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The Alliance and First Witness host annual Stand Against Child Abuse Conference

Stand Against Child Abuse Conference

Now in its third year, conference-goers receive affordable, diverse, and distinct multidiscipline training this July 24-25, 2017

Hundreds of child protection professionals, child advocacy experts, and an array of community and medical leaders are coming to Duluth this July 24th for the third annual Stand Against Child Abuse Conference. The event, now in its third year, is co-organized by the Minnesota Children’s Alliance and First Witness Child Advocacy Center. Lori Young, the training coordinator for First Witness promises, “You’re going to get a renewed sense of the work that you do. You’re going to come away wanting to focus on it, excel in it, and see that you can focus on child protection work and become a leader.”

“We realized it was difficult for law enforcement, social workers, and others to find the budget to travel to the distances required for a conference of this kind with many disciplines,” says Young. Conferences in Washington D.C., Huntsville, Ala., and California offer multi-discipline conferences with multiple tracks and breakout sessions, but few in the interior of the country and almost none in the Midwest.

Marcia Milliken, the Executive Director of the Minnesota Children’s Alliance, said “Our goal is to make it broad, far-reaching, and offer some specifics people can’t find anywhere near here.”

“We bring in some big names, but a lot of our speakers are Minnesota-centric people. For instance, tribal representatives teach other tribes. People from rural areas can teach other rural professionals,” said Young.

The event takes place in Duluth and is sponsored by Visit Duluth, the city’s tourism and visitor’s agency. Their sponsorship helps cover facility costs at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. “We outgrew our first location. Visit Duluth saw we brought in more than 200 people in our first year, which no one said we could do,” said Young, adding, “Plus, everyone wants to be in Duluth in the summer. It’s a great vacation spot to extend into.”

As part of the Alliance’s charge to diversify and consider more diverse populations, this year’s conference benefits from that renewed push. “We have sessions on tribal issues, racial equity, and LGBTQIA issues, in addition to more medical, legal, and investigative matters,” said Milliken. “Attendees will also get to hear from judicial officers and attorneys, too,” said Milliken.

“We’ve had what you could call an awakening or awareness regarding stays of adjudication in Minnesota lately. It’s been used in a lot of child sex abuse cases. We’ll get to hear from a judge about that. Which is rare,” said Young, adding, “It should be a great conversation starter for everyone.” Also in the legal profession, one of the two keynotes is by Kevin Mulcahy, a U.S. Attorney from Detroit who is also a survivor of child abuse. “I think attorneys can quickly feel isolated,” said Young, “and this can hopefully help them feel inspired and recognize the importance of what we’re doing here.”

“All of our presenters are very humble, and it’s overall a very humble event,” said Young. “People will naturally network and meet others in the industry, but the great thing is how many of the leaders here and around the country are very down-to-earth,” said Young.

Any child protection, child advocate, community leader, or professionals who work in children’s issues can attend the conference. Tickets are available at http://standagainstchildabuseconference.com/.