Wyoming Children‘s Justice Project

Manifestation Determination: Behavior, Suspension and Placement for IEP Students

Students with disabilities have special rights and protections when they are suspended from school or removed from class. Each student is entitled to a Manifestation Determination - a meeting designed and outlined to help the students stay in their current classroom or school setting. This training will provide information on the following:

  • When is a Manifestation Determination necessary?
  • Who’s involved?
  • Scope of the review
  • If the determination is “yes”.....
  • Placement Decisions
  • If the determination is “no”.....

Protective Factors

This session will provide an overview of the Protective Factors. Outcomes for children affected by trauma can be improved by helping them and their families build protective factors. In other words, protective factors help to mitigate risks; they can help families to weather life’s stress and trauma with less damage. Through building protective factors we can help families develop assets and skills for handling life’s challenges more effectively.

Investigation and Prosecution without the Need for Victim Cooperation

For a variety of reasons, children are the “perfect” victims of physical or sexual abuse. The unique characteristics and vulnerabilities of child victims make their cases some of the most important and difficult cases that are investigated and prosecuted. Children are often unable to tell about their abuse and therefore cases against their abusers must be built on circumstantial evidence. In this session, participants will learn the importance of using a multi-disciplinary team approach when investigating and prosecuting child physical and sexual abuse cases. Participants will learn how to effectively collect corroborating evidence, including physical evidence. This session will address how law enforcement, prosecutors, child protection attorneys, and medical personnel can work together to build and win circumstantial cases.

Youth Voice Matters!

The Youth Engagement Team is a collaboration of current and former foster youth, the Department of Family Services, the Guardian Ad Litem Program, the Wyoming Citizen Review Panel and  Wyoming Independent Living Programs that have assembled to discuss and promote engaging youth voices in order to address issues they face while in foster care. The goal of this collaboration is to establish and promote  an environment of authentic youth engagement within our child welfare system in Wyoming. Youth engagement spans our entire child welfare system, from the safety and case planning on an individual case basis to advocating for youth voice in our systemic reviews and policy changes. 

As an introduction to this collaboration and efforts Laura Dobler will share the goals and future activities that have been developed within the Youth Engagement Team and provide insight into ways that we all can better engage  youth at every level within child welfare. To better demonstrate what this collaboration will look like, two former youth will discuss their experiences within the child welfare system in a pre-recorded interview session. The youth will be available for any additional questions following the recording.   

Brain DeTavernier will also provide a briefing over the Independent Living program, which will highlight the program and how it assists current and former foster youth through support and services as well as giving them a voice in their future independence. 

Media and Mental Health

What our kids are watching, listening to, and storing away chooses what lens they are looking through when they process their own trauma. Its important to share in their world (fictional or not) to fully hold space for their healing.

DV Education: Healthy Moms, Happy Babies

Many home visitation and early childhood staff struggle with how best to address issues of domestic violence (DV) among their clients. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 women will experience DV in their lifetime.  The impact of DV on parents’ and children’s physical and mental health and risk for substance use and persistent perinatal depression is well documented. Healthy Moms/Happy Babies is an interactive curriculum that addresses the barriers and difficulties staff experience in addressing DV. We support the field with attuned approaches to DV for survivors that were developed in concert with communities who are most affected. We address how personal and or vicarious trauma or abuse may impact our ability to do this work. Specific strategies and tools, both personal and organizational, will be presented to address the needs of front-line staff and managers so that they feel adequately situated to hear a positive disclosure of abuse.

Factions and Fractures: #Hashtag Advocacy Era

While multidisciplinary efforts are now commonplace, many organizations and systems still operate in silos, viewing each other with mistrust and defensiveness. The current climate of extreme polarization in the US augments those barriers and further erodes critical elements to effective collaboration: communication, trust, understanding, and accountability. Social movements like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter bring heightened awareness to an issue while promoting transparency and accountability, but they can also unintentionally exacerbate existing divisions. We know from experience that disparate community responses result in revictimization and additional trauma for survivors. In turn, child abuse continues to take a devastating toll on individuals, communities and society. In this workshop, we’ll examine the challenges of coordinated community responses to child abuse and neglect in the current climate and share how to build and maintain multidisciplinary efforts that result in concrete, victim-centered, trauma-informed change.

Penis and Vagina Aren’t Bad Words

Often child sexual abuse prevention focuses on how to stop bad things from happening. In this fun, interactive session, we will approach prevention from the other side of the coin - nurturing positive and healthy sexual development in children and teens. By encouraging healthy development, we aim to strengthen individual resilience and protective factors. We will give participants tools to reflect on some of their own experiences learning about sex and sexuality, provide information about common behaviors from birth through adolescence, and offer specific conversation starters to help caregivers and professionals deliver age-appropriate messages.

A Conversation on Wyoming Home Matters

WY Home Matters is an initiative to promote a prevention-oriented child welfare system unique to our Wyoming communities that empowers families and communities to build strong families for a strong Wyoming. The initiative has two complementary goals. 1) To develop, draft, and implement Wyoming’s first Title IV-E Prevention Plan under the Family First Prevention Services Act. This goal focuses on tertiary prevention - preventing unnecessary removals. 2) To facilitate a larger conversation around prevention with our providers, communities, and families. This goal focuses on developing a continuum of prevention - not just preventing unnecessary removals, but also preventing trauma from occurring in the first place. In this session, we will briefly review statewide DFS data and then engage in a panel discussion with representation from all spheres - the community, partners, and the child welfare agency - about the current state of the child welfare system and what we need to move towards a prevention-oriented child and family well-being system.

Supporting Children that Do Not Have a Non-Offending Caregiver

This presentation will identify the dynamic revolving support children without non-offending caregivers require, as well as how an advocate can navigate problems within a MDT. This presentation will highlight the prevalence of children in the CAC that do not have a non-offending caregiver in their life. This presentation will examine the six guiding principles of advocacy that can help provide resources to the children. In addition the presentation will examine the challenges one may need to overcome when the system does not serve the children adequately.

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