Towson, MD — Maryland CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association hosted its 11th Annual Statewide Conference on Saturday, April 1st, at the Judicial College Education & Conference Center in Annapolis, MD. More than 200 child advocates and child welfare professionals participated in the event.
Focusing on the conference theme, Standing Strong for Children & Youth, attendees had the opportunity to hear from an inspiring keynote speaker, then broke out into 16 individual sessions lead by field experts to hone their skills to ensure that victims of child abuse and neglect receive the attention and services they need.
“We were thrilled with the record attendance at this year’s conference and appreciate everyone who spent the day with us learning how to protect and advocate for children,” said Ed Kilcullen, state director for Maryland CASA Association. “We were fortunate to have a great team of professional partners who provided excellent training for our volunteers and professionals from across the state.”
Ms. Tiffany Robinson, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor, presented a proclamation on behalf of Gov. Larry Hogan recognizing April, 2017 as Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time dedicated to acknowledging the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. Watch Video
The event’s keynote speaker, Chauncey Strong, addressed the crowd providing an insider’s look into the foster care system where he stressed the importance of working together as a community to ensure abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes.
“It was such an honor to speak at this year’s conference,” said Strong, a national child welfare trainer, consultant, and motivational speaker. “I was delighted to see such an amazing turnout at the event – from CASA volunteers and staff to child welfare professionals, alike – everyone in attendance rallied for the same goal: standing strong for those who need us most.”
Workshops covered topics ranging from “Safeguarding Foster Youth From Human Trafficking in Maryland” to “Preparing Youth For A Successful Adulthood” and “The Impact of Trauma and Toxic Stress in Early Childhood,” to name a few. The sessions were led by speakers from renowned agencies throughout the state, including the Governor’s Office for Children, the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Baltimore Child Abuse Center.
“Wow – everything went so smoothly at the conference,” commented Elise Weber, a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Washington County. “Everything was thought out down to the very last detail, and the workshops I attended were full of valuable information!” she added.
The conference served as the organization’s launch of a month-long social media awareness campaign for Child Abuse Prevention Month highlighting the needs of Maryland’s nearly 5,000 abused and neglected children, as well as a volunteer recruitment campaign, during which a minimum of 60 community members will be recruited to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children in need.
About Maryland CASA Association
Maryland (Court Appointed Special Advocates) CASA Association is the statewide organization for 15 local CASA programs that recruit and train volunteers to advocate for children in the child protection system. Last year, 1,371 CASA volunteers served 1,589 children in 21 of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. Maryland CASA supports the local CASA programs by providing training and technical assistance to program staff, board, and volunteers, as well as increasing public awareness of CASA and assisting with program development. For more information about Maryland CASA or becoming a CASA volunteer, visit www.marylandcasa.org or call 410-828-6761.