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February 28, 2006

Mar.24-25: New Orleans child psychologist keynotes conference on promoting children’s well-being

National conference features New Orleans psychologist now working on post-Katrina child mental health

The new Oregon Child Advocacy Project’s first national conference will be held at the University of Oregon School of Law, 1515 Agate Street, Eugene on Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25, 2006.

“Protecting Children’s Need for Nurturance” features child  psychologist Joy Osofsky, a professor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and the president of Zero to Three, a national resource for parents and professionals who are concerned about the healthy development of young children.

Osofsky has been involved around the clock in one of the most dramatic recent examples of children’s need for nurturance.  She has been working on the assessment and follow-up treatment of New Orleans children displaced by Hurricane Katrina, who are at significant risk of disaster-related mental illness. In a recent Times Picayune article, she said, “We know that children are resilient and will be most resilient in a nurturing, consistent environment with parents who are emotionally available to them.”

On Saturday, she will deliver the luncheon keynote, “Healing the Child in Juvenile Court: Using an Infant Mental Health Approach.”

In addition to Osofsky, more than a dozen experts from around the country will discuss topics such as children with multiple parents, parenting after the parents  split up, parenting the child with special health care needs, comprehensive child welfare system reform, and noncustodial parents in juvenile court. Oregon experts will provide commentary linking the presentations to Oregon practice and law.
The conference is free and open to the public. For CLE credits and cost, contact Leslie Harris, the director of the Child Advocacy Project. 

Conference registration

Can’t find what you need? INFO: (541) 346-3835

The conference was made possible by Duncan Campbell ’73.  Last year, he gave a generous gift to the law school to teach law students child advocacy skills and to make systemic legal changes that promote children’s well being.

Family law professor Leslie Harris directs the new program. She said, “The commitment of a nurturing adult is so important to a child’s growth into competent, happy adulthood. Unfortunately laws and policies don’t always work to preserve such relationships. Duncan’s gift enables us to involve law students in reform efforts that support children and help the next generation of children’s lawyers become effective advocates.”

The project funds two student fellows each year. The 2005-6 Campbell Fellows are Molly Allen ’06 and Tehan Wittemyer ’06.

Allen spent the past two summers working with and advocating for abused and neglected children at Juvenile Rights Project, Inc. in Portland, Oregon. She is also a 2005 Henry Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Fellow.

Wittemyer volunteered in New York City public schools while she was attending Columbia College. She later joined Teach for America and taught for five years in struggling Washington DC public schools. Wittemyer was a Wayne Morse Fellow from 2003-5.

Oregon Child Advocacy Project

-Eliza Schmidkunz 

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