June 14, 2019


Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia KidStrong Conference brings approximately 1,000 participants to Charleston, West Virginia, for a professional learning opportunity Thursday and Friday, June 13 – 14, 2019. Currently in its 16th year, the conference addresses the growing and pressing needs that affect children through a network of partnerships.

KidStrong was originally established as an annual event to serve the training needs of school nurses and other school health staff. It has since grown to include school-based health center personnel, counselors, social workers, psychologists, educators and administrators, and specialists in family and community engagement. The goal of the two-day event is assists those who work in social, educational and healthcare fields to better address the needs of students and children. This year, the conference offers almost 100 session through 11 pathways ranging from immunization to trauma and physical activity in the classroom to substance use prevention.

The West Virginia Department of Education works with a host of partners to support the conference including the West Virginia Immunization Network; the Kanawha Charleston Health Department; the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR) Bureau of Public Health; the WVDHHR’s Oral Health Program; ReClaimWV;  Project Aware; the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine; the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University; the West Virginia Statewide Afterschool Network; and the West Virginia Primary Care Association.

“KidStrong has become the premier professional learning conference in our state to address the needs of the whole child, and many needs of the family,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine. “The growth of this program over the past 16 years reflects the complexities of our region and the conference partners are working to build capacity in the state to address the growing needs.”

Much of the discussion will focus on the fallout from the opioid crisis and the trauma it imposes on individuals, families and communities. The goal is for participants to be better equipped to help students and families to advance their wellness and resilience in order to become lifelong learners, more productive citizens and successful, healthy individuals.

KidStrong will be held at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday.