Building an Inclusive Model for Abuse Investigations for Children with Special Needs

This is a FREE training event. 

Start: May 22, 2018 @ 9:00 am

End: May 22, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

Location: Concord, CA

If no event address is listed, it will be provided in the confirmation materials

Registration Deadline: May 8, 2018

Presented in cooperation with CAPSAC and the Contra Costa Child Abuse Prevention Council.

Course Overview: Currently, there is limited information for families of children with special needs on how to prevent and recognize the signs of abuse. The lack of information leads to under-reporting of abuse and limited prosecution of disclosures. The fear is that juries will not find children with disabilities as reliable witnesses because their accounting of abuse varies considerably compared with their typically developing peers.

Studies around abuse within the special needs community are limited and rates of abuse can range from 22-70% of children within this population (National Research Council, 2001).  This shows an increasing need for professionals in the trauma field to obtain additional training around developmental disabilities, especially as it pertains to processing traumatic events.

Presenter Information: Courtney Palm, LMFT, is a licensed developmental therapist specializing in trauma as it relates to victims with special needs.  She graduated from Pepperdine University with a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology and completed a three-year internship with the Child Development Institute in assessment and treatment of children with neurocognitive disorders. Amber McDonald, LCSW is a doctoral candidate at the University of Denver. She has an extensive practice background in forensic social work and child welfare. She also provides human trafficking prevention-related consultation for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, as well as other key private sector organizations.

Objectives: By the end of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss differences in reporting among children within the special needs community.
  • Demonstrate practical tools for those working with diagnostic groups commonly seen during investigations.
  • Better detect whether a child has delays in language processing and they are undiagnosed.
  • Apply tips about court preparation and testimony and how to prepare the child for trial.
  • Better utilize the multidisciplinary team to benefit the child and family.
  • Design opportunities for further education within the special needs community.


  • 8:30am – 9:00am / Check-in and Registration
  • 9:00am – 10:15am / Dynamics of Grooming Among Special Needs Populations
  • 10:15am – 10:15am / Break
  • 10:25am – 11:00am / Considerations for Trauma Processing Among Special Needs Populations
  • 11:00am – 11:45pm / Caregiver Dynamics
  • 11:45pm – 12:45pm / Lunch
  • 12:45pm – 2:00pm / Neurological Differences in Special Needs Children
  • 2:00pm – 2:15pm / Break
  • 2:15pm – 3:15pm / Modifying the Forensic Interview
  • 3:15pm – 4:00pm / Q&A – Wrap Up

This training is FREE OF CHARGE. Participants are responsible for travel, lodging and all meal expenses. Lunch is NOT provided.

Continuing Education: If you are interested in Continuing Education please apply and pay for credit at the training. Cash, card, and check payments.

  • Course meets qualifications for 6 hours of cont. education credit for LMFTs and LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, $45, Provider #128510. The Center for Innovation and Resource, Inc. (CIR) is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs and LCSWs. CIR maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.

All attendees will receive a Certificate of Attendance. Participants may apply for continuing education credits (CEUs) at the event. Certificates for CEUs will be mailed to participants within two weeks following the event.

For more information, questions, or grievances, please contact Emma Nichols at or 707-992-0537.

Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations to participate in this training should also contact Emma Nichols. Requests must be received by May 8, 2018.


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