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State, local child-welfare officials to speak at 17th annual Child Abuse & Neglect Forum at IU Northwest

Indiana Director of Child Services James Payne, Lake County Director Jane Bisbee among the scheduled presenters

State and local child-services authorities will report on the state of child safety in Indiana and Lake County during the 17th annual Child Abuse & Neglect Forum at Indiana University Northwest on Friday, April 13. Educators, social workers, public officials and other child-safety advocates are encouraged to come out and participate in this timely and important program, which begins at 8:30 a.m. in the IU Northwest Savannah Center Auditorium.

Judge James Payne, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services (IDCS), will be one of the featured speakers at this yearís event. Payne, whose department is responsible for all major child-welfare programs in Indiana, spoke at the forum two years ago, when he laid out a bold proposal for change in the child-welfare arena. This year, Payne will discuss the progress his department has made and its plans for the future. He will also report on current and recent legislative activity in the 2007 session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Jane Bisbee, director of the Lake County IDCS Office, will also speak at the forum, where she will address local issues of child abuse and neglect and review the countyís latest child-fatality report. Bisbee will also recap the recent activities of the Regional Services Council, which is the primary body for planning child-welfare services in the county, and she will outline a new abuse-prevention funding opportunity designed to fill the gaps in prevention services. These gaps were identified in a recent study involving school personnel, hospital workers, law enforcement professionals, and IDCS employees and service providers in the recently initiated Community Partners for Child Safety Program.

Other scheduled speakers include: Wendy Kaplan, vice president of the Prevent Child Abuse Lake County Board of Directors, who will outline the abuse-prevention strategy advocated by Prevent Child Abuse America and report on the current abuse and neglect prevention activities of the local council; Desmond Williams, program director for the Lake County Community Partners for Child Safety Program, who will report on progress made in implementing the program and on plans for future services; Purdue University Calumet Associate Professor of Psychology Thomas Pavkov, who has served as a reviewer and evaluator of a variety of child-welfare programs in the region, including Head Start, the Residential Child Care Review Project and others, and who is currently the project planner for Project EASE, an effort to plan for post-secondary education services for disadvantaged teens and young adults; Francette Williams, a licensed family and child therapist and an associate faculty member of the IU Northwest Division of Social Work; and Diana Dibkey, executive director of Dunebrook, a Michigan City-based multi-purpose abuse-prevention and family-support organization.

Foster parents and licensed social workers can qualify for continuing education units by participating in this forum. Eligible participants may sign up at the registration desk the day of the event and receive CEU Certificates at the programís conclusion.

The 17th annual Child Abuse & Neglect Forum begins at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and doughnuts, followed by an official welcome and introduction by SPEA officials at 9 a.m. Presentations will begin at 9:15 a.m. with Judge Payne, followed by a response from Dibkey and Williams and then a 10 a.m. question-and-answer session. Additional presentations by other speakers will follow after a short break at 10:30 a.m.

Parking for this event is available in the main IU Northwest lot at 33rd Avenue and Broadway in Gary, Ind. Campus police will suspend enforcement of the usual parking rules requiring stickers for Friday morning only, so visitors may use parking as available except for handicapped or reserved spots.

For more information on the Child Abuse & Neglect Forum, contact Associate Professor Richard Hug of SPEA at (219) 980-6838, or e-mail him at For more information on the Lake County IDCS Office, its initiatives or its latest child-fatality statistics, contact director Jane Bisbee at (219) 881-2000. For more information on IDCS programs and initiatives, contact IDCS Communications Director Susan Tielking at (317) 903-0392.

The Child Abuse & Neglect Forum is sponsored by the following organizations: Prevent Child Abuse Lake County; the Northwest Indiana Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration; the IU Northwest School of Public & Environmental Affairs; the IU Northwest Division of Social Work; the Indiana Department of Child Services; and Region I of Community Partners for Child Safety.



Media Contact:

Christopher Sheid

Michelle Searer
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