Statewide online conference to focus on child abuse prevention, resources

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HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (KT) - Pennyrile Allied Community Services through the Community Collaboration for Children is presenting an online conference for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

 


The free conference, called “Inside Out: Understanding What is Going on Inside the Minds of Our Children and Youth,” is slated for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

 


“We do these conferences every single year,” said Sabrina Davis, PACS/CCC Pennyrile and Purchase Regional Network coordinator. “The whole purpose behind them is to raise awareness about child abuse, give people some information about how to prevent child abuse from ever occurring and let people know there are some resources to prevent child abuse from taking place.”

 


This year’s in-person conference was canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but organizers still wanted to meet the needs of children, families and professionals everywhere. Four presenters will be broadcasting live on Zoom and Facebook Live from the Cyber Safe Teen Nation site in Bowling Green.

 


“(The coronavirus) changed things quite a bit and honestly, it made us change the focus of our conference,” Davis said. “We wanted to focus on anxiety because a lot of kids are going through anxiety — some for the first time and those who already have a diagnosis of anxiety are struggling with it more now.”

 


To address this issue, licensed clinical social worker Kim Wilson will present “Youth Anxiety in an Uncertain World,” focusing on understanding anxiety in children and youth, the difference in toxic and healthy anxiety, as well as coping skills and techniques parents and or professionals can use/teach to children with anxiety.

 


Parents are home with their children who are struggling, with no break in sight, Davis said.

 


“Hopefully, this will help give parents some resources and teach them some coping skills that they can teach their own children — and how to talk to their kids in times of uncertainty and to minimize some of that uncertainty,” she said.

 


Because of the coronavirus, children are at home and relying on technology more than ever, making them possibly more vulnerable to online predators, Davis said. She said human trafficking happens in every county in Kentucky.

 


“We want to make sure parents understand the online tactics that traffickers use to track kids and give them that false sense of relationship and how it can quickly turn into an unsafe situation,” she said. “We want to talk about what human trafficking looks like in Kentucky, some warning signs of trafficking behaviors as well as how to talk with your kids about the dangers of online exploitation and human trafficking.”

 


During the conference, retired detective Bob Couchman will present “Human Trafficking and the Recruiting Process.” He will discuss understanding what human trafficking in Kentucky looks like, tactics traffickers use with children and vulnerable youth, and how to help protect your child and children of the community.

 


“When discussing mental health, kids who are in the LGBTQ community are at a higher risk (because) we have such limited resources in our area,” Davis said. “This is going to be a topic where we can start the conversation on the importance of getting resources and getting some community services started that these kids can rely on and go to and have support from. All kids need a safe place. All kids need resources and services.”

 


During the conference, Dr. Nicole Begg, University of Kentucky assistant professor, will speak about how to start a conversation of meeting the needs of children who identify in the LGBTQ community, the importance of having resources and services for children in the LGBTQ community in rural areas.

 


Finally, conference participants will learn about Bikers Against Child Abuse and all BACA does for children.

 


“I personally always knew they were an awesome group. They do so much more than I ever understood,” Davis said. “(The group liaison will discuss) all of the aspects in which they help kids who have been abused or neglected … and how they are a forever staple in these kids’ lives.”

 


The conference is being funded in part by the Kentucky Child Victim Trust Fund, Cyber Safe Teen Nation and Pennyrile Allied Community Services through the Community Collaboration for Children.

 


The link to register for the event is: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_30fH_88nTvqWY-jfTrabKg?fbclid=IwAR26JtHzAeoC20DY FKw9N5EWfUKrTyo-5WSav85alrRpge1bGnxliROd_zU

 


Davis said this conference is ideal for mental health and social work professionals who need training hours. She recommends logging on to the Zoom link because they will be able to interact with the presenters and receive a digital certificate of participation at the conclusion of the event.

 


Davis said with Zoom, they have the capacity to have 1,000 individuals logon.

 


The conference will also be streaming on Facebook Live through the Community Collaboration for Children Lakes Region and Cyber Safe Teen Nation Facebook pages.

 


In addition to parents and mental health and social work professionals, Davis said the conference would benefit faith-based professionals, teachers, childcare workers and more. For more information about the conference, contact Sabrina.b@pacs-ky.org

 

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