- » Conference Calendar
- » 13th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
- » Conference Highlights
The Children's Bureau's Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) held its 13th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, April 23-28, 2001, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The 13th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect was the latest in a series of national conferences that serve as the primary gathering place for child maltreatment professionals and volunteers to meet and exchange information about the identification, prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The roots of the National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect can be traced to the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), a landmark piece of legislation in the struggle against child maltreatment in America. As a result, the first National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect was held in Atlanta, Georgia in 1976. This conference, and each conference since, has reflected the most current findings, ideas, and work in the area of child abuse and neglect research, policy, program and practice. The National Conferences on Child Abuse and Neglect have served as a source of information and inspiration for workers as they continue efforts to improve the lives of children and families and the communities in which they live.
Theme of the Conference
The theme for the 13th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Faces of Change: Embracing Diverse Cultures and Alternative Approaches, recognized the fact that our diversity enables us to bring a multitude of approaches to bear on key issues in the field of child abuse and neglect. It also reflected our hope that building on the strengths found in these differences will create positive opportunities for change. The 13th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect was a celebration of our strengths in the face of new challenges as we strive to protect children and strengthen families.
The goals of the 13th National Conference included:
- Reaching out to recognize new players, ideas, and unique partnerships in the field of child abuse and neglect;
- Highlighting lesser-known promising practices and research findings with implications for improving program effectiveness and service outcomes;
- Disseminating state-of-the-art information on research, policy, and practice;
- Facilitating the exchange of information across disciplines and among individuals, groups, and institutions; and
- Encouraging the identification of goals and development of action plans for new initiatives.
Over 2100 public and private agency professionals and volunteers from the fields of social work, child welfare, education, mental health, public health, substance abuse, law enforcement and the courts, as well as advocates, researchers, policymakers, clergy members, and corporate leaders gathered to reinforce their commitment to combat child abuse and neglect, and to pass along cutting-edge information and innovative practices. The Conference offered a mix of interactive educational sessions and knowledgeable speakers, representing a multitude of disciplines and perspectives. Through involvement in the Conference, participants gained information and skills to help them improve their own practice effectiveness, build organizational capacity, and promote systems improvement. Participants also had opportunities to network and discuss strategies with colleagues across disciplines, and to gain a deeper understanding of diverse approaches to dealing with challenges encountered in working with children, families, and communities.
Keynote Speakers and Conference Program
Keynote speakers included: Maria Hinojosa, a Cable News Network (CNN) correspondent and host of National Public Radio's (NPR) LatinoUSA; Larry Echohawk, J.D., the first American Indian in U.S. history elected to the post of State's Attorney General (Idaho), a former member of the Idaho House of Representatives, and current faculty member at Brigham Young University School of Law; Dr. James Garbarino, renowned researcher, author, and nationally recognized expert on children and violence; Shane Salter, Director of Foundation Giving at the Freddie Mac Foundation and a former foster child; and Dr. Erylene Piper Mandy, noted psycho-cultural anthropologist.
Conference attendees selected from more than 200 Pre-Conference Seminars, Plenary and Mini-Plenary Sessions, Workshops (3 presented in Spanish), Skills Seminars, Roundtables, Focus Groups, and Think Tanks. The Exhibit Hall featured Poster Sessions, a Film Forum (9 films in Spanish, 1 in Hmong), and more than 80 exhibitors, as well as entertainment by local children and student groups, and café concessions for light lunches and refreshment. Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in daily fitness activities, including dahnhak (the modernized version of the traditional Korean holistic health program) and aerobics.
Conference Events and Cultural Activities
Albuquerque, an area characterized by its blend of Anglo, Hispanic, and American Indian cultures, provided attendees with an excellent selection of culture-based events. Experiential Learning Opportunities were offered at the conference as a unique way for participants to gain knowledge and insight into history, culture, and practice issues. Through visits to the Isleta, Laguna, and Acoma Pueblos, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center, participants could learn first-hand about history and governmental structures, with emphasis on contemporary and traditional approaches to social issues related to child abuse and neglect.
In the evenings, attendees relaxed during specially planned gatherings and outings to concerts, casinos and restaurants. One of the week's early events featured a beautiful evening display of hot air balloons. The Linda Cotton concert brought the music of an Albuquerque native to hundreds of conference participants from around the country. At the Opening Reception and the Hiatus at the Hyatt, participants were able to experience the distinct culinary flavors of the Southwest while listening to Hispanic music. Participants also had the opportunity to attend the Gathering of Nations, the largest American Indian Pow-Wow in North America, featuring performances by costumed tribal singers and dancers, and an outstanding Indian Traders Market.