Hundreds Gather to Address Issues of Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting
For Immediate Release Thursday, February 3, 2011 Christopher Portante (302) 739-4111
(DOVER, DE) – Over 800 people attended a special training event Tuesday evening on various aspects of child abuse as part of a larger effort to educate professionals on their legal and ethical duties to ensure the protection of children. The Delaware Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Summit, which was co-presented by numerous state agencies, featured a keynote speech by Dr. Cindy W. Christian, a recognized expert in the field of child abuse and neglect. Dr. Christian is the director of Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
In June, Governor Jack Markell signed nine bills into law to strengthen patient protections and improve oversight with the intent of preventing the future victimization of children in health care settings. One of these bills required that physicians, law enforcement, and Deputy Attorneys General receive training on the recognition and reporting of child abuse. The Summit held yesterday was one way for them to meet this requirement.
At the event, Governor Markell spoke about increased cooperation and better communication. “When the medical community, state regulators, social service agencies, and law enforcement work together, we can be a powerful force for good in our communities.” The Governor said the lives of many Delaware children are greatly improved and possibly saved by the actions of one individual who reports suspected abuse.
That theme was echoed by the evening’s final speaker, Cabinet Secretary for the Delaware Children’s Department, Vivian Rapposelli. Secretary Rapposelli unveiled a new campaign to educate the general public on their duty to report suspected child abuse, and the positive effect that one phone call can have. The campaign, which prominently features the Report Hotline number (800-292-9582) and its website iseethesigns.org, encourages everyone to “see the signs, make the call.”
Under Delaware law, any person, agency, organization or entity who knows or in good faith suspects abuse or neglect must report it. Anyone in violation of this requirement can be fined up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $50,000 for any subsequent offense.
Also speaking at the Summit were Lt. Governor Matt Denn, Attorney General Joseph R. Biden, III, and Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, Lewis Schiliro. The main training portion, produced by the Child Protection Accountability Commission (CPAC), was presented by Delaware pediatrician Dr. Danielle Giddins; a representative of the State’s Division of Family Services, Stacy Northam-Smith; and the Director of the Department of Justice’s Family Division, Deputy Attorney General Patricia Dailey Lewis.
The Delaware Child Abuse Recognition and Reporting Summit was co-presented by: the Office of Governor Jack A. Markell; the Delaware Departments of State, Justice, Safety and Homeland Security, and the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families; the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline; the Children’s Advocacy Center; the Delaware Child Death, Near Death and Stillbirth Commission; the Delaware Child Protection Accountability Commission; and the Office of the Child Advocate.
Delaware State Agencies Collaborate to Train Medical Professionals, Law Enforcement and Others