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NYSCA News   Issue 3   Summer 2015
NYSCA partners with DCJS to make First Responder Training Available Online to all Law Enforcement Statewide

Renee Smith-Rotondo, Kathleen Hochul and Mike Green
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo held the first of a series of press conferences in June announcing t he launch of an online training  course for law enforcement officials designed to improve the initial  response to child abuse allegations. The training is aimed to help officers  better identity, understand and investigate child abuse causes to enhance  prosecution and reduce trauma to victims. The free online training is  developed by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services in conjunction  with the New York State Children's Alliance, and is being offered to reach  as many officers as possible across the state.

"By equipping first responders with the training necessary to better  identify and investigate suspected cases of child abuse, we are building on  our commitment to protect New York's children," Governor Cuomo said. "This  administration will continue to do everything it can to help victims of this  heinous crime and keep our children out of harm's way."

Joined by law enforcement professionals from Western New York, Lieutenant  Governor Hochul, Michael C. Green, executive deputy commissioner of the  Division of Criminal Justice Services, and Renee Smith-Rotondo, chair of the  Board of Directors of the New York State Children's Alliance, highlighted the training  during a press conference at the Erie County Central Police Services Public  Safety Training Academy in Williamsville on June 4th. Details about how to access the  online training were sent to all law enforcement agencies across the state.

Executive Deputy Commissioner of DCJS Mike Green said, "The ability to  successfully investigate reports of child abuse, ultimately learn the truth  and hold those who abuse children accountable is directly affected by the  actions of the officers who have the first contact with a child. This course  is designed to train officers in best practices for handling these difficult  situations from the very beginning, which will play a key role in reducing  any additional trauma to the child and provide for more positive outcomes to  these investigations."

Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the New York State Children's Alliance and Director of the Madison  County Children's Advocacy Center Renee Smith-Rotondo said, "Child Advocacy  Centers provide a child-focused, multi-disciplinary system response to child  physical and sexual abuse cases. One of our essential team partners is law  enforcement. Without them, we could not do the hard work of getting to the  truth and ferreting out cases of abuse. This training is another step in  our ongoing efforts to ensure that the system response to child abuse is the  best that it can be."

The approximately one-hour long training, entitled "Understanding and  Responding to Child Abuse Allegations for Law Enforcement", focuses on the  steps necessary to effectively gather preliminary information in a case,  while taking into consideration the best interest of the child involved.  The video lecture includes a segment providing an overview of Child Advocacy  Centers and an example of how to speak with a child victim and conduct a  minimal facts interview at the outset of a case.

The course covers the following topics: scope of the child abuse problem,  the relationship between child maltreatment and child well-being,  understanding the stages of child sexual abuse, how to speak with a child  and conduct a minimal facts interview, forms of child abuse, the Child  Advocacy Center Multidisciplinary Team response, gathering information from  the source and managing the alleged perpetrator and non-offending caregiver.

Staff from the Division of Criminal Justice Service's Office of Public  Safety, which develops and coordinates training for police officers and  other law enforcement professionals, created the online course after  partnering with the New York State Children's Alliance to develop a two-day, in-person  training for first responders.

Within the first month, more than 400 law enforcement officers from 83 law enforcement agencies statewide completed the online training.

To view additional coverage of the press conference, please click on the following links:  WKBW news coverage   WIVB news coverage
The  New York State Children's Alliance was recently invited to hold a seat on the  New York State Office of Victim Services Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of members appointed by OVS who have demonstrated an active interest in or obtained professional knowledge of the problems, needs and treatment of victims. NYSCA welcomes the opportunity to represent the unique needs of child victims and their families as part of the Advisory Council. 
NYSCA  is working to increase awareness of Child Advocacy Centers throughout the state. In April, NYSCA had a presence at the 20th Annual NYS Child Abuse Prevention Conference in Albany and the 7th Annual Bivona Child Abuse Summit in Rochester.  In May, NYSCA had a presence at the New York State Police Academy Crimes Against Children Seminar. If you have any recommendations for upcoming exhibitor opportunities, please contact Chapter Coordinator, Lisa Walker, at nysca.coordinator@gmail.com.  
What's New in NY's CACs?
The Child Advocacy Program (CAP) of Jamestown, NY celebrated the opening of our satellite office in Northern Chautauqua County located at 40 East Main Street, Fredonia, on June 12, 2015. Local, state and national dignitaries were on hand to celebrate with us.

 "We are pleased to be able to offer services in Northern Chautauqua County", notes Betsy Goldman, President of CAP's Board of Directors. "Geographically, we are a large county and having two sites allows us to offer services that are convenient to more children and families".

unding for the new site was made possible through a grant from the New York State Office of Child and Family Services, to enhance services. CAP also received funding from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation to update video-recording equipment used in the forensic interview process. 

Congressman Tom Reed trained in Stewards of Children

Child Advocacy Program (CAP) Executive Director  Jana McDermott provided Stewards of Children traini ng to  Congressman Tom Reed of the 23rd District, along with  multiple staff from the district office, county executive's office, and  state assemblyman's office.

According to one attendee, "Training was very beneficial and would be  great for ANY organization that deals with youth. I wish we had taken  this training a few years ago when I worked for a local town summer  recreation program."

Response from the training was so overwhelmingly positive that Jana asked Congressman Reed what his next step would  be. He said, "Write a bill."

CAP wants to train 5,000 adults in the Jameston community and youth serving organizations to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Legislation backed by education and understanding of the issue could go a long way toward achieving this goal.
Congressman Katko visits the CAC of Cayuga County
New York State CAC Representatives Visit Capitol Hill

On June 2nd, representatives from CACs across New York met with staff members in Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand's Washington, DC offices to discuss the important work being done in Child Advocacy Centers.  

From top, left to right: Judith Olin, Fabio Cotza, Lisa Walker, Mary Clare Reitz, Jill Parker, Richelle Gregory and Renee Smith-Rotondo
From top, left to right: Fabio Cotza, Mary Clare Reitz, Jill Parker, Lisa Walker, Renee Smith-Rotondo, Richelle Gregory and Judith Olin

The Lee Gross Anthone CAC is so proud that DeChantal (Day) Cu mmings, MSW, received the National Association of Social Workers - New York State (NASW-NYS) 2015 Social Worker of the Year Award. She was honored at the NASW-NYS annual conference in Albany, on March 20,

Ms. Cummings is a social worker at the Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center (CAC), a program of Child & Adolescent Treatment Services. She founded the animal assisted therapy program at the CAC. The program provides for trained therapy dogs to aid traumatized children. These specially trained therapy dogs are an important presence at the Child Advocacy Center and especially important to children who need a gently, non-judgmental companion who can help them begin to heal and regain their lives after abuse.

Over the last 7 years, Ms Cummings has run sexual abuse survivor groups for girls ages 6-18. These groups, co-facilitated by the CAC's Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Debi Dee, are an outstanding treatment option that help children gain support from peers, as well as from their therapist. Therapy dogs are also used in the groups.

The Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County (CAC) announced that Rachel Muntz has joined the staff as a victim advocate. A graduate of SUNY Oswego, Muntz, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Public Justice.

"I'm a strong believer in giving back to your community and I knew that I wanted to help people. The CAC is the perfect outlet for me to do so. I especially have a passion for helping those who have been victims of sex crimes. The CAC provides me with the opportunity to fulfill that passion," said Muntz.

"Rachel is a welcome addition to our staff. She brings with her a desire to improve the lives of others and she is a valuable resource for the families we serve here at the CAC," said CAC Director Karrie Damm.

The Oneida County Child Advocacy Center was recently brightened up by a visit from Heather Buggee, Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Splashes of Hope.  They custom-design murals and other artistic projects to bring smiles to the faces of patients, staff and visitors of medical and social service facilities worldwide. 

For more information about Splashes of Hope, visit their website: http://splashesofhope.org/
The Otsego County CAC  hosted its 1st Annual Community Pinwheel  Garden calle d "Pinwheels in the Park" in Cooperstown, NY on April 18 with a local  organ ization called the Clark Sports Center. Children and adults had the opportun ity to  "plant" their pinwheel, listen to our Mayor proclaim the month as Child Abuse Prevention  Month and the day as Community Pinwheel Day, enjoy cookies and milk donated by  Stewart's Shops and our local bakery, and take prevention resources home with them. T he Clark Sports Center even donated a week long summer sports camp to a lucky winner of those who signed a prevention pledge card.
Bivona Child Advocacy Center hosted its 13th Annual Golf Tournament at Midvale Country Club on Monday,  June 22, 2015.   A record of more than 200 golfers were registered for the tournament.  

Senator Joe Robach, Tournament Honorary Chair, shaved the heads of the "Bald Headed Boys"  volunteers  who "donated" their foreheads for the day to advertise a painted sponsor logo. Prior to the event, businesses  were given the opportunity to sponsor a volunteer's shaved, or naturally bald head to advertise their logo on the  golf course. This year, seven brave volunteers took part in the fun.  

Funds raised support the agency in helping provide critical funding for comprehensive services to local children  who have been sexually or physically abused. A significant portion of the funds raised at the tournament came  from sponsorships, including Ace Sponsors: Polisseni Foundation, RBC Wealth Management and Artistix.
CAC Service Highlights
Rapid assessment
A response to serious injury and child fatality cases

For several years now, the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara , along with the members of the multidisciplinary team and the Child Fatality Review Team, has enacted a practice called "Rapid Assessment." Through CFRT, it became apparent that we needed a more immediate coordinated response to not only fatalities but serious injury cases as well.

RA is designed to bring all involved professionals to the table within 24 hours of a serious injury case and between 24-72 hours after a fatality. Something that was once started to facilitate the sharing of information has truly become what we consider best practice. Rapid assessment allows for a more clear, comprehensive, and coordinated response to child fatalities and serious injury cases, and has made a difference not only in the way cases are handled but has significantly impacted their outcome.

The purpose of RA is to:

Share all relevant information (involved members of the MDT, CFRT Coordinator )
Discuss differentials (what else could have caused the death or serious injury)
Organize a team approach
Define a timeline and likely mechanism of injury
Communicate with treating physicians, hospitals, medical examiners etc.

We have found that the key to Rapid Assessment is not only information sharing but the quickness in which that information sharing takes place. Having prompt access to CPS, Law Enforcement, District Attorney's office, medical examiner and medical professionals helps streamline the process focusing the team on what makes sense in each particular case.

The rapid assessment process has proven especially effective in instances in which medical diagnosis and evidence play a critical role. As we all know, in some cases the history just doesn't make sense. When initiating a rapid assessment, CPS, law enforcement and the district attorney's office can then investigate with a more clear idea of the injuries, what mechanism and force would be needed to produce them, potential timeline, and differential diagnoses. Because of rapid assessment, time is not wasted on explanations that are inconsistent with the injuries. In some instances, the need for additional diagnostic testing is identified. If not done promptly, their efficacy and value could be lost.

Sample Case Study: A three year old presents to the emergency room. Mother's boyfriend states the child is suffering an asthma attack. Shortly after triage, the child's condition deteriorates. Imaging tests confirm acute abdominal trauma and the child is admitted to the intensive care unit. The rapid assessment process is convened with MDT members. During the "rapid", the CAC's medical team assists investigators to understand the medical condition and identify next steps. The CAC medical team consulted with hospital physicians confirming the child suffered from blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

During the course of the investigation, the history changed to the child fell down the stairs. The rapid assessment process assisted the team to more accurately differentiate between the history provided and what was more likely to have happened. In this instance, the injury did not match the history. Eventually, the investigation revealed that the mother's boyfriend kicked the child in the stomach over a potty-training issue.

Jacqueline Collard RN, BSN, MS, C-PNP
Child Advocacy Center of Niagara
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
Upcoming Events

Child Abuse and Exploitation Investigations

National Criminal Justice Training Center
Fox Valley Technical College, South Burlington, VT
August 3-7, 2015
Training participants will learn how to:
  • Describe the type of injuries a child may sustain and those that may or may not be as a result of abuse;
  • Define child sexual abuse and exploitation;
  • Identify technology used to facilitate child exploitation and abuse;
  • Define characteristics of victims and offenders of child abuse and exploitation;
  • Describe preferred practices for interviewing minor victims and offending suspects; and
  • Describe legal considerations for investigating and prosecuting child abuse and exploitation cases.
Honoring Children, Mending the Cycle
Adaptations to TF-CBT for American Indian 
Children and Adolescents 

August 24 - 25, 2015  

2 Day In-person Training

September 2015 - February 2016

 Monthly Clinical Consultation Calls

The Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center

772 Main Street, Olean, NY 14760


Training Facilitators:

Dr. Dolores Subia Bigfoot and Susan Schmidt


This training  is being offered free of charge to attendees. 

Space is limited to the first 10 registrants!


Training Prerequisite: Participants must be skilled in the delivery of TF-CBT.


October 13, 2015

Holiday Valley
Resort and Conference Center
Registration $45/person 


Keynote Speaker

Joseph Rampolla


Captain Rampolla currently oversees the Detective Bureau of the Park Ridge Police Department in New Jersey. In his 20 year career as a law enforcement officer, Joseph has supervised numerous criminal investigations specializing in the areas of computer forensics, Internet child exploitation, cyber-bullying, and advanced undercover Internet Relay Chat. 


Additional Presentations

Special Agent Kelly Richards 
Homeland Security Investigations
 Project iGuardian: Internet Safety Program 

Dr. Amanda Nickerson 

Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention
 When Crisis Strikes: Effective Elements of the School and Community Response


Breakout Session One Options:

  • Understanding Emerging Technologies to Prevent Victimization
  • Current Trends in Substance Abuse
  • Less is More: A Trauma Informed Response for Professionals Mandated to Report Suspicions of Child Abuse
  • Strategies to Support Caregiver Engagement

Breakout Session Two Options:

  • Safe Touches: Child Abuse Prevention Curriculum
  • Understanding the Nature of Adolescent Risk and Vulnerability
  • A Multidisciplinary Team Response to Commercial Sexual Exploitation Investigations and Treatment
  • A Multidisciplinary Team Response to Youth with Problematic Sexual Behavior Problems 
McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center  will be presenting its  Stand Against Child Abuse  Conference on Tuesday, October 20 th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Syracuse, NY.  The keynote will feature Motivational Speaker and Consultant, Karen S. Vadino, MSW, LPCC.  Her "Laughing: Just for the Health of It" will kick off the conference.  Breakout sessions will offer tracks for law enfor cement, medical, and victim services.  
The conference cost is $75, with special rates for early registration and for groups of 4 or more.  
For more information, visit  www.mcmahonryan.org   or email us at  mcmahonryan@mcmahonryan.org .
New York State Children's Alliance 
Annual Membership Conference

November 9th and 10th
Holiday Inn, Saratoga Springs, NY

Topics Include: 

New York State Forensic Interviewing Best Practices 
NCMEC Child Victim Identification Lab: 
An Untapped Resource for CACs

Overview of the Justice Center
Engaging Non-Offending Caregivers and 
its Impact on the Success of a Case

Multidisciplinary Response to Youth with 
Problematic Sexual Behaviors in New York

 Less is More and First Responder Training Curricula
Updates from NYSCA, NRCAC and OCFS

Revised NCA Standards

A Look at Our Coping Skills: 
Using Humor as an Anecdote to Stress
The Humor Project

Registration Fee: $65
includes continental breakfast and lunch
For additional information, or to register, please visit
 New York State Children's Alliance, Inc
 phone (516) 406-0225 | fax (516) 710-7832 
nysca.coordinator@gmail.com | www.nyschildrensalliance.org
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