Exchange Club Family Center on WTLV-TV Channel 12 to Discuss Healthy Minds Healthy Families Conference
Exchange Club Family Center on WJXT-TV Channel 4 To Discuss Healthy Minds Healthy Families Conference
Exchange Club Family Center on WJCT's First Coast Connect To Discuss Healthy Minds Healthy Families
Take A Listen:
Mental Health & The Impact On Families In Northeast Florida
Experts Come Together To Discuss What Is Being Done To Help At
The 24th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Conference, April 27, 2017
Mental health impacts not only the individual with the illness, but all those who are close to them – including family members. With nearly one out of every six people in the United States experiencing some form of mental illness each year, it is imperative that mental health care is available to help those struggling with mental illness, to break the cycle and ensure a bright future for families, children and future generations.
Healthy Minds Healthy Families is the theme for the 24th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon & Conference, hosted by The Exchange Club Family Center, Northeast Florida. The conference, set for Thursday, April 27, 2017, will bring together experts in Northeast Florida to discuss mental illness, its effect on families, and what is being done to help those dealing with both mental illness and child abuse here in Northeast Florida.
The Luncheon Keynote Speaker is Denise Marzullo, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Northeast Florida. Sheriff Mike Williams, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, is the Honorary Chairperson for the conference.
“Statistics have shown that child abuse can set the brain up for future mental illness,” says Amanda Rolfe, Board President, Exchange Club Family Center, Northeast Florida. “The Exchange Club Family Center’s mission is to help families at risk of child abuse develop more nurturing, non-violent parenting skills. Mental health plays a key factor in the overall health of a family. It is imperative we discuss the impact mental health has on families.”
Featured speakers include Katrina Taylor, Director of School Behavioral Health, Duval County Public Schools, and Cecily Hardin of Child Guidance Center. “Child Mental Health, The Welfare System & Legislation” is the topic of a panel featuring experts from Daniel, Inc., Family Support Services, Mental Health America of Northeast Florida, Florida Department of Children & Families, Child Guidance Center, and Where Is The Sunshine?
"Our goal at Mental Health America of Northeast Florida is to create a community here that welcomes and values positive mental health and wellness," says Denise Marzullo, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Northeast Florida. "By bringing into focus the mental health challenges here in Northeast Florida, and discussing ways to improve our community's response to those with mental illness, this conference provides a great opportunity for those working directly with families to learn how to better help families with mental health issues."
An awards ceremony during the luncheon will honor those who work as Child Abuse Prevention Advocates in our community. The conference will educate, inspire and support those who work with children, whether they are social workers, teachers, law enforcement, coaches, community leaders, or others. Attendees will also earn continuing education credits (CEUs).
Registration for the conference and luncheon is now open, with early registration prices in effect until April 5th. You can attend the full luncheon and conference for only $100.00 if you register by April 5th. You can attend the luncheon only for $50. Or you can attend either the morning or afternoon session (no luncheon) for $25 each. The luncheon and conference will take place from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Jacksonville Marriott, 4670 Salisbury Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256
To register for the conference, sponsor the event, or for more information, visit www.exchangeclubfamilycenter.com.
New This Year: Corporate Spotlight
The Exchange Club Family Center would like to recognize those companies that offer programs to their employees and their families. This year’s focus will reflect our theme for our 24th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon & Conference – Healthy Minds Healthy Families. We are looking for companies that offer mental health programs for their employees and their families. These can be offered through in-office programs or through insurance. Deadline for Submission is Friday, April 7, 2017. For information on how to submit your company, visit www.exchangeclubfamilycenter.com.
For 26 years, The Exchange Club Family Center of Northeast Florida has offered free, in-home Parent Aide services to at-risk families across Jacksonville’s First Coast to deter child abuse and strengthen families. Each year, The Exchange Club Family Center hosts the Child Abuse Prevention Conference in April, to coincide with Child Abuse Prevention Month. For more info and to register: www.exchangeclubfamilycenter.com.
ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA OF NORTHEAST FLORIDA
Mental Health America of Northeast Florida envisions a compassionate and caring community that welcomes and values positive mental health and wellness. Mental Health America of Northeast Florida raises awareness, provides training on mental health and wellness, helps people navigate the system, and impacts mental health policy and legislation. Their website is www.mhajax.org
Barbara Alexander Named Executive Director Of
Exchange Club Family Center, Northeast Florida
It is A Return “Home” To Familiar Territory
Jacksonville, FL – March 21, 2017 – It is a happy homecoming for the New Executive Director of The Exchange Club Family Center, Barbara Alexander. Alexander is familiar with the job – she had it from 2001 through 2005, when the organization was called First Coast Family Center. Now she returns to inspire and motivate the organization, and help guide the Exchange Club Family Center to new growth.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Barbara back,” says Amanda Rolfe, Board President of Exchange Club Family Center. “She has extensive experience in working with multiple philanthropic organizations which will prove extremely valuable as she carries her vison for the Exchange Club Family Center forward,” added Rolfe.
Alexander left Jacksonville in 2005 to become CEO of The Greater Chattanooga Area American Red Cross, where she led a team to provide humanitarian services to 11 counties in Southeast Tennessee. She was instrumental in turning around the chapter through major reorganization, increased fundraising, securing grants, and recruiting a highly engaged board of directors.
Prior to her work with the Exchange Club Family Center, Alexander’s professional work history included child abuse investigations, supervisor of an investigations unit in Clay County, before going into nonprofit management. She has over 15 years nonprofit management experience, including her time with Greater Chattanooga Area American Red Cross, the Family Nurturing Center of Florida, and First Coast Family Center, both in Jacksonville.
Alexander has one son, Tony Alexander, who attended UNF and now resides in Chattanooga. She begins her new position with the Exchange Club Family Center on March 22, 2017.
Conference on Human Trafficking Held to Combat 'modern-day Slavery'
Despite a wave of momentum in Northeast Florida to identify and protect survivors of human trafficking, the need for services to support victims is still catching up to the demand.
The Exchange Club Family Center hosted its annual child-abuse prevention conference on Wednesday, bringing dozens of area counselors, social workers, nonprofits and government officials together with experts to learn more about the link between human trafficking and child abuse.
The dialogue in the round table and panel discussions mostly focused on women and girls in sex trafficking, but included the lesser-talked-about problems of male victims and labor trafficking.
“Let’s call it what it is: It’s modern-day slavery,” said panelist Crystal Freed, an attorney, noting that slavery looks different than it did centuries ago. “We don’t see the chains that bind. … These victims are often chained to their traffickers in many ways.”
The state Department of Children and Families investigated 1,225 cases of suspected trafficking in 2015, said Marina Anderson, regional human trafficking coordinator for DCF. Of those, Anderson said, approximately 200 were in Northeast Florida and just under 100 were in Duval County.
Lt. K.S. Goff of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the department made 43 arrests for trafficking and that there were 24 federal indictments last year.
Florida’s Safe Harbor Act took effect in 2013 to prevent children who are in the sex trade from being prosecuted and instead provides them with needed support services.
“That is one of the best things the state of Florida has ever done, to give these victims the right to be seen as victims and not as criminals,” said Sarah Markman-Sayar, vice president of operating services for Family Support Services. “It is not a choice to prostitute at 14 or 15 years old. … They are victimized in some way to be a part of that lifestyle.”
Goff said the Sheriff’s Office’s last three cases involved juvenile victims. Trafficking cases usually have a drug connection and often try to get their victims hooked on drugs, he said. And, increasingly, traffickers are women, and even close relatives of their victims, he said.
Getting victims into the support services that they need remains difficult. Freed said victims often feel an “incredible amount of shame” that comes with what they’ve been made to do.
“They don’t self-identify,” she said. “It takes a while for them to realize they’re even a victim.”
Melissa Teferra, licensed clinical supervisor for the community action team at Child Guidance Center, said trafficking victims are very oppositional and don’t comply with services. They have a hard time trusting people, push their providers away and deny they’ve been through trauma at all.
“You really have to take a long time to see beyond what they’re saying,” Teferra said.
There are five safe houses in the state, but none of them are located in Jacksonville, Markman-Sayar said. These safe houses only serve female victims. Anderson said DCF is seeing more and more male victims — about 15 percent of cases investigated — and it remains “very difficult” to find safe placements for them.
Michelle Clowe, the anti-trafficking program manager for World Relief Jacksonville, said her organization has helped settled 33 victims of trafficking locally. They’re both men and women, victims of labor and sex trafficking. They are first granted temporary legal status when they agree to participate in the prosecution of their trafficker, and can later be granted permission to bring their minor children to the United States, she said.
“It’s a long process, but it’s so rewarding,” she said.
SIGNS OF TRAFFICKING AND WAYS TO FIGHT IT:
• A child running away makes him or her susceptible to being trafficked. Children returning from running away and returning with new tattoos of diamonds, stars, dollar signs or a name on their neck or chest are a sign they may be trafficked. They also may return with new items, like clothes or jewelry, they cannot afford on their own.
• To report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888.
• To report suspect child abuse and trafficking in Florida, call the Florida Abuse Hotline at (800) 962-2873.
• Calls to the hotlines are confidential and no one outside the agency will know who made the report.
By: Teresa Duvall