Penn to Host Conference on Child Welfare

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820June 11, 2013

The University of Pennsylvania will be the site of a three-day conference, “One Child, Many Hands: A Multidisciplinary Conference on Child Welfare,” that will explore child welfare in the age of reform.   It is set for 8 a.m.–5 p.m. June 12-14 in the Perelman School of Medicine’s new Smilow Center for Translational Research, 3400 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia.

Designed for child welfare practitioners, policy makers and administrators, this bi-annual event, hosted by the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research, will feature nearly 100 presenters, panel members and speakers.

The conference includes panel discussions about various critical and controversial topics in child welfare, including “The Role, Responsibility and Ethics of the Media in Reporting Child Abuse,” and “Jerry Sandusky as an Agent of Social Change: Pennsylvania’s Efforts at Reform,” in which former Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly will speak publicly for the first time about prosecuting the case.

“Periodically, in the course of trying to resolve a serious social problem such as child abuse and neglect, a transformative event occurs that requires us to evaluate what we have done and how to improve our efforts. The Jerry Sandusky/Penn State sexual abuse scandal was one of those potentially transformative events,” Richard J. Gelles, dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice and faculty director at the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research, said. “This year’s Field Center conference reviews the Sandusky case, from the grand jury probe to the current efforts to enact legislative reforms.”

Acclaimed author and screenwriter Antwone Fisher, whose autobiographical story was the focus of a film starring Denzel Washington, will open the conference Wednesday morning.

State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop, a legislator, radio personality, minister and survivor, will deliver the luncheon keynote Thursday.

Organizers plan to close the conference on Friday at 1 p.m. by looking forward, as Gelles, widely recognized as one of the most influential thought leaders in child welfare, will peer into the future with “What Will Child Protective Services be like in 2020?”

“This year’s conference also allows speakers and attendees to consider what child protective service and child welfare policy might become in the next five to 10 years,” Gelles said.

Marking its 10th anniversary, the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research has posted additional information, including the entire conference schedule here.

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