Keeping people up-to-date on the trends and treatments of child abuse and neglect is all part of the prevention model. On April 27th, on the University California at Irvine Campus, nearly 200 individuals heard from leading experts in the field at the 29th Annual Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Conference. The educational opportunity was hosted by The Raise Foundation in its role as Orange County’s Child Abuse Prevention Council. Themed “Pathways to Prevention” the attendees included law enforcement, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, family advocates, educators, those coming in their role as parents, and others. The Raise Foundation offers this conference each year to inspire and equip parents and also professionals in fields related to the wellness of children. Some of the topics addressed included teen suicide, bullying, commercially exploited children, neurofeedback, and parenting without stress.
The Pathways to Prevention conference opened with Special Guest Speaker Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas who shared his experience with prosecuting child abuse related cases and focused on the key role prevention services and personnel play in keeping Orange County children safe. He encouraged participants to spread the message of the responsibility to ‘Protect our Children.’
The conference keynote address Looking Through The Right End Of The Behavioral Binoculars: Neurofeedback & Emotional Literacy — tools for practitioners to respond positively to children’s behavior challenges and calm physiological processes was presented by Kerri Rhodes B.A, NFBT, Certified SEL and Puberty Educator, Youth Speaker & Coach, and Host of The Radio Show “The Parenting Hour.” During the presentation, Kerri Rhodes shared how looking at behavior through the right lens helps reduce parent and child care provider’s negative assumptions about child behavior and encourages them to develop appropriate safety inducing responses.
Many professionals attend the conference each year to stay informed on current trends and gain new skills and knowledge on how to continue the great work they are already doing in the field. Amid the workshops this year, attendees heard from professions in the Primary and School Based Prevention, Health and Medical, Clinical/Social Work, and Law Enforcement/ Child Protection fields. Attendees learned about the recent changes in legislation surrounding Human Trafficking and Pandering of Minors, Therapeutic Benefits of Creative Arts with Children and Families, and The Pitfalls and Challenges of Diagnosing Child Abuse, among other current topics focused on keeping kids safe, healthy and happy.
Conference exhibitors shared helpful resources from organizations and individuals committed to child abuse prevention.
Returning for 2017 was a Parent “mini-conference.” Parents heard from Keynote speaker Marv Marshall, Nationally Acclaimed Author & Educator, on How to Raise Responsible Kids While Keeping a Life of Your Own. Through an engaging presentation and interactive visualization session, Marv Marshall shared that reflection and empowerment was the way to get through to today’s youth. Parents also heard from Dr. Kate Bono, Professor at California State University Fullerton, on Positive Discipline of Children: Perspective Taking, Prevention, and Natural and Logical Consequences. Deborah Reisdorph, Esq. Attorney, Exec. Director of B.A.R.E (Bully Awareness Resistance Education) also lead a presentation on Helping Children Overcome Bullying. The parent conference concluded with Keynote Speaker Kerri Rhodes’s workshop Happy Family! – From Hassles to Hugs.
To decompress from a day filled with heavy subject matter, the conference ended with useful progressive relaxation exercises and office yoga stretches lead by Natalie Ohanessian, Certified Holistic Health Coach & Yoga Instructor.
After the conference concluded, a special opportunity for the Child Abuse Prevention Month Finalé included a Movie Screening of the documentary: “The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation” co-sponsored by the Department of Pediatrics at University of California, Irvine. The movie was followed by a thought-provoking panel and Q&A session by Dr. Anne Light, OC Social Services Agency Medical Director, Dr. Sandra Murray, UCI Department of Pediatrics, and Dr. Kate Bono, Professor at California State University Fullerton.
A special thank you to the 2017 Conference Committee.
Joanna Hussey, M.Ed.; Candace Trevino, MA
County of Orange Social Services Agency
Families and Communities Together (FaCT)
Stephani Gharehptian – Conference Chair
Keri Gee Semmelman
The Raise Foundation