Fighting Against Child Abuse

Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Awards recognize those who prevent child abuse and aid victims

The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) and the San Joaquin Children's Services Coordinating Commission are pleased to announce the recipients of this year's Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Awards.

The awards reflect the dedication of the individuals and organizations in our community committed to improving the lives of children. Winners were recognized at the 18th Annual Child Abuse Prevention Symposium on April 18 at the Stockton Hilton. The Symposium brings together more than 350 educators, social workers, law enforcement officers, nurses, advocates, therapists, and other professionals working to prevent child abuse and help its victims. Part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the symposium allows these professionals to share strategies that will aid in their efforts throughout the year.

The Symposium also offers an opportunity for those gathered to recognize and reward the excellence of their peers in four different categories:

Agency Program of the Year

The Lisa Project in 10 (TLP in 10) is a 10-minute, scaled-down version of The Lisa Project exhibit that was created by the Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County to raise awareness and educate people about child abuse in our community. The portable exhibit fits inside most school classrooms or conference rooms in medical centers or hotels. TLP in 10 reached students in their high schools with the message of prevention and a connection to resources. The message gives students insight into the impact of child abuse and is coupled with simple discussion and a formatted lesson plan which provides for follow-up, allowing students to process feelings and speak with professionals as well as learn about the socioeconomic impacts child abuse leaves in our society. TLP in 10 has reached more than 3,000 area high school students this past year.

Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

Irene Shelvay is the primary human-trafficking detective with the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office's Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit. One of her responsibilities is to identify and rescue juvenile victims forced into sex- and labor-based slavery. She has been involved in numerous presentations and meetings on juvenile prevention of human trafficking. She has an innate ability to speak with youth and provide them comfort as well as an understanding of the process. She elicits information to assist in the successful prosecution of child predators. At a recent human trafficking meeting with nonprofit outreach group Without Permission, Detective Shelvay was approached by a girl who had been forced to commit sexual acts with suspects trying to force her into the sex trade. Because of the trust Detective Shelvay earns, she was able to successfully arrest and receive a confession from the suspect.

Service Employees of the Year

Adrenna Philpott-Torrence and Michael Blalock are social workers at San Joaquin County Child Protective Services who have formed a parent support group for parents in the reunification process. They teach parents that there is strength in numbers and that knowledge is a key to success. They have helped parents understand and see that social workers are not barriers, but rather the bridge to bringing the kids back home to them. Every parent who attended the first support group was successfully reunited with their children. Adrenna and Mike infuse a sense of hopefulness to the parents that the reality of having their children safely reunited was a strong possibility and very likely if they all worked together as a team to make the necessary changes. Their motto is: Let’s do this together.

Volunteer of the Year

Christina Gilbert is an active member of the Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) Auxiliary, a volunteer-driven fundraising committee. Christina was elected into a leadership role with a focus on rebuilding and re-branding to attract a younger population of women committed to the CAPC’s mission to protect children and strengthen families. She is actively involved in the CAPC’s annual Ducky Derby event. She is also the part time director of the San Joaquin Children’s Alliance, which focuses on improving the lives of children and families in San Joaquin County. The Alliance has galvanized community support and lobbied for the creation of a county-wide Children’s Task Force, charged with the responsibility of identifying and pursuing a dedicated funding stream for investment in San Joaquin County children’s programs. Christina’s vision has evolved into a broad, multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary approach to achieving goals in the community.

Posted: 4/19/2018