Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa seminar modeled on child-abuse prevention gathering 40 years ago

Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll, shown at a conference in Orlando, is a keynote speaker during a seminar set for Thursday in Tampa on helping prevent child abuse.

Times (2015)

Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll, shown at a conference in Orlando, is a keynote speaker during a seminar set for Thursday in Tampa on helping prevent child abuse.

TAMPA — Forty years ago, a seminar convened by the Junior League of Tampa riveted the community's attention on the growing problem of child abuse and led to the creation of a nonprofit group focused on fighting it.

One woman who helped organize the historic meeting hopes to replicate its success today with another seminar, Thursday morning, called, "Community Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect."

"It was that conference and the interest and enthusiasm to do something about child abuse that prompted me to say, 'I think we should repeat a conference 40 years later'," said Liz Kennedy, development director with the organization that arose from the first gathering — now called Champions for Children. "Great things happened, so my thought was we should have another community conference and look at where it is now."

Child abuse generated little public discussion in the 1970s, when it was known broadly as "child maltreatment," Kennedy said. The predecessor of Champions for Children, known as the Child Abuse Council, dealt mainly with "deep end treatment" of children facing the most serious abuse.

That changed about 20 years ago, Kennedy said.

"We began to realize we need to serve more and more younger children, reaching at risk families with prevention services," Kennedy said. "In a child's life, we need to intervene as early as possible."

In Hillsborough County, the child protection system monitors some 2,800 children deemed to be at risk of abuse — 1,430 of them in their own homes and 2,348 of them with another relative or in foster care. Each year, an estimated 12,000 child abuse complaints are lodged in the county, Kennedy said.

A child is entered into the system once a child protective investigator identifies some sign of danger from a caregiver. The investigator takes immediate action to ensure safety, which can include court-ordered services in the home of a caregiver or removal and placement of a child in foster care, said Adrienne Drew, with Eckerd Kids, which works with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Child Protection Division to support families in need.

"We need to figure out how we as a community can do it best," Kennedy said. "We're all still in this together."

The sold-out seminar Thursday at the Glazer Jewish Community Center in Tampa will feature presentations by the top state official working in child abuse prevention, Mike Carroll of the state Department of Children and Families, and Charlyn Harper Browne, senior associate with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, a Washington, D.C., based group that pioneered efforts to keep children safe in their own homes.

In an interview last week, Brown told the Tampa Bay Times she will speak about five ways of protecting children known as the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework. They focus on prevention as well as simple ways to develop a healthy family life.

"A two generation approach is extremely important," Browne said. "We can't just focus on children and send them back to a home where the parent hasn't learned, too."

Across the country, childhood, social service and child-abuse and neglect programs have adopted the framework into their policies, including the Children's Bureau — a federal office that works to reduce child abuse and neglect.

"We can't simply talk about preventing child abuse and neglect without promoting healthy development in parents and young children," Browne said.

Tampa seminar modeled on child-abuse prevention gathering 40 years ago 04/21/17 [Last modified: Friday, April 21, 2017 5:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)

    Golf

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, activate Alex Cobb

    Blogs

    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.