2022 Champions of Children Conference
March 1 & 2, 2022
Westin Chicago NorthWest
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CACI is excited to bring you the 2022 Champions of Children Conference! This 2-day, four separate track, hybrid experience, brings you nationally renowned experts in the field of child abuse, and is purposefully planned for multidisciplinary members and their specific discipline.
Continuing Education Credit Information
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois. The SIU School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Disclosure Policy: It is the policy of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Office of Continuing Professional Development, to ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor in all its educational programs. All faculty participating in these programs are expected to disclose to the program audiences any real or apparent conflicts of interest related to the content of their presentation.
CACI prefers that all registration fees are cared for at the time of registration via credit/debit card. We do understand that this option does not work for everyone. If you need to pay with a check, please be sure that it is received at the CACI office (400 South Ninth Street, Suite 101, Springfield IL 62701). Payment must be received no later than 10 days prior to the Conference.
Written cancellations received at least 30 (2/1/2022) days prior to the beginning of CofC22 are refunded less a $75 administrative fee. Registration is transferable to another qualified applicant within the same organization. No refunds will be given if cancellation is not received within 30 days of CofC22 or if the registrant is a ‘no show’ and fails to show up for the conference. In the event the CACI cancels the training for any reason, 100% of the registration fee will be refunded. Payment credits are available for all cancellations at the same rates described above.
It is the responsibility of the individual for making their room reservation at the Westin Chicago Northwest. Reservations can be made by clicking here. Parking is free. To receive the 2022 Champions of Children Conference rate, reservations must be made by February 15th.
Featured Speaker - March 1, 2022
Dr. Isaiah Pickens is the founder and CEO of iOpening Enterprises, a professional development and media company that specializes in building the capacity of individuals and organizations to unlock their potential using psychological science, implementation best practices, and inspirational media. In this capacity, Dr. Pickens has developed the Bridge Trauma-Informed Culturally-Responsive (TICR) Program, a multi-day professional development program for educators that provides a practical toolkit for managing youth traumatic stress responses in the school setting. Additionally, Dr. Pickens has developed a curriculum for justice professionals as well as organizations across sectors to promote workplace wellness through a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens. As a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader and Fellow, Dr. Pickens works collaboratively with cross-sector scholars and practitioners to promote a culture of health in America. Dr. Pickens currently sits on the National Board for Communities In Schools (CIS) and has been awarded by the American Psychological Association Early Career Achievement Award and the Black Enterprise BE Modern Man award for his contributions to the field of psychology. As former Assistant Director at the UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress—the coordinating site of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), and a former clinical assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Pickens has built a reputation as a national trauma expert and shares practical science-informed lessons about mental wellness with audiences around the world. Dr. Pickens aims to continue working toward systemic change and unlocking people’s potential by moving the world from happy to healthy through psychological science.
Featured Speaker - March 2, 2022
Thomas Mitchell serves as the Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Center - Hope House. He graduated from Nicholls State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Psychological Counseling. Thomas began his CAC career with the Carl Perkins Center as a Clinical Therapist. He later became the Director of Clinical Services, providing oversight of trauma therapy in 16-Children's Advocacy Centers across West Tennessee. In 2017, he relocated to the Northshore to assume the directorship of CAC Hope House. Thomas holds board certification in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and formal certification in Trust-Based Relational Interventions® as both a Practitioner and Educator. Since 2019, Thomas has served as the Board Treasurer for the Exchange Club of West St. Tammany in addition to serving as a board member with the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement. He is a former board president for the Louisiana Alliance of Children’s Advocacy Centers, serving a term from 2018 through 2019. Thomas is featured as an annual guest lecturer at both Louisiana State University and Nicholls State University for advanced training relative to the neurological impact of complex developmental trauma. Thomas holds professional memberships with the Louisiana Counseling Association and the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. His research interests include normative conformity, complex developmental trauma, and the neurological effects of trauma. He resides in Mandeville with his wife Sayuri and three children, Zoe, Emma, and Owen.
Charlene Allen, Esq., has worked with survivors of crime and trauma for more than 30 years, beginning in the late 1980’s when she led one of the first statewide domestic violence coalitions as lobbyist and organizer. She served as executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and supervising attorney at Northeastern University Law School’s Domestic Violence Law Clinic. Recognizing the need to address violence and trauma in a context that confronts social and economic oppression and also provides mechanisms for accountability, Charlene served as legal director of Emerge, the first abuser education program in the United States.
Most recently, Charlene has served as chief of staff at Common Justice, a restorative-justice based program in New York City, which works with survivors of violence as well as those who commit violent felony crimes. She currently consults with a range of non-profit organizations to build transformative programmatic and administrative practices in victim services, criminal justice reform and restorative justice.
Charlene is the author of Play The Game, a young adult novel that explores themes of restorative justice and healing, scheduled for release in January 2023 by Harper Collins.
Trial Attorney and Litigation Partner: specializing in the prosecution and defense of matrimonial and family law matters: equitable distribution of marital property, child and spousal support, child custody and parental access, relocation, allegations of child sexual abuse and physical abuse. Defense counsel in criminal litigation regarding allegations of child sexual and physical abuse. Special expertise and training in the areas of child custody, child sexual and physical abuse and neglect, abusive head trauma (shaken baby), internet crimes involving children and child pornography.
Careyana Brenham, MD, FAAFP is the Residency Program Director with SIU Family & Community Medicine. Dr. Brenham sees both inpatients and outpatients and practices obstetrics. She has speciality training in Child Abuse Medicine in particular in child sexual abuse exams. She completed her medical school training at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, Il in 2000 and went on to complete her residency training at SIU Family Medicine in 2003. She works with several Child Advocacy Centers in Central Illinois to provide comprehensive medical exams using colposcopy for children that are sexually abused. She also sits on the Child Death Review Team in Springfield Illinois and currently serves as the Vice Chair.
Amber Clayborne is the parent of a survivor of child sexual abuse. Originally from San Francisco California, Amber had to navigate the system to find the appropriate support and resources for her family in the aftermath of sexual abuse. Her personal life experience led to the founding of the Kerengende Foundation in 2019. The Foundation's vision is as follows;
"At Kerengende, we believe that girls who have experienced sexual trauma are more resilient when their families don’t feel alone.
Every day, we help these families through building a healing community connected to information, support resources, and education. Because as our communities continue to learn how best to support girls and families in need, we realize that we are stronger together."
Here is her story: “My life was turned upside down when I discovered that my daughter had been sexually abused. I struggled to find adequate and compassionate resources to support her. I believe that no family should have to struggle alone while dealing with the aftermath and shock of such trauma. I’m determined to help bridge the existing resource gaps in society, so that families can get the help they need without feeling isolated.”
Lorraine Guerrero Neumayer is the Senior Trauma Therapist for the Will County State’s Attorney, CAC. Lorraine has over 15 years of experience working with children, families and community members impacted by trauma in a myriad of environments including schools, hospitals and community agencies. She conducts individual and group therapy and supervises a team of trauma therapists and interns.
Lorraine earned her MSW from Aurora University with a Type 73 school social work license. She has been trained and certified in several therapeutic modalities, mostly utilizing Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Lorraine is actively involved in community social work as a volunteer, board member and elected official.
Detective Jen Hillgoth is with the Aurora Police Department and has been in law enforcement for 18 years. She has spent the last 7 years as a detective specializing in crimes against children and has investigated hundreds of cases involving child victims. She has presented on topics involving child abuse investigations for various disciplines including law enforcement, D.C.F.S., social workers, medical professionals and attorneys. She actively participates in child protection team meetings with local area hospitals and is a member of the Illinois Child Death Review Team.
Rebecca Howard is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the Kids Health Harbor with SIU Center for Family Medicine in Springfield, Illinois. She completed her BSN at Blessing-Rieman College of nursing in 1997 and her MSN through Maryville University in 2018. Rebecca has worked closely with DCFS as a clinical team member and foster parent intermittently for 15 years. She has been a pediatric nurse for 24 years, serving in the advanced practice role with SIU for 3 years. The Kids Health Harbor is a dedicated specialty clinic that provides primary care with integrated mental health care for children that have gone through family disruptions and other difficult experiences. She completes child abuse exams for children that have experienced abuse and neglect, along with care coordination, trauma education, and health optimization for youth in care and their families.
An early pioneer and visionary in the field, Johnson was at the forefront of promoting the multidisciplinary team investigative approach and the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) movement in the early 1990s. In 2019, the American Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) at the 26th APSAC Colloquium, recognized Detective Michael Johnson as “one of the most influential pioneers in the investigation of suspected child maltreatment”, in 70+ Years Addressing Child Maltreatment in the USA: Pioneers and APSAC`s Role in Improving Practice, Science and Resiliency.
Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in psychology from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He lives in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of Texas.
Jaclyn first joined the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center staff in August of 2002 as a Case Manager and went on to be trained as a forensic interviewer at CornerHouse in Minneapolis, MN. She continued serving as a Case Manager/Back-up Forensic Interviewer until February of 2006. During that time, she conducted over 500 Forensic Interviews.
After starting a family and earning a Master’s degree in Social Work, she returned to the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center in July 2008. Shortly after, she obtained her Advanced Child Sexual-Abuse Forensic Interview Certificate of Achievement from CornerHouse. Jaclyn has been the primary Forensic Interviewer and has since conducted over 3,000 interviews with children, adolescents, and vulnerable adults, resulting in a career total of almost 3,500 forensic interviews. Currently Jaclyn holds the title Assistant Director/Forensic Interviewer.
Jaclyn graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois in 2001, earning a Bachelor of Science in Family Social Services. She graduated with honors from University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois in 2008, earning a Master’s in Social Work.
Laura Ng joined ChicagoCAC in 2019 as the agency’s Human Trafficking Specialist. With over ten years of experience fighting human trafficking, she has helped ChicagoCAC expand and increase its focus in this area over the past few years.
ChicagoCAC is the only nonprofit leading the city’s frontline response to reports of child sexual abuse, as well as reports of physical abuse, witness to violence and other serious maltreatment. Laura’s work at ChicagoCAC includes responding to allegations of sex and labor trafficking and online exploitation of minors; collaborating with several multi-disciplinary partners to find innovative ways to prevent and combat human trafficking; training hundreds of individuals each year to recognize signs of human trafficking and its intersectionality with systemic injustices; and providing ongoing advocacy and mentorship for individual youth who have experienced this trauma.
Prior to her time at ChicagoCAC, Laura was the Executive Director at Traffick Free, a nonprofit dedicated to trafficking prevention and aiding victims and survivors. During her decade-long tenure, she led a volunteer team to open a drop-in center in for adult female-identified survivors of sex trafficking. This center filled a gap in services for low-barrier access to physiological needs like food, shower, rest, and community support. Laura is also passionate about using multiple creative platforms to educate the public on trafficking issues. In 2011, she boldly wrote and self-directed a monologue depicting the psychological trauma-bond formed in a trafficking victim’s mind. Most recently, Laura has hosted panels and trainings at ChicagoCAC aimed at educating service providers about the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ population.
Laura received a Master’s in Social Work at the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2015 with a concentration in Community Health and Urban Development. In 2018, she was recognized with the Rising Alumni Award.
Alison Stoll is a graduate from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology with a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. She has been a Child and Family Therapist at The Children’s Advocacy of North and Northwest Cook County (CAC) at the Evanston satellite office and is respected among her team of clinicians for her passion and knowledge of neurodevelopment and the neurobiology of complex trauma. She interned with Chicago Public Schools where she confronted the vast systemic inequities face by marginalized communities. She worked hard to build relationships within the school to advocate for social emotional learning as well as implement the practice of restorative justice. She continues this work by advocating within her own community raising awareness of the long-lasting impact of trauma and how to approach community resilience with a trauma-focused lens. Her cumulative experience includes trauma informed therapy to address sexual and physical abuse, exposure to violence, and complicated grief with individuals, groups and families healing from complex adverse experiences. Additionally, she has been asked to numerous presentations on topics ranging from the Neurobiology of Complex Trauma, The Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Review of the ACE Study, Vicarious Trauma for Teachers and Other Professionals, Body Safety, and How to Talk to Children About Trauma.
Staci Whitney, LMSW is the Senior Director for Modell Consulting Group, LLC (MCG). Since 2017, Ms. Whitney has been responsible for teaching and co-authoring trainings on interviewing children and adults with disabilities. This included leading a project with national experts to develop an advanced Forensic Interviewing Protocol for interviewing individuals with disabilities (Project FIND). Prior to her work with MCG, Ms. Whitney was the Senior Forensic Interviewer at Bivona Child Advocacy Center in Rochester, NY and was responsible for developing Bivona’s Forensic Interviewing Program. During that time, Ms. Whitney had extensive training and experience in the field of Forensic Interviewing including interviewing children and individuals with disabilities who are victims or witnesses of crime. She has developed and delivered numerous trainings to Multidisciplinary Team Members and other professionals on recognizing and responding to suspicions and reports of child abuse.
Bringing Equity to the System: Transforming from the Inside Out
Dr. Isaiah Pickens
Creating equitable systems has been the focus of communities victimized by violence and trauma for years. The pathway to achieving justice and healing for those harmed by individual, intergenerational, and historical trauma often involves a collective community effort responding to the needs of both professionals within the systems and the communities they are working to protect and heal. Using psychological science and best practices for community healing as a foundation, this inspiring keynote will unpack the various factors that have created barriers to access for communities to date and will provide concrete steps for addressing disparities among youth and families. Attendees will have a better understanding of the importance of creating a sense of psychological safety for youth and traumatized and traditionally underserved communities, ensuring individuals have the internal and external resources to support their mental and emotional well-being.
Children's Advocacy Centers of Illinois 400 S. 9th St., Suite 101 • Springfield, IL 62701 • 217.528.2224