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IU Northwest to host 21st annual Forum on Child Abuse and Neglect April 29

‘The Region One Prevention Plan’ seeks feedback and comments from all participants


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Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications

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The Region One Prevention Plan

On Friday, April 29, in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Indiana University Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), the Division of Social Work and the School of Nursing, all of the College of Health and Human Services, will host the 21st Annual Forum on Child Abuse and Neglect, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Bergland Auditorium in the Savannah Center.

The theme for this year’s free event is “Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention: Everyone’s Job.” Continuing-education credits will be available to foster parents and licensed social workers who participate.

Check-in begins at 8:15 a.m. followed by a welcome and introduction by IU Northwest Chancellor William Lowe and Elizabeth Guzman-Arredondo of St. Monica Home.

At 9:10 a.m., Keynote Speaker Victor Rivas Rivers will address the forum. Rivers, an actor/author, endured abuse and witnessed domestic violence as a young child and later took legal action against his father and went to live with foster families. He is now a leading advocate in the cause of preventing violence against women and children. During the forum’s 11:30 a.m. lunch break, Rivers will sign copies of his acclaimed memoir, “A Private Family Matter.”

At 10:25 a.m., a number of guest speakers will discuss state and local prevention plans for 2011, including: Sharon Pierce, president and CEO of The Villages of Indiana/Prevent Child Abuse Indiana; a representative from Lake County Superior Court – Juvenile Division; Jane Bisbee, regional manager, Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS); Mimi Gardner-Suggs, vice president, Family Services, Geminus Community Partners; and Wendy Hensley, Mental Health America and Prevent Child Abuse of Lake County.

Beginning at 12:15 p.m., four breakout sessions are available on a variety of timely and important topics, the most notable being, “The Region One Prevention Plan.” At last year’s forum, experts stressed that a plan needed to be in place for child abuse prevention to be successful. That plan will be unveiled and discussed during this session which will outline five pillars: parental support; access to health care; economic stability; educational success; and access of child care and child development resources. To view a copy of The Region One Prevention Plan, please click here.

Three other choices for breakout sessions include:

“Child Welfare Update,” presented jointly by Jane Bisbee, regional manager of the Indiana DCS and Joy Heminger, board member, Prevent Child Abuse Lake County. This session will inform participants of state and local developments in improving child welfare initiatives.

“Shaking, Hitting and Spanking…What to Do Instead,” presented by Linda Navarez, Mental Health America of Lake County. This session will explore alternatives to physical discipline, allowing participants to observe common behaviors that lead to spanking and learn common-sense, proven parenting techniques to address these behaviors in a positive way. 

“Coping Strategies for Parents of Children with Special Needs,” presented by Christine Cangiano, Center for Possibilities. This session will address the often overwhelming amount of stress experienced by parents raising a child with special needs or disabilities. Learn what we can do to protect these vulnerable children and support these families.

Concluding the forum at 1:30 p.m. with his talk on “Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: The Plan and the Challenge,” will be Hammond native James Hmurovich, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America.

Because seating is limited and lunch is provided, early registration is encouraged. Between April 1 and 22, registrants should send an e-mail to that contains their name, organization, address, phone, e-mail address and the breakout session they wish to attend. Walk-ins are welcome; however those who register after April 22 are not guaranteed seating or lunch.

Live streaming video will be available; please visit:

The archived URL can be accessed at:

Parking is available in the main IU Northwest parking lot on 33rd Avenue just west of Broadway and just north of the Savannah Center. Visitors are asked to avoid parking in spots marked as reserved.

Co-sponsors of the forum include: Prevent Child Abuse Lake County; Mental Health America; Lake Area United Way; The Villages; Parents as Teachers of Lake County; AHEC; Purdue Calumet School of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau; Geminus Community Partners; Indiana Department of Child Services; St. Monica Home; and the Northwest Indiana Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.