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The 14th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect offered a mixture of interactive educational sessions for participants to choose from, as many disciplines and perspectives came together to discuss a broad range of policy, research, program, and practice issues concerning the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Central to the sessions was the conference theme: Gateways to Prevention. This Conference offered excellent opportunities for promoting new working relationships, exchanging cutting-edge information on research, and reviewing practice issues and model programs for the diverse professional and volunteer populations who attended.
A series of Preconference Seminars highlighted critical issues in the field of child maltreatment from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Plenary Sessions provided an opportunity for all participants to come together to hear nationally recognized speakers who were invited to share their knowledge and experiences and provide insight into strategies for embracing diversity and alternative approaches.
Mini-Plenary Sessions provided an opportunity for many participants to hear nationally recognized speakers focus on topics that relate to the Conference theme.
Skills Seminars provided an opportunity for participants to attend three-hour, intensive training sessions to enhance existing skills and learn new techniques.
More than 200 knowledge-building workshops were presented by experts in the field of child abuse and neglect. These sessions, 1.5 hours in length, were designed to increase understanding, convey information, and provide practical applications on a broad range of programmatic issues, from primary prevention to the treatment of abused and neglected children. Conference Learning Clusters included:
1. Serving Diverse Populations with an Integrated Prevention and Response System
This Learning Cluster looked at the range of efforts made to better serve diverse populations. Workshops in this Learning Cluster identified the population served, the goals of the program or services provided, the challenges or issues addressed, the response of service recipients, and the outcomes achieved in delivering these services.
2. Child Protection Systems and Service Changes that Shape and Promote Best Practice
This Learning Cluster described system change efforts as well as state-of-the-art practice developments in child protective services. Workshops in this Learning Cluster demonstrated how changes implemented at the systems level impact services and may describe unique philosophical approaches and practices in response to changing views of the family and the community.
3. Faith-Based and Community Initiatives that Nurture Children and Families
This Learning Cluster highlighted community efforts, including those led by faith-based organizations, to support families and nurture children in their own neighborhoods. These initiatives may be generalized or targeted to marginalized or underserved populations at risk for or having experienced child abuse and neglect. Workshops in this Learning Cluster focused on efforts related to the development, financing, implementation and operation of these community, and faith-based programs as well as the identification and engagement of new community partners.
4. Putting the Results of Data Collection, Research, and Outcome Evaluation into Practice
This Learning Cluster examined the use of data, research, and outcome evaluation to cross the threshold from theory to policy and practice. Workshops in this cluster addressed the dichotomous relationship that theory and practice traditionally share, the ways in which research supports current efforts, informs future initiatives, and examines areas of need while identifying critical next steps in meeting the challenge of bringing research to practice.
5. Strengthening Families through Healthy Marriages and Responsible Fatherhood
This Learning Cluster focused on innovative approaches to strengthening family life by providing training and support with an emphasis on fathers and married couples. Workshops in this cluster described programs and policies that help fathers establish positive relationships with their children, help couples develop the skills and knowledge necessary to form and sustain healthy marriages, and provide resources for the development of responsible parenting skills. Workshops in this Learning Cluster may have also featured creative funding approaches, mentoring models, and communication campaigns designed to support and promote these initiatives.
6. Working Together through Interagency Collaborative Efforts
This Learning Cluster highlighted efforts to work across multiple systems and disciplines to resolve complex family situations and relationships. Workshops in this cluster addressed the confluence of issues such as alcoholism and addiction, domestic and community violence, incarcerated parents, HIV and AIDS, medically fragile children, literacy, mental illness, adoption, immigration, and other special needs. In addition to describing the interdisciplinary or interagency program or intervention, these workshops may have focused on program development, lessons learned, next steps, and outcomes achieved.
Roundtable Sessions provided an opportunity for participants to debate views, raise questions, and develop policy recommendations on critical issues with national and regional political figures and child welfare professionals.
Three Think Tanks were held to address major issues of concern to professionals in the field of child abuse and neglect. Each of these sessions provided a dynamic forum for examining state-of-the-art information on selected topics.
Attendees had an opportunity to visit local programs to learn first-hand about innovative practices and to participate in alternative methods of serving families and children, supporting program staff, and engaging community representatives.
Visual presentations or poster sessions were offered to Conference participants to illustrate the results of innovative programs and methods that relate to one or more of the Learning Clusters.
Selected films and videos were shown at the conference. View the listing of featured films.
The Commissioner's Award Ceremony pays tribute to an individual selected from each State and U.S. territory in recognition of his or her outstanding contribution and commitment to the field of child abuse and neglect. Joan E. Ohl, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services presented these prestigious awards.
Continuing Education Credit
The University of Missouri - St. Louis awarded Certified Documentation of Contact Hours for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to a number of professional disciplines, including: Social Work, Criminology, Psychology, Education, and Nursing. Certified Legal Education Units were awarded by Washington University. Approval for the provision of Certified Medical Education Units by Washington University is pending. Continuing Education Credit for many disciplines may have been restricted to approval by the accrediting board or organization in the individual participant's State of residence. Registrants could have received up to 39 contact hours for the 14th National Conference. CEUs in Missouri were offered at a rate of 1 CEU for each 10 contact hours.
For further Continuing Education information please contact:
Manager, Continuing Education Programs
College of Arts & Sciences
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Fun Around Town
Special events and activities arranged for conference participants included a riverboat dinner cruise, "Taste of St. Louis" at the Gateway Arch, a jazz performance, a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden, and a tour of St. Louis neighborhoods.