Building Brains with Relationships

A child’s experiences impact physical and functional brain development that creates the foundation for the child’s learning, behavior, and well-being now and in the future. If a child is exposed to toxic stress or harmful experiences, brain architecture can be altered, often impairing the memory, learning and stress systems. A responsive, supportive and reliable caregiver can reduce the negative impacts of those experiences and help build resilience through executive functioning development.

Building Brains with Relationships (BBwR) is an evidence-informed training model that incorporates the Brain Architecture GameChild Adult Relationship Enhancement, Motivational Interviewing, and Growth Mindset models for caregivers and professionals who are seeking strategies to support resilience and executive functioning skills in clientele or loved ones. This is a fun, interactive and valuable workshop with ongoing opportunities to focus on skills. Components of this training were originally developed and have been shared by the following:

  • Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
  • Clinical & Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh
  • Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center at University of Southern California
  • FrameWorks Institute
  • Trauma Treatment Training Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Workshop participants engage in interactive learning to build foundational understanding of the powerful role of experiences on early brain development: what promotes it, what derails it, and the larger impacts across the lifespan. Participants then learn evidenced-based interaction skills. This workshop promotes a focus on resilience and actively builds your skills through discussion, demonstration, practice, and live coaching.

Participant Benefits

  • Build an understanding of the impactful role of experiences on early brain development and well-being;
  • Increase use of relationship building methods through active skill building;
  • Identify effective methods for providing feedback to increase desired outcomes;
  • Ongoing support through access to the virtual BBwR Community of Practice.

Who Should Attend?

Building Brains with Relationships was created for general usage by clinical and nonclinical adults who work with children who have adverse events or conditions; however, this workshop is applicable to a wide range of provider and caregiver populations. The workshops facilitated by the Institute for Child and Family Well-being are uniquely designed for (but not limited to) the following professionals and caregivers:

  • Foster and/or adoptive parents
  • Foster care caseworkers and child protection workers
  • Social service case managers
  • Home visitation providers
  • Juvenile justice workers
  • Infant and Early Childhood teachers
  • Mental health providers
  • Medical providers
  • Community support providers

How Do I Attend a Building Brains with Relationships Workshop?

Building Brains with Relationships is a full-day, in-person workshop that will be offered to the general public at two different locations in 2024. The following dates will take place at the Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System location in Glendale, WI (4425 N. Port Washington Road, East Lake Towers, Suite 400, Glendale, WI 53212): January 18th, April 18th, July 25th and November 14th, 2024.

Those with PDS accounts can register now.

*For PDS accounts: If you are unable to locate a date, email with the date you’d like to attend.

If you do not have a PDS account, but would like to register, sign up here.