February 15, 2007
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
Statewide Symposium at UMDNJ Focuses on Foster Children
STRATFORD — More than 300 law enforcement officials, child advocates, social workers and medical and mental health professionals are expected to attend “Meeting the Medical and Mental Health Needs of Children in Foster Care,” a daylong program on March 15, hosted by the Child Abuse Research Education and Service (CARES) Institute, on the campus of the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine, in Stratford.
“This is our third annual event that brings experts from throughout the country to New Jersey to share their best practices for helping children who have suffered abuse or neglect,” said Dr. Martin A. Finkel, medical director and co-founder of the CARES Institute. “Our medical and mental health screening program for children entering foster care, known as CHEC (Comprehensive Health Evaluations for Children), highlighted the need to focus on the unique health challenges for this population of children.”
“With thousands of children in foster care in New Jersey each year, it is important to understand their particular mental health needs and the obstacles faced in meeting those needs,” said Dr. Esther Deblinger, clinical director and co-founder of the CARES Institute. “A study has shown that as many as 25 percent of children in foster care experience post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, which is more than double the rate for returning Iraq war veterans.”
Commissioner Kevin Ryan of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families will deliver the opening remarks at the symposium. The morning general session will be a presentation on the medical needs of children in foster care by Dr. Moira Szilagyi, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester and a member of the Healthy Foster Care America task force of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In the afternoon session, Dr. Shannon Dorsey, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, will discuss the mental health needs of foster care children. Throughout the day workshops will focus on such topics as legal issues for children in foster care, the impact of childhood trauma , the effectiveness of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and a discussion of the “next steps” for New Jersey in meeting the needs of children in foster care.
More information about the symposium, including a complete workshop schedule is available online at www.caresinstitute.org. Members of the media wishing to attend should contact Jerry Carey at (856) 566-6171.
The CARES Institute provides an array of medical and mental health services developed to meet the diagnostic and therapeutic needs of children through an individualized plan for the specific circumstances of each child and family. The CARES Institute is a nationally-recognized model of excellence in healing children and families who have experienced abuse, neglect and violence.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.