WILMINGTON, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In June, the first National Conference to Protect America’s Children will draw hundreds of advocates from schools, law enforcement and social work to focus on fighting child abuse, the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children announced.
The conference will run June 27 to 29 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Registration is now open; the discounted hotel rate deadline is June 6, and the conference registration deadline is June 12.
“Child abuse is not a political matter, and it’s time we get on the same page for protecting children,” said Patricia Dailey Lewis, the foundation’s CEO. “We will ensure that organizations are looking at simple ways to strengthen their efforts, improve their work, and provide safeguards for children’s safety.”
The conference will feature more than 60 speakers — all experts in child abuse, exploitation and neglect. The conference is designed for community leaders who are the “spokes in the wheel of the community,” to borrow a phrase from the late Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, Delaware’s 44th attorney general. Community collaboration is critical.
Those leaders include school superintendents, principals, teachers, counselors, school resource officers, child welfare workers, police and sheriff’s officers, youth-serving organizations, medical and mental health professionals, child care providers, caregivers, lawmakers, attorneys, faith leaders, researchers, and parents.
Conference Co-Chair Viola Vaughan-Eden is a Norfolk State University social work professor and chief executive of UP For Champions, a nonprofit in partnership with The UP Institute, a think tank for upstream child abuse solutions. She says the conference aims to inspire collaboration.
“Whether you’re in a big city or a small town, this conference will inspire and call your community into action,” Vaughan-Eden said. “We want to spark organizations in every state to effectively collaborate on ensuring that everyone in the community is trained to recognize, report and prevent child abuse.”
The eight conference tracks will include child sexual abuse and exploitation; physical abuse and corporal punishment; culture and faith communities; educators and youth-serving organizations; community partnerships; violence, bullying, and trauma; multidisciplinary teams; and prevention and resiliency.
Too often, child protection is simplified as background checks, which isn’t a complete picture, Dailey Lewis said. “Working together — unifying your police, faith leaders, schools, youth organizations and community centers — and saying, ‘Let’s work together on this. Let’s do these simple things that will protect everyone,’ can make a huge difference,” she said.
The foundation was created in 2015 after the death of Beau Biden to further his life’s passion — protecting children from abuse.
Biden, the eldest child of President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, also was an officer in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps and a major in the Delaware Army National Guard in the Iraq War. He died of brain cancer at age 46 in 2015.