attorney, visitation and an understanding of the role of children and family caregivers in the court system.

2. Unplanned Roles: Exploring Feelings Around Kinship Care - Dr. Caitlin Allen UK Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics

This workshop will examine the positive and negative emotions experienced by families and ways of coping with the unexpected roles of kinship care. Becoming a kinship caregiver is unplanned, by default and usually in a crisis. This workshop will also examine feelings including loss and ambivalence that can occur when a relative finds themselves in a caregiver role. Discussion of strategies for coping will also be included.

3. Youth Suicide Prevention: Everybody’s Business - Dr. Hatim Omar, UK Dept. of Family Science

This workshop will review youth suicide, the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 age group. Youth suicide continues to rise, more than a 56% increase in the last decade. All of us need to do our part in combating this problem. Adolescent development issues, epidemiology of youth suicide, factors contributing to youth suicide and prevention strategies will also be addressed.

4. E-Cigarettes, Vaping & Addiction: What Adults Who Care for Adolescents & Young Children Need to Know - Angela Brumley-Shelton, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department

During this workshop, learn the health risks of e-cigarettes/vaping by young people – especially how exposure to nicotine and other drugs impact brain development and increase risk for addiction to other drugs. Vaping is especially dangerous during adolescence (ages 11-25) because nicotine and other drugs used in e-cigarettes can impact learning, memory and attention. Vaping increases risk of addiction and other drugs. Youth who vape are more likely to smoke regular cigarettes. Information about vaping and discussion of way to begin open dialogue about good decision-making skills to help young people avoid e-cigarettes will also be provided.

12:00-1:00 PM Lunch & Door Prizes

1:00-2:00 PM Workshop Session Two

5. Kinship Care: Advocacy and Taking Care of the Caregiver - Norma Hatfield, Grandmother

This workshop will discuss the state of kinship care in KY – speaking out as an advocate – and caring for the caregiver. The number of kinship families in Kentucky is growing annually. Discussion will include how to be an advocate for yourself and tips for caregivers to make time for themselves. Different types of Kinship Care in Kentucky, the state of Kinship Care in Kentucky, how to be an advocate for change in Kinship Care, the importance of caring for the caregiver and insight for potential options for caregiver support will also be included.

6. The Effects of Substance Use and Overdose on the Family - Dale & Anna Sanders, Grandparents

This workshop will share the experiences from a family who lost a child to overdose. Having lost a child to overdose, the Sanders’ will share their experience as well as what has been learned about overdose through the process of education and what they wish they had known. The Sanders’ are also raising a grandchild.

7. The Basics of Brain Development - Bradley Stevenson, Child Care Council of KY

Attendees will learn the basics of brain science and development and the impacts brain development has on behavior and learning. The workshop will introduce three brain states, seven skills to become better caregivers and attendees will learn to identify threats/triggers to behavior.

8. KET Education’s Free Resources for All Ages - Brian Spellman, KET

This workshop will show why KET is the state’s go-to for high-quality media, engaging curriculum and innovative digital-learning resources from early childhood to adults. Attendees of this session will learn about KET’s resources, PBS Learning-Media, and family engagement resources to support children’s school readiness. Resources include high-quality media, engaging curriculum and learning resources in all content areas to increase learning engagement.

2:10-3:30 PM Featured Session

9. Caring for the Angry Child - Dr. Malcolm Smith

Dr. Malcolm Smith, one of America’s premiere researchers on peer victimization and anger, will present a vital training for anyone who cares for and about angry children and youth. In this life-changing session, Dr. Smith will bring over 40 years of research and experience to bear on how to live and care for an angry child. The Anger Triangle, Dr. Smith’s useful theory on anger causation, will be presented as will four types of anger and useful strategies for dealing with each in your home, your life and your workplace. The workshop will also help in the ability to behaviorally identify three types of anger in young people and understand clear strategies and approaches for with them in classrooms, hospitals, juvenile facilities and other youth service settings. Also, learn to develop understanding and knowledge of how social attachment failure has caused a connected generation to feel more alone, isolated and distrustful than any generation before them.

Registration Form

Complete the Registration Form

Legal Consults

Volunteer Attorneys will be available for free legal consultations. To request a consultation, you will need to fill out the Legal Consultation Request form and send it in with your registration. There are a limited number of time slots, and they will be filled in the order received.

The 2020 Conference is presented with funds from the following:

Fayette County Bar Foundation

Community Collaboration for Children, Friends of Children

Conference Committee:

Kathy Allen, Grandmother

Ann D’Ambruoso, Family Law of Kentucky, PLLC

Joan Brandenburg, Grandmother

Mary Jo Dendy, Sandersville/Meadowthorpe Family Resource Center

Carl Devine, Devine, PLLC

Diana Doggett, Fayette County Cooperative Extension Office

Anna Dominick, Osborne Fletcher, PLLC

Martha Evans Sparks, Caregiver & Author

Sandra Flynn, Grandmother

Regina Goodman, Bluegrass Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living

Arion Jett-Seals, University of Kentucky

Martha McFarland & Kristy Stambaugh, LFUCG Aging & Disability Services

Kate O’ Ferral, Deep Springs Family Resource Center

Donna Rash, Raised by Grandparents

Dale Sanders, Grandfather

Mary West, KET Early Childhood Education


Location: Clarion Hotel, 1950 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY, I-75/I-64, Exit 115

From I-75/I-64: Take Exit 115, then turn west on Newtown Pike. The Hotel is on the left at the first stoplight.

From Downtown: Take Main Street to Newtown Pike. Turn right onto Newtown Pike and go approximately 5 miles. The Hotel is on the right, before the interstate.

Room Reservations: (888)390-4918 Ask for the $96 (includes full breakfast buffet) GAP Conference block rate.