Conference offers clergy training in child trauma
Several faith organizations and other agencies are joining forces to offer a special clergy training conference.
The "Faith Communities Protecting Children: Recognizing and Responding to Adverse Childhood Experiences Conference" is set for 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Metro Tech Business Conference Center, 1900 Springlake Drive.
"We strongly believe that faith-based organizations can and do play an important role in the prevention and healing of children who have experienced trauma. This conference will address ways in which members and staff can become more trauma-informed and trauma-responsive as they seek to support all individuals who have trauma histories," said Pat Potts, co-founder of Potts Family Foundation, one of the sponsoring organizations.
Organizers said Oklahoma children are among those at greatest risk for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), according to recent America's Health rankings.
The Faith Communities Protecting Children Conference is geared toward faith leaders or groups who work with children or youths in houses of worship. It is designed to help them recognize and respond to conditions such as physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect and other trauma that impairs children. Speakers include national and internationally recognized experts on these topics. The Rev. Darrell L. Armstrong, a pastor and expert in prevention of child abuse and a respected voice in the national and international child welfare/family strengthening communities, will be keynote speaker.
A native of Los Angeles, California, Armstrong is in his 19th year of service as pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, of Trenton, New Jersey.
He has received policy training at Stanford University, earning a bachelor's degree in public policy; and theological training at Princeton Theological Seminary, where he earned his master's of divinity. Armstrong also has therapeutic/clinical training from his education at The College of New Jersey, where he earned a master's of education in marriage and family therapy. His doctoral work inn Trauma-Informed Care was done at Liberty University, where he earned a doctorate of ministry in pastoral care and counseling. He is a former member of the New Jersey Governor’s Cabinet for Children (2002-2005); former co-chair of the Child Welfare Transition Team for former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine; and a member of the Child, Family, & Human Services Transition Team for current New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (12/2017-01/2018). Building on these experiences, Armstrong was asked to serve as the director of the division of (child abuse) prevention and community partnerships for the newly created New Jersey Department of Children and Families from March 2006 to April 2009. After leaving state government, he founded the Institute for Clergy Training, an organization dedicated to helping clergy of all faiths better understand and implement in their houses of worship, stronger family engagement programs that strengthen overall family functioning and well-being. In 2016, the general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance appointed Armstrong as chief administrative officer to the United Nations for the Baptist World Alliance.
Other conference speakers include Barbara L. Bonner; Tricia Gardner; Debra B. Hecht; Melissa Morgan; state Rep. Cyndi Munson; the Rev. Chris Moore and the Rev. Lee Cooper Jr. Besides the Potts Family Foundation, sponsoring organizations include: Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma; University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center; Center on Child Abuse & Neglect; Department of Human Services Office of Community & Faith Engagement; and Oklahoma Conference of Churches.
What: "Faith Communities Protecting Children Conference."
When: 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. April 2. Check-in begins at 8:15 a.m. Meet and Greet will follow conference.
Where: Metro Tech Business Conference Center, 1900 Springlake Drive.
Cost: $2, including lunch.
Information: Registration, agenda and speaker bios available on Interfaith Alliance website at www.tiaok.org. Deadline to register is Friday.