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2014 Conference Faculty


Dr. Randell Alexander has presented on child abuse issues hundreds of times nationally and internationally.  He has presented on the intersection of child abuse and drugs dozens of times and has helped pass laws in two states about the presence of illegal drugs in children as being child abuse.   

Ms. Eamon Anderson has been working as a child welfare specialist on the Children’s Bureau-funded Trauma-Informed Tribal Child Welfare Systems Project since its inception in 2011.  Ms. Anderson has a background in international child welfare, and has worked in diverse settings including rural villages, orphanages, child protection NGOs, and emergency shelters for children.  She has been engaged in international and cross-cultural social work since 1998, and continues to provide training and technical assistance to practitioners overseas.  

Ms. Adrienne Baker is an Associate Director of Law Enforcement Liaison and Education for Purdue Pharma. A former law enforcement officer, Ms. Baker is a Master Police and State Firearms and Defensive Tactics instructor . She has traveled throughout the United States educating professionals. In 2007, Ms. Baker was named National Law Enforcement Educator of the Year.

Ms. Brenda Bash currently serves as the supervisor for Polk County Crisis & Advocacy Services. She is also a certified sexual assault counselor and she represents victims in the interfamily sexual abuse program.  Ms. Bash serves on the Polk County Iowa Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and the Child Abuse Prevention Council. 

Dr. Ashley Bayer has been a pediatrician for the Seminole Tribe of Florida for almost three years and has presented on drug and alcohol exposure in utero.  Dr. Bayer's exposure to multiple hospitals and geographic locations in the state, and more recently for the Seminole tribe, has given Dr. Bayer a vast breadth of experience in the topic of drug and alcohol exposure in utero.

Chief (retired) Mitch Brown has forty years of law enforcement experience and over 20 years of teaching on drug endangered children and related subject matters.  Today, Mr. Brown serves as a reserve police officer, consultant, director of training for the Drug Endangered Children Training and Advocacy Center (DEC-TAC), Indian Country consultant for the Inter-Tribal Council of California, co-chair of the Butte County Inter-Tribal Task force, and member of the Indian Country committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). 

Ms. Tracy Dorsey Chapman is the Victim Witness Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and she provides notice, information and services to all victims of federal crime within the Southern District of West Virginia.  She also maintains mutual communication between the District and federal, state and local organizations, and advises and provides training for the US Attorney’s staff regarding victim’s rights and services. Tracy has received numerous awards, including:  the Director’s Award for Superior Performance in Victim Witness Assistance from the Executive Office of United States Attorneys; US Department of Justice Award for Public Service; Purple Ribbon Award from the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Charleston’s Finest Award from the Charleston Police Department, and the Geneva Foster Pioneer Award.

Ms. Christine O. Corken is a First Assistant County Attorney in Dubuque, Iowa.  She has been a practicing attorney for several years and primary focus is on sexual abuse prosecution.  She also prosecutes homicides, felony assaults and drug endangered children cases.

Ms. Maggie Cveticanin is currently working at Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence as the Disability Compliance and Later Life Abuse Specialist.  She provides numerous trainings and presentations throughout Florida as well as other State Coalitions and a national conference.    Prior to law school, Ms. Cveticanin started working as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault and continued on this path before joining the state coalition.  She is completing her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in substance abuse and trauma this year. 

Ms. Andrea Darr is the Victim Witness Coordinator for the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute, where she has been employed for the last 9 years. Ms. Darr serves as chairperson for the WV Drug Endangered Children Task Force and coordinates the WV Children’s Justice Task Force. Previously, Ms. Darr worked at the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorneys Office serving as the victim assistance coordinator and provided direct services to victims of crime, violence and abuse.

Mr. Daniel DeFrank is the Senior Vice President of Clinical Services with over 20 years of experience in the Behavioral Health field with a strong emphasis on adult and children’s mental health. Mr. DeFrank has a solid history of the administration of programs for chronically mentally ill adults and in-home services for children and families. He is a graduate of New York University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social worker in the  State of Florida.  

Mr. Paul Doering is a Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. For 28 years, he was the Director or Co-Director of the statewide Drug Information and Pharmacy Resource Center at the Health Sciences Center, University of Florida. He has been named:  "Teacher of the Year" five separate times; the outstanding professor for the entire university; and a member of the University of Florida’s Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

Ms. Barbara Drennen is Executive Director and co-founder of Pediatric Interim Care Center (PICC) in Kent, Washington. Ms. Drennen spearheaded legislation in Washington State requiring reporting of newborns with positive toxicology screens for illicit drugs.  She is author of "Caring for Drug-Exposed Infants" published in 2010.

Ms. Alison Dundas is currently the Family Service Coordinator for the Coeur d' Alene Tribe Early Childhood Learning
Center (ECLC). Previously, Ms. Dundas worked in early childhood education holding multiple positions over the years, including private child care and the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Head Start program.  Currently, she is certified as a Love and Logic instructor, infant massage instructor, and toddler and preschool CLASS Observer.

Mr. Tom Dunn recently completed the Core DEC Train-the-Trainer program in March 2014. Mr. Dunn is a certified trainer for the Southern Regional Children Advocacy Center and has trained locally and throughout the southern US on multidisciplinary team building and developing Children Advocacy Centers. He has many years of experience in the law enforcement and child protective service fields with an emphasis on child safety. 

Ms. Valerie Falls Down has worked in the education field for over 18 years, and she developed  the Youth Empowerment Coalition. She has worked with youth of all age levels from pre-school to 12th grade in local schools. Since 2007, Ms. Falls Down has provided prevention education in elementary and high schools. She is a certified drug and alcohol counselor and conducts chemical dependency evaluations for youth and provides weekly youth group meetings for youth in need of out-patient services. 

Dr. Kim Fielding is the Project Director for a federal grant provided by SAMHSA and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (nctsn.org). Her knowledge, values, and skills related to child trauma are extensive due to years of complex and high profile cases. She has trained in the most recent scientific basis including neurodevelopment, social development, and cognitive processing. She can readily translate the technical language between the various disciplines by using metaphors and object lessons to make the learning impactful and unforgettable.

Dr. Loretta Finnegan currently is President of Finnegan Consulting which addresses education, research, and treatment in issues relating to women’s health and perinatal addiction. She is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in these fields and amongst the first, in the early 1970’s, to develop a landmark program providing comprehensive services for drug dependent pregnant/post partum women and their children. She is also credited with the development of an assessment tool for neonatal opioid abstinence which is used widely in neonatal intensive care units in the United States and many other countries.

Ms. Patricia Franklin currently works for Florida's Department of Children and Families and provides leadership and management for 20 counties in the area of community resources and ensuring that programs follow statutory and policy regulations. Previously, Ms. Franklin has many years in the child protective services field starting as an investigator and working up to an administrator for five units.  She was the lead in ensuring multidisciplinary partnerships were maintained. 

Dr. Kiti Freier Randall is a Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Psychologist and the Director of Psychological Services in the Department of Pediatrics, Loma Linda University Health Care.  Dr. Randall has extensive experience, spanning over 26 years, with high-risk infant and youth populations. She has specialized expertise in the area of pre- and post-natal substance exposure and childhood trauma. Currently, she is a consultant expert on high risk 0-5 year olds who have experienced trauma and/or been living in drug-filled environments, for Children’s Network and First Five of San Bernardino County’ California. 

Sergeant Jim Gerhardt is currently assigned to the North Metro Drug Task Force in Denver, Colorado. He has over 20 years of law enforcement experience with the Thornton (CO) Police Department and, since 1992, has worked numerous undercover drug enforcement investigations. He also worked as the project coordinator on a study regarding the environmental impact of indoor marijuana grow operations. Sergeant Gerhardt is a founding member of the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and the Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. He is the legislative liaison for the Colorado Drug Investigators Association and he has worked as a contract employee for the Criminal Justice Institute at the University of Arkansas.

Ms. Leslie Hagen serves as the Department of Justice’s first National Indian Country Training Coordinator. She is responsible for planning, developing and coordinating training in a broad range of matters relating to the administration of justice in Indian Country. Previously, Ms. Hagen served as the Native American Issues Coordinator in the Executive Office for United States Attorneys. In that capacity, she served as EOUSA’s principal legal advisor on all matters pertaining to Native American issues, among other law enforcement program areas; provides management support to the United States Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs); and coordinates and resolves legal issues. Ms. Hagen is also a liaison and technical assistance provider to Justice Department components and the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on Native American Issues. 

Mr. John Harper is currently a program specialist in the Family Safety Program Office within the Florida Department of Children and Families.  He has over 35 years of combined experience working in both the child protection and substance abuse fields.  Mr. Harper has worked as a Child Protective Investigator, Senior Investigator, Regional Child Welfare Supervisor and served as Chief of the Child Protective Investigation Unit within the State Headquarters Office in Tallahassee, Florida.  He has designed substance abuse curriculum and developed statewide training for child protection staff on assessing prescription drug abuse.  He currently is a board member of Florida’s Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. 

Ms. Nikki Hartwig is the crisis child care program Director at Child Abuse Prevention Services and the coordinator of the Marshall County DEC Alliance. She began her career at Child Abuse Prevention Services in February 2008 and previously worked as a social worker for the Iowa Department of Human Services in Marshall County for seven years. 

Dr. Ronald Holmes was an Endowed Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School and is now a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused and/or neglected children who enter foster care in the State of Colorado. During the past 4-5 years, Dr. Holmes has provided drug education and awareness education to CASA trainees, social workers, judicial and law enforcement officers and staff, attorneys, medical and nursing students and physicians. He has been an invited speaker at numerous national, state and regional conferences. 

Detective Jennifer Holz has been an integral part of the development and implementation of the DEC Protocol in Marathon County, Wisconsin and has worked in Law Enforcement since 2001.  She spent five years as an investigator in the county’s Special Investigations Unit working investigations with drug endangered children.  Detective Holz continues to work with many of these cases in her role as a detective and trains within the community and state on how to respond to DEC cases.

Ms. Jenae Holtz is the Director of The Desert/Mountain SELPA Children’s Center in Apple Valley, California. Jenae has worked with drug endangered children, adolescents and their families for the past 25 years in the mental health field. These experiences range from private clinical practice, school-based therapy, group homes and psychiatric hospitals. Jenae has been an administrator in the mental health field at various times through her career specializing in children and adolescences.

Ms. Ghia Kelly is the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Specialist for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV). Ms. Kelly also provides onsite training to FCADV membership, provides technical assistance to domestic violence center staff/volunteers, non-FCADV individuals, and agencies, and is responsible for organizing FCADV events. She has trained numerous child welfare staff throughout the state on topics related to domestic violence.

Dr. Walter Lambert is a pediatrician with the University of Miami School of Medicine. He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and the Medical Director of the Child Protection Team for Miami-Dade County and the Florida Keys, a state-mandated multi-disciplinary group of forensic experts who evaluate case of alleged child maltreatment (abuse and neglect).  Dr. Lambert has lectured nationally and internationally on the issues related to child abuse and domestic violence. 

Ms. Esther Larsen is a licensed attorney in the state of Washington.  Ms. Larsen has been employed by Spokane County for 14 years and is assigned to the Sheriff’s Office managing contracts and grants.  She is a co-leader of the Washington Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (WADEC); served as the Project Director for the Spokane County DEC Project for 11 years; and has been actively involved with issues regarding substance abuse and health and safety of children for over 30 years.

Dr. Jim Lewis is a clinical neuropsychologist with over 35 years of experience conducting child and adult evaluations in child abuse and neglect cases. His clinical and teaching experience includes a focus on neurotoxicology of Fetal Drug and Alcohol Exposure, impaired neuropsychological development in child and adolescent alcohol and substance abuse disorders. Dr. Lewis' continuing professional seminars also include applying neuropsychological evaluation methods to "co-occurring" mental health and alcohol/substance abuse disorders in caregivers. Dr. Lewis has lectured extensively on drug and alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorders.

Ms. Susan Magestro is a criminologist and interventionist. She has been working inside prisons both in the United States and Central America for over 20 years as well as focusing on issues of incarcerated parents and their children. In the past 20 years, she has either presented at or hosted over a 100 conferences and has trained professionals in the field of education, social work, counseling, law enforcement, corrections, etc. on numerous topics involving high risk and violence youth. Ms. Magestro has written a book called "The Rage Within: Angry Youth." 

Mr. Joe Mazzuca is currently the CEO of Operations of Meth Lab Cleanup® Company (MLCC) and has completed over 5000 illegal drug lab consultations, residue tests and property decontaminations. Mr. Mazzuca leads MLCC in research and technology development initiatives, and he is certified as a contractor, decon specialist and or trainer. He participated in the development of clandestine drug lab decontamination regulations in a number of states. In addition to Mr. Mazzuca’s drug lab experience, he has over 25 years of experience in hazardous environment safety administration. He is considered a leading clandestine drug lab decontamination expert throughout the nation and is an accredited expert witness.

Ms. Julie Mazzuca is both the Industrial Hygienist and CEO of Meth Lab Cleanup® Company (MLCC) and has ten years in clandestine drug lab testing and decontamination. She also has ten years of combined experience in environmental program and project management, contracting support, and consulting to the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DoD). She has extensive experience in environmental site assessments and regulatory compliance; cost estimating, cost tracking and budgeting; waste management and environmental restoration technology assessments; project scheduling and resource management; and contract administration. Ms. Mazzuca is certified as a contractor, decon specialist and or trainer in a variety of states.

Ms. Tammany McDaniel has been responsible for the daily management of up to seven community-based prevention coalitions in rural areas of Arizona.  She has also been responsible for the daily management of up to seventeen school-based, youth-led anti-tobacco coalitions in seven Northern Arizona Counties.  Ms. McDaniel trains the Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training to prevention personnel and coalition members, and trains the Arizona-Strategic Prevention Framework.  She developed a training method for engaging would-be applicants of the Drug-Free Communities Grants.

Ms. Marilee McWilliams is currently an Assistant County attorney and the majority of her caseload is with Dependency and Neglect cases. She also is a specialist in the Indian Child Welfare Act. Previously, Ms. McWilliams developed extensive experience as a guardian ad litem and in delinquency defense and adoption cases. For many years she has taught and is currently an active community member.

Mr. Jerry Moe is Vice President, National Director of Children's Programs for the Betty Ford Center. An Advisory Board Member of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, he is internationally known as an author, lecturer, and trainer on issues for young children from addicted families. He is featured in the documentary "Lost Childhood: Growing Up in an Alcoholic Family," and his books include: "Kids' Power: Healing Games for Children of Alcoholics"; "Conducting Support Groups for Elementary Children"; "Discovery… Finding the Buried Treasure"; "Kids' Power Too": "Words to Grow By"; "The Children's Place … At the Heart of Recovery"; and "the Beamer Series for Kids and Understanding Addiction and Recovery through a Child's Eyes."                         

Ms. Dixie Morgese is currently the Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition of Flagler and Volusia Counties in Florida. She has 20 years of experience developing and implementing systems related to family risk and resiliency. She has 15 years experience developing and implementing training programs related to maternal child health, strengthening of families, quality management, strategic planning, chemical dependency and HIV & pregnancy. Ms. Morgese has many years of experience providing consultation in the areas of strategic planning, fund development, grant-writing, quality management, health and support service delivery planning, and workforce performance management. 

Commander (retired) Lori Moriarty is vice president of National DEC, where she has served since 2006. She began her career in law enforcement in 1987 with the Thornton (CO) Police Department. From 2000 to 2006, she was the commander of the North Metro Drug Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional undercover drug unit. In 2001, the Office of National Drug Control Policy recognized her as “Drug Commander of the Year”; 2002, the Adams County Bar Association in Colorado named Ms. Moriarty and the North Metro Task Force "2002 Peace Officer of the Year"; and in 2004, she received the “Friend of Children” award from the State of Colorado Court Appointed Special Advocates. 

Lieutenant Chad Napier is the Bureau Chief of Investigative Services for the Charleston Police Department.  As Bureau Chief, Lt. Napier is in charge of the MDENT, the Charleston Police Department Special Enforcement Unit, and the Charleston Police Department Criminal Investigative Divisio. Prior to that, he was a detective with the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) and was eventually made Commander. He also was a Task Force Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Charleston, West Virginia and he investigated and prosecuted of drug crimes.

Lieutenant (retired) Eric Nation is the Director of Training and Development with National DEC. He began his career in law enforcement in 1995 with the Jasper County (IA) Sheriff’s Office, where he held numerous positions. Mr. Nation was the supervisor of the MINE Taskforce meth lab team, overseeing numerous methamphetamine lab and undercover narcotics investigations. Mr. Nation is a founder and member of the Jasper County Drug Endangered Children program. In 2009, Mr. Nation was honored with the “Ongoing Law Enforcement Victims Service Award” from Jasper County; in 2011, he received the National Drug Endangered Children Collaborative Leadership Award. He has appeared on Court TV for Langley Productions’ documentary Methamphetamine Labs in the Heartland.

Mr. Robert Newman has been a major advocate of treatment of opioid dependence for 45 years. He established and directed methadone maintenance and ambulatory detoxification programs for the New York City health department, which in the early 1970s served over 33,000 patients annually. Mr. Newman has published and lectured extensively and has a special area of interest and of concern especially as it relates to pregnant women and their children.

Mr. Scott Nicholson is currently the First Assistant County Attorney in Newton, Iowa with over 18 years of experience in the prosecution field.  His primary duties are the prosecution of all felonies and also handles the entire drug endangered children docket.  Mr. Nicholson was named Assisstant Attorney of the Year and has appeared on the television shows "Cold Justice" and "Breaking the Cyle." He is a founding member of the Jasper County DEC program and is currently the chairman of the board of directors. 

Mr. Chuck Noerenberg joined National DEC in February 2010. Prior to that, he was the Minnesota State Drug Policy Coordinator appointed by the Governor, and he also served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Minnesota Governor's office. Before working for the Governor, he spent sixteen years working as policy and committee staff for the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives.  Mr. Noerenberg is currently an Advisory Board member for the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant program in Minnesota. He has also served as a member on numerous criminal justice and public policy committees and while in the Governor’s office, Mr. Noerenberg served on the National Governor’s Association Criminal Justice Advisors, Internet Crimes, and Emergency Communications policy development committees.

Ms. Darci Patterson is currently a Social Worker Supervisor of a Child/Adult Protective Services unit with the Iowa Department of Human Service of the Des Moines Service Area.  She has been employed with the State of Iowa for 19 years.  Besides being a supervisor, Ms. Patterson has served several years in the field as an ongoing social worker and a Child/Adult Protective Worker. Ms. Patterson graduated from Buena Vista College in 1993 with a BA in Human Services and Psychology.  

Sergeant Courtney Pero is a 19 year veteran of the Plano (TX) Police Department. He is presently assigned to the Criminal Investigative Services Division. Sergeant Pero holds a Master Peace Officer License and an instructor certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). Sergeant Pero has been active with the Texas Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (Texas DEC) and was involved in the creation of the Texas DEC protocols for law enforcement, CPS and medical personnel.  He has been awarded the Agent of Change award by the Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse and has presented training on a numerous topics to professionals from various disciplines across the country.  

Commander Jerry Peters  is the commander of the North Metro Drug Task Force in the Denver, Colorado area. He has twenty years of law enforcement experience with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and the Thornton Police Department in Colorado. He is also the vice president of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (CDIA) and helped lead the effort to have ephedrine and pseudoephedrine available by prescription only in the 2011 legislative session. Commander Peters is the project director of a study regarding the environmental impact of indoor marijuana grows. The study was funded through a JAG Grant awarded to CDIA and subcontracted by National Jewish Health. 

Ms. Jennifer Plisch is the Manager and a Forensic Interviewer at the Child Advocacy Center of North Central Wisconsin (CAC-NCW), a program of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  Ms. Plisch joined the CAC-NCW in 2007, has since conducted over 1100 forensic interviews of children and prior to that worked in Child Protective Services.  Ms. Plisch trains on Basic and Advanced Forensic Interviewing, Interviewing of Child Witnesses to Violence and Homicide, and Minimal Facts Interviewing.

Detective Chad Plowman is a narcotics detective with the Newton, IA Police Department currently assigned to the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement (MINE) Task Force.  Detective Plowman began his law enforcement career with the Newton Police Department in 2000, and has been assigned to narcotics since 2010 when he also became a board member with Jasper County DEC.

Ms. Jean Powers currently works for the Office of Child Representation as a GAL, as well as a Respondent Parent’s Attorney, a Criminal Defense Attorney, Mental Health Court and Probate Attorney. She has testified before the Colorado legislature on funding related to protections and services for children and recently become a trainer for Drug Endangered Children.  Ms. Powers prosecuted criminal matters specializing in sexual assault on Children (SAOC) and has experience prosecuting almost 100 jury trials. Her responsibilities also including training law enforcement and social services on evidence collection, similar transactions, trail preparation and testimony. While a Deputy District Attorney in the 18th Judicial District, she was named Prosecutor of the Year for the 18th Judicial District. 

Mrs. Vanessa Price was formerly a police officer and currently serves as faculty for National Drug Court Institute, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Institute and consults on a number of community development projects in her community.  She was instrumental in the development of The Oklahoma County Drug Court Program, including policy manual development, budgeting, and staff training. On April 22, 2014, Vanessa was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.

Ms. Jessie Ragan has worked for the Coeur d’ Alene Tribal Head Start and Early Head Start for 7 years with a high population of children with prenatal drug and/or alcohol exposure as well as postnatal drug and/or alcohol exposure. Ms. Ragan has worked as the Mental Health Coordinator and served on the Child Protection Team for the Coeur d’ Alene Tribe.  She is a mentor for the program's teachers and conducts child abuse and neglect trainings. 

Ms. Stacee Read joined National DEC in May 2013 and is the Director of DEC Network Development and has over 16 years of child welfare casework and management in Colorado and Illinois. Ms. Read most recently held the Associate Ombudsman position with the Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman and she was a Child Protection Safety Specialist. She has been a member on a number of committees and workgroups such as the Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee, the Rural Law Enforcement Meth Initiative, the CDHS Child Fatality Review Team, and the CDHS Prone Restraint Workgroup.  Ms. Read also has prior experience in non-profit development.

Mr. Edward Reina is a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (Akimel O’odham), a retired Chief of Police, and a lifetime member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Indian Country Law Enforcement Section.  He worked for five Tribal Governments and served as Chief of Police for four tribes and was Director of Public Safety for the Tohono O’odham Nation.  He was a certified Peace Officer for the State of Arizona and Nevada and a BIA Special Law Enforcement Commissioned Officer. Mr Reina received a Chief’s Five Star Award from IACP for his service to Indian Country Law Enforcement, received a Commendation from the US Attorney General of the United States in 1990 and a US Department of Justice Award for Public Service from the US Attorney in 1986.  Ed served as Chair of Planning and Development of the 2001 IACP summit “Improving Safety in Indian Country,” a report that is still used by the US Department of Justice.

Ms. Denise Schmidt is Director of Nursing of Pediatric Interim Care Center, an innovative nonprofit in Kent, Washington, that provides 24-hour medical monitoring and nursing care for drug-affected and medically fragile infants.  Founded in 1990, PICC has become a national model in the care of newborns recovering from prenatal drug exposures. She also has experience with neonates, and her hospital experience includes NICU Nurse/Post-Partum RN, a Charge Nurse/ICN, and NICU Nurse at Valley Medical Center.  

Ms. Karen Scott is the Executive Director of the Children and Families Commission. Ms.  Scott’s education and background is in Public Administration and Administration of Justice and she has worked in the realm of Human Services for San Bernardino County since 1977.  She has served as the Executive Director of First 5 San Bernardino for 7 years, leading the organization’s efforts to enhance the health and early development of children, prenatal through age five, through coordinated and comprehensive systems of care that strengthen children, families and communities.

Ms. Halleh Seddighzadeh is a Forensic Traumatologist and doctoral resident specializing in the psychological treatment of extreme forms of traumatic stress specifically with those who’ve been victims of serious crime, including torture, genocide, as well as victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence. Ms. Seddighzadeh has worked extensively in refugee camps in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, & Africa for the past several years with various International Human Rights organizations doing disaster relief, resiliency & capacity building as well as psychological first aid. She is a frequently-requested speaker and expert on the topics of torture, human trafficking, and other issues in traumatology.

Mr. Patrick Shannon has been working as a child welfare specialist on the Children’s Bureau-funded Trauma-Informed Tribal Child Welfare Systems Project since its inception in 2011.  He has helped initiate the project in three Tribal communities using the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s diverse curricula for child welfare workers, foster parents and juvenile justice personnel.  For the past 10 years, Mr. Shannon has worked in therapeutic group homes, providing child protection services within the state’s child welfare system and serving on the Montana Foster Care Review Committee. 

Dr. Deborah Shropshire is a pediatrician and an advocate for foster children. She provides medical care for children in the Oklahoma County emergency foster shelter and through the Fostering Hope clinic at Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Shropshire also provides technical expertise for OKDHS case workers.

Ms. Jennifer Sleiter is a pediatric nurse at the Regional Child Protection Center at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa. She assesses and treats children who are dealing with issues of abuse and neglect. She also cares for babies who were exposed to illegal drugs through their mother’s use during pregnancy, children who have been environmentally exposed due to their caregiver’s use, and children who are in homes where methamphetamine is being manufactured. She is also a member of the Polk County, Jasper County and Iowa DEC alliances.

Ms. Deborah Spence currently serves as Deputy Director of Child Welfare Community Partnerships and she was previously engaged as the Acting Assistant Director of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). She supervises the Research & Development Division and much of her recent work has focused on the future of policing, but her project portfolio also includes serving as a policy advisor for the office for all drug-related programs and resources, and as a member of the Federal Interagency Task Force on Drug Endangered Children. Prior to joining the COPS Office in 2005, she worked for the Institute for Law and Justice in Alexandria, Virginia on a number of national evaluations of criminal justice programs created by the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.  Ms. Spence is the co-author or editor of multiple COPS publications. 

Mr. Ben Stansberry is an Assistant County Attorney in Marshall County, Iowa, where he primarily prosecutes drug cases particularly those drug cases involving children. Previously, Mr. Stansberry was a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa under the HIDTA program, where he focused on clandestine methamphetamine laboratory and interstate drug trafficking cases. He currently serves on Marshall County DEC Team, the Mid-Iowa Iowa Drug Task Force, and is an instructor for the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.  

Ms. Kylee Sunderlin is a Soros Justice Fellow at the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Her work focuses on dispelling medical misinformation and gross assumptions about medication-assisted treatment, while challenging punitive, family-disruptive responses to it.

Ms. Gayle Thom is a retired FBI Victim Specialist on the Rapid Deployment and Evidence Response Teams. She has extensive experience and training in both combating illegal drugs and in child victimization and helped implement and then coordinated the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program for North and South Dakota. She served on the FBI American Indian/Alaskan Native Advisory Committee and received the Director’s Award for Excellence. Ms. Thom has worked, lectured and traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, and other countries on working collaboratively for better outcomes for children and other non-offending family members. 

Ms. Linda Thompson is the Executive Director of Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council (GSSAC).  Over the past 20 years, Ms. Thompson has worked with community coalitions as well as local, state, and federal agencies to address the issues of substance abuse and its impact on the safety and health of children.

Ms. Rosemary Tisch is Director of Prevention Partnership International.  She was the lead author for “Celebrating Families!” which is available in English and Spanish for families through the National Association of Children of Alcoholics.   Ms. Tisch is the author of numerous evidence-based curriculums for high-risk populations: children of alcoholics/addicts, sexually active teens, individuals with learning differences and those exposed in utero to alcohol and other drugs.

Ms. Sue Webber Brown is the Executive Director of Drug Endangered Children Training and Advocacy Center.  Ms. Webber-Brown has 26 years of law enforcement experience. She was a DA Investigator with Butte County, Oroville, California from 1982 through April 24, 2009, and the last 19 years at the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force (BINTF).  Ms. Webber Brown conducted 2300 major narcotic and child endangerment cases, rescuing over 3000 children from drug homes.  She developed the first "Drug Endangered Children" (D.E.C.) Program in the United States.  She was appointed by the CA Governor's Office to a Study Group on DEC, co-wrote the first state DEC training guide, co-founded the CA. DEC Alliance and National DEC Alliance.  Ms. Webber Brown has provided DEC training to over 70,000 people in 36 states, is an expert in California and Arizona courts and testified before Congress. 

Detective Sadie Weekley is currently a detective with the Marshalltown, Iowa Police Department and a member of the Marshall County DEC Alliance.  Detective Weekley began her career with the Marshalltown PD in 2007 and has been in her current role since February 2009.  Her prior work experience includes employment with the Toledo Police Department and the Tama County Jail.  Detective Weekley attended the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 2006 and graduated from Hawkeye Community College in 2000 with a degree in Police Science. 


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