Owens House to host presentation on child abuse prevention

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, February 29, 2024

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BIRMINGHAM — Owens House, a leading nonprofit dedicated to serving child abuse victims and their families, is proud to announce an upcoming presentation focused on the urgent issue of child abuse that will be held on Thursday, March 7 at 8:30-10:30 a.m. This event, in partnership with the Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers (ANCAC), underscores Owens House’s commitment to raising awareness, providing support, and advocating for the protection of vulnerable children.

The presentation, titled “It Takes Shelby County to Protect a Child”, will take place at the Shelby County Services Building, 19220 on U.S. 280 and will address the complexities surrounding child abuse, including its various forms, signs and impacts on children and families.

Michael Johnson, an internationally recognized expert on all aspects of child abuse and exploitation will serve as speaker for the event. Johnson is also known for his specialization in abuse investigation, detection and prevention efforts for organizations serving youth.

After spending 28 years as a detective in Plano, Texas, Johnson went on to work for The Boy Scouts of America for 10 years as Youth Protection Advisor/Director. He was featured in Scouts Honor: The Secret Files of The Boy Scouts of America, a 2023 Netflix documentary that investigates how the Boy Scouts of America attempted to cover up one of history’s most horrific child sexual abuse scandals.

“It Takes Shelby County to Protect a Child” kicks off a two-day training for Shelby County’s Multidisciplinary Team in which participants will have the opportunity to engage in skills-based learning, interactive workshops and discussions facilitated by Johnson. This comprehensive training will provide attendees an opportunity to gain valuable skills and knowledge to effect positive change in their communities.

The presentation is open to the public and welcomes individuals, educators, healthcare professionals, social workers, law enforcement personnel, teachers, mental health professionals and community leaders who are passionate about safeguarding children.

“We are thrilled to offer this presentation and training program as part of our ongoing efforts to support and empower our team and our community,” said Laurel Teel, executive director at Owens House. “We believe that our team members should be familiar with how to work our cases when they get their first call to go out to a scene. The moment a disclosure is made, every step a team member takes in an investigation impacts the child’s case and their life. I am excited to see increased knowledge and collaboration amongst our team, leaving a lasting impact on the children and families we serve.”

Owens House is the children’s advocacy center serving Shelby County, Alabama that exists to equip the community to protect, strengthen, and restore those who have experienced child abuse and trauma. Through prevention, intervention, follow-up, and training services, we strive to provide healing and justice to child victims and their families.

“ANCAC wanted to bring Detective Mike to our state because he knows how to motivate teams and he understands how predators manipulate children and communities,” Said Lynn Bius, director of the Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. “We continue to have new multidisciplinary team members and we want everyone to understand how important the MDT process is to cases of child sexual abuse. We cannot keep our children safe without the buy-in and support of everyone. This includes Child Advocacy Centers, teachers, principals, parents, counselors, law enforcement, churches, DHR and youth serving organizations. Detective Mike has dedicated his life and career to investigating child sexual abuse cases and bringing predators to justice. He now seeks to share his knowledge and experiences to train teams around the country and we are grateful to have him with our teams in Alabama.”