Second annual Conference on Child Maltreatment scheduled for Sept. 25

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This fall, Penn State will hold its second annual Conference on Child Maltreatment. “Protecting Pennsylvania’s Children by Building Multidisciplinary Investigative Teams/Child Advocacy Centers” will bring together Pennsylvania’s district attorneys, children and youth service administrators and law enforcement officials, as well as Penn State faculty, to discuss best practices for MDITs and CACs. The event will be held on Sept. 25 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

The conference will feature keynote speaker Teresa Huizar, executive director of the National Children’s Alliance (NCA). “Teresa has dedicated her career to the protection and advocacy for children,” said Lucy Johnston-Walsh, director of the Children’s Advocacy Clinic at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law.

The NCA is the accrediting body for 750 child advocacy centers across the country. The centers emphasize the coordination of investigation and intervention services by bringing together law enforcement and child welfare professionals as a multidisciplinary investigative team, to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases. Pennsylvania currently has 22 Child Advocacy Centers across the state, which follow the standards set forth by the National Children’s Alliance. In 2010, the NCA's centers served more than 260,000 child victims of abuse, and provided child abuse prevention education to 519,000 individuals. In 2012, 8,600 children in Pennsylvania received services from a local CAC.

The conference also will include Pennsylvania experts in child abuse investigations and prosecutions in panel discussions on topics such as model investigation standards and multi-disciplinary investigative team development. Grants for multidisciplinary investigative team development and support will be announced. CAC professionals will attend the conference and participate in panel discussions to help the 46 counties in Pennsylvania without access to CAC services develop those resources in their communities.

Penn State is committed to increasing awareness and research-based knowledge on the prevention, detection and treatment of child abuse. This event, the second in a series of annual conferences, is designed to strengthen translation of research into real-world practice and build connections within the child protection community as well as university-community collaborations between Penn State’s faculty and professionals around the Commonwealth.

“Building on our long-standing expertise in research, education and outreach on children, youth and families and with support from the University we are developing new capacity in the area of child maltreatment, “said Susan McHale, director of the Social Science Research Institute. “These efforts include cluster hires of new faculty, as well as annual conferences like this one.” Penn State’s Network on Child Protection and Well-Being was launched in the fall of 2012 as a result of a report provided by the Presidential Task Force on Child Maltreatment. McHale currently serves as chair of the Network.

Last October, the University held its inaugural conference on child maltreatment. Some of the nation’s top experts in child sexual abuse and child trauma research, prevention and treatment attended for public discussions and presentations. This year’s conference will be live-streamed on campus. Because of the focused topic, attendance at the event will be by invitation only.

Penn State is partnering with a number of organizations to hold this annual event, including the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Children, Youth and Families; the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association; University of Pittsburgh; The Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center and the Pennsylvania Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers and Multidisciplinary Investigative Teams.

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Last Updated June 06, 2013