The Niagara County Child Fatality Review Team will host a training program today to provide support and assistance to professionals who respond to child fatalities.
Titled "Serving Those Left Behind - Crisis Intervention in Cases of Fatal Child Abuse," the seminar will be held at Four Points by Sheraton in Niagara Falls.
The featured speaker will be Susanne Walters, program coordinator for the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center at Winona University in Minnesota. As a child protective investigator in Florida, Walters responded to more than 800 reports of abuse and neglect and was named the first-ever victim witness specialist at the American Prosecutors Research Institute National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse.
Walters also coordinates the ChildFirst forensic interviewing program for Gundersen as well as Child Advocacy Studies programs at colleges and universities across the U.S.
The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, coordinates the Niagara County Child Fatality Review Team in partnership with the Niagara County Department of Social Services.
"Child abuse is the leading cause of death for children under the age of four," said Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Ann Marie Tucker. "Responding to child fatalities is one of the greatest challenges for professionals in child protection, law enforcement, medical and advocacy roles. Tuesday's training is designed to assist and support these dedicated professionals."
"Child fatality review also results in a greater understanding of the risk factors related to child deaths," Niagara County Social Services Commissioner Anthony Restaino said. "Therefore, we can target prevention efforts to address local needs and protect children."
The program is supported by the Niagara County Department of Social Services and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.