Summer greetings, APA Division 37 Section on Child Maltreatment members! In this edition of the newsletter, we continue our coverage of the impact of recent events on children, including an article by Alec McAlister, Kate Wilhite, and Margaret Stevenson, PhD, on immigrant children in U.S. border patrol custody, as well as federal policy highlights from Angelique Day, PhD, MSW, and Sierra Wolfe, MSW, on the potential influence of the proposed American Families Plan. We also explore promosing new approaches to supporting children in foster care with enhanced Family Time supports, with an article from Jill Barbre, MSW, MSED, LCSW. You can also learn more about the exciting work of one of our 2020 award winners, Susan Yoon, PhD. We know that each of you are continuing to apply your research and clinical knowledge to improve the lives of young children at risk for or experiencing maltreatment, and we hope these stories offer some insight or new ideas that may further inspire you in your challenging work.
As a member of the Div. 37 Executive Board, I have been pleased to participate in discussions, dialogue, and webinars around important topics in child and family policy and practice. The dedication of the division’s members is truly exciting to witness. One highlight occurred in June when the Board, joining APA, and many other local, state, and national organizations, voted to endorse as an organization newly proposed legislation around corporal punishment in schools. The Protecting our Students in Schools Act bill, introduced by Rep. McEachin and Rep. Bonamici in the House and Sen. Murphy in the Senate, seeks to ban school corporal punishment and to promote positive discipline in schools. In other division news, we were delighted to learn that the section’s very own, Past President Stephanie Block, has been selected as president-elect of the division, and one of our 2020 Early Career awardees Charissa Pizarro was selected as a member-at-large for the division. I look forward to continuing to work with them to benefit APA!
This August, we will gather again virtually at the APA convention. The section is pleased to be a part of two presentations, including a celebration of our own 25th Anniversary and Annual Awards and a 60-minute symposium entitled “Converging Public Health Crises: Preventing Child Maltreatment During COVID-19,” in which I will serve as the chair and discussant. Additionally, we encourage Section members to stay tuned for announcements about the Div. 37 presentations on a range of topics, including interdivisional efforts in prevention of maltreatment, translating ACES research into effective services, racial disparities and inequity, and pandemic effects on foster care, child and parent mental health, and parenting.
At convention, we will be honored to present four new award winners with their Section awards. I am delighted to announce that Karissa DiMarzio (Florida International University) is the recipient of the Section’s Dissertation Award for her project,“A dimensional approach to understanding emotional neglect and its impact on children's psychosocial development: A mixed methods study.” Her work has promising implications for improving our understanding of this understudied topic. Daji Dvalishvili (Washington University in St. Louis) has been awarded an Honorable Mention for her important dissertation work, entitled, “Poverty and Child Maltreatment and Other Adverse Childhood Experiences: Just Comorbidities?” It is also my pleasure to announce the winner of the Karen Saywitz Early Career Award for Outstanding Contributions in Child Maltreatment in Research and Practice, Sue Hobbs, assistant professor at California State University, Sacramento. Hobbs’ research and advocacy work focus on children’s participation in the legal system, specifically on understanding how participating in the legal system affects child victims and witnesses and on improving the experiences of these children. Finally, our inaugural winner of the Mid Career Award is Jenelle Shanley, associate professor, Pacific University. Shanley has dedicated her career to preventing and reducing the harm caused by child maltreatment and enhancing child development by conducting research, disseminating knowledge about maltreatment, and expanding the workforce to address maltreatment with evidence-based programming. Though the pandemic prevents us from presenting these awards in person, we applaud our award winners and remain grateful to work with individuals who are so dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families.
We’d also like to highlight the recent work of our Student Board, who has prepared a guide for postdoctoral programs focused on child maltreatment. This exceptional resource for individuals seeking postdoctoral training will soon be available on our website. Details on programs like these have previously not been compiled in an easily accessible place. Many thanks to the student board members for contributing to this important effort! If you know of other programs that you would like to have added to the list, please let us know.
A couple of changes at APA will change the look and feel of how you connect with and join or renew your membership with the section starting in the 2022 membership year. The APA Member Support Team unfortunately no longer has the capacity to support APA Division sections with membership processing. We will be creating our own website and membership onboarding process. You’ll still be able to link to our new page via the Div. 37 page, and you’ll still have the ease of joining and renewing memberships through an online Paypal portal. We also hope this new website will offer us new ways to engage with each other—stay tuned for more information as we set up the site this summer.
In the coming months, the section will have a number of exciting opportunities for engagement. In addition to seeing you on convention virtual gatherings, we hope you will also consider joining us in other ways. Soon, we will be opening nominations for elections for several positions on the Board, including treasurer and two member-at-large positions. Additionally, in 2022, several positions will be appointed, including an early career psychologist and an additional Student Board representative. We hope you will nominate yourself or a trusted colleague, and in particular we invite and welcome leadership from our underrepresented colleagues. We will also have another newsletter in the fall offering a chance to sharing your knowledge and experience to benefit our greater good. Div. 37 activities offer another way to engage the APA network, such as joining or following the Diverse Racial Ethnic and Multicultural (DREAM) Special Interest Group.
In this complex moment in our history, we are re-entering our communities and re-engaging in in-person work, while also acknowledging the despair and inequity left behind by the pandemic and the mountain of work we still need to do to overcome these disparities. May we seek and find the ways to face those challenges and to work together to realize our mission to support and promote scientific inquiry, training, professional practice, and advocacy in the area of child maltreatment. As Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro once wrote, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean."
Karen Appleyard Carmody