The Annual Children’s Cove Champions for Children Conference offers attendees a unique opportunity to engage with leaders in the field by hosting workshops and discussions in a more focused and intimate setting than found in larger national conferences.

A range of in-depth workshops, punctuated by powerful keynote speakers, provides conference attendees many opportunities to explore and examine the latest insights and approaches on how to best serve and care for child victims and their non-offending family members.

The 19th Annual Champions for Children Conference was hosted virtually and featured keynote speaker Kevin McNeil, a former special victims unit detective with the Dekalb County Georgia Police Department. McNeil’s engaging lecture highlighted the importance of child advocacy centers and how the power of multidisciplinary teamwork is crucial for success in child abuse cases and helping families heal.

McNeil’s presentation kicked-off the virtual conference. Then attendees were able to choose from six virtual workshops offered during the conference.

The workshops were led by an array of experts such as:

Dr. Tanisha L. Knighton

Dr. Knighton is a national trainer with over 15 years’ experience as a social worker for Children and Family services and working on missing person cases. She remains active in the Human Trafficking Task Force where she lives. Knighton offered two workshops, the first focused on how to help traumatized LGBTQ+ youth, and the second centered on the challenges faced by survivors of color as they pursue justice after being sexually assaulted.

• Rachel D. Fischer

As a sex trafficking survivor and forensic nurse, Fischer consults with government and non-governmental agencies to fight sex trafficking. She has created programs to provide proper medical care for survivors of violence. She is an expert witness for criminal trials and gives lectures on human trafficking and the victims of violence. Fischer’s workshop concentrated on how multidisciplinary teamwork can create effective victim service coordination, provided a survivor’s perspective on prosecution and advocacy strategies, and how trauma-informed care is essential to successful outcomes.

• Kevin Creeden

As the former president of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and holding former teaching posts at Boston College, Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Social Work, Mr. Creeden has over 35 years of clinical experience treating children, adolescents, adults, and families working extensively with sexually and physically aggressive youth. His primary focus has been the neurological impact of trauma on behavior. Mr. Creeden’s workshop provided an overview of the factors involved in sibling sexual abuse and how the coordination of system responses can lead to enhanced positive outcomes.

The 20th Annual Champions for Children Conference plans to be in-person and promises to bring the same caliber of workshop leaders and content. The conference will inform, illuminate, and inspire those who work directly with child victims of crime to return to their day-to-day work as better champions for children.

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