Secretary of State Husted featured at PCSAO conference
Nationally known researchers delivered keynote presentations focused on trauma at the 31st annual conference of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, which also featured Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Borrowing from other first-responder and high-intensity fields, Michael Cull of Tennessee’s child welfare department and Richard Epstein of Chapin Hall in Chicago discussed their research on creating a culture of safety within child protection agencies on Wednesday. Then today, James Henry of the Western Michigan University Children’s Trauma Assessment Center closed the conference with a presentation on secondary trauma and resiliency.
A membership association of county children services agencies, PCSAO hosted workshops and presented awards at the three-day conference wrapping up today. The conference drew more than 550 child protection professionals from across the state, showcasing evidence-based practices and trends in child protection.
PCSAO recognized Senator Peggy Lehner and Representative Sarah LaTourette Wednesday as Outstanding Legislators of the Year. The awards, named for former PCSAO advocate Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, were presented in recognition of the legislators’ work on addressing the needs of multi-system youth. “Both of these exceptional lawmakers have prioritized the needs of children with mental illness and developmental disabilities, and the families who must sometimes make the terrible choice to relinquish custody of their kids to the child protection system so that they can get the treatment they need,” PCSAO Executive Director Angela Sausser said. “We know our awardees will continue to work to implement the recommendations of the Joint Legislative Committee on Multi-System Youth so that this does not have to happen.”
In addition to recognizing legislators, PCSAO invited Husted and Eric Fenner of Casey Family Programs to present the most moving awards of the conference yesterday. Himself an adoptee, Husted personally presented awards to birth, foster and adoptive families nominated by agencies for outstanding service. Fenner, former director of Franklin County Children Services, presented awards to young people in or recently out of foster care for “Rising Up and Moving On.” “The dedication and resiliency shown by our awardees is inspiring,” Sausser said. “Whether they are families opening up their homes to foster or adopted children, or whether they are young people working to overcome the adversity of being in the system, they exemplify a sense of personal strength from which we all can learn.”
In addition to agency staff awards, Dan Horn of The Cincinnati Enquirer received the Journalist of the Year award for his profile of a foster youth aging out of care. Lois Tyler received the Dan Schneider Leadership in Training award from the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program’s Regional Training Centers.
Both public and private champions for children and families were honored. Former Family & Youth Law Center director Denise St. Clair and former state child protection director Jennifer Justice received PCSAO’s most prestigious award, the Child Advocate of the Year, named in honor of former PCSAO director Crystal Ward Allen. Allen County Children Services and the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office received an organizational award for their arguments before the Supreme Court of Ohio on an important child protection-related legal issue.
Additional biographical information about the award winners, along with photos, are available: