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NYSCA News  
 
Issue 6:  Spring 2016
Letter from the NYSCA Board Chair

Renee Smith-Rotondo _ Chair_ NYS Board of Directors





Dear Membership,

NYSCA has been on the move in the last several months and it's all good.  I am so excited to share with you what we have been doing.

First, I am delighted to announce that our extensive search for NYSCA's first Executive Director has resulted in the hiring of Terry Whitt.  While not from "our world", Terry has extensive experience with not-for-profit organizations, grant writing and strategic planning.  She has already proven to be incredibly dedicated and so eager to learn.  As she gets adjusted to her new position, you can all expect to hear from her as she is committed to connecting with each and every NYS CAC to discuss your needs and your expectations of NYSCA.  I will leave it for Terry to introduce herself to you in her own letter below.
NYSCA's staff is experiencing exponential growth this year.  In addition to a fulltime Executive Director, we have just hired a Program Coordinator and are looking to hire an Administrative Assistant.   Both of these positions will be fulltime as well.   With three fulltime employees, NYSCA's ability to meet the needs and demands of its membership will also be experiencing exponential growth.

How have we been able to accomplish this?  It would not have been possible without two very big boosts to our revenue, both of which are thanks to the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.   Last fall, the NYSCA Board approached OCFS about its desire to grow the organization but the lack of funds to do so.  OCFS responded with a capacity building grant that will provide us with significant funds for the next three years.  In addition, as the result of an open and sensitive collaboration, NYSCA and Safe Horizon agreed that NYSCA alone would submit an application for the CARCC contract that Safe Horizon would support.    The NYSCA Board cannot thank Safe Horizon enough for its generous support and leadership.   

As you all know only too well, contracting with the state is a time-consuming process that we are engaged in at the present time.  We intend to move forward with supporting our membership in both well-established and new ways.  Safe Horizon will be working with NYSCA to transition many of the technical assistance aspects of the contract (the listserv, advanced forensic interview training, NCAtrak, etc.).  What will be a tremendous help in this regard is the hiring of former CARCC program employee, Clare Robinson-Henrie, as NYSCA's new Program Coordinator!   We are thrilled to have her on board and know that she looks forward to closely working with all of you.

The NYSCA Board is well aware that all of this is a very large undertaking.   But, our commitment has always been to be as responsive as possible to our membership.  To do that requires sufficient staff and funding .  Our hope is that this year of growth will push NYSCA to another, higher level of responsiveness to all of you.    

Renee Smith-Rotondo
NYSCA Chair             

 


New Beginnings...
Terry Whitt_ Executive Director

Hello Everyone! 

 I am delighted to serve as NYSCA's first Executive Director!  I come from a long history of non profit work involving children and families in New York State.  Most recently, I held the position of Director for New York State's Central Region Prevention Resource Center - the largest region in New York State.  I am incredibly honored for the opportunity to work along side the CACs and MDTs in New York State and to compliment the critical work that you all do.  As Renee mentioned above, you will be seeing a lot of changes in NYSCA over the coming months in the services we provide to you.  We will be providing more training, more advocacy and more outreach to the field.  I hope that in the meantime, you will feel free to reach out to me at any time through email (terry.whitt@nyschildrensalliance.org) or my cell (585-401-8086).  I am already incredibly impressed with the best practices, personnel and accomplishments I have seen in my short tenure here.  It is my intention to support you in the field to ultimately impact children who desperately need all of our combined efforts in NYS local communities.   Have a wonderful Spring!

 
Meet our newest Board Member and First NYSCA Community Board Member....

Barb Sweitzer

Senior Resource Director
Region I/Northeast
YMCA of the USA
Office - 312.419.2218                
Cell - 312.208.1715          
barb.sweitzer@ymca.net
 
 
Barb Sweitzer is a Senior Resource Director for Y-USA. In this role Barb is responsible for providing oversight for the delivery of resources to local YMCAs in Region I/Northeast, through a network of Resource Directors, Senior Resource Specialists, Partner YMCAs, and numerous Specialists.  Barb and her team of nine Resource Directors are focused on leveraging and multiplying the talents, skills and resources of local YMCA staff and volunteers in their efforts to turn activity into impact in 228 corporate YMCAs across 11 northeastern states; Conneticut, Deleware, Maine, Maryland, Massachuesetts,  New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Barb has a 38-year career with the YMCA.  She joined the National staff in 2008 serving first as a Resource Director in the state of New York before assuming her current role in October 2011. Prior to that Barb served for ten years as the CEO of the Olean-Bradford Area YMCA.  During her tenure at the Olean-Bradford YMCA, Barb's leadership moved the Y into a culture of philanthropy growing the annual campaign, orchestrating a successful capital campaign to build a new Y facility, facilitating a major community collaboration resulting in a shared facility and merging two independent Ys across two states. Along with her CEO duties Barb worked to advance the YMCA movement at the state and national levels and served as the Chair of the Ys of New York State, National Representative on the Association Assemblies, and was a national YMCA trainor in a number of management module courses.
Barb has been married to her husband Pat for 34 years and they have two adult daughters, Sarah and Christine. Their daughter Jessica passed away in 2014 and they are now proudly raising their  two grandaughters Norah and Lilly.  They live in the small town of Olean in southwest New York.
 


Judith Olin is moving on to new beginnings....

 Judith Olin, Esq. is leaving the Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center, a program of Child & Adolescent Treatment Services, effective July 1, 2016.  In the fall, Judith will be teaching the Family Violence and Women and Children's Rights Law Clinic at SUNY Buffalo Law School.  Judith is proud that in the time that she served as CAC Director, she achieved fiscal stability,  bringing the CAC budget from a deficit to a surplus in 2015.  This resulted in doubling the Case Coordination staff so that children and families can be served in a more holistic manner.  When Judith assumed the leadership of the CAC, there was no on-site therapist.  Judith made it a priority to bring on-site trauma-focused therapy to the CAC, which occurred in 2006, and has been in place since that time.   Judith spearheaded the adoption of a PTSD screening tool that is used on all appropriate families who come to the CAC for forensic interviews.    Judith worked with the CAC therapist to secure funding for sexual abuse survivor groups for children.   The CAC is the only Agency in the County that offers this unique service.    For years, the MDT was divided over the issue of videotaping forensic interviews.  Judith led the Team throughout this challenging time.  In March the Team unanimously adopted a policy where all forensic interviews are videotaped.
GREAT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CACs & MDTs

New York State Children's Alliance, Inc.
2016 Annual 
Membership Conference
 
 
The Annual Membership Conference will take place over the course of a full day on Tuesday, September 13th and half day  on Wednesday, September 14th
               to be held at the               
 Holiday Inn
232 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
 
  
Great Opportunity to Network; Learn from Great Content; and Experience beautiful early Fall in Upstate New York

CAC Directors & Multidisciplinary Teams - Mark Your Calendars!
Watch for upcoming details....
 
Save the Date for the 3 rd  Bi-Annual "Northeast Tribal Summit on Child Victimization and Exploitation" taking place at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Resort September 7 th  and 8 th , 2016.

Click here to access details...


Plenary - Craig Zablock
8th Annual Bivona Child Abuse Summit


More than 650 professionals from across the northeast region gathered together on Thursday, April 28 and Friday April 29 for the northeast's premier child abuse conference- the 8th Annual Bivona Child Abuse Summit, at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Keynote Speaker, survivor of sexual abuse, acclaimed filmmaker, writer, actress and author, Angela Shelton educated and entertained attendees to inspire healing and awareness of child sexual abuse and trauma. Shelton discussed her multiple award-winning documentary, Searching for Angela Shelton. The documentary uncovered Shelton's quest to travel throughout the Unites States surveying others with her name. She uncovered that 70% of the women named Angela Shelton were survivors of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and rape. Her survey of women became a journey of self-discovery during which she confronted her own past of surviving child abuse from her father.

Plenary Speaker, Craig Zablocki encouraged and inspired attendees with his unique blend of humor to tackle life's stressors. Craig spoke about stress being the number one cause of burnout, illness and decreased productivity in America, especially in the realm of child advocacy. Often as a nation, jobs, friends, family and relationships are taken too too seriously but Craig spent the time to educate attendees how to take precautions in their lives to decrease stress substantially.

This year, workshop sessions covered the most prominent issues faced in the industry today.


Workshop topics included:

*       Interview and interrogation techniques for multidisciplinary team members

*       Victimization of children with disabilities and effective communication methods

*       Child sexual abuse prevention- Darkness to Light Stewards of Children

*       Investigation of cybercrimes

*       Reunification of Juvenile sex offenders

*       Adverse childhood experiences

*       Cyberbullying and sextortion

*       Sex offender grooming

*       Forensic Interviewing
Keynote_ Angela Shelton



Next year's conference is scheduled for Thursday, April 27 and Friday, April 28, 2017. For more information please visit  www.BivonaCAC.org
Office of Children and Family Services Update

The Office of Children and Family Services is pleased to announce that the New York State Children's Alliance, Inc. (NYSCA, Inc.) has been awarded the contract for the Child Advocacy Resource and Consultation Center (CARCC) program.  This is a five year contract (2016-2021) that funds technical assistance and training services and support for NYS' Multi-disciplinary Teams and Child Advocacy Centers.
Historically, this program has been administered by Safe Horizon under the competent leadership of Senior Director, Christine Schoonmaker.  OCFS wants to take this opportunity to thank Safe Horizon and Chris for all their hard work over the years on behalf of NYS and all the MDT/ CACs. 
OCFS and NYSCA are looking forward to building on this state-wide collaboration in order to strengthen the support of our teams as well as improving outcomes for children and families.
-Melaney A. Szkienka


OCFS would like to take this opportunity to welcome our newest staff member, Darci Primeau. Darci began working with children in foster care in 1997. She worked within the voluntary agency  system for 7 years before going to the local district as a foster care caseworker.  For the last 8 and half years Darci was directly supervising foster care in a local district. During this time, she worked very closely with the local Child Advocacy Center and sat on a Zero to Five Task force.

Darci will be assigned to the western region of the state. This assignment is in line with OCFS moving toward a regional approach.  We are looking forward to beginning our regional meetings and strengthening our programs through collaboration. As always thank you all for your continued work and dedication to the children and families of New York State.

CAC Spotlight
McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center,  Syracuse, NY

Linda Cleary, Executive Director at McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center located in Syracuse, New York

Go Blue 4 Kids !  It's the theme of McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center's April campaign for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Having participated every year in Pinwheels for Prevention our staff decided to create a theme that would to "catchy," bring attention to child abuse prevention, create visibility for our CAC, and one we could build upon each year. Since blue is the color of child abuse prevention, why not "Go Blue 4 Kids?" 
 
Starting with a brainstorming session with our local iHeartMedia creative team back in the fall to create our theme, one idea led to another, to another, and yet to another!  To kick off the campaign, we are showcasing a first-of-its kind collaboration among five of Central New York's most influential female healthcare leaders who are all focused on raising awareness about child abuse prevention . These healthcare leaders are the CEO's and Presidents of our three hospitals, community health center and the County Commissioner of Health.  These amazing ladies created a video for the CAC, and are represented on flyers and posters throughout the county, as well as on digital billboards throughout the month.
 
Staff has been energized all month and have put together numerous events and activities throughout the month, including a kick off breakfast on April 1st, a Crime Victim Candlelight Vigil honoring the District Attorney's office, an Award Ceremony to recognize several "Children's Guardian Angels", planting community pinwheel gardens, and a Multi-Faith Prayer Service, and staff even got blue hair extensions!!

Matt Sandusky spoke at Go 4 Kids Breakfast
We've encouraged our community to "Go Blue" by buying pinwheels, wristbands and pinwheel lapel pins, having a Wear Blue Day, and keeping the conversation going!  Our goal this April is to get 10,000 pinwheels into the community this April.  As of this writing halfway through the month, we are at 7,500 already. While April has been a whirlwind of a month, and staff goes non-stop from the months leading up to April until the very last day of the month, we wouldn't have it any other way.  This campaign has brought the conversation of child abuse to the forefront and brought visibility to the CAC as a community resource.



The CAC of Putnam County
would like to thank our County Executive, MaryEllen O'Dell and the many people who worked to bring the Prevent Child Abuse New York's "Pinwheels for Prevention" campaign to Putnam County.  We have been overwhelmed by the community's positive response and look forward to growing the campaign in future years. 

Pinwheels will remain in front of the Sybil Ludington Statue through April 28, 2016. Sybil Ludington was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War and this site for the garden was chosen, not only for its central location, but for its symbolic nature of a child who accomplished heroic deeds.
Pinwheels are a happy and uplifting token of childhood.  They are meant to convey that every child deserves the chance to be raised in a healthy, safe and nurturing environment.   The "Pinwheels for Prevention" campaign is based on the belief that communities must be more proactive to prevent abuse. The CAC has long advocated that education is imperative to preventing child abuse and continues to partner with local agencies to implement innovative programs to ensure the physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing of the children of Putnam County



NYSCA Newsletter Schedule
January 1 - Winter Edition
April 1 - Spring Edition
July 1 - Summer Edition
October 1 - Fall Edition
 
Newsletter deadlines will be 2 weeks before the edition is sent out.