A Brighter Future: Ending Child Abuse Through Advocacy and Education

March 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. — According to the most recent statistics reported by The Children’s Defense Fund (2011), in South Carolina a child is abused or neglected every 41 minutes, a child dies before his or her first birthday every 16 hours, and a child or teen is killed by gunfire every 6 days. Child maltreatment not only includes physical and sexual abuse but also emotional abuse and failure to meet the basic needs of the child. 

Spartanburg County has high rates of all forms of maltreatment, and the impact on the child and the community has far-reaching consequences. Many of our serious and costly youth problems, such as teen pregnancy, juvenile crime, school failure and substance abuse are preceded by child abuse and neglect. Furthermore, child abuse and neglect can disrupt early brain development, leading to increased risk of lifelong emotional and physical problems. If we direct our efforts to education and prevention of child maltreatment, then we can effectively eliminate many of these later developing problems. All children deserve to be brought up in safe environments with their basic needs met.

With these facts in mind, the University of South Carolina Upstate’s Center for Child Advocacy Studies is hosting its 2nd annual conference, A Brighter Future: Ending Child Abuse Through Advocacy and Education. It will be held on Thursday, March 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Campus Life Center Ballroom on the USC Upstate campus. The registration fee is $25 or $15 for students.

 According to Dr. Jennifer Parker, associate professor of psychology and program director, the conference is designed to target a broad audience of concerned citizens and professionals. “The objectives of the conference are to impart a greater understanding of the problem of child abuse and the serious impact on child development and the community; to educate those working with children on how to recognize the warning signs and understand prevention and intervention methods; and a call to action for those working with children to stop child abuse.”

The event’s keynote speaker is Victor Vieth, director of the National Child Protection Training Center (www.ncptc.org). He has trained thousands of child protection professionals from all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and 17 countries on numerous topics pertaining to child abuse investigations, prosecutions and prevention. Veith has published countless articles related to the investigation, prosecution and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Vieth is also the author of Unto the Third Generation, an initiative that outlines the necessary steps we must all take to eliminate child abuse in America in three generations.

The guest speaker is Robin Sax, (www.robinsax.com), former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, who specialized in prosecuting sex crimes against children. For over 15 years Sax prosecuted some of the most despicable defendants who committed the most heinous crimes.  Sax is an in-house NBC News legal analyst, as well as a regular guest commentator for several other national television shows, including CNN, Larry King Live, HLN, Nancy Grace, NBC Today Show, Dr. Phil, and many others.  Sax is also the author of six books that draw upon her vast experience as a sex-crimes prosecutor, legal commentator, child advocate and parenting expert. 

The day’s schedule includes a continental breakfast and lunch, and addresses by John Stockwell, Ph.D., Chancellor of USC Upstate;  Nancy Henderson, M.D., child abuse pediatrician at Greenville Children’s Hospital; Mary Fuller Everhart, Children’s Law Center at University of South Carolina; and Barry Barnette, acting solicitor of the Seventh Judicial Circuit.

For Conference registration forms or additional information on continuing education credits, sponsors and more, visit www.uscupstate.edu/childadvocacyconference.