Handle With Care Conference
October 17 – 19, 2018
Civic Center, Charleston, WV
2018 Handle With Care Conference Program

2018 Handle With Care Conference Program

Click here to view

Handle With Care WV

The goal of the WV Children’s Justice Handle with Care Conference is to provide practical instruction, using current information, the newest ideas, and most successful intervention strategies to those professionals responsible for combating the many and varied forms of crimes against children.

The conference is conducted for the sole purpose of providing training to people who work in the multi-disciplinary field of child maltreatment. This includes governmental or non-profit agencies in the fields of law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, social work, children’s advocacy, therapy, and medicine who work directly with child victims of crime.

Wednesday morning will begin with a keynote followed by lunch on your own and two breakout sessions. Thursday morning begins with an opening keynote followed by a breakout session, award luncheon, and two more breakout sessions. Friday morning begins with two breakout sessions followed by a closing keynote. Seating will be on a first come, first serve basis in all the sessions.

2018 agenda


Rhonda Sciortino, "One Person Can Change Everything"

Rhonda Sciortino overcame abandonment, abuse, poverty, filth, and hunger, and built a life of affluence, order, fulfillment, and excellent relationships. Her desire is to help others mine the lessons from their pain, and apply those lessons to create their own successes.

Some of Rhonda’s achievements include:

  • Founding, building, and selling two successful companies that protected and defended private, non profit child welfare organizations
  • Analyzing injuries, allegations, and deaths in foster care and creating tragedy avoidance strategies
  • Authoring several books, including Succeed Because of What You’ve Been Through, as featured on the Today Show
  • National Spokesperson for Safe Families For Children
  • National Spokesperson for Royal Family Kids
  • National Spokesperson for the Global Center for Women and Justice
  • Founding chairperson for Successful Survivors Foundation
  • Author of the YOUR REAL SUCCESS program for transition-aged youth and rescued trafficking victims

Captain Derek Prestridge, "Preventing Child Exploitation One Stop at a Time"

How can you more effectively identify victims of child exploitation and trafficking during a seven-minute traffic stop? Are there indicators you might be missing? Captain Prestridge from the Texas Rangers and the United States Marshals Service will present an innovative program designed to combat all types of child victimization during roadside encounters. He will share techniques that can be coupled with routine police practices to significantly increase the likelihood of identifying victimized children and their offenders. This presentation will include examples of cases where officers used these interdiction techniques to rescue children.

Dr. Kiti Freier-Randall, "Building Resilient Children: What Children Need from Their Community"

The presentation will focus on resiliency and effective strategies to promote a positive trajectory in high risk children. While we cannot change thatchildren have and will face challenges we can build their resilience. In this presentation we will discuss effective prevention strategies that discourage high risk behaviors. These strategies offer communities, and each of us, ways in which we can promote resiliency in the children and youth we serve.

2018 Workshop Descriptions

One person can change the trajectory of the life of another in a moment. The power of our influence is often overlooked and underestimated. Each of us influences people for good or for bad through our attitudes, words, and actions. When we’re mindful of our power, we can use it to give dignity, show value, and plant seeds of goodness in the lives of everyone we meet, and thereby change the world!
Childhood matters! Childhood experiences can have a major impact on one’s lifelong health and opportunities. Healthy childhood experiences lead to positive behaviors, whereas unhealthy childhood experiences can lead to chronic illness, mental illness, work absences, violence substance abuse, etc. This presentation will discuss the findings of the ACE study as it relates to social well-being, survival vs. learning and how we can all truly become trauma informed.
A critical piece of a child abuse medical evaluation is the medical interview, regardless of whether or not a child has already received a forensic interview. Information gathered from the medical interview guides a medical professional’s decision making during the child abuse exam (e.g. what labs do/don’t they need). How does a medical professional ask these questions without making a child re-tell their story? This presentation will focus on the difference between these two conversations and how medical professionals can prevent duplication of the questions a forensic interviewer has or will ask of a child.
Kids who have grown up in dysfunctional homes are easy targets for traffickers. Traffickers often use the basic premise of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to lure vulnerable kids into trafficking. They earn the trust of vulnerable and often compliant victims, with disingenuous caring and meeting of basic needs, like a meal and a place to sleep. Law Enforcement, providers, educators, child welfare professionals, and concerned citizens can beat them at that game by adopting and sharing the five tips for preventing trafficking that will be shared in this presentation. The only thing worse than child abuse, is child abuse for profit. STOP CHILD TRAFFICKING. Start here.
Maggie Kuhl, Esq., and Kim Runyon Wilds, MSW, will examine the individual functions of GALs and CASA advocates on cases involving child abuse and neglect in Circuit Court. They will discuss the similarities and differences in the responsibilities to the children to which they are appointed. Participants will leave with the understanding of how each role advocates for the best interests of children in court.
Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear, and be careful little mouth what you say. This presentation focuses on the effects of domestic violence on children throughout their lifespan. This presentation will also focus on highly lethal and potentially dangerous behaviors that are perpetuated by domestic violence offenders and those effects on victims and children.
In this presentation, we will review specific presentations through case examples and tips to identify potential causes for presentations. Participants will learn safety tips when specific substances are involved as well as the overlap between psychosis and intoxication by substance.
This presentation will focus on the brain science behind trauma, the developmental impact it has on children and resources and tools to use to help these children. This presentation will also discuss the Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as an effective treatment modality for in-school use in the treatment of children experiencing learning, behavioral, and relationship difficulties as a result of traumatic stress.
About 1 in 65 people have a developmental disability. This presentation will help first responders recognize the cognitive and behavioral characteristics of children who are typically developing and those who have developmental disabilities. Learn strategies to approach children in a developmentally appropriate way that will provide protection and safety for all.
In this presentation, participants will learn how to identify and describe a mental or emotional disturbance as well as a brief introduction into basic de-escalation techniques.
In this presentation, human trafficking will be defined and its myths will be debunked. The presentation also will include an overview of federal and state laws used to combat human trafficking, risk factors for trafficking, and actual examples of human trafficking in West Virginia.
This panel presentation will walk you through the process of removing children from their home when Child Protective Services in called and abuse and neglect has been substantiated. It will cover the Centralized Intake process and Child Protective Service’s criteria for removal. You will also hear from a placement specialist about relative/kinship care vs. foster/shelter care placement.
The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (L.E.A.D.) program presentation will provide an overview of the nationally recognized, evidenced based program model designed to provide law enforcement the ability to provide low level offenders immediate access to treatment. The roles of law enforcement, treatment providers, and recovery support will be identified and how the partnerships work together within the current WV system. The participants will be provided specific key elements of a success, processes, protocols and practical ways to implement the program. Programs within WV and nationwide will be highlighted to assist with implementation strategies. Those who would benefit from attending include law enforcement, first responders, substance abuse treatment providers, prosecutors, magistrates and judges.
How can you more effectively identify victims of child exploitation and trafficking during a seven-minute traffic stop? Are there indicators you might be missing? Captain Prestridge from the Texas Rangers and the United States Marshals Service will present an innovative program designed to combat all types of child victimization during roadside encounters. He will share techniques that can be coupled with routine police practices to significantly increase the likelihood of identifying victimized children and their offenders. This presentation will include examples of cases where officers used these interdiction techniques to rescue children.
This presentation offers innovative best practices for helping to mitigate the negative effects experienced by children’s exposure to trauma and highlights a promising initiative (Handle With Care) between schools/child care agencies, law enforcement and treatment providers. "Handle with Care" provides the school with a “heads up” when a child has been identified by law enforcement at the scene of a traumatic event. Schools are responding with interventions to help mitigate the trauma and mental health providers are co locating at the school to provide services. Handle with Care programs promote safe and supportive homes, schools, and communities that protect children, and help traumatized children heal and thrive.
In this presentation we will dive into the context of human trafficking, paying special attention to red flags that a medical professional can potentially see in practice. We will discuss long term trauma bonds in children being trafficked by family members or other trusted adults.
The need for one-on-one or group interventions after dealing with traumatic events is important to keep first responders physically and mentally healthy. The mental fatigue of these investigations can no longer be swept under the rug, but must be dealt with in order to prevent career ending mistakes, divorce and suicides. Studies have shown that those who are reluctant to seek psychological help are often willing to discuss issues with peer support teams. This presentation will cover the dynamics of dealing with traumatic incidents/investigations, and how to mentally/emotionally survive the aftermath. This will be presented by two experienced law enforcement officers; however the topic is timely and relevant for anyone involved in traumatic investigations. This is an important class, but these two experienced instructors will keep the class engaged, and laughing.
When children witness or experience a crime, they are often thrust into a legal system that can be intimidating and complex. They may be involved in concurrent dependency and criminal cases, creating even more confusion. Children’s reactions to legal involvement can affect their ability to participate, and can affect their short- and long-term functioning. Ms. Quas will review, in this presentation, evidence regarding what facets of legal involvement are especially distressing to children and the consequences of that distress for children and the case. Ms. Quas will close with a discussion of effective strategies to reduce some of that stress and facilitate children’s functioning. Findings will be of interest to law enforcement, social service, child advocates, and legal professionals, all of whom have a stake in helping children provide reliable evidence so that justice can be pursued.
Ms. Riley will identify common developmental disabilities, including diagnosis criteria, misconceptions and potential complications. She will additionally discuss how people may process information differently, communication strategies for people who are non-verbal, the prevalence of co-existing disorders, and disability etiquette.
So you think your child, spouse, or friend has a substance abuse issue - how do you know and if you are pretty sure they do, what now?? This presentation will cover the basics of addiction, and the different forms of treatment options available.
This training will assist law enforcement professionals in gaining a shared understanding of trauma, to recognize how trauma effects the brain and be able to identify trauma on scene and age appropriate responses when children are present. This presentation will provide examples of trauma-informed policing practices, identify tools to help de-escalate crisis situations and discuss the importance of officer "self-care."
Epigenetics. Maybe you’ve heard the term but aren’t exactly sure what it means and why it’s important. In this presentation those questions will be answered as we explore how the effects of trauma can impact families for generations by impacting how genes function. We will see that trauma can have an adverse effect on gene function, and changes can be passed on to future generations. The exciting news is that those changes can be reversed! Most importantly, we will discuss what those of us who work with children and families can do to promote this kind of positive change. The theme of this presentation will be hope: hope that what we do can effect change that lasts.
It is no secret that we live in an increasingly complex world and that this complexity has resulted in a number of challenges for the appropriate social and emotional development of youth today. In this presentation, Mr. Harris gets back to the developmental basics and helps to give you some ideas about how we can better understand and support youth in an ever-changing and complicated world.
When concerns have been raised about child maltreatment, it is often necessary to talk to the child and find out what exactly happened, when, and who was involved. How children are questioned can profoundly affect the accuracy and completeness of their reports. In this presentation, Ms. Quas will review what is known about best-practice forensic interview guidelines. Ms. Quas will also describe ongoing controversies regarding interviewing practices and children’s reporting tendencies, including children’s suggestibility and false event reports, and the consequences of repeated interviews and interviewers support on children’s reporting’s accuracy. This information will be useful to adults charged with the task of finding out what children know and remember, and adults who must evaluate children’s statements for accuracy.
This presentation provides guidance to staff in terms of enhancing awareness, assessment, and intervention skills necessary for work in the field. It is intended to enhance staff’s ability to identify potential dangers and minimize risk to the personal safety of both staff and their clients in a variety of settings. This presentation addresses verbal de-escalation strategies for use in preventing a potentially dangerous situation from escalating into physical confrontation/violence.
This documentary follows three women -- Chief Jan Rader with the Huntington Fire Department, Judge Patricia Keller with the Cabell County Family Court and Necia Freeman with the Backpacks and Brown Bags Ministry – as they battle West Virginia’s devastating opioid Epidemic. Chief Rader, Judge Keller, and Ms. Freeman will follow will with a question and answer session after the movie.
Unfortunately, if you are working with children and families today you are likely encountering trauma and its’ effects. In this presentation Dr. Harris helps you to better understand how the experience of trauma can have a profound effect on the physiology and psychology of children. Dr. Harris will also explore ways that you can create a learning environment that helps students safe and significant. Dr. Harris will help you bring to life the current research on how to best support students who have experienced trauma.
Unfortunately, each year West Virginia loses a portion of its most valuable citizens- our children. Even more unfortunate is that a majority of these child deaths are deemed preventable! Join us to find out the leading causes of these untimely child deaths and find out what can be done to try to prevent them from happening in the future. The presentation will take a specific look into WV Child Fatality Review Panel’s child suicide data and how that information is used for suicide prevention work in our state.
In the past decade, growing interest has turned to identifying children and adolescents, who may seem reluctant to disclose abuse, and who, after disclosing, recant their earlier claims of abuse. Scientists and practitioners have focused on understanding (a) which children and adolescents are at greatest risk for reluctance and recantation, and (b) how best to elicit true reports from reluctant children without affecting false reports. In this presentation, Ms. Quas will review what is known on these topics and offer recommendations regarding new approaches that may be especially effective at obtaining legally useful information from reluctant victims.
This presentation focuses on protecting children in families affected by substance abuse. First we look at how the role of family court is distinct and different from circuit court; as well as when they overlap. We look at ways to balance parental access and child safety. Discuss what you need to know about drug testing and MAT (medication assisted treatment.) We look at the phenomena of “grandfamilies” - children being raised by grandparents and other third parties who step in when parents are unable.
Discover how home visiting can be a resource for YOU. Home visiting works with families to complete action plans for resiliency and steps to get through the barriers to effective parenting. Learn more about how evidence-based home visiting works with families through impact stories from clients and home visitors. Research has shown reduction in child abuse and increased parent-child interaction through structured services provided prenatally through age five. Find out about services in all WV counties.
WV has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths of anywhere in the county. This presentation will provide an overview of the 2016 Overdose Fatality Analysis which clearly identifies factors that contribute to the profile of victims. The data will also show opportunities for intervention and help in the 12 months before the deadly overdoses. Participants will learn who is at highest risk for overdose death and identify points of intervention which could potentially save a life.
This presentation will focus on the importance of collaboration within the school environment to meet the needs of at-risk students. Perspectives of both a school counselor and teacher will address building relationships with students, especially at risk students, and providing them with a safe environment and essential supports for their learning. Ms. Pace and Ms. Thaxton will discuss non-conventional teaching methods to engage students and to promote collaboration amongst all students. Their emphasis will be on the importance of the teacher and counselor working together to provide a consistent and safe environment so that all students can reach their potential in spite of their challenges and circumstances.
With the rise in prescription drug abuse and substance availability more infants are being born with neonatal abstinence and/or neurotoxic effects. It is critical to appropriately intervene in order to best meet the needs of the very young child and offer caregivers skills and support. This workshop will provide information regarding the impact of the drug environment (pre and postnatal) on infant and toddler development.
CIT Programs seek to bridge the gap between police response and mental health care by forming a partnership with behavioral health and human services professionals, consumers, their families and law enforcement. Each CIT program is unique based on the local resources available. Lt. Thomas will discuss the Anne Arundel County CIT Unit, which is part of the multi-component Anne Arundel County Crisis Response System. Crisis Response works hand in hand with the Anne Arundel County Police Department on mental health and social calls for service, as well as responding to all traumatic events and following those with mental health concerns to assure them, along with the community, are safe.
This presentation will include a review of the most recent West Virginia case law regarding child welfare as well as an overview Family First Prevention Services Act 2018 and the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) through the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA).
The effects of familial substance use disorder (SUD) are best understood within the context of a dynamic biopsychsocial model that is developmental in nature. Such a model helps to highlight the interaction of factors that can affect cognitive, social emotional and behavioral outcomes for children at various stages of development and their families. When these are better understood, effective supportive, prevention and intervention practices can be implemented. However, it is not necessary to invent new services when many current services can be adapted to better assist these families.

This presentation will focus on presenting original and published research on the types of effects that have been documented for children from families where substance use disorder is present, including school, community and family-based interventions that are effective and evidence based. Presenters will place specific emphasis on understanding how missed intervention opportunities contribute to cognitive emotional and behavioral issues before and at school entry, as well as the types of interventions that are effective in addressing these issues and supporting the family structure.
Faith communities offer individuals an opportunity for support, understanding, interpersonal and spiritual connection. This interfaith presentation will provide community leaders, laity and congregants with an understanding of the impact of trauma on their congregations, the impact of doctrine on their trauma exposed congregants, and strategies to create a trauma-sensitive faith community.
Cutaneous (skin) injuries are an expected consequence of childhood, however it can be a challenge for healthcare providers to know what to do when injuries are suspicious for non-accidental trauma. Additionally a lack of evidence-based knowledge in distinguishing between accidental and non-accidental trauma is a common barrier in identifying victims of child abuse. This presentation will review suspicious signs of abuse, mandatory reporting, how to interpret findings on the body (such as bruises), and the use of labs and radiographic imaging.
He was born in Charleston, WV. Realizing she was incapable of taking care of him, his unmarried teenage mother left him there with his aunts when he was only nine months old. Even so, he was deeply loved by them and felt secure. Until one day, when his mother showed up, with a husband and a 2-yr-old daughter—his sister, he was told. His mother said she had come to get him, so pack his things. She was a stranger to him; they all were. He was four years old. Still, he vividly remembers being driven away from the place he knew as home. In this presentation Tim Elliott tells his story of the abuse and poverty that followed. Jan McMurray facilitates the discussion and Q&A to learn what hurt, what helped, and what could have helped in his struggle to overcome a past marked, but not defined, by trauma.
This presentation will introduce the concept of family drug courts to the attendees. It will explain how the principles of problem solving courts can be applied to abuse and neglect proceedings. It will show how family drug courts can help this state at least turn the corner on the foster care crisis.
Grandfamilies represent the fastest growing type of household in the U.S. Grandfamilies have many unmet needs, including financial, healthcare, legal, childcare, parenting, family relationships, and mental health concerns. This presentation will enlighten the listener about a 3-year collaborative pilot project, which started October 1, 2015, between the West Virginia State University Extension Service and the Department of Social Work. Stories will be shared about the many challenges the 120 families that have graduated from this program are facing.
The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children defines drug endangered children (DEC) as children who are at risk of suffering physical or emotional harm as a result of illegal drug use, possession, manufacturing, cultivation, or distribution. They may also be children whose caretaker’s substance misuse interferes with the caretaker’s ability to parent and provide a safe and nurturing environment. In sum, children + drugs equal RISK. These risk factors include significant potential impact on neurodevelopmental and psychosocial functioning. However, environment (home and community) is also an extremely impactful risk for these children. This presentation will discuss both individual and environmental risk related to the drug endangered environment. The focus, however, will be to discuss how the ecology of the child to the drug endangered environment puts them at the highest risk for sexual exploitation. Legal and social welfare perspectives on sexual exploitation will also be shared.
The presentation will focus on resiliency and effective strategies to promote a positive trajectory in high risk children. While we cannot change thatchildren have and will face challenges we can build their resilience. In this presentation we will discuss effective prevention strategies that discourage high risk behaviors. These strategies offer communities, and each of us, ways in which we can promote resiliency in the children and youth we serve.