PROTECTING DELAWARE'S CHILDREN CONFERENCE
In early May, judges, attorneys, advocates, service providers, law enforcement officials, medical and other professionals from throughout the state came together for the Protecting Delaware’s Children Conference. The conference, presented by the Child Death, Near Death, and Stillbirth Commission (CDNDSC) and the Child Protection Accountability Commission (CPAC), brought 400 people to Dover Downs to learn, share and find new ways to work together as they strive toward a common goal – ending child abuse and neglect in Delaware. Conference participants were encouraged to collaborate, share information and think in a transformational way. C. Malcolm Cochran, IV, Esq., Chair of CPAC, challenged participants to ask themselves: “How can we, together, do things better?”
This first joint conference featured 25 workshops focusing on a broad spectrum of topics designed to enhance, support and inform the work of child abuse and associated professionals. From techniques on prosecuting child abuse perpetrators to the developmental effects of child maltreatment, to engaging the medical community as child advocates, to domestic violence prevention and its impact on children, the conference featured a wide array of learning opportunities for professionals from many different areas. In addition to presentations from both national and local experts in their fields, participants were addressed by Governor Ruth Ann Minner, Attorney General Beau Biden, and Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, Cari DeSantis.
The Protecting Delaware’s Children Conference was part of a much larger effort to strengthen families, communities, and Delaware. Delaware’s Judiciary and the agencies they are associated with have long been a part of these efforts.
- The Child Death, Near Death, and Stillbirth Commission (CDNDSC) was established in 1995 to safeguard Delaware’s children by examining the deaths of children. Reviews are designed to provide meaningful, prompt, system-wide recommendations in order to prevent future deaths and improve services to children.
- The Child Protection Accountability Commission (CPAC) was created as part of the Child Abuse Prevention Act of 1997 to improve Delaware’s child protection system. CPAC’s mission is to monitor Delaware’s child protection system to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of Delaware’s abused, neglected and dependent children. By statute, the Child Advocate serves as the Executive Director of the CPAC.
- Since 2000, the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) has safeguarded the welfare of Delaware's children through educational advocacy, system reform, public awareness, training, and legal representation of children.
- The Delaware Family Court CASA Program began in 1981. Administered by Family Court, the goal of the CASA Program is to provide representation for all abused or neglected children who come before the Court.