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President's column

Goals for 2013-14 include increased visibility for the section and an increased sense of community among its members.

By Jennifer Kaminski, PhD
Those of you who already know me will be surprised to read that I started out at a loss for what to say in a "President’s Column." Trying to fill the shoes of past president Mary Haskett is a daunting prospect. Under her leadership, the section grew both in terms of membership and financial health. Mary acted as a conduit for section members to provide expertise to APA and other groups on a number of important policy, practice and academic efforts. She also pushed the field forward by initiating a task force around positive parenting in the context of homelessness. I am grateful that she has handed over to my care a very strong section, with members eager to be involved.

My goals for 2013-2014 are to capitalize on that momentum by seeking ways to increase our visibility as a valued resource for the field of child maltreatment, remove barriers to more effective section functioning, and increase the sense of community among section members. By focusing my energies in these ways, I hope to facilitate section members’ ability to have a positive impact.

To accomplish these goals, I am asking for your assistance in two ways. First, I need you to let me know how I can help you do your work better. With Div. 37, I am working to improve the process of membership renewals by equipping the section to accept online credit card payments. We are hopeful this will remove a disincentive for renewal (writing and mailing a check), and will ultimately be beneficial for both the organization and the individual members. But I can only work to remove the barriers of which I am aware, so please let me know what others you would like me to help tackle during my term.

Second, I need members to respond to what I hope will be many requests for input, feedback, or comments on substantive issues. I will of course be seeking new ways to increase our visibility, but one sure way to make ourselves more wellknown is to respond capably to existing requests. Please do not discount the value of your perspective when I send out requests for input, and please do not discriminate against yourself on the basis of age or career stage. The more responses I receive, the more representative and wellinformed my compiled feedback is likely to be.

I predict this will be an exciting year for the field. On the policy front, the Protect our Kids Act (P.L. 112-275) passed just weeks ago, with both APA and the section having provided expertise. With that Act’s creation of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, 2013 could be a landmark year in child maltreatment prevention and child welfare services. I recently circulated via the listserv a draft of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation on primary care interventions to prevent child maltreatment, on which we were asked to comment. Their final recommendation will undoubtedly spark discussion and perhaps research and action as well. Home visiting will surely continue to be prominent in policy and practice, and political attention to early childhood education appears to be on the rise. These may provide new and unique opportunities for the section’s involvement, and I encourage members to actively engage in opportunities as their time and expertise allow.

This should also be an exciting year for the section. We have several officers who began terms in January with great energy. Penny Trickett has joined the board as president-elect and Susan Hall is our new treasurer. Christina Rodriguez’s focus as a new member-at-large will be on visibility of child maltreatment outside of psychology and relationships with other (psychology and non-psychology) organizations. Kim Burkhart has been appointed as the first chair of the recently created Communications and Technology Committee, and hopes to leverage those tools to improve section networking and outreach efforts. Early career psychologists and graduate students looking to get more involved can contact ECP Committee Chair Barbara Oudekerk or Graduate Student Rep. Brittany Reyes for other opportunities for engagement. If you have not yet considered running for a section office, please look for the solicitation for nominations for this year’s elections.

All the best, Jennifer Kaminski