Promoting child well-being to be topic of upcoming lecture

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An expert in analyzing and defining child well-being, Janet Rosenzweig, executive director of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, will present "Is It Well With The Children?" in which she will outline her findings on preventing maltreatment and promoting well-being.

Rosenzweig is the 2017 College of Health and Human Development Distinguished Alumni Speaker, presenter for the sixth annual de Lissovoy Lecture, and speaker for the fifth annual Child Maltreatment Solutions Network Awareness event. Her talk will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, in Heritage Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center at University Park. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will be held before the lecture in the HUB Gallery.

During the talk, Rosenzweig will discuss her work as vice president for research and programs at Prevent Child Abuse America, where she led the strategic initiative to develop a methodology to assess child well-being across the social ecology.

“I’m going to address how we assess child well-being,” Rosenzweig said. “Too many people rely on systems such as the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. Reports of maltreatment don’t tell us everything. They are not accurate measures of actual incidence and prevalence of maltreatment."

To assess child well-being, Rosenzweig recommends looking at these reports, but also evaluating other factors.

“In addition to these reports, we should take into account other national studies, including the National Incidence Studies mandated by the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act,” Rosenzweig said. “But we need to take a much broader perspective, assessing what we’re doing in the community to keep kids healthy and families strong, and evaluate threats and protective factors across the social ecology, including parent-child relationships, community support and public policy."

The topic is an important one, Rosenzweig said, because new science is clearly demonstrating the long-term effects of being exposed to trauma early in life, including potentially compromising physical and emotional well-being later on.

“It’s urgent to support families before a crisis occurs, before families need Child Protective Services and other public services,” she said. “We need to work upstream.”

Rosenzweig said Penn State recognizes the need for communication, advocacy and clinical skills to make a change.

“Supporting families and communities take more than one discipline. Penn State gets that,” she said.

Rosenzweig, a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, holds a bachelor of science degree in individual and family studies and a master of science degree in health education from Penn State. She earned certification as a sex educator and in 1978 brought that perspective to one of the first child sexual abuse programs in the country located in East Tennessee.

Rosenzweig managed child-welfare programs in Tennessee and Texas before moving to New Jersey in 1984. She earned a doctoral degree in social work from Rutgers University, was the first social-work doctoral candidate to take a minor at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics, and focused on public policy research in child protection.

She served in the policy research unit of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, founded one of the first County Commissions on Child Abuse in New Jersey, and served for nine years as the cabinet-level Mercer County Director of Human Services.

Rosenzweig also served as executive director of Prevent Child Abuse - New Jersey from 2001 to 2007. She earned a Master of Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 2008, and then joined the faculty of Montclair State University as a visiting associate professor of child advocacy.

Author of The "Sex-Wise Parent: The Parent's Guide Protecting Your Child, Strengthening Your Family, and Talking to Kids about Sex, Abuse, and Bullying," Rosenzweig presents workshops to parent and professional groups promoting the ideal that parents must be the primary sex educators of their children, learning how to support their children's overall sexual health and safety in the home, school and community.

Rosenzweig has held teaching appointments at Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Rutgers University, and Temple University. She has also held progressively responsible positions in the non-profit and public human services sector. She returned to Penn State multiple times in 2012 and 2013 to conduct workshops for faculty, staff, students and families and helped to write and is featured in the University's required online training program in sexual-abuse prevention.

About the sponsors

The de Lissovoy Lecture 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. In 2009, the Vladimir de Lissovoy Program Support Endowment for the Protection of Children in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies was created by the de Lissovoy family to honor Val de Lissovoy (1918-2009), who served as a faculty member in the department for more than 20 years and worked tirelessly throughout his life to help abused and neglected children and their families.

The Health and Human Development Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series was established by the Board of Directors of the HHD Alumni Society in order to feature prominent graduates of the college who are leaders in their fields. The board's mission is to facilitate and promote the participation of alumni in activities that support the college's pursuit of excellence.

The Child Maltreatment Solutions Network is dedicated to the prevention, detection and treatment of child maltreatment and trauma. The Network provides opportunities and support for collaborative and translational science in order to address the complex problems of child maltreatment. Its work ranges from research on child maltreatment and clinical treatments that foster child health, creating interdisciplinary education and experiences for students, and to public policy that promotes child safety and well-being.

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Last Updated May 15, 2017