Child Advocacy Conference

The eighth annual Child Advocacy Conference was held March 31, 2017.

Location of Brighter Future Conference:  
The University Readiness Center 
 USC Upstate Main Campus 
 800 University Way 
 Spartanburg, SC 29303


Theodore Cross, Ph.D., Senior Research Specialist, The Children & Family Research Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 
"Criminal Investigations in Child Protective Services Cases"

Marlanda DeKine, LCSW, Speaking Down Barriers, Spartanburg, SC

Nancy Henderson, M.D., Child Abuse Pediatrician, Greenville Children’s Hospital, Greenville, SC
"Opportunities Lost and Found-a Journey of a Young Child"

Laura Porter, Co-Founder, ACE Interface, Seattle, WA
"Building Community Resilience"

Victor Vieth, J.D., Founder and Senior Director, Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, Winona, MN 
"When Words Hurt: Investigating and Prosecuting Cases of Emotional Abuse"

Susie Wiet, M.D., Psychiatrist, Co-Founder, Trauma-Resiliency Collaborative (TRC), Salt Lake City, UT

“Neurobiology of Trauma and Resilience”

Attendees for this conference include attorneys, counselors, educators, the faith community, judges, law enforcement, nurses, physicians, psychologists, social workers, therapists, victim service professionals and all other concerned community members.

2017 Speaker Biographies

2017 Speaker Biographies

Ted Cross, Ph.D. 

Senior Research Specialist, The Children & Family Research Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL  
"Criminal Investigations in Child Protective Services Cases"

Ted Cross is a senior research professor at the Children and Family Research Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has been studying the criminal justice and child protection response to child abuse and neglect for nearly 30 years. He directed the Multi-Site Evaluation of Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), the largest and most comprehensive study of CACs ever conducted. Currently he is directing the Illinois Child Well-Being Study 2017, a statewide assessment of the well-being of children in foster care, and is also completing research funded by the National Institute of Justice on the use of DNA evidence in sexual abuse cases. He has written and presented numerous workshops and presentations on such topics as the effects of CACs; investigation and prosecution of child maltreatment; the well-being of children in the child welfare system; the use of polygraph testing in child abuse cases; and forensic evidence in child, adolescent and adult sexual assault cases. He was on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance for many years and currently serves on the National Children’s Alliance Research Advisory Committee. He is trained as a child clinical psychologist, and maintained a part time private practice for many years.

Marlanda Dekine, LCSW 

Speaking Down Barriers, Spartanburg, SC

Marlanda Dekine is a licensed master social worker, published poet and facilitator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Furman University and a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Marlanda is the Founder and Executive Director of Speaking Down Barriers (, a nonprofit organization that transforms space and co-creates community beyond the intersections of difference, i.e. race, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation and national identity. She has facilitated and performed among various groups at trainings, seminars and poetry slams across the nation. Most of her clinical experience is in conducting therapy and forensic evaluations with children who have suffered child abuse or severe neglect. She is a transformer of space, using her poetry and gift of healing to organize people for powerful individual and community transformation.

Nancy Henderson, M.D. 

Child Abuse Pediatrician, Greenville Children’s Hospital, Greenville, SC
"Opportunities Lost and Found-a Journey of a Young Child"

Dr. Henderson serves as the medical director of the Division of Forensic Pediatrics at Greenville Hospital System. She graduated from Bowman Gray School of Medicine and did her pediatric residency at TC Thompson Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, Tenn. She is board certified in Pediatrics and Child Abuse Pediatrics. She spends many of her days addressing one of the most difficult issues facing children: child abuse. For a decade, this pediatrician has performed child abuse medical exams at the Children’s Advocacy Center. She has the skills, patience, warmth and compassion to calm an anxious child, while gathering facts and medical evidence without further traumatizing the child. Just as importantly, she serves as an expert witness in Family and Criminal Court. Her testimony is often instrumental in the prosecution of child molesters.

Laura Porter 

Co-Founder, ACE Interface, Seattle, WA 
"Building Community Resilience"

Laura Porter is co-founder of ACE Interface, LLC. She has more than a decade of experience leading successful implementation of ACE Study concepts in Washington State in partnership with over 30 communities and 9 tribes. In addition to her work in Washington, Laura supports leaders in over 20 states, providing education, facilitation and empowerment strategies for building self-healing communities. She provides support and services to a wide range of groups. Including everyone from parents and youth who are convening neighborhood conversations, to philanthropic leaders and government officials who are using ACE science in investment and policy decisions. Laura loves to travel, garden, learn and play with her children and grandchildren.

Victor Vieth, J.D.

Founder and Senior Director, Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, Winona, MN 
"When Words Hurt: Investigating and Prosecuting Cases of Emotional Abuse"

Victor Vieth, J.D., is the founder of Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center (Gundersen NCPTC) and has served as senior director since its inception in 2003. In this role, he develops long-term strategy for expanding Gundersen NCPTC and its programs nationally and internationally. He also teaches, publishes, creates programs and works on public policy issues related to child protection.

Victor is in demand as a nationally recognized expert in the field of interpersonal violence. He speaks to audiences large and small at approximately 50 events each year. He has trained thousands of child protection professionals from all 50 states, two U.S. Territories and 17 countries on numerous topics pertaining to child abuse investigation, prosecution and prevention. He has been instrumental in implementing 22 state and international forensic interview training programs and dozens of undergraduate and graduate programs on child maltreatment.

Victor gained national recognition for his work addressing child abuse in small communities as a prosecutor in rural Minnesota. He has been named to the President's Honor Roll of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. The Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association also named him one of the “21 Young Lawyers Leading Us Into the 21st Century.” Victor is regularly asked to consult with legislators around the country regarding policy and reform and has testified in front of the United States Senate. Numerous foreign countries, including Saudi Arabia, Russia and Columbia, have sought his expertise to guide them as they create and implement ground breaking child protection policies.

Victor has published countless articles related to the investigation, prosecution and prevention of child abuse and neglect. He is author of Unto the Third Generation, a bold initiative that outlines the necessary steps we must all take to eliminate child abuse in America in three generations.

Victor graduated magna cum laude from Winona State University and earned his juris doctor from Hamline University School of Law (HUSL). While studying at HUSL, he received the American Jurisprudence Award for achievement in the study of constitutional law and served as editor-in-chief of the Law Review.  Read more...

Susie Wiet, M.D.

Psychiatrist, Co-Founder, Trauma-Resiliency Collaborative (TRC), Salt Lake City, UT  
“Neurobiology of Trauma and Resiliency”

Susie Wiet, M.D. is an integrative developmental psychiatrist with expertise in holistic treatment of trauma-addiction, dual diagnosis and complex psychiatric disorders. She synthesizes functional medicine principles, honed therapeutic skills, and allopathic medical training to provide comprehensive treatment for optimal healing and conservative use of medication. 

Working with a diversity of patients and colleagues, and focused on advocacy that improves the health of her patients and community, some highlights of her career include: founding the Trauma-Resiliency Collaborative (TRC), authoring the Health-Resiliency Stress Questionnaire (HRSQ, pending validation), establishing a role as a Psychiatric Consultant (Clinics of Utah, Dept. of Health), serving Medical Directorships (University of Utah, community mental health, and addiction treatment organizations), providing local and national lectures and trainings on the neurobiology of trauma-resiliency and adolescent addiction. The most important highlight of her life is raising two independent-thinking daughters with her husband in beautiful Salt Lake City, UT.

2017 Registration Information

The eighth annual A Brighter Future: Ending Child Abuse Through Advocacy and Education conference will be held on March 31, 2017 at USC Upstate. 

  • Conference registration fees: $35 for participants and $15 for students
  • Continuing education credits

The Center for Child Advocacy Studies was founded in 2010 to spearhead an initiative with a focus on tackling child abuse in our community. The purpose of the Center is to provide support for the academic programs in Child Advocacy at USC Upstate, and also provide evidence-supported training for child protection workers in our region, as well as increasing awareness of the problem within the general community.

2017 Hotel Accommodations

Spartanburg Marriott
Crystal Pace (Thomas) 
Sales Account Manager

Book your group rate for USC Upstate Brighter Future Conference 

299 North Church Street
Spartanburg, SC 29306
Office Number: (864) 596-1211

Price Rate: $135

Continuing Education

2017 Continuing Education Information
Continuing Education credit will be offered for the following professional groups:

Attorneys, Counselors, EMT, Law Enforcement, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers, Therapists and Victim Service Providers  
CEUs confirmed as of March 10, 2017:

Social Work 6.25 hours
Counselors 6.25 hours
Therapists 6.25 hours
EMT/Paramedic 6.25 hours
Law Enforcement 6.25 hours 
Attorneys/Judges 5.75 hours/4.75 hours
Nurses  6.25 hours
Psychologists Pending
Victim Service Provider 6.25 hours

* All participants will receive a certificate of attendance with hours listed.
* No partial credit will be given and certificates must be picked up at the end of the program.

Conference Schedule

8th Annual Conference Agenda
March 31, 2017

8:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.     Registration
8:45 - 8:50                      Welcome, Dr. Brendan Kelly, Chancellor
8:50 - 9:00                      Welcome, Dr. Jennifer Parker, Director of Child Advocacy Studies
9:00 - 10:15                    Susie Wiet, M.D., Psychiatrist, Co-Founder Trauma-Resiliency Collaborative Salt Lake City, UT 
                                         “Neurobiology of Trauma and Resilience”
10:15 - 10:25                  Break
10:25 - 10:30                  Marlanda DeKine, LMSW, Speaking Down Barriers, Spartanburg, SC
10:30 - 11:45                   Victor Vieth, J.D., Founder and Senior Director Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, Winona, MN
                                          "When Words Hurt: Investigating and Prosecuting Cases of Emotional Abuse"
11:45 - 12:30 p.m.          Lunch
12:30 - 1:30                    Theodore Cross, Ph.D., Senior Research Specialist, Children & Family Research Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL                                               "Criminal Investigations in Child Protective Services Cases"
1:30 - 2:30                       Nancy Henderson, M.D., Child Abuse Pediatrician, Greenville Children’s Hospital, Greenville, SC
                                          “Opportunities Lost and Found-a Journey of a Young Child"
2:30 - 2:45                       Break
2:45 - 4:00                       Laura Porter, Co-Founder ACE Interface, Seattle, WA
                                          “Building Community Resilience”
4:00 to 4:30                     Closing Remarks, Wrap-up and Program Evaluation
4:30 p.m.                          Adjourn

The speakers and planning committee for this conference have disclosed that they do not have relevant financial relationships with commercial interests and does not anticipate discussing unlabeled uses of any commercial products or any investigational products.