Valley professionals address child abuse at SPI conference

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POSTED: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 4:46pm

UPDATED: Saturday, November 9, 2013 - 10:10am

Child abuse has become an increasing problem in the US, especially in Texas. A combination of case workers, attorneys, doctors, law enforcement officials and other professionals came together to address child abuse at the Tenth Annual Seminar in Forensic Sciences.

"This is an opportunity for all of those professionals to get together and talk about best practices," said the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services commissioner John Specia, Jr.

"Dealing with the problems of child abuse and child neglect requires a team. You know, physicians alone can't deal with it, Child Protective Service workers alone cannot deal with it," said Forensic Sciences Seminar chairman Stan Fisch. "It's a group effort."

And in a state that has the fastest growing child population, that effort is crucial-which is why Texas has been making strides to reduce child abuse cases.

"Judges are now so far better trained than in how to work with children and how to work with children in a courtroom than they were twenty years ago," said Specia. "We've really come a long way."

And even in the courtroom, it's all about strategizing so that the child feels comfortable.

"You've got to treat children like children, and so I'll get on the ground and talk to children," said Specia. "I've got toys in my courtroom for them to play with. You do whatever you can to get the real story."

"Our aims are to learn together as a community," said Fisch.

Reporting from South Padre Island, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.

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