A Brighter Future Conference: Ending Child Abuse through Advocacy and Education

February 8, 2010 at 11:58 am

According to the Children’s Defense Fund (2008), a child is abused or neglected every 49 minutes in South Carolina. In Spartanburg County, 392 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect were recorded in 2007.In 2003, Spartanburg County reported the highest number of indicated cases of child abuse in South Carolina. Sadly, surrounding counties in the Upstate have similar statistics.

With these facts in mind, the Spartanburg Community Indicators Project and the University of South Carolina Upstate’s College of Arts and Sciences have joined together to host A Brighter Future: Ending Child Abuse Through Advocacy and Education Conference. It will be held March 19, 2010, from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel in Spartanburg, S.C. The registration fee is $25 ($15 for students).

According to Dr. Jennifer Parker, associate professor of psychology and conference organizer, the program 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. He 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 David Finkelhor, director of Crimes Against Children Research Center (www.unh.edu/ccrc) and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. He has been studying the problems of child victimization, child maltreatment and family violence since 1977. In 1994, he was given the Distinguished Child Abuse Professional Award by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and in 2004 he was given the Significant Achievement Award from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.

The day’s schedule includes a continental breakfast and lunch, and addresses by John Dargan, president and CEO of the Spartanburg County Foundation; Dr. John Stockwell, chancellor USC Upstate, Hope Blackley, crime victim’s ombudsman with the Office of the Governor; Susan Walkup, executive director SC Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers; Bill Herrick, executive director Spartanburg Children’s Advocacy Center; Nancy Henderson, MD, child abuse pediatrician, Greenville Children’s Hospital; Suzanne Mayes, child abuse attorney, SC Commission on Prosecution; and Trey Gowdy, solicitor, Seventh Judicial Circuit. Dr. Jennifer Parker and Dr. Diane Daane, professor of criminal justice, will make a special presentation about exciting new child advocacy initiatives at USC Upstate.

Conference registration forms as well as additional information on continuing education credits, sponsors and more, is available online at www.uscupstate.edu/childadvocacyconference.