Penn’s Field Center to Host Symposium on Child-abuse Reporting

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | | 215-898-4820October 23, 2012

PHILADELPHIA --  As a part of the University of Pennsylvania’s “Year of Proof”  theme for 2012-2013, the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research will host a symposium, entitled “How Well Do Our Laws Protect Children? International Models of Child Protection” on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

It will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Levy Conference Room at the Penn Law School, 3400 Chestnut St.

Symposium participants will share international perspectives on mandatory child-abuse reporting. 

“The United States is one of only three nations that mandates reporting of suspected child abuse,” Debra Schilling Wolfe, executive director of the Center, said.

“How Well Do Our Laws Protect Children?” tackles whether a non-mandatory reporting approach serves the children and families better than the U.S. system.

The featured speaker is Jaap E. Doek, an emeritus professor of family and juvenile law at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, who will discuss how different counties address child protection issues.  Doek is the former chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and a founding member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Additional commentary will be provided by the faculty directors at the Field Center: Richard J. Gelles, dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice; Kara Finck, an associate professor in Penn Law and director of the interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic; and Cindy Christian, a professor of pediatrics in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and the child abuse and neglect prevention chair at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Events of the past year have caused us to look at how we can better protect victims of child abuse and neglect,” Wolfe said.  “We look forward to an international perspective – and the opportunity to critically explore our own system of child protection.”

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the symposium is a part of the campus-wide event series centering around the theme of “proof,” emerging from this year’s Penn Reading Project selection, John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt

The symposium is free and open to Penn students and faculty, as well as professional child advocates from around the Philadelphia region, but space is limited and advance registration is required.