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Deepening Constituent Engagement


This training was originally presented on

October 26, 2022


While we were not able to provide recordings for this training, there are some training materials and resources listed below. If you have any questions about this training, please contact CalTrin.


This training is presented in collaboration with our partner project, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse (CEBC).


In this training led by constituents of the child welfare system, we will discuss the importance of engaging leaders with lived experience in our work. We will share theoretical frameworks for partnerships, walk through examples, review practical tools and resources, and plan for action in our own work of authentically engaging lived experience experts.


After this training, the participant will be able to:

  • Introduce an accurate assessment of current level of constituent engagement
  • Build capacity to work effectively with constituents who have experienced the child welfare system
  • Begin designing plans and processes that amplify constituent voices and share power


Who should attend: All staff of family resource centers, child abuse prevention councils, and other child and family-serving organizations.





Grace Gold recently aged out of foster care after 3 years in New York’s foster care system. She is currently in her last semester at Alfred University. At College Grace found herself becoming more interested in being a leader, being more involved with her community and making a difference. In 2020, Grace was awarded the Inclusion Icon award by her peers and colleagues at The Institute For Cultural Unity at Alfred University. She also played an active role in the women’s empowerment project at Art Force 5, where they worked with the National Football League on the Women’s Empowerment Draft 2020 which aired on live television. She hopes to create a non-profit organization that will help survivors of sexual violence. Grace believes that the risks worth taking are the ones that inspire you and will lead you to success and growth. She lives with the mentality that her trauma does not define her, that her success is due to her own effort, and that she has the power within herself to be happy and create the future she desires. Grace’s advice to a young person in foster care is “Stay focused on one’s success, well-being, and self-love. Foster care can be a really traumatizing experience and it is easy to lose confidence, focus, and love for one’s self.”


Norma Hatfield is a grandmother and child advocate raising two grandchildren. After going through the family court system for 18 months and getting custody of her grandchildren, she wanted to see a change in policies that affected relative and fictive kin caregivers and the children in their care. She began lobbying for Kinship Care in Kentucky. which provides a subsidy for relatives who take in children. To ensure that all legislators truly understood the needs of relative caregivers, she collected approximately 6,000 personal stories of their struggles and names of supporters across Kentucky. She then hand-delivered copies to every State Senator and the Governor, propelling the Kinship Care movement to the forefront of the legislature and the public. Since then, she has worked on many legislative changes for both kinship and foster families to improve the Child Health and Welfare system in Kentucky. Today, Norma is the President of the Kinship Families Coalition of Kentucky, a member of the Grand Voice Network with Generations United, and Executive Director of a local CASA program. She uses her lived experience to consult with organizations such as Casey Family Programs, William T. Grant Foundation, Annie E. Casey Programs, Kentucky Youth Advocates, Child Welfare League of America, and FosterClub on projects that affect national and state child welfare systems. She has served with multiple state administrations as a Kinship Advisor or Trusted Advisor on state child welfare initiatives. Norma is the recipient of the Kentucky Youth Advocates ‘Courage for Kids’ and the ‘Champion for Children’ awards and the Outstanding Advocate award from the Kentucky Regional Planning Agency (KIPDA). Norma is an Air Force veteran and retired from Civil Service with approximately 30 years of service.


Belinda Kjensrud is a Birth Parent and a Peer Supervisor for the Parent Mentor Program at Morrison Child and Family Services. She has been with the Parent Mentor Program since June 2016. She is passionate about supporting parents and helping them navigate the Child Welfare system along with helping them find their voice. Belinda’s children were removed twice and she has successfully parented them since 2010.Through her lived experience, she has been able to help other parents and advocate for them to get their children home. She works with DHS to advocate for BIPOC parents and children/youth in care to decrease the number of BIPOC children in foster care and to connect families to culturally specific services so that they can be successful. Belinda is on various committees focused on birth parent voice, the importance of resource parent and bio parent relationships, and advocating for racial equity.



Grace Gold

Lived Experience Leader





Norma Hatfield

Kinship Care – Children and Families Advocate,

Lived Experience Constituent Consultant





Belinda Kjensrud

Peer Supervisor – Morrison Child and Family Services,

Birth Parent, Oregon