In the past week three children across the state have died due to abuse from a family member or caregiver. Three in one week is a rare occurrence, but according to Judge James W. Payne, director of the Department of Child Services, for the past decade Indiana has averaged about one child abuse or neglect case per week.
In light of these recent tragedies, many advocates are urging the state and the public to increase awareness and prevention efforts. Judge Payne is one of several state and local leaders who will address this important issue at the 15th Annual Forum on Child Abuse and Neglect at Indiana University Northwest on Friday, April 8 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Savannah Center Auditorium.
Co-sponsors for this event, which is one of the several activities highlighting Public Affairs Week, are the IU Northwest School of Social Work, Prevent Child Abuse Lake County Northwest Indiana Chapter, American Society for Public Administration and Lake County Step Ahead Council.
8:30 a.m. – Networking, Coffee and Donuts
9 a.m. – The State Perspective
• Michael Patchner, Ph.D., Chair, Indiana Commission on Abused and Neglected Families • Judge James W. Payne, Director, Indiana Department of Child Services • Andrea Marshall, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse Indiana • Denise Travis, Ph.D., IUN School of Social Work
10:45 a.m. – Special presentation by the children of the IU Northwest Child Care Center
10:45 a.m. — The Local Perspective
• Thomas Pavkov, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Purdue University Calumet • Bruce Hillman, Director, Lake County Office of Family and Children • Wendy Kaplan, Healthy Families Lake County • Karen Dowler, President, Prevent Child Abuse Lake County
Fifty-seven children in Indiana died from abuse or neglect from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004. Parents, their partners and other caregivers were responsible for most of those deaths, and the most common stress factor cited by state investigators was a lack of parenting skills.
Forum panelist Andrea Marshall, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, said in an recent article published in the Indianapolis Star, "If we don't do a better job of preparing ourselves to be parents and caregivers, the abuse and neglect issues are never going to go away. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Everybody can use some help."
Foster parents and licensed social workers could earn Continuing Education Units (CEU) for attending this event. For more information about CEUs, please call the Division of Social Work at (219) 980-7111.
This event is free and open to the public. For this event, normal parking restrictions are waived. Attendees may park in any available space usually reserved for employees and students. IU Northwest is located at 3400 Broadway, Gary, Ind. For more information, please call the Division of Public and Environmental Affairs and Political Science at (219) 980-6695.