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Delta State University Department of Social Work’s 15th Annual Margaret Tullos Field Symposium on Feb. 28 to Feature Key Child Welfare Stakeholders and Regional Advocates

A previous Tullos Field Symposium.

The interim commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services will join other leaders, researchers, and stakeholders in child welfare and advocacy at Delta State University Department of Social Work’s 15th annual Margaret Tullos Field Symposium on Feb. 28, 2020, to speak on the theme, “Child Advocacy Studies.” The daylong event is open to social work practitioners and students interested in the profession. Registration costs $100 for all attendees, except for Delta State students, who attend free of charge. Numerous continuing education units (7.50 general) are available.

“With this year’s theme, we hope to bring awareness to the importance of child advocacy, highlight the need for trauma-informed practice, and offer updated information on various subjects related to child welfare,” said Taylor Skelton, an instructor and the director of field education in social work at Delta State. “Children are our most precious gift. The work being done across the state of Mississippi is indicative of the increased commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our youngest citizens.”

Presenters include Taylor Cheeseman, interim commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services; Hollie Jeffery, director of training, and Amanda Adams, coordinator, of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi; Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell, associate professor of social work at the University of Alabama; Devon Loggins, president and CEO of the Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi; and Shane Garrard, director of alcohol and drug services for Region One Mental Health Center in Clarksdale.

Dr. Jana Donahoe, associate professor of social work and department chair at Delta State, added, “Still the premier event for continuing education for social workers in the Mississippi Delta, our symposium this year is particularly important since DSU is developing a new Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST) program, which is a direct result of the Child Safety Summit held at DSU in January of last year. The speakers have been carefully chosen to share their knowledge and resources about how to best serve the needs of children who experience trauma. It will benefit social workers and professionals in other disciplines since we are all mandated reporters of child abuse. It’s exciting to come together on this important issue for the betterment of children’s services using the CAST model of interdisciplinary community care.”

Previous symposium themes have included “Unearthing Empathy”; “Awareness, Advocacy, Action: What Will You Do with Your Seat at the Table?”; “Enhancing Social Justice through Rural Initiatives”; and “Youth and Family Advocacy.” Previous keynote speakers have included Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, president of the National Association of Social Workers; Kathryn Boles, president and CEO of Valley Area Agency on Aging; Trina George, Mississippi director of United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development; and William Bell, president and chief executive officer of Casey Family Programs serving foster care.

The field symposium began in 2005 and was renamed in 2009 after Professor Emeritus of Social Work Margaret Tullos, who taught at Delta State from 1989 to 2008 and was the director of field education in social work. Upon her retirement, the event was renamed in her honor.

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