Session 3A: Listen and Learn: Initiating Collaboration between Tribal Communities and CACs
Track: Advocacy & Communications
While the CAC/MDT model has been widely adopted throughout the United States, many communities in Indian Country lack resources and access to implement it. Participants in this session will be provided with an overview of the Listen and Learn process, which introduces the CAC/MDT model to tribal communities that do not have access to or utilize those resources at the local level. Presenters will describe the purpose, value, and provide examples of the Listen and Learn and present guidelines and recommendations for implementation as outlined in the “Listen and Learn: A Process for Initiating Collaboration between Tribal Communities and Children’s Advocacy Centers” published by the Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center.
Native American Children's Alliance
Geri Wisner is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, a former United States Marine and a mother. She is the Tribal Prosecutor for the Pawnee Nation and Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma, the Executive Director for the Native American Children’s Alliance (NACA) and oversees the Wisner Law Firm. Ms. Wisner is a nationally recognized speaker on the issues of criminal justice in Indian Country, collaborative responses to address violent crimes and integrating traditional Tribal healing and cultural practices. She also conducts trainings for law enforcement, prosecutors, advocates and child abuse professionals responding to child maltreatment and domestic violence. Ms. Wisner presents to Tribes, state and federal agencies, professional organizations, schools and communities throughout the country to develop and improve the child abuse response. Geri trains child abuse professionals on advanced investigative and prosecutorial techniques utilizing a victim-centered approach. Geri served as the Attorney General for the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, Prosecutor for the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma, Absentee Shawnee Tribe, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. Ms. Wisner has been appointed to serve on several Congressional committees focusing on the improvement of Tribal justice, the protection of Native children and safer communities in Indian Country. A 2001 graduate of Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an American Indian Studies Certificate, Geri received her Juris Doctorate and Native American Law Certificate from the University Of Tulsa College Of Law in 2003. Geri is the president of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation bar association and serves as a board member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC).
Western Regional Children's Advocacy Center
Patty Terzian is a State Liaison with the Western Regional Children’s Advocacy center where she provides and supports training and technical assistance for professionals responding to child abuse throughout thirteen western states. Patty has nearly 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector developing and directing programs, providing outreach and trainings, and managing grants. In her previous role, Patty served for nine years as the Executive Director/Statewide Coordinator of the Oregon Network of Child Abuse Intervention Centers, the accredited state chapter of children’s advocacy centers. She led the chapter through considerable growth and development and collaborated with professionals across the state to improve services for Oregon’s children when there were concerns of abuse. Patty’s skills in project coordination, communications and training were honed through her early-career work in both the non-profit and corporate sectors.
Northeast Regional Children's Advocacy Center
Teresa Smith is the Project Director of the Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center (NRCAC), a grant program from the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, managed by the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance. She had been an Outreach Coordinator with NRCAC since 2011. Prior to joining NRCAC, she served as co-founder and Executive Director for the PinnacleHealth Children’s Resource Center, a hospital-based Children’s Advocacy Center in Harrisburg, PA, established in 1993. Smith supervises three Training Specialists and a Training and Resource Coordinator who provide training and technical assistance to communities in nine northeast states to develop new, and strengthen established, multidisciplinary child abuse teams and children’s advocacy centers. She conducts accreditation site reviews in the U.S. for the National Children’s Alliance. She currently serves as a consultant for the advisory committee of the Centre County Children’s Advocacy Center. She also conducts grant reviews for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Children’s Advocacy Center Advisory Committee. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from Penn State, Smith received a master of social work degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in Administration and Leadership Studies in Non-profit and Public Sectors from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She joined the Penn State University College of Human Development’s Alumni Council in 2015. She is a mentor in the PSU Health & Human Development Alumni Mentoring Program. Smith moved to Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2012 with her husband Richard Smith. They are the proud grandparents of four grand-daughters ages 9, 5, 4 and 3 . Their only grandson is 2 years old. Their family also includes an adopted a 5-year old canine rescue Golden Retriever mix, named Daisy.
Tony DeVincenzo, M.A.
Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center
Tony DeVincenzo holds the position of Training Specialist with the Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center having previously served as the Director of Programs/MDT Coordinator for Deirdre’s House, the Child Advocacy Center for Morris County, NJ. Prior to his employment at the CAC, Tony served 25 years in law enforcement, a majority of which involved investigating crimes against children. During that time, he also served as a forensic interviewer and was an active member of the Morris County MDT. Tony retired as a Lieutenant from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office after supervising the Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit. In addition to his law enforcement and CAC roles, Tony has been an adjunct faculty member at County College of Morris, Rutgers University, and Montclair State University. He has trained on a variety of topics including child abuse investigations, forensic interviewing of children, and the CAC/MDT model.