A conference opens in Des Moines today gathering experts on child abuse prevention from across the state. Amber Russell, a program manager with Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, says the conference is devoted to how service providers can help prevent child abuse in the home and to discussing positive parenting.
The keynote presentation is called Building Healthy Families, and Russell says, "What we really want to focus on is how there are good traits in all families and what we do, in child abuse prevention, is help build those good characteristics and traits to help keep families strong and healthy." Russell says people who attend the two-day conference can take part in a host of break-out sessions.
She says the workshops focus on things like parenting teens, evaluating empathy in parents, maternal depression, nurturing skills and ways to better engage fathers and families in the community.
The Iowa Department of Human Services reports more than 13,500 children were reported abused in 2007, about 500 fewer than in 2006 and down 1,500 from 2005. Russell says professionals involved in this area can benefit from this sort of conference, as there are many inspirational, knowledgeable speakers.
The closing presenter is with a group called Mister People Builder and will talk on the topic, "When You’re Through Changing, You’re Through," which Russell says will address something that impacts most everyone in human services — the constant need for change.
The 28th annual Child Abuse Prevention Conference is being held today and tomorrow at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel. More information can be found at the Prevent Child Abuse Iowa website or by calling 1-800-CHILDREN.