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DHS news release

Nov. 4, 2005

Program contact: Dave Udlock (503) 731-4293 x:2249
Media contact: Patricia Feeny (503) 945-6955

Conference expected to draw hundreds of child welfare experts, advocates statewide



Some will share their vision for ending child abuse and neglect. Others will offer advice, expertise and experience about meth houses, protecting children from molestation, and child abuse's relationship to delinquency. Most will have stories of heartbreak, healing and triumph.


More than 900 participants, including judges, foster and adoptive parents, social workers, journalists and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are expected to share some of their stories as they participate in the annual Shoulder to Shoulder Conference, set for Wednesday at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The conference began in 1998 as a way to build stronger partnerships on behalf of children in the state's child protection system.


"The problems of our families cut across systems -- substance abuse treatment and mental health, law enforcement and justice, employment and housing, and health care and education," said Dr. Bruce Goldberg, director of the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), which delivers child welfare services statewide. "We all have a role to play in building strong communities where families and children are valued and supported. We know that a single agency working alone can't protect children."


In 2004, Oregon received more than 46,000 reports of child maltreatment, a 9.6 percent increase over the previous year. Last year, more than 14,400 children were served in the state's foster care system.


Among the speakers at this year's conference is Victor Vieth, J.D., director of child abuse programs at the National Child Protection Center in Virginia. He will address the five obstacles that prevent ending child abuse. He will also discuss the changes now taking place that will significantly reduce, and perhaps eliminate, child abuse over the course of the next three generations.


David Udlock, the event coordinator and a social services worker with DHS, said the conference is now considered a major training vehicle for those working in child welfare and is a unique opportunity to bring together the professionals, advocates and volunteers who work on the behalf of Oregon's children and families.


The event is sponsored by CASA (Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties), Foster Family Care Network, Juvenile Rights Project, DHS, Oregon Foster Parent Association, Oregon Youth Authority, Special Needs Adoption Coalition, Greater Metropolitan Foster Parent Association, and Wraparound Oregon.


For more information about this year's speakers and workshops, see the conference brochure (PDF).