Focus 2021 Session Descriptions

Focus 2021 will be held in Las Vegas, NV on July 27–29, 2021. While NSPN does not anticipate the Focus 2021 schedule to alter, sessions are subject to change during the planning process as NSPN continues to monitor the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) around the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Opening Keynote
8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. PDT

More than Profit – Corporations Supporting Community Change

Corporations partner with non-profit (for purpose) organizations at the local, regional, and national level. Corporations believe in the importance of investing back in the community. Hear from corporate leaders who share their perspectives on employee engagement, giving, and social responsibility.

Presenters: Panel of Corporate Leaders

Workshop Session I
10:45 a.m.  12:15 p.m. PDT

Youth Led Systems Change

Current systems are not meeting the needs of youth. Participants will explore the current state of systems causing/preventing homelessness, existing mandates that may be unmet, and imagine what an ideal future state would look like. Examples of how programs can develop young people to lead systems change will be examined.

Presenter: Andrew Palomo, National Network for Youth

Building a Statewide Network to Enhance Safe Place® Sustainability

Learn how programs within a state can maximize efforts to expand the safety net for youth while sustaining local Safe Place efforts. 

Presenter: Robin Donaldson, Indiana Youth Services Association

Why Self Care? Increasing Our Impact through Individual Investment

Self-Care is so much more than a good idea to help stressed people feel better. Intentional self-care programming can positively impact staff and, as a result, positively impact outcomes for youth. Learn and share more about this critical investment.

Presenter: Joli Guenther, Wisconsin Association of Runaway and Homeless Youth Services

1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. PDT

“Together, We Can” Challenges, Collaborations, and Change

Meeting the mental-health needs of youth and families in crisis is critical to meaningful support and lasting positive impact. Agencies, communities and systems differ in priorities and associated responses. Listen in as group of representatives from the field of youth services discuss challenges and their efforts to use collaboration to build an effective response.

Presenters: Panel of Voices from the field of Youth and Family Services

Focused Discussions
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. PDT 

Systems Collaborations to Meet the Safety and Mental-Health Needs of Youth 

Focus participants will participate in one of two interactive discussions designed to identify common challenges and solutions to issues related to addressing the safety and mental-health needs of youth and families. Learn from each other’s experience and build relationships for future engagement.

Facilitators: Laurie Jackson, National Safe Place Network and Tammy L. Hopper, National Safe Place Network

Runaway Games
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. PDT 

Are you All In?

A tradition that began in 1978 continues! This fun session is your opportunity to meet other participants and compete for the title. Are you “all in for youth”? Join us for laughter and games. The event will conclude in plenty of time for dinner so we look forward to seeing you there!



























Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Awards Ceremony
8:30 a.m.  10:30 a.m. PDT

Enjoy breakfast as NSPN recognizes individuals, agencies, businesses, and community organizations that provide outstanding work and support for youth and families.

Workshop Session II
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. PDT 


Runaway and Homeless Youth Mental Health

This presentation aims to familiarize participants with the mission, vision, and scope of services that NRS provides. In doing so, participants will learn about the intersectional issues that youth who experience a runaway or homeless episode face, and the trauma-informed approaches NRS utilizes to connect with youth facing these challenges.

Presenter: Susan Frankel, National Runaway Safeline

Collaborative Approaches to Tragedy

The Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership developed a coordinated response across our service network to provide a more effective and trauma-informed response to support youth and staff after a tragedy. The workshop offers a practical and replicable toolkit to address grief and loss across collaborations.

Presenter: Daniel Balin, Covenant House California and Erin Casey, My Friend's Place

Safe Place: The Next Generation of Outreach

Youth need help and they are looking for it. Part of the critical nature of Safe Place is ensuring the nationally recognized sign of hope for youth in crisis is visible where and when they need to be safe. This panel will share ideas and provide an open forum for participants to share what works – and what doesn’t – in reaching out to youth.

Presenter: Panel of Safe Place® Coordinators

Tool Time
1:45 p.m.  3:15 p.m. PDT

This session will feature a brief overview of resources including websites, curricula, and assessments which are designed to help you do what you do to assist youth in crisis. Topics will include suicide prevention, human trafficking, compassion fatigue, and others. In addition, this session will feature a look at the host home model for responding to youth. 

Closing Session
3:30 p.m.  5:00 p.m. PDT

What’s Next: Looking Back to Create a Shared Vision

This session is designed to capture the takeaways from the first two days of the event and to build upon participant energies moving into the final day of activities. Come prepared to share your experiences, the needs you have moving forward, and your ideas for inspiring others to go “all in” for youth in crisis.



Thursday, July 29, 2021

Full-Day Action Session: Change Exchange
Included in the Focus 2021 Registration
8:30 a.m.  3:30 p.m. PDT

How does what we know now inform how we prepare for the future of youth and family services? This interactive planning session is your opportunity to share your voice of experience in a collaborative effort to identify emerging trends, gaps in services, innovative responses, and future needs. You will exchange your best ideas with others to examine areas of potential change to be achieved through effective collaboration. The session will result in a draft of recommendations to share with the network and to inform future advocacy and program development.

Full-Day Action Session: Safe Place Site and Learn
Included in the Focus 2021 Registration
8:30 a.m.  3:30 p.m. PDT

This session is all about the elements of Safe Place which make it the collaboration for youth in crisis. Planned activities include on-site learning at the local licensed agency and a Safe Place site. Discussions will include transit partners, brand protection, outreach, site engagement, partnership and retention, and, community engagement. Get out of the hotel for a Las Vegas show and tell.

QuikTrip Luncheon
Included in the Focus 2021 Registration
11:30 a.m.  1:00 p.m. PDT

All Focus 2021 attendees are invited to a luncheon to hear about the impact of the QuikTrip (QT)/Safe Place collaboration and to learn of potential ways to engage local partners to help sustain your efforts.