Child Protection in the 21st Century

NATIONALLY, ONE OUT OF FOUR girls and one out of six boys will be sexually abused by the time they’re 18. In 2007, one study estimated the annual cost of child abuse and neglect was $103.8 billion. In West Virginia, 32,244 referrals for child abuse and neglect were reported in 2010. In overall child well-being, including economic well-being, education, health, and family and community, West Virginia is ranked 39th.

On November 8, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the WVU College of Law, the West Virginia Law Review – Vol. 115 will host a symposium entitled “Child Protection in the 21st Century.” Child protection is not just a legal issue. The symposium will discuss the issue from a variety of angles, and Law Review invites those in law, medicine, psychology, social work, and the various other professions that come into direct contact with this issue to attend. Presentations will feature a keynote speaker who, as a medical doctor and behavioral psychologist, will outline the effects of abuse and neglect on children; a state circuit judge who will provide practical advice regarding West Virginia’s approach to child protection in the law; and a panel presentation that will address the U.S. Department of Justice’s approach to prevention and child protection, abuse and neglect across West Virginia counties, and adolescent parenting.

State judges have said that as much as one-third of a court’s docket can be child abuse and neglect cases. “As future lawyers, we want to make a difference—to create a discourse that leads to a more effective and efficient system,” says Mike Bush, an executive editor for Law Review. “The polar star that lawyers, the courts, doctors, follow is to pursue ‘the best interest of the child.’ If the result of the symposium is new ideas for how people may serve the best interest of the child even better, it will be a success.”

The symposium is open to the public.

We welcome lively discussion and all opinions; toward that end, it is our policy to omit any and all comments that come to our attention containing abusive or personal attacks, or material that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, slanderous, or hateful.

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