CEASE Clinic Staff Attorney Brian Atkinson and Social Work Advocate Jocelyn Crumpton recently led a workshop at The Summit, a statewide, multi-disciplinary conference designed for child welfare professionals to share best practices and collaborate across professions. This year’s Summit was attended by 650 individuals working in child welfare – case managers, lawyers, judges, policy makers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, stakeholders, and more – who gathered to learn from Georgia leaders, child welfare experts, and nationally recognized speakers. With a total of thirty-five workshops on the agenda, spanning a broad range of topics, The Summit is an extraordinary and valuable training program.
Together with Maggie Turner, President of Illuminate Justice and former CEASE Clinic Legal Intern, Atkinson and Crumpton led “It Takes a Village: Community Approaches to Protecting Foster Youth from CSEC.” The workshop focused on multidisciplinary practitioner approaches to working one-on-one with survivors of commercial and sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Stressing the unique vulnerabilities of youth in care, the workshop first laid a foundation of why it is vitally important to provide youth in care with primary and secondary prevention education. Next, the session explored primary and secondary prevention efforts that can be implemented through a variety of settings; emphasizing that impactful prevention efforts don’t just happen in one place. Lastly, the session featured an activity with survivor-created scenarios to help audience members practice engaging youth in dialogue about personal safety and harm reduction.
The following day, Crumpton also served as a panelist during a general session open to all attendees: “CSEC Prevention and Response in Georgia – Where We Are and Where We’re Going.” Asked about challenges in identifying victims of CSEC and tips for success, Crumpton spoke of the importance of relationship-building, and stated:
“[It is important to recognize] that these kids have no reason to trust us. A lot of adults have let them down in their lives, and how do they know we’re any different? Also, simply asking things like what their favorite snack is, and then the next time you see them, bring them those snacks; remembering that they miss their cat, and trying to make a visit happen; remembering their dog’s name… It all builds trust.”