2017 Annual Membership Conference

The 2017 New York State Children’s Alliance Annual Membership Conference is a multidisciplinary training designed to meet the training needs of all members of a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). This year’s workshop sessions are lead by national and local experts in the field of child abuse investigations and interventions. 

When:                       Tuesday, October 3rd, 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM and
                                  Wednesday, October 4th, 8:30 AM- 1:30PM

Where:                      Holiday Inn, 232 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Registration Fees:   Full Conference: $100
                                  Day One: $55, Day Two: $45

To Register Click Here


A block of rooms has been reserved for conference attendees at the government rate of $124/night at the Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn. Use group code CAI to access this rate! Reservations can be made over the phone: 518-584-4550 or online, using the following link: reservations.  Reservations must be made by September 18, 2017 to garauntee this rate!

Each NYSCA member program in good standing will be provided with 1 night of lodging at the Holiday Inn courtesy of NYSCA.  Please make your reservations with the Holiday Inn first, then contact clare.robinson-henrie@nyschildrensalliance.org to make arrangements for the complimentary room. 

NYSCA 2017 Membership Conference Agenda 

Day One: October 3, 2017

9-9:15AMWelcome- Karen Hill, NYSCA Executive Director
9:15-10:15AMKeynote Address – “Creating a Trauma Informed Culture with Accountability and Care”
Gene Klein, LCSW, Project Harmony
10:15-10:30 AMBreak
10:30- 11:45 AMConcurrent Session I
“Working with Survivors of CSEC: A Trauma Informed Mental Health Perspective”
Autumn Porubsky, PsyD, Upstate University Hospital

“Surviving PTSD in Law Enforcement, Part I”
Sheriff Tim Whitcomb, Cattaraugus County

“Sentinel Injuries: Reasons to Sweat the Small Stuff"
Alicia Pekarsky, MD, Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital/SUNY Upstate Medical University
11:45- 12:45PMLunch
12:45- 2:15PMWorld Cafe Small Group Discussion
Forensic Interview Recording
Youth with Problematic Sexual Behaviors
Safe Harbor/Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
Access to Medical Services in NYS, Peer Review
2:15- 2:30PMBreak
2:30-3:45PMConcurrent Session II
“Fundraising Principles for CAC Directors”
Gene Klein, LCSW, Project Harmony

“Surviving PTSD in Law Enforcement, Part II”
Sheriff Tim Whitcomb, Cattaraugus County

“In-Depth Case Reviews: Using Data to Enhance CAC Advocacy and Mental Health Services”
Nancy Arnow, MSW, Safe Horizon & Elizabeth Ebright, Safe Horizon
4:00-5:00PMNYSCA Membership Session
Karen Hill, NYSCA Executive Director
5:20PMTrivia Night at the Tap and Barrel, 13 Caroline St, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Day Two: October 4, 2017

8:30-9:30AM“The Long-Term Impact of Trauma: A Survivor’s Perspective”
Tom Andriola, Division of Criminal Justice Services
9:45-11:00AM“New and Emerging Legal Issues Impacting the CAC Field Panel”
Danielle Pascale, Bronx District Attorney’s Office; Michael Godlewski, Schenectady DSS; Mary Armistead, Albany Law School
11:10- 12:30Concurrent Session I:
“Adverse Childhood Experience, Trauma Informed Care and Investigations”
David Wallace, LCSW-R, Lasalle School

“Youth with Problematic Sexual Behavior Panel”
Stacy Austin-Root, Oswego Child Advocacy Center; Renee Roman, START Children’s Center; Sean Lennon, Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County; Tom Andriola, DCJS; Jenny Almanzar, LCSW-R, The Family and Children’s Society
12:30-1:30PMAgency Updates and Lunch

Presentation Descriptions

Keynote Address:Creating a Trauma Informed Culture with Accountability and Care”
Gene Klein, LCSW, Project Harmony

As Child Advocacy Centers continue to grow and expand their impact, one of the critical elements of success is the ability to create a culture that balances being trauma informed AND managing for results.  Having a team and organization with a shared culture is critical to moving through and to the next level.  This session will share the critical elements to developing your culture, and the leadership essentials for CAC directors.

Working with Survivors of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC): A Trauma Informed Mental Health Perspective” Autumn Porubsky, PsyD, Upstate University Hospital

This workshop will help provide an understanding of CSEC on a national and local level, as well as provide specific information about interviewing this population and providing treatment in a trauma informed manner.

“Surviving PTSD in Law Enforcement”
Sheriff Tim Whitcomb, Cattaraugus County

A dynamic, powerful and emotional presentation regarding the reality of the incident rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder within the ranks of our Law Enforcement community. Emphasis is placed on the history of PTSD, with a specific focus on police suicide, as well as recommendations for administrative training to prepare, insulate, protect and treat the expected exposure to trauma

“Sentinel Injuries: Reasons to Sweat the Small Stuff”
Dr. Alicia Pekarsky, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital/SUNY Upstate Medical University

This workshop will introduce the audience to the relatively newly coined term “sentinel injuries”. Dr. Pekarsky will discuss what constitutes a sentinel injury and which injuries are most often found in children who have been physically abused as well as review the importance of identifying and addressing these types of injuries in order to potentially prevent additional harm to the child. Along with that, she will highlight the importance of educating caregivers, child protective service workers, medical professionals as well as other mandated reporters with regards to the significance of these types of injuries.

“Fundraising Principles for CAC Directors”
Gene Klein, LCSW, Project Harmony

This session will review the essential fundraising vehicles and will provide an overview of the most successful fundraising strategies that can be used to improve the resources for CACs.

“In-Depth Case Reviews: Using Data to Enhance CAC Advocacy and Mental Health Services”
Nancy Arnow, MSW, Safe Horizon and Elizabeth Ebright, Safe Horizon

In 2012, Safe Horizon instituted the In-Depth Case Review (IDCR), a supportive and collaborative forum for assessing program practice and developing quality improvement initiatives. The IDCR allows program leaders and staff at all levels to utilize quantitative data and examples of client-staff interactions to take a systematic program-wide look at current practice and make enhancements informed by data and real client experiences. Workshop facilitators will provide an overview of Safe Horizon’s CAC IDCR, present examples of the different types of data we use, and share practice enhancements we’ve implemented as a result of the IDCR process.

The Long Term Impact of Trauma: A Survivor’s Perspective”
Tom Andriola, Division of Criminal Justice Services

Mr. Andriola will describe the trauma of his own childhood sexual abuse.  It took years for him to disclose and many more to come to terms with its impact. Mr. Andriola has struggled with the feeling of regret that years of his life were lost as a result of this. Through a network of caring professionals, and child advocacy centers specifically, we can work together to better identify the signs of abuse, leading to disclosure in a secure environment. This will ultimately lead to an earlier and more effective healing process.

“New and Emerging Legal Issues impacting the CAC Field Panel” Danielle Pascale, Bronx District Attorney’s Office; Michael Godlewski, Schenectady DSS; Mary Armistead, Albany Law School

The panel participants will give overviews of new and relevant legal issues and laws such as Raise the Age, changes in Family Court law as well as immigrant rights and how all these issues might impact CACs and their work.  Panelists will also take the audience’s questions.

“Adverse Childhood Experience, Trauma Informed Care and Investigations “
David Wallace, LCSW-R, Lasalle School

This workshop will illustrate how and why ACEs are relevant to all professionals who serve as child welfare, juvenile justice and behavioral health providers. The presenter will discuss challenges associated with becoming an “ACEs informed” organization; incorporating ACEs into training, practice, and programming and will demonstrate how growing ACE awareness among all staff can positively impact programming, interdisciplinary collaboration, and transform agency culture.

“Youth with Problematic Sexual Behavior Panel ”
Stacy Austin-Root, Oswego Child Advocacy Center;  Renee Roman, START Children’s Center; Sean Lennon, Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County; Tom Andriola, DCJS;  Jenny Almanzar, LCSW-R, The Family and Children’s Society

The panel participants will discuss their work with the YPSB population, specifically in regards to their participation in the University of Oklahoma’s program.  This will give the audience an overview of the program, an understanding of the ways CACs can serve this population and why this work is so important.

Presenter Biographies

Gene Klein, LCSW
Mr. Klein has been the Executive Director of PROJECT HARMONY for over 15years.  Gene has a Bachelor’s Degree from Creighton University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  He has over 30 years’ experience in the child welfare field providing direct services as a CPS worker as well as progressive leadership positions in non-profit agencies serving children and families.  Gene is also a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner.    Gene serves as the co-chair of the Nebraska Governor’s Commission for the Protection of Children, he is the president elect of the Nebraska Legislature’s Children’s Commission and he recently finished his term as a board member with the role of the president of the National Children’s Alliance Board of Directors.   Gene is a National Children’s Alliance Accreditation Peer Reviewer, a former COA Peer Reviewer, and is a regular National speaker on collaboration, child advocacy and non-profit leadership.  Gene has delivered historic fundraising efforts as a result of public advocacy and community engagement-combining federal, state, local and private funding to make this collaborative one of the largest in the Nation.

Under his leadership, Project Harmony has become the model collaborative for effective child abuse prevention, response and treatment. This Child Advocacy Center, is co-located with over 250 professionals from the fields of law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, advocacy, and mental health, and medical,  representing city, county, state, federal government entities working with non-profit agencies creating a one-stop response to  child abuse investigations and treatment.  In addition, Project Harmony provides critical coordination of the community wide Multidisciplinary Team for all child abuse investigations and treatment.

Autumn Porubsky, PsyD
Ms. Porubsky is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic at Upstate University Hospital has conducted hundreds of forensic interviews with children and adolescents who are victims of sexual abuse.  She also specializes in providing treatment for children who are trauma victims.

Alicia Pekarsky, MD.
Dr. Pekarsky is one of just over 300 pediatricians in the U.S. that are board certified in Child Abuse Pediatrics. Dr. Pekarsky is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital/SUNY Upstate Medical University and is also Co-Medical Director of McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. In addition to providing medical care for general pediatric patients and victims of suspected child abuse, she also trains and educates medical learners.

Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb
Mr. Whitcomb is currently the Sheriff of Cattaraugus County and brings 28 years of law enforcement experience into his dynamic and powerful presentation. Sheriff Whitcomb has a Master’s Degree from St. Bonaventure University in Counseling Psychology, a Bachelor’s Degree from Empire State College in Criminal Justice and is a Graduate of the 206th Session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. He has appeared at speaking engagements throughout New York for numerous law enforcement agencies, Instructor for the C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) Conference in Austin Texas, FBI LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Directors Association), Enrichment Speaker at the upcoming FBI National Academy, training for the US Attorney’s Office in New Haven Connecticut for Sandy Hook Responders, NYS Women in Law Enforcement Conference, the Canadian American Law Enforcement Organization Training Symposium, NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services and the United States Secret Service. Sheriff Whitcomb will enlighten participants on the history of PTSD with recommendations for administrations to prepare, isolate, protect and treat expected exposure to trauma by taking you through his personal stories of his struggles and survival of this manageable disorder. 

Nancy Arnow, MSW
Ms. Arnow is the Vice President, Child Advocacy & Mental Health Treatment Programs, joined Safe Horizon in 1988, working in various programs and in a variety of leadership positions over the past twenty-seven years. Nancy oversees Safe Horizon’s five fully co-located Child Advocacy Centers, the Child Advocacy Resource and Consultation Center, and the Safe Horizon’s mental health treatment programs. Nancy has devoted much of her professional career to developing programs and enhancing services to child and adult victims of crime, abuse and trauma. She is a passionate supporter of the CAC movement. Nancy received her MSW from Columbia University.

Elizabeth Ebright
Ms. Ebright is an associate in Safe Horizon’s Research and Evaluation department. In her role at Safe Horizon she collaborates on research projects and program evaluations with the wide range of programs Safe Horizon administers. Elizabeth brings years of experience in research and direct service with domestic violence survivors and marginalized communities to her work helping make data and research useful to Safe Horizon’s leaders, front line staff, and clients.

Tom Andriola
Mr. Andriola serves as the Chief of Policy and Implementation for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.  In that capacity, he is responsible for facilitating the progress and implementation of various juvenile justice reform initiatives across New York State and advising the Division on other key public safety and cross systems initiatives.  He is also a representative of the New York State Children’s Justice Task Force, the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, and the New York State Interagency Task Force on HIV/AIDS.  Previously, Mr. Andriola served as a member of the Mohonasen Board of Education in Rotterdam, New York, as Director of Policy and Implementation for the Office of the Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, as Assistant Chief Budget Examiner for the New York State Division of the Budget, and as Deputy Budget Director for the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee.  He also spent some time working in the private sector prior to joining public service.  Mr. Andriola received an M.A. in Economics from the State University of New York at Albany in 1996 and a B.S. in Economics in 1993 from Siena College, which included a semester abroad at the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France.

David Wallace, LCSW-R
Mr. Wallace is currently the Associate Executive Director for Program Development at LaSalle School, in Albany, NY. With over 20 years of experience in child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice, Mr. Wallace is a nationally recognized expert in treating youth and families who have experienced sexual abuse and complex trauma. As an active trainer, Mr. Wallace has presented to audiences throughout the US, Canada and the United Kingdom on the topics of trauma, clinical best practices, and behavioral health policy. Mr. Wallace also serves on a number of state and national associations, boards, and committees, all dedicated to the improvement of treatment services to youth and families with complex mental health and behavioral needs.


Michael Godlewski, Esq.
Mr. Godlewski, Esq is the First Deputy County Attorney in charge of the Department of Social Services legal unit.  In that capacity he supervises four attorneys and support staff.  He provides daily counsel on all matter of child protective and child welfare law including emergency consultations.  He appears regularly in Schenectady County Family Court and has brought over 200 Article 10 cases to Disposition and tried over fifty hearings and trials.  He is also legal counsel to Schenectady County’s Medicaid Unit, Adult Protective Services, and Indigent Burial Services.  He has worked for the County of Schenectady for seven (7) years, starting first doing child support and fair hearings regarding child protective indications.  Prior to working for the County of Schenectady, Michael worked for the Town of Rotterdam as an Assistant Town Attorney and Counsel to the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, as well as in private practice with the Wilhelm Law Firm and the DeLorenzo Law Firm.  Michael also spent time as an adjunct professor at Mildred Elley in the paralegal studies program.  Michael is a mock trial coach for his alma mater, Mohonasen High School.  He is a Member of the Board of Directors for the Schenectady Community Action Program (SCAP) whose mission statement includes alleviating the symptoms and eradicating the causes of poverty by helping people help themselves when they are in economic, educational, or social need.  He is a proud graduate of the New England School of Law (08) and Skidmore College (05) where he was a four year starter on the baseball team and Co-Captain of the 2005 Liberty League Championship Team, enshrined in Skidmore College’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

Danielle Pascale, Esq.
Ms. Pascale, Esq. is a Supervising Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office.  Ms. Pascale has been an Assistant District Attorney since 2001.  Her current responsibilities include the investigation and prosecution of child homicides, sexual offenses and the physical and sexual abuse of children.  Ms. Pascale is also the prosecution supervisor for the Bronx Child Advocacy Center.   Ms. Pascale has tried numerous felony cases and has had vast experience second seating junior Assistants. She has furthered her training by attending the APRI Advance techniques in Forensic DNA Evidence course, Dallas Crimes Against Children Conference, New York State Prosecutors Training Institute.  Ms. Pascale has also taught in the areas Forensic Interviewing of Children, Child Homicide investigation, Child Sexual Abuse Dynamics, Protecting Children from Predators, Safe Sleep and Internet Safety. Ms. Pascale worked as a Child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor is the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office for 3 and one half years as well.

Mary E. Armistead, Esq.,
Ms. Armistead, Esq., earned her B.A. is Psychology in 2011 from Queens University of Charlotte and her J.D. from Albany Law School in 2014, graduating magna cum laude from both institutions. During law school, Mary’s numerous internships experiences related primarily to assisting either children or immigrants with various legal issues. After graduating, she worked for one year at the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest appellate court. Since July 2015, Mary has served as the Clinical Fellow for the Immigration Law Clinic at the Albany Law Clinic and Justice Center, where she both supervises students in the representation of and provides direct representation to immigrants seeking certain forms of humanitarian relief.

Stacy Austin-Root, MS, LMHC
Ms Austin-Root received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Child and Family Studies from SUNY Oneonta and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Georgia Southern University. She became a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in 2006 and is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Stacy is the Clinical Director at the CAC, where she coordinates the Counseling Program and the Oswego County Trauma Response Team. She has additional clinical training in the University of Oklahoma Problematic Sexual Behavior –Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Model for School Age Children and coordinates the PSB group for youth ages 7-12 at the Oswego County CAC.  Stacy provides counseling to families that have experienced severe physical abuse, sexual abuse and traumatic grief.  She has worked at the CAC for 13 years.

Jenny Almanzar, LCSW-R
Ms. Almanzar obtained her Master’s degree through the Advanced Standing program at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. Ms. Almanzar is the Director of the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program at the Family and Children’s Society in Binghamton, NY where she has worked for the last 15 years.  The program has satellite offices in Owego and Cortland, NY. The Sexual Abuse Treatment Program works with child victims and their families to minimize the impact trauma may have had on the family. The program also works with adults and adolescents who have sexually offended and children with problematic sexual behaviors to prevent further incidents of sexual abuse.  Ms. Almanzar represents the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program on several committees and multidisciplinary teams including the Sexually Aggressive Youth Intervention Team (SAYIT).  This committee’s purpose is to continuously improve the identification, referral process and treatment for children with problematic sexual behaviors.

Sean Lennon, MS, LMHC
Mr. Lennon is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor with Master’s Degrees in Clinical Psychology and Forensic Psychology.  He currently serves as the Clinical Mental Health Coordinator for the Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County in Jamestown, NY, and also works in private practice.  Sean has been working with children, adolescents, adults, and families for 20 years across several treatment settings, including: outpatient, residential, and community-based (group home settings).  Sean’s clinical focus includes working with children who exhibit problematic sexual behavior (PSB) and adults who exhibit sexual and violent offending behavior.


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