Child abuse prevention, intervention and investigation in the Valley will be addressed during the 18th Annual Rio Grande Valley Seminar in Forensic Sciences, which will be held Wednesday, November 3 through Friday, November 5 at the Isla Grand Beach Resort, located at 500 Padre Blvd. on South Padre Island.
In addition to the in-person attendance, seminar organizers are offering a virtual attendance option by recording all seminar speakers and making the material available online for two weeks with a paid registration.
The seminar, which is presented by Valley Baptist Health System, will provide current information to those involved in child abuse investigations, including law enforcement officers, Child Protective Services workers, social workers, attorneys, nurses, pediatricians, medical examiners, forensic pathologists, coroners, psychologists, EMS personnel, school and day care personnel, clergy, and other professionals. The special three-day conference will address ways to prevent child abuse, techniques used in child death investigations, and other current issues involving child abuse and domestic violence.
Dr. Stanley Fisch, Pediatrician and Medical Director of the Child to Adult Abuse Response Team (CAART) program at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, said the forensics seminar is an important learning opportunity for those professionals who work with the realities of domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect.
“The seminar will provide up to date information, standards of practice, and evidence based research,” Fisch said. “This is imperative for all professionals that touch the lives of children and have the opportunity to speak, act, and take a stand to protect the children. The children are waiting on us to help them.”
Speakers for the conference will include Sonja Eddleman, MSN, RN, and CAART Team Clinical Director for Valley Baptist Health System; and Jamie Ferrell, RN, and Clinical Director of Forensic Nursing Services at Memorial Hermann Health System-Houston.
“The seminar will provide up to date information, standards of practice, and evidence based research,” Eddleman said. “This is imperative for all professionals that touch the lives of children and have the opportunity to speak, act, and take a stand to protect the children. The victims of abuse and domestic violence are waiting on us to help them.”
The opening day of the conference will feature several presentations on the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on child abuse and neglect. Dr. Raquel Vargas-Whale, a child abuse pediatrician and director of the Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation Team at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, will offer a clinical discussion on child abuse during the pandemic, while child abuse and domestic violence researcher Andrew Campbell will discuss lessons advocates have learned regarding child abuse and neglect during the pandemic.
On the second day of the conference, speakers will focus on topics ranging from recognizing abusive head trauma to dealing with secondary traumatic stress. The final day of the conference will focus on protecting children from the dangers of abuse online, in addition to a faith summit where attendees and participants can learn more about the role religious organizations can play in recognizing and preventing child abuse and neglect.
For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.fsseminar.com or call Stephanie Hamby at (956) 389-1721.