De Lissovoy Lecture to focus on human services’ societal impact

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Teresa M. Smith, outreach and training coordinator with Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center (NRCAC), will present the third annual de Lissovoy Lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building.

The presentation, which will be free and open to the public, is titled “An Ordinary Life Can Contribute to Extraordinary Change.” A reception with refreshments will follow the presentation.

In her talk, Smith, who earned a degree from Penn State in individual and family studies in 1976, will focus on the impact human services work can have on society through changing or improving systems, societal perspectives and individual lives. Smith will caution against developing “tunnel vision” in human services work and emphasize how taking advantage of network opportunities and increasing involvement with community organizations can broaden knowledge and experiences, ultimately leading to major professional successes.

For Smith, one of those major successes was Gov. Tom Corbett signing legislation April 7, which acknowledged and funded Children’s Advocacy Centers in Pennsylvania. Smith also testified before Congress in 2009 regarding child abuse prevention and improving responses to families in crisis and for many years participated in Hill Day meetings with Congressional leaders during the National Children’s Alliance Leadership conference.

“Teresa Smith is incredibly passionate about the work that she does. She has wide, expansive experiences, from the medical field to the child protection system, and she was one of many supporters of the Children’s Advocacy Center legislation,” said Sarah Kollat, event coordinator and senior instructor in Human Development and Family Studies. “She has made such a profound impact on the field and continues to try and make it better. Advocating for Children’s Advocacy Centers is really making the child welfare system focus on developmentally what children need during this time of stress and strain on them and their families.”

Smith, a licensed social worker, has served as an outreach and training coordinator for the NRCAC since 2011. The NRCAC is part of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Office, which established four Regional Children’s Advocacy Centers in 1995. The centers provide training and other resources to help communities develop Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Teams and Children’s Advocacy Centers.

Simultaneously, Smith is an accreditation site reviewer with the National Children’s Alliance, a position she has held since 2002. From 1993 and 2011, Smith was the executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center with PinnacleHealth Children’s Resource Center. Smith was also a field placement liaison and adviser with Temple University School of Social Work.

Smith has a master of social work from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctor of administration and leadership studies in nonprofit and public sectors with Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The third annual de Lissovoy Lecture, sponsored in part by the Vladimir de Lissovoy Program Support Endowment for the Protection of Children in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, is presented by an alumnus of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies about his/her experiences working in the child welfare system and promoting the protection of children from abuse and neglect.

“It’s a great way to show what our department trains our students to do and the impact they can have, in this case, on the lives of children and families,” Kollat said.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015