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 Jacque Smith, Director of Public Relations

March 7, 2005

Union College hosts workshop focusing on child protection issues

Bruce Schlieder, associate professor of social work at Union College.

LINCOLN— In May 2003, an 18-month girl was killed by her mother after Nebraska’s child welfare system had returned the child to her home. That tragedy and other cases caused concern and a search for better solutions to protect Nebraska’s children.
        In response to these efforts last year, the Nebraska chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) along with the social work programs of Nebraska Wesleyan University and Union College, will sponsor a one-day conference, Friday, Mar. 4 on the Union College campus.
        “The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well being and help meet basic human needs,” said Jen Hernandez, board member of NASW-Nebraska and a member of the workshop planning committee. “Professionally trained social workers are educated to address the issue of child welfare and can help Nebraska communities most effectively utilize resources for our children.”
        Entitled “Keeping Kids Safe: Collaborating Across Systems,” the NASW seminar will address the recommendations of the Children’s Task Force implemented last year by former Governor Mike Johanns. The all-day workshop (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.) will focus on questions vital to the future of Nebraska’s children: “What has been done to make a difference and where do we go from here?”
        According to Rebecca Bolinger, director of the social work program at Union College and a member of the NASW workshop planning committee, “improvements will come when people begin asking, ‘What more can I do or what more can my agency do to make Nebraska a safer place for children?’ This event allows those discussions to take place across agencies and provides a forum for questions to be asked and answered,” Bolinger said.
        Keynote speakers include Nebraska’s director of Health and Human Services, Nancy Montanez, BSW, and the Honorable Linda Porter, juvenile court judge. In addition, two panel discussions will also allow for questions and answers concerning the future of child protection issues in the state.
        Morning panel members include (A):

  • Nancy Bare, MSW, school social worker, Lincoln Public Schools
  • Jim Blue, MSW, president and CEO of Cedars Youth Services
  • Paul Jensen, MSW LCSW, director of social services, Bryan LGH East
  • Betty Medinger, MSW, child care administrator, Nebraska Health and Human Services

        Afternoon panel members include (B):

  • Lynn Ayers, director of Child Advocacy Center
  • Richard Deliberty, MSW, behavioral health administrator of Nebraska Health and Human Services
  • Jessica Watson, BSW, legislative aide for Nebraska State Legislator Carroll Burling
  • Sgt. Joe Wright, Lincoln Police Department

        Anyone interested in child protection issues is welcome to register for the conference that will be held in Union’s Ortner Center at 3800 South 48th Street. Free guest parking is available on the Union College campus at 49th and Prescott, or across the street at the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church. Continuing education credit will be available. Registration fees include all seminar sessions, keynote presentations and lunch.
        Cost: $60 NASW members, $100 non-members, $40 student non-members, $20 student members. Call Toni Ahrendt at 402-429-3881 to register in advance.

Event Schedule
8-8:30 a.m.                               Registration
8:30-8:45 a.m.                          Opening Remarks
8:45-10 a.m.                             Morning Keynote—Nancy Montanez
10:15-11:45 a.m.                      Panel Discussion A
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.               Lunch (included in registration fee; catered by Union College)
12:45-2 p.m.                             Afternoon Keynote—Linda Porter
2:15-3:45 p.m.                          Panel Discussion B


Morning panel discussion included Nancy Bare, Jim Blue, Paul Jensen and Betty Medinger.