Local child abuse conference planned for April 17


The Northwest Georgia Child Abuse Conference, scheduled for April 17, will be "jam-packed good," says Catoosa County coroner Vanita Hullander.

She is co-sponsoring the event with the district attorney Buzz Franklin, Tammy Hardin from Catoosa County Juvenile Court and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia.

It is a conference for the four-county Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, which includes Catoosa, Walker, Dade and Chattooga counties. It is open to the public.

The conference will recognize National Child Abuse Awareness Month in April, and also provide training for law enforcement officers and other agencies required to log training hours on the topic. This class is closed to the public and will allow these agencies to investigate a mock death of child.

The conference will consist of workshops on topics ranging from current trends in drugs to effective testimony in a courtroom. The speakers at the conference are all good, Hullander said. These classes, taking place in the morning and afternoon, are open to the public, and registration is free.

Lunch will be served at noon, with some words from keynote speaker state Rep. Jay Neal.

Hullander said she expects attendees from as far as Augusta and Atlanta.

The Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit was the first circuit to have a child death investigation team, according to Hullander.

There’s "a lot of components in it (the team) to make it successful," she said.

Other judicial circuits in Georgia followed with their own teams when they saw the success of the Lookout Mountain’s team.

Northwest Georgia Child Abuse Conference

When: Friday, April 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: The Colonnade on Battlefield Parkway in Catoosa County

Registration: 7:30-8:15 a.m. Registration is free.

Keynote speaker: State Rep. Jay Neal of Chickamauga. Neal represents House District 1, which includes part of Catoosa County and part of Walker County.

Who should attend? Department of Family and Children’s Services, law enforcement, educators, judges, CASA, physicians, coroners, prosecutors, nurses, emergency medical services, community child abuse advocates.

For more information or to pre-register: Call Catoosa County coroner Vanita Hullander at (706) 965-6800. Registration deadline is April 10.

Classes open to the public

Morning classes, 10:15-11:45 a.m.

– Meth and current drug trends, detective Alan Miles, Lookout Mountain Drug Task Force

– Recognizing and investigating abusive injures in children, Dr. Lora Darrisaw, GBI

– Effective courtroom testimony, Chris Arnt, assistant chief district attorney with the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit

– Abusive youth: Etiology, intervention and prevention, Thom Mote, LPC

Afternoon classes, 1:15-4:30 p.m.

– Death scene investigations and case Study, Rachelle Carnesale, director of Georgia child fatality investigation program

– The shadow of stress: Implications for understanding child abuse, Dr. Rick Rader, director of Morton


Walker County Messenger