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The School of Social Science & Human Services presents Stopping Violence and Abuse: Protecting our Children, Teens and Young Adults


Maps / Directions / Lodging

Monday, March 26, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m
SC-219 (Friends Hall)

The School of Social Science and Human Services at Ramapo College offers an annual conference serving professionals in the State of New Jersey concerning issues of child development. This year we have chosen the topic of violence and abuse. This conference is designed as an interdisciplinary effort aimed at direct service providers in mental health and education. The conference is intended to bring together professionals who serve children, teens, and young adults in our communities as educators, clinicians, and in other areas of social service. Our conference program brings together professionals in the areas of education, psychology, and social work, to provide a multi-disciplinary perspective on an important issue affecting children today. The theme for this year’s conference is Stopping violence and abuse: Protecting our children, teens, and young adults. Allison Blake, the commissioner of the NJ Department of Children and Families will provide the opening remarks. There will be twelve breakout sessions that address current research in the area of violence, issues related to violence, and information about prevention, effective responses and strategies to reduce violence in families and in schools. Attendees will need to register for individual break-out sessions in the registration form.

We are also very pleased to announce our Keynote Speaker will be Mr. David Nash, Esq., the Director of Legal Education Foundation for Educational Administration. He will speak on the topic, “From Mandate Web to Safety Net: A Coherent Approach to Child Safety.” Please see below for more information about his talk.

We will be providing CEUs for social workers and PDs for teachers.
We will provide free breakfast and lunch for all attendees.

Registration is free and open to the public and ends on March 16, 2012 – EXTENDED.
Questions? Call the SSHS office at (201) 684-7625 or (201) 684-7624
All registered attendees will receive a parking pass and directions in an email close to the time of the conference.

Conference Program
Time Event
8 – 9 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
9 – 10:15 a.m. Introductions: Ramapo College Academic Provost Beth Barnett and SSHS Dean Sam RosenbergMorning Remarks: Allison Blake, Commissioner of NJ Department of Children and Families
10:15 – 11 a.m. Break-out Session A
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Break-out Session B
12:15 – 1 p.m. Lunch
1 – 2 p.m. Keynote Speaker: Mr. David Nash, Esq., Director of Legal Education Foundation for Educational Administration, “From Mandate Web to Safety Net: A Coherent Approach to Child Safety”
2:15 – 3 p.m. Break-out Session C
3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Closing remarks


Keynote Address

Mr. David Nash, Esq. (Director of Legal Education Foundation for Educational Administration) , From Mandate Web to Safety Net: A Coherent Approach to Child Safety

Bullying, dating violence, gang activity, child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, teen sexting, and suicidal ideation. Each represents a grave threat to the health and safety of our children. Each has been compounded in some ways by the inevitable march of technology. And of course, each issue has led to well-intentioned legislation that mandates, often in great and confusing detail, how our public schools must respond when children are danger. Unfortunately, the result is a confusing web of overlapping and sometimes conflicting requirements for school districts, with a heavy emphasis on paperwork and legal compliance. In this presentation, participants will consider how to move away from a compliance checklist mentality and towards a coherent approach to child safety that focuses on creating a positive school climate and working proactively to bring together the various state mandates on child safety in a way that makes sense, enhances child safety and minimizes the potential for legal liability.

Break-Out Sessions

Break-Out Session A:

Dr. Kathryn Krase (Assistant Professor of Social Work, Ramapo College) – Making the Tough Call: Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

A report to child protective services is essentially a request to help a child and family in a concerning situation.  However, mandated reporters often shirk their responsibility to make a report because of doubt and uncertainty. This workshop will provide a framework to guide a reporter’s decision to make this “tough call”, focusing on cases of suspected child sexual abuse.  This session will highlight  research findings and provide practical advice based on real case examples.

Lyndhurst Public School District: Dr. Tracey Marinelli (Superintendent), Lisa Klein (Supervisor of English & Fine and Performing Arts), and Pat Norcia (Executive Secretary) – Helping Faculty to Reduce Violence and Bullying in the School Community

In order to reduce and prevent violence and bullying in the Lyndhurst Public School District, teachers and staff participated in an intensive staff development workshop. There were four interactive station based activities that promoted communication and awareness. Activities evolved around, protocol and procedures, embracing the mission of the district, fostering non-verbal communication, and community building strategies. The focal point is to ensure the fact that the staff is trained and then they can facilitate meaningful social and emotional learning lessons for their student(s). Participants in this workshop will learn about those stations and participate in simulations so that they can implement these successful strategies in their school.

Ms. Kat McGee (Assistant Director of the Center for Student Involvement and Coordinator of  the Women’s Center, Ramapo College) and Mr. Tom Nicholes (Graduate Assistant of the Women’s Center, Ramapo College) – What’s Your Green Dot? Prevention through Bystander Intervention

A Green Dot is any action that either directly prevents interpersonal violence (sexual assault, dating violence, stalking) or challenges the cultural attitudes that tolerate violence. One individual Green Dot, combined with the Green Dots of many others, will add up to create safer communities for everyone. Informed by social change theory, the Green Dot model targets all community members as potential bystanders, and seeks to engage them through awareness, education, and skills practice. This workshop will provide an introduction to the bystander intervention theory behind Green Dot, discuss changing community norms through empathy building, examine the implementation of Green Dot at Ramapo College, and provide resources for participants interested in establishing Green Dot programs in their own communities.

Dr. Jessica Platt (Private practice, Supervisor, child abuse program for New Bridge Services, Adjunct Professor at Ramapo College) The Role of the Non-Offending Parent

When a child has been abused, it is frequently a trauma for the family as a whole.  The literature supports the vital role of the adults in the child’s life; having a supportive and protective caretaker can significantly mediate the negative impact of abuse on the child.  This discussion will focus on the ways in which systems and interventions can serve to empower and bolster the non-offending parent so that they can best support the child victim of abuse.

Break-Out Session B:

Dr. Anne DeGroot (Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Ramapo College) and Dr. Julie Norflus-Good (Assistant Professor of Teacher Education – Special Education, Ramapo College) – Creating a Climate of Acceptance in the Classroom

The subject of school violence has received a great deal of attention throughout the country. School districts are concerned about episodes of school violence that occur not only at the high school and middle school, but increasingly, at the elementary school level.  School violence includes bullying and various types of emotional and physical offenses. Teachers are trained in classroom and behavior management techniques, but they are not always well versed in implementing practical strategies to identify and recognize school violence in their individual classes.  In this workshop practitioners will learn how to create an educational environment that fosters tolerance. Using children’s literature and conflict resolution strategies, participants will engage in activities that can help to diffuse potentially violent incidents and promote empathy and acceptance within the classroom.

Mr. Rush Russell (Executive Director at Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey) – Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in New Jersey

Mr. Russell will address the following question: What can be done to prevent child sexual abuse –before it ever happens? After reviewing the statistics about child sexual abuse in New Jersey, he will describe current efforts in the state focused on prevention. The common myth of strangers being the primary perpetrators will also be discussed, as well as a set of best practices that could strengthen prevention efforts. He will also describe the work of a new initiative, the New Jersey Partnership to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, funded by the Ms. Foundation. Under the project, PCANJ has convened the state’s top experts in the field of child sexual abuse to develop a new strategic plan focused on prevention. The project has also selected three communities to roll out a major education campaign focused on training adults about steps they can take to protect children and prevent child sexual abuse.

Dr. Marta Levy, BFA, CAT (Art Therapist at Shelter Our Sisters) – Creative Approaches to Working with Children

Children who experienced or had been exposed to Domestic Violence have difficulty finding words to express powerful and overwhelming feelings, as a result of traumatic events.

Expressive Therapies help children express strong emotions through non-verbal communications. The use of two or more Expressive Therapies, or the Integrated Arts Approach, helps foster self-awareness, encourages growth and self-expression, enhances healthy relationships with others by managing behavior and problem solving, it helps reduce anxiety, helps with reality orientation and helps increase self-esteem. In this workshop we will explore four Expressive Therapies, in individual and group setting with children: Art Therapy, Play Therapy, Sand Play Therapy and Nature Classroom. Through many visual examples we will gain a better understanding how creative expression gives children another language with which to share feelings, perceptions and observations about themselves, others and their world.

Break-Out Session C:

Anthony D’Urso, PsyD (Co-Founder and Director, Certificate and Advanced Studies Programs in Forensic Psychology, Montclair State University; Supervising Psychologist, Audrey Hepburn House of Hackensack Medical Center) – Assessing Child Abuse

The topic for this workshop will be the techniques used at the Audrey Hepburn House of Hackensack Medical Center to assess child abuse.

Dr. Lysandra Perez-Strumulo (Associate Professor of Psychology, Ramapo College) – Psychological Abuse:  Implications for Development throughout the Lifespan

Psychological abuse is one of the most difficult types of abuse to define, and this is complicated by the fact that psychological maltreatment tends to co-occur with all other types of abuse and neglect.  Nonetheless, research suggests that psychological maltreatment is significantly damaging to the developing child, and often has long-lasting consequences that impair emotional well-being, relationships, and health.  In this session, we will define psychological abuse, review research on the consequences of this form of maltreatment throughout the lifespan, and discuss effective interventions for responding to emotional abuse in practice.

Ms. Dorene Zacher  (New Milford High School Guidance Counselor, District SAC Coordinator, and District HIB Coordinator) – Beyond The Bruises

As the District Student Assistance Coordinator and Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Coordinator for the New Milford School District, I have learned that to help address a student who is experiencing emotional abuse at home it is imperative to make them feel good about themselves and to try to bring some sense of peace to their life.  With the dedication of the administration and faculty we are reaching our students who need our help and assisting them in becoming our future leaders. In this workshop I will discuss several programs developed to do so, including BUDDY (Bullying Undermines Developing Diverse Youths), a peer driven anti bullying program which empowers the students to take control of their hallways and be the voice of students who may be unable to ask for assistance. Another program is Heroes for Cool Kids.  Students were selected to receive 4 days of training on how to be a mentor to 5th grade students who attend the New Milford School District.

Dr.  Maya A. Poran, (Associate Professor of Psychology and Women/Gender Studies, Ramapo College) – Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ Teen Relationships:  Unique issues and obstacles.

Data indicate that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) occurs in Queer relationships at the same rate as in traditional heterosexual partnerships.  While there are similarities in abusive behaviors and cycles of violence, there are some variations and distinct obstacles facing Queer youth in abusive partnerships.  This presentation will discuss some of the unique challenges facing abused Queer youth in a) recognizing abuse, b) disclosure and reporting of abuse, and c) leaving abusive relationships and obtaining social supports.  This presentation will share some of the unique issues present in abusive LGBTQ Teen relationships, as well as examine the larger cultural context which creates many of the strategies that abusers utilize.  It is hoped that those attending the presentation will leave with a clearer understanding of the unique issues facing Queer individuals in violent relationships, and be more equipped to assist young people in need of help.