Spring Research Symposium

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Child Abuse Prevention Research Symposium


Keynote Speakers

Dr. Sacha Klein Dr. Gary Melton Robin J. Kimbrough-Melton
Dr. Sacha Klein
Michigan State University School of Social Work
Dr. Gary Melton
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Dr. Robin J. Kimbrough-Melton
Colorado School of Public Health
April 26 April 27 April 27

Sacha Klein, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work at Michigan State University where she teaches child welfare, social policy, and community and organizational leadership. Her research focuses on child abuse prevention; early care and education for maltreated children; racial/ethnic disparities in child welfare involvement; and neighborhood effects on parenting. Sacha has more than twenty years of social work experience, which includes working on home visiting policy as a consultant to the Pew Charitable Trusts' Home Visiting Data Performance Initiative and as a Society for Research in Child Development Policy Fellow with the U.S. Administration for Children and Families. Sacha also was the Policy Director for First 5 LA and the Child Welfare Policy Director for the Association of Community Human Services Agencies (ACHSA) in Los Angeles County. She is the author of multiple articles on child welfare and social service policy and practice issues.

Gary B. Melton, PhD is associate director for community development and social policy in the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect, professor of pediatrics in the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and professor of community and behavioral health in the Colorado School of Public Health, all located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He is currently visiting professor of education and psychology at the University of Virginia. He is adjunct professor of youth, family, and community studies at Clemson University and adjoint professor of psychology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Robin J. Kimbrough-Melton is research professor of community and behavioral health in the Colorado School of Public Health, adjunct professor of youth, family, and community studies at Clemson University, and executive officer of the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice (formerly the American Orthopsychiatric Association). She has also been a research professor at the University of South Carolina (1995-1999) and Clemson University (1999-2012) and a visiting professor at the University of Virginia (2015-2017)

Post your questions for the panel discussion to social media using  #AskthePanel



Jennifer Ohlsen Aisha Alayande Dr. Stefanie Kreamer
Jennifer Ohlsen
Director, Healthy Families Florida
Aisha Alayande
Prevention Specialist, Drug Free Highlands
Dr. Stefanie Kreamer
April 26 April 26 April 26

Jennifer Ohlsen is the Executive Director of Healthy Families Florida (HFF). Housed at the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida in Tallahassee, HFF is Florida’s largest evidence based home visiting program serving over 10,000 families and their 18,000 children each year. Jennifer holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from the Florida State University. She is dedicated to early childhood system development including initiatives addressing safe sleep, domestic violence, child maltreatment and the coordination of services for at-risk families. Jennifer currently serves on the National Advisory Committee for Healthy Families America, and is a member of the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health and the Florida Child Abuse Death Review Committee. An active Kiwanian, Jennifer is the Florida District of Kiwanis Chairperson for Young Children: Priority One, an international initiative that promotes community service benefiting children up to age five and their families.

Aisha Alayande’s passion for strengthening families is witnessed in both her professional and philanthropic body of work which began over 20 years ago. Aisha has been the Executive Director of the Drug Free Highlands Coalition for two years and has been with the coalition since 2011. Through the coalition, Aisha works with many sectors to creatively promote health and wellness and incorporate events and programs that aim to increase positive social norms through education, policy change, environmental strategies and mental health awareness. As the CEO of Aisha Alayande Inc. and founder of The Healing Pot, she expands her skills and interest in the fields of health, science and culture.

Dr. Stefanie Kreamer is a Family Physician in Gadsden County who practices full spectrum primary care. She sees newborns, children of all ages, adults, geriatrics, prenatal patients, and does several office procedures. Often having several members of the same family as patients, she has a unique perspective into the social and generational determinants of health. Having done her medical training with underserved populations in the larger cities of Philadelphia and Washington DC, she's found rural medicine to have some key similarities and differences. She lives in Tallahassee with her husband and 2 children.

Chris Lolley Renee Jenkins Erin Hough
Chris Lolley
Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse Florida
Renee Jenkins
Administrator, Florida’s Early Steps Program
Erin Hough
Prevention Specialist, Department of Children and Families
April 26 April 26 April 26

Chris Lolley is the executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida, a part of the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida. Chris is a long time child welfare professional having served as a child protective investigator, licensing counselor and foster and adoptive parent recruiter and trainer in the early part of his career. Later he would work as a supervisor, statewide trainer and to work at DCF headquarters. That amounts to over 29 years of experience so you could say he is definitely a life-long member of the child protection club! He has been married to the same beautiful lady for almost all of those 29 years as well and together, they have one son, Josh, who is now a college student in Tallahassee.

Renee Jenkins is the administrator of Florida’s Early Steps Program, overseeing the statewide system of services and supports for infants and toddlers who have developmental delay and related conditions and their families. She serves as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C Coordinator for the State of Florida. Ms. Jenkins has spent many years in administrative positions serving individuals who have disabilities throughout the lifespan, a majority of those years in early childhood intervention. Her direct service background includes experiences as a protective services investigator, behavior specialist, service coordinator, and supported living coach.

Erin Hough is the Prevention Specialist in the Policy and Practice Unit for the Department of Children and Families Office of Child Welfare. Erin also works closely with child protective investigations, writing policy and providing to technical assistance to front line staff. Erin has worked with the Department of Children and Families for over 20 years in various roles. Erin hold a degree in Social Science from Florida State University.

Distinguished Guests

Zach Gibson Traci Leavine Carol Sekhon Andrew Gillum
Zack Gibson
Director of Prevention, Executive Office of the Governor
Traci Leavine
Director of Child Welfare Policy and Practice, Department of Children and Families
Dr. Carol Sekhon
Medical Director, Florida Department of Health Local Child Protection Team

Andrew Gillum

Tallahassee, FL

April 27 April 27 April 27 April 27


Carlos Cruz Marie Norman
Carlos Cruz
Family Support Services of North Florida
Marie Norman
Family Support Services of North Florida
April 27 April 27

Carlos Cruz is the Family Preservation Manager for Family Support Services of North Florida, the lead agency for foster care, adoptions, and family preservation in Duval and Nassau counties. Before joining Family Support Services, Carlos operated as a Dependency Case Manager at Children’s Home Society, assisting families and children through Judicial case plans under the jurisdiction of the Dependency Courts in Duval County. Prior to that, he was a Child Protective Investigator with the Department of Children and Families. Other past positions include In-Home Family Intervention Specialist with Gateway Community Services, Team Advocate with I.M Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, and Fiscal Contracts Assistant with the Department of Children and Families. He holds a B.S. in Psychology and Fine Arts from St. Lawrence University.

Marie Norman is the Integrated Practice Team Facilitation Coordinator with Family Support Services of North Florida. She has been with Family Support Services for the past 6 1/2 years and has held various positions within the organization. Marie has a background in case management and prevention services and has been in the social services/child welfare field for over 10 years. Throughout this time she has served in numerous capacities working with children and families. She currently holds her certification as a Child Welfare Licensing Counselor (CWLC) and has been trained in evidence and strengths-based models addressing various topics in family and social services. Marie is graduate of Michigan State University and holds a B.A. in Psychology.

The Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference CenterThe Florida Institute for Child Welfare is proud to partner with the FSU College of Social Work and the USF Florida Mental Health Institute to host a research symposium on child abuse prevention.

The Symposium will take place at The Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center in Tallahassee from Thursday, April 26 (1-5pm) to Friday, April 27 (8:30am-3pm).

For each Keynote Lecture, 2 continuing education contact hours are available at no cost for the following: Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling, Certified Master Social Worker, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Join our Institute in a unified effort to raise the standards of Florida’s child abuse prevention services. It is our goal to develop effective strategies and identify barriers to prevention. An investment in the wellness of vulnerable families, through educational and preventive efforts, would positively impact our child welfare system on multiple levels; such as, workforce stability, caseload sizes, resource allocation and improved outcomes. We will learn from professionals who are leading Florida’s prevention work, and we will have presentations from renown and preeminent researchers and practitioners.

Hotel Information

Marriott hotels is offering a special group rate at Residence Inn by Marriott Tallahassee Universities at the Capitol for $139/night.
Click here to book the group rate for the Symposium.

Please note that the reservation link above will only work for the night of the 26th.  Any guest wishing to reserve a room on a shoulder night would need to make a separate reservation through Marriott.com or call in through Marriott’s reservation line at 1-888-236-2427. 

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