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About the Conference

The 17th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect – "Focusing on the Future: Strengthening Families and Communities," was held on March 30 - April 4, 2009 at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia. The Conference theme, "Focusing on the Future: Strengthening Families and Communities," reflected our resolve to ensure every child enjoys a healthy family life in a nurturing community. Our conference theme also emphasized the need for prevention and comprehensive services to address co-occurring disorders and highlighted evidence-based approaches to improving child welfare practice and systems. More than 1,100 participants were in attendance.

Conference offerings included: Pre-Conference Seminars, Plenary and Mini-Plenary Sessions, Skill Seminars, Workshops, and Roundtables. Experiential Learning Opportunities introduced participants to a variety of unique offerings aimed at increasing their knowledge and awareness of local area history, culture and practice issues.

During National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April 2009, the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) and its partners collaborated to increase public awareness about child abuse and neglect. Together, they strove to educate both professionals and the general public about the important roles of prevention, family support, and community involvement in protecting children from abuse and neglect. We were delighted to be joined in these efforts with our distinguished National Planning Committees and Local Planning Committees who represented a diversity of disciplines involved in preventing and responding to child maltreatment. We were especially pleased to be joined by our long time Federal partner and collaborator, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since we convened in their home community of Atlanta, Georgia.

The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect

The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the Children’s Bureau provides leadership in the field of child maltreatment. While the primary responsibility for responding to cases of child maltreatment rests with State and local agencies, OCAN serves as the national focal point for child abuse and neglect policy and program issues. The agency oversees interagency collaborative efforts, including inter- and intra- agency agreements; sponsors national conferences; and leads special initiatives related to child abuse and neglect prevention, intervention practice and systems reform. As the principal Federal coordination point for all activities related to ensuring the safety of children at risk, OCAN supports prevention activities through the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) Program and promotes improvements in Child Protective Service (CPS) systems through discretionary grant activities. Using funds from the Department of Justice’s Victim of Crimes Act (VOCA), OCAN manages the Children’s Justice Act (CJA) grants to improve the investigationand prosecution of serious child abuse and neglect cases, especially child sexual abuse, abuse related fatalities, and to reduce the trauma to the child victim.

About the Children’s Bureau

As the oldest Federal agency with sole legislative responsibility for safety and well being of children, the Children’s Bureau (CB) assists States in the delivery of child welfare services – services designed to protect children and strengthen families. Located within the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, the mission of the Children’s Bureau is to provide for the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and families. The Children’s Bureau carries out this mission through leadership, support for necessary services, and productive partnerships with States, Tribes, and communities.