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. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want

    Local

    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]
  3. WATCH: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer

    Crime

    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Editorial: Turn the heat up on AC problem in Hillsborough schools

    Editorials

    Hillsborough County School District students do not want to hear that their buildings are decrepit. They do not want to hear that Florida's legislators are complicit. All they want to hear is the sweet sound of a classroom air conditioner kicking in at full power. Anything less creates uncomfortably hot classrooms and …

    Superintendent Jeff Eakins and the current Hillsborough County School Board did not create this air conditioning mess, but they own it now.