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Psychological Maltreatment Summit: Building on the Past for a Better Future

The Child Psychological Maltreatment Summit was held for 2 ½ days (October 27-29, 2019) and involved 52 international, national and Indiana experts in think-tank deliberations to produce perspective and recommendations to reduce/eliminate psychological maltreatment in a manner respecting and promoting child resilience and well-being. The Summit applied the 36 years of progress made since the 1983 International Conference on Psychological Abuse of Children and Youth in formulating advances for 7 themes: (1) Definitions, laws and standards; (2) Healthy child development; (3) Changing social norms for child adversity, resiliency and well-being; (4) Promotion and prevention emphasizing health/public health approaches; (5) Interventions for risk, occurrence, and harm; (6) Education, training and learning of public and professional sectors; (7) Child participation and agency. The Summit was held in Indianapolis with primary support from Lilly Endowment, mirroring similar conditions for the 1983 Conference. PNC Bank and the Haruv Institute provided additional supportive funding. The Summit was convened through a partnership of APSAC, The New York Founding, the School Psychology Program of Columbia University, the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (four partners embodying the Psychological Maltreatment Alliance), the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect, and the Haruv Institute. The Indiana venue and involvement of state leaders/experts was specifically designed to optimize the possibilities for follow-up model building and program implementation of Summit recommendations. The Summit participants included academics, school psychologists and clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, mental health nurse practitioners, addiction specialists, educators, judges, lawyers, child rights and child well-being advocates, social workers, youth workers, community workers, school counsellors, local government and faith community representatives, and public policy experts. They rallied around a shared encompassing perspective of what is needed: A society that understands nurturing, positive and healthy connections and creates a space and place for the influence of children’s voices in a meaningful and measurable way, and that mitigates and prevents trauma, thus creating a culture of child well-being and child rights. The primary knowledge base source for Summit deliberations was The APSAC Monograph on Psychological Maltreatment (PM)(https://files.constantcontact.com/f9c101a1501/0fb4b112-786f-4169-99ff-525d33095114.pdf). Interested parties should monitor this site for future presentations of detailed findings and recommendations from the Summit, and for guidance to associated publications, education/training opportunities, and related research, policy and practice initiatives. -- Stuart N. Hart

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