MT. VERNON — Child advocacy associates, social workers, and attorneys from the southern portion of the state will converge to the King City later this month for the 21st annual Downstate Conference on Child Abuse.
The conference will be held on April 24 and 25 at the Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon.
"We held the conference in Mt. Vernon for probably about 17 years," said Ladonna Richards of The Amy Center, one of several organizations on the Conference Planning Committee. "We have begun rotating the conference in the southern part of the state. Last year it was at John A. Logan College and next year it will be in Fairview Heights in the Metro-East area," Richards continued.
In addition to The Amy Center, Madison County CAC (Child Advocacy Center), Williamson County CAC, Perry-Jackson CAC, Healing Harbor CAC, St. Clair County CAC, Two Rivers CAC and The Guardian Center Inc. are members of the committee.
"There are 37 CAC's in the state of Illinois and we're in the downstate area. Hopefully, by rotating the conference it will make it easier for people to attend because of the mileage and hotel stays. Like this year, we won't have to pay for motels, but when we go to the Metro East area and further south we will probably have to stay," Richards said.
The sponsors of the conference include the Midwest Regional CAC, based in St. Paul, Minn., Illinois Department of Children & Family Services Children's Justice Fund, Poshard Foundation, and Taste of Southern Illinois Fund.
This will be the first year the conference will be going "green." Session handouts will not be provided at the conference. Attendees are encouraged to go online at www.downstateconference.com and print out the breakout session materials beforehand.
"The idea was brought up about three years ago, and we tried it two years ago," Richards said. "This year the only thing on paper is brochures. Several vendors will be set up outside the conference area selling and giving out information."