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IU Northwest to host 24th Annual Forum on Child Abuse and Neglect April 25

Conference to focus on engaging families and communities; keynote speaker to discuss experience of parenting 22 children

Wednesday Apr 02, 2014

On Friday, April 25, in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Indiana University Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and its community partners will host the 24th Annual Forum on Child Abuse and Neglect, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium in the Savannah Center.

The theme for this year’s free event is “Engaging Families and Communities.”

Check-in begins at 8:15 a.m. followed by a welcome and introduction by Elizabeth Guzman-Arredondo of St. Monica Home; IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe; and Jane Bisbee, Deputy Director of Indiana Department of Child Services.


This year's forum will feature keynote speaker Susan Badeau, a nationally known speaker, writer and consultant with a heart for children and a desire to help adults and children build bridges of hope following the pain of trauma or loss. Her presentation will lay a foundation for family engagement, as well as discuss the necessity of multiple systems working well together to support the full and meaningful partnership and engagement of families. 

Badeau, and her husband Hector, are parents of 22 children, two by birth and 20 adopted (three of them had terminal illnesses and are now deceased). They have also served as foster parents for more than 50 children. 

Susan Badeau has worked for many years in child services and serves on several national boards.

The Badeaus have authored a book about their family’s parenting journey, Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip: Adopting and Raising 22 Kids. They currently live in Philadelphia.


Breakouts this year will include sessions on a variety of topics, including: services for LGBTQ+ youth; new initiatives for the Indiana Department of Child Services (presented by Bonaventura); local domestic violence; sexual assault; gang education, awareness and prevention; and others.

Closing Plenary

Following the presentation of Prevent Child Abuse Lake County’s Annual Cherish the Children Award, the conference will come to a close with remarks by Susan Kelly, an internationally known, award-winning consultant, speaker, writer, researcher, and policy analyst who currently serves as senior director of strategic consulting for Casey Family Programs in Seattle. 

Kelly’s presentation will include voices from many families she has worked with. She will also acknowledge the progress in and challenges to achieving and sustaining successful family engagement and improving outcomes for children in the child welfare system.  

In Kelly’s role, she works to find ways to assess and support systems improvement in organizations and agencies providing child welfare services. Before joining Casey, she was with the Center for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, D.C. where she worked to strengthen state and national efforts to implement family centered, community-based child welfare strategies. 

Kelly was recently honored with the Leadership for Children Award by the Children’s Defense Fund.


Because seating is limited and lunch is provided, early registration is encouraged. Registrants should send an e-mail to that contains their name, organization, address, phone, e-mail address and the breakout sessions they wish to attend, and if you are in need of CEUs or a certificate.

Walk-ins are welcome; however they are not guaranteed seating or lunch.

Live streaming video will be available at:

Continuing-education credits (CEU) will be available for foster parents and licensed social workers.

Parking is available in the main IU Northwest parking lot on 33rd Avenue just west of Broadway and just north of the Savannah Center.

Co-sponsors of the forum include: Prevent Child Abuse Lake County; Mental Health America of Lake County; Lake Area United Way; Area Health Education Center of Northwest Indiana; The Villages; Early Learning Partnership of Northwest Indiana; Indiana Department of Child Services; IU Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs; IU Northwest Division of Social Work; IU Northwest School of Nursing; IU Northwest Center for Urban and Regional Excellence; Purdue University Calumet School of Nursing; Ivy Tech School of Nursing; Sigma Theta Tau; Geminus Community Partners; Edgewater Systems for Balanced Living; St. Monica Home of Franciscan St. Margaret Health; Indiana Kids First Trust Fund; and The Lake County CASA program.

For more information about the 24th Annual Forum on Child Abuse and Neglect, contact Mental Health America of Northwest Indiana at (219) 736-4955.

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