Annual Conference

SVN's 25th Anniversary Conference

"Beyond the Hour"

May 11-14, 2016

San Diego, Ca

Super Early Bird Rate of $299 is available HERE

Payment plan of $121/month is available HERE

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Hotel

Overnight rooms will be $139/night

Reserve your Hotel Room HERE


Plenary Speakers

Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an award-winning social entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate and parenting expert who has created programs informed by the power of empathy. In 1996 she created the Roots of Empathy program in Ontario. Her not for profit organization of the same name, offers programs in every province of Canada, New Zealand, the USA, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Germany and Switzerland. Ms. Gordon is also the founder of Canada's first and largest school-based Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, which she initiated in 1981. They have become public policy in Ontario and have been used as a best practice model internationally. Ms. Gordon speaks and consults to governments, educational organizations, and public institutions.

Ms. Gordon is the recipient of several prestigious awards recognizing her contribution to innovation in education and international social entrepreneurship, including the Manning Innovation Award, an award for being the top social enterprise in Canada. In 2004, she was awarded the Ontario Teachers Federation Lifetime Fellowship Award and in 2009, the Public Education Advocacy Award from the Canadian Teachers' Federation. As a leading expert on empathy, Ms. Gordon has had three dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama: First in 2006, in Canada, and then in 2008, in the USA, as part of the Seeds of Compassion event, and in 2011 in India. The Dalai Lama has expressed that programs like Roots of Empathy will build world peace. Learn more about Mary HERE

Judge Patricia M. Martin is the Presiding Judge of the Child Protection Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Judge Martin received her appointment in January 2000 and since that time has worked to improve the Child Protection Division. She has introduced innovative new programs that have received media attention and that jurisdictions across the country have duplicated. During her tenure as Presiding Judge, the Child Protection Division's caseload has declined from over 27,000 cases to fewer than 7,000 cases, a reduction of over 56%. In addition to performing her administrative duties, Judge Martin continues to hear complex and high profile cases in the Child Protection Division.

Judge Martin's expertise in child welfare matters has received national and international attention. She has presented at local, national, and international conferences on child abuse/neglect topics and has received numerous awards for her work with the Child Protection Division. She is the Immediate Past President of the Board of Trustees of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She is a member and past chair of the Supreme Court of Illinois Judicial Conference Study Committee on Juvenile Justice and a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Special Committee on Child Custody Issues. Judge Martin has a Jurist Doctorate from Northern Illinois University College of Law in Dekalb, Illinois and a Bachelors of Arts from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. She also studied at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. Judge Martin garnered academic honors at each of these institutions.

Casey Gwinn, J.D. serves as the President of the National Family Justice Center Alliance. Casey has been recognized by The American Lawyer magazine as one of the top 45 public lawyers in America. Casey served for eight years as the elected City Attorney of San Diego from 1996 to 2004. Prior to entering elected office, Casey founded City Attorney's Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Unit, leading the Unit from 1986 to 1996 - prosecuting both misdemeanor and felony cases. In 1993, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges recognized his Child Abuse/Domestic Violence Unit as the model domestic violence prosecution unit in the nation.

During Casey's tenure, the Unit's work was honored for playing a major role in the 90 percent drop in domestic violence homicides in the City of San Diego over the last twenty years. San Diego now has the lowest domestic violence homicide rate of any major city in the nation. In 1986, Casey co-founded the San Diego Task Force on Domestic Violence. In 1991, he founded the San Diego Domestic Violence Council. Learn more about Casey HERE