Recap: Community Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Champions for Children was born from a Junior League of Tampa community conference in 1976. In 2017, we joined forces with the Junior League to host another one that could prove to be just as monumental.
On the morning of Thursday, April 27th, we welcomed nearly 400 community members to the Bryan Glazer JCC for our Community Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. Among those in who filled the main ballroom nearly to capacity were child welfare social workers, community advocates, Guardians ad Litem, members of the school system, and even a county commissioner or two. All were united by a common purpose: a commitment to improving the lives of children and families throughout the Tampa Bay area.
The event, which was free and open to the public, featured keynote speakers Mike Carroll, Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, and Charlyn Harper Browne, PhD, Senior Associate with the Center for the Study of Social Policy.
After an introduction from our executive director, Brian McEwen, Mr. Carroll began the morning with a high-level overview of the current state of child abuse and neglect in Florida. While he presented a sometimes alarming picture of the ever-present root causes of abuse, including parental substance abuse and mental health issues, he remained optimistic about the ability of community members to join forces to address the issues, particularly in the Tampa Bay area.
After he concluded his speech, we were surprised and honored to have Mr. Carroll present Champions for Children with a special proclamation from Governor Rick Scott, as well as a Certificate of Appreciation for Brian McEwen, on behalf of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Then, our Associate Director, Amy Haile, introduced Dr. Browne. Complete with a detailed presentation, Dr. Browne’s speech honed in on the protective factors necessary to build truly strong families. These include providing support for parents in times of need and fostering strong, positive social connections.
While the conference was a major success, it’s only the first step. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be reaching out to conference-goers and other members of the community to begin a new initiative advocating for our most vulnerable children and families. Stay tuned for details, and if you would like more information, please contact Liz Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.