The Shield Our Children From Harm Conference is a partnership between The Family Place Child Advocacy Centers, the Child Advocacy Center at CHaD and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. This was their 16th annual conference where they brought together professionals disciplines like social work, child protection, law enforcement, medical, legal, mental health, victim advocacy, schools, and many others to provide a forum to learn about best and current practices in the field of child abuse and neglect.
This work is often taxing on professionals, those in both direct and indirect case roles. Often times, professionals may experience burn-out or compassion fatigue. Others may suffer from PTSD and, nationally, we have seen some succumb to suicide. This is important work, but we cannot expect to take care of others if we are not properly taking care of ourselves.
This year’s conference offered several sessions regarding self-care, recognizing the effects of vicarious trauma on professionals working in the field, and techniques in which to address it in healthy ways.
Perhaps the most anticipated highlight of each year’s conference is when the Child Advocacy Centers honor four individual Unsung Heroes, each as representatives of the CACs they are affiliated with. The Unsung Hero awards go to professionals in their communities who go above and beyond the call of duty each and every day to ensure the safety and well-being of our children. The award recipients are nominated by both their peers and heads of multiple agencies. For the Windsor County awards, those who nominate the Unsung Hero also make the remarks at the awards ceremony. Most recipients are aware ahead of time, but some we’ve managed to surprise. Families, friends and colleagues of the award recipients are invited to this portion of the conference which is always an added joy to observe.
The recipients of the 2019 Unsung Hero award were:
CAC at the Family Place
Northern Windsor County – Megan Place, Victim Advocate – Windsor County State’s Attorney’s Office
Southern Windsor County – Samantha Frank – Investigator – Department of Children and Families – Springfield District Office
CAC at CHaD
Grafton County – Jeremy Coylewright, Family Violence Prevention Specialist – WISE
Sullivan County – Nicolas Richard – Division for Children, Youth, and Families – Claremont District Office
Mark your calendars for the 2020 conference! April 7, 2020 will be here before you know it and conference planning is already underway! This event sells out fast. Click here For more information or to sign up for e-mail alerts. Save the Date information is forthcoming.