By Anna-Marie Menhenott
TREASURE COAST -- The youngest victims of cyber-bullying, sexual predators and drug abuse are sometimes misunderstood... Their voices are sometimes quiet, muffled by fear and confusion.
When these victims show signs of abuse it is up to teachers, parents and other adults to be able to read the signs and get reach out for help.
The Treasure Coast Guardians for New Futures Child Summit is providing lectures on these topics in hopes that some of the cases of abuse can be caught and brought to an end.
"Many times, people are not aware of some of the signs of abuse," said Debbie Butler, president of the board of directors of Treasure Coast GNFC. "Our goal is to create awareness so a parent, teacher or coach can recognize the cry for help and then act on it."
The summit is open to the public as well as teachers, educational administrative staff, bus and transportation professionals, or anyone who is in contact with children on a daily basis.
"We host workshops throughout the year and one of the upcoming topics will be cyber-bullying and social media," said Ms. Butler. "Every parent should pay attention to who their child is interacting with, especially on the Internet. Predators prey on children and social media sites are a predator haven."
The conference is for not only professionals but also open to parents, church leaders and teachers as well as neighborhood friends.
"This summit is timely because since April there have been 20 child deaths due to abuse and neglect," Ms. Butler said. "With the right training, caregivers can recognize even the slightest signs of abuse and neglect and report them to the appropriate authorities."
Topics highlighted during the summit include, Interviewing Children of Sexual Abuse, Typology of Sex Offenders, Drug Endangered Children, Methamphetamine Awareness, Far Reaching Effects of Untreated Drug Addictions and Options for Treatment.
The two-day educational and information training opportunity will be held Sept. 26- 27. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and sessions run until 5 p.m.
"Many agencies don't have the funding to send employees to the bigger cities to gain CEUs," Ms. Butler said. "Professionals are eligible to receive free 4.5 Continuing Education Units."
The summit will take place at the Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex, Indian River State College located at 4600 Kirby Loop Road, Fort Pierce (off 35th Street near the IRSC Main Campus).
Individuals can pre-register by visiting www.gfnf4kids.org. Seating is limited. A donation is appreciated but not required.
GFNF is a nonprofit advocating on behalf of children in life changing crisis due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.
For more details email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (772) 201-1996.