MINCA Professional Development Conference

Conference Links

The MINCA Spring 2015 conference will be held April 20-21, 2015 in Traverse City Michigan. We will explore the latest trends in the investigation of crimes related to children.  Please review the conference brochure or conference schedule from the links above regarding conference session descriptions and speaker information below before completing online registration.

Conference Mobile App

Laughing for the Health of It
Anyone who works in the field of child protection is aware that secondary trauma and stress can play a role in our professional lives and spill over into our personal lives. Humor and laughter can be essential ingredients for healthy selves and healthy relationships. We will of course be covering some very serious topics at this conference but we will also introduce laughter as a form of stress management in two of our presentations.  I recently attended a stress management seminar where the above video was used to inject some humor into how we manage the stress of relationships in our lives.  We will have other examples at the conference of how appropriate humor can increase our resiliency and improve our job satisfaction. We hope you can join us for the 5th MINCA CAC/MDT professional Development Conference.

Tom Knapp
Chapter Coordinator

Keynote Speaker Information

We are pleased to announce that Marilyn Van Derbur, Karen VadinoLibby Spears, and Tom Cottrell will be keynote speakers at the conference.  You will find information on the keynote and other confirmed speakers for the conference listed below.

Marilyn Van Derbur was crowned Miss America while she was a student at the University of Colorado. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree, with Phi Beta Kappa honors. She chose motivational speaking as her career and was later named “Outstanding Woman Speaker in America”. Marilyn has received numerous awards and acknowledgments for her work, including being the first woman to be given the highest speaking award possible by the National Speakers Association and induction into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. With a desire to motivate teenagers as well as executives, Marilyn also became United Air Lines “Youth Speaker” and addressed 50 youth conferences each year. During the course of her exceptional motivational speaking career Van Derbur has produced 24 films, two of which won national and international awards. One was shown on prime-time PBS and eight others have been shown in hundreds of classrooms. Marilyn is requested nationwide as a prominent convention keynote and motivational speaker, now speaking on the topic of sexual abuse prevention and recovery. As a childhood incest survivor, she has devoted much of her adult life to raising national awareness and understanding of sexual abuse and its long-term effects. In 1989 her family funded an adult incest survivor program in Denver, and in 1993 she co-founded two national not-for-profit organizations dedicated to public education and strengthening laws protecting victims of sexual abuse. For her tireless work in the area of childhood sexual trauma awareness Marilyn has received many awards and much recognition including, the “Exceptional Achievement in Public Service from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Washington D.C.”. Since her story of incest became public, Marilyn has spoken in over 500 cities and answered tens of thousands of letters and emails from survivors looking to her for support.

Karen Vadino is a Motivational Speaker, Humorist, Trainer and Consultant. In her thirty-plus years as a human service professional, most of Karen’s experience has been in the field of chemical dependency, both as a licensed clinician and as a certified prevention specialist. She has considerable experience working with children and families, having served as a clinician and supervisor in Children’s’ Services group homes and a Children’s Psychiatric Hospital. Karen also has been a part-time instructor in Social Work, Sociology, Juvenile Justice and Human Development at Youngstown State University, Penn State University and Westminster College. Karen draws from her extensive and varied experience to form the foundation of her unique and distinctively humorous approach to life and work. For the past fifteen years, she has been a nationally recognized speaker and trainer sharing her inimitable insights with thousands of people – adults and youth – each year. Karen has been described as “one of those rare people who can make you laugh and cry in the same moment." Regardless of the topic, Karen’s workshops and presentations are humorous in nature, reflecting her own insightful approach to dealing with life’s daily challenges. She is well known for her “Vadinoan Theories”, including her exhortation to “release your dolphins” and her firm belief that we should never wait until we are entirely happy before we laugh. Karen is working on finishing a book or two, including a compilation of her original workshop materials and activities.

Libby Spears is a filmmaker, whose work is based in social practice.  Along with Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, Libby was recently named one of 150 Women Who Shake the World by Newsweek Magazine. Her process for creating is not simply making, but to employ art as a vehicle to bridge gaps and provide access to places and people that would otherwise never converge or be seen. Libby is a director of both narrative and documentary work. Libby’s background in social issue filmmaking and commercial production has produced works for PSI in Nepal on water and sanitation, and IOM in Indonesia, on human trafficking in the aftermath of the tsunami. Libby has over 15 years producing and directing critically-acclaimed films that can be seen in more than 100 countries around the world. Currently, she is in production of two documentaries, and in development of the feature length film on the Secret Court of 1920. Her film Playground, produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh, with animation created by Yoshitomo Nara, looks at the underground epidemic of young children being forced into prostitution in the United States. Playground premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and has been critically acclaimed and screened around the world, including numerous times on Capitol Hill. Libby has spearheaded several Congressional hearings on domestic minor sex trafficking alongside Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Richard Durbin that lead to the introduction of the first piece of federal legislation dealing with domestic minors of sex trafficking. Senator Wyden has written that PLAYGROUND “has had a profound impact on me and other members of Congress…and played a major role in the discussion of this issue by policymakers.” Ambassador Lou Cdebaca introduced a screening of PLAYGROUND at the Library of Congress, naming Libby the “Atticus Finch” of the movement to end child sex trafficking. Because of her work, Libby has lectured at universities, world congresses, and trained young women and men on issues related to sexual exploitation and visual media. She was commissioned by Fox TV and America’s Most Wanted to produce and direct a 2-part series entitled ‘The Child Sex Trade in America” that aired in January 2011, and another episode on trafficking of children in Mexico that aired in June of 2012. Libby’s past directing credits include FOREPLAY, a documentary film on the jazz band MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD, that premiered at the Seattle Film Festival, TIDE (starring Laurel Holloman) that premiered at Sundance, and a series of narrative shorts for Atom Films that were distributed globally. Libby’s producer credits include SPRING FORWARD (Liev Schreiber, Ned Beatty), Bruno Coppola’s RULES OF LOVE (Judy Greer), UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS (Eve Ensler, Rosario Dawson, Salma Hayek), PAGANS, IN SEARCH OF MICHAEL CIMINO for AMC, and Christopher Walken’s directorial debut, POPCORN SHRIMP, for Showtime Television. Libby was the Film Festival Coordinator and Programmer for the Slamdance Film Festival. She was Production Coordinator for Propaganda Films/Satellite (Spike Jonze), and for Arcwelder Films’ award-winning documentary series BUILDINGS,BRIDGES, AND TUNNELS, ROBOTS RISING, and WINGS OVER THE GULF directed by Kurt Sayenga for Discovery.

Linda Cordisco Steele, M.Ed, LPC – Linda is Curriculum Chair and Senior Trainer for the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC). As a trainer for the NCAC, Linda has conducted more than 300 trainings across the U.S. and abroad. She has presented workshops at local, regional, state, national and international child abuse conferences. Her areas of expertise include child forensic interviewing, child development, victim advocacy, and working within the multidisciplinary team setting. In addition to training, Linda currently conducts forensic interviews at children’s advocacy centers in Kentucky and Alabama. Linda has previously served as Clinical Director and as a forensic interviewer for three children’s advocacy centers: the Prescott House Children’s Advocacy Center in Birmingham, Alabama; the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville, Alabama; and The Safehouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Linda served as the Project Director of the Mobile Interviewing Project, which serves the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo, and is a program of All Faiths Receiving Home in Albuquerque. She has also served as Clinical Director, Director of Victim Services, and Acting Executive Director of the Crisis Center of Jefferson County in Alabama. Linda has 30 years of experience in therapy and advocacy work with victims and extensive training experience regionally and nationally. Linda received her Master’s in Education from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Tom Cottrell is the Vice President of counseling services at the YWCA West Central Michigan. He began is 31 year tenure with the YWCA as a therapist serving the needs of families experiencing the sexual abuse of a child, this includes services to victims, non-offending parents and work with sex offenders.  Subsequent duties as clinical director and program director solidify his sense of advocacy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in the greater Grand Rapids community.  In his current position, Tom manages the funding and service evolution of the YWCA’s counseling services including domestic violence and sexual assault crisis response and advocacy, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner services, counseling and support group services, domestic violence emergency shelter, supportive and permanent housing and supervised visitation. He participates in a variety of local work groups and coalitions to keep salient within community decision-making the unique needs of survivors of violence. With the same goal of raising community awareness and promoting system change, Tom presents seminars and trainings to professional, community and student groups on the impact of, and interventions related to, domestic and sexual violence and child sexual abuse. Tom received his MSW from the University of Michigan in 1983 and is a Licensed Master Social Worker in Michigan.  He is an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University in the graduate school of Social Work, and is recognized as an expert witness in child sexual assault cases in 18 counties throughout Michigan.

Kristie Palestino, MS. has dedicated the last 15 years to children through her work developing and enhancing Children’s Advocacy Centers.  She has extensive experience that includes forensic interviewing of child victims of crime, opening and managing a multi-site child advocacy center, leading a state chapter of child advocacy centers and most recently as the Director of Chapter Development for the National Children’s Alliance.  She has trained professionals in the areas of child sexual abuse, forensic interviewing, child advocacy center development, board development, resource development and leadership strategies.  Ms. Palestino has worked with countless diverse groups, individuals and organizations on strategic planning, leadership development and other organizational initiatives.  She earned her M.S. in Organizational Management and Leadership with a concentration in Criminal Justice Studies from Springfield College in 2005 and her B.A. in Psychology from Keene State College in 1994. 

Kori Stephens, MPH, has worked for the Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, providing training and technical assistance to child abuse professionals across the nation since 2010, and currently serves as the Project Director. She received her Master of Public Health in Maternal Child Health with an emphasis on child abuse and neglect from the University of Minnesota. She has worked with various nonprofits in web development, communications, grant writing, and program evaluation. Kori also serves on the Leadership Council of the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery located in Minneapolis, MN. When not working with CACs and child abuse professionals, Kori works to support and empower moms-to-be as a birth doula helping to fulfill her vision that everyone deserves the right to a healthy, happy and fulfilling life. She will be co-presenting at this conference with Jordan Benning on building, implementing, and evaluating a cultural competency plan.  She will also offer a second presentation on professional development and networking opportunities for all MDT professionals. 

Jordan Benning, M.Ed., has been involved in the children’s advocacy center movement since 2008 when she joined Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois as their Associate Director of Training and Education. She continues her commitment to the movement and its professionals as the Program Manager of Quality Assurance and Communications at Midwest Regional Children’s Advocacy Center. Jordan earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grinnell College, followed by a master’s degree in education with a specialization in elementary school counseling from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her years of direct service and administration in schools and nonprofits share a common focus on enhancing children’s health and well-being. She will be co-presenting at this conference with Kori Stephens on building, implementing, and evaluating a cultural competency plan.  She will also offer a second presentation on professional development and networking opportunities for all MDT professionals. 

Sue Bolde is the Executive Director of the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center.  She joined the TBCAC staff in 2013 as a Development Specialist, bringing with her an impressive resume of experience within the fields of philanthropy, education and counseling.  Her career includes leadership positions at the Leelanau Township Community Foundation, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Chicago’s Orthogenic School.  Sue holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from the University of Illinois.  She is certified in the Montessori Early Childhood Curriculum and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor.  A native of Chicago, Sue enjoys living “up north” with her husband, John, and their children, Zak, Zoe and Zeke. Her presentation at the conference will present information on the challenges and triumphs of the Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Centers work to expand outreach and services to rural communities.

Larry Burdick is the Assistant Executive Director for the Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council.  He has 30 years of experience as a prosecutor, including 24 as the elected prosecuting attorney for Isabella County. Immediately prior to his current position he served as Chief Judge the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.  He will be presenting at the conference on how extensive collaboration among the professionals involved on a multidisciplinary team is critical to the investigation of child sexual abuse cases.  He will use his experience as a prosecutor to show how all MDT members can bring their skills to the table to provide effective assistance to the investigation of child sexual abuse cases.  His presentation will be a continuation of a past series of presentations on collaboration between MDT members in child abuse investigations.  Larry will expand on information presented at past Michigan Chapter of the National Children's Alliance conferences to help all MDT members improve Collaboration on the MDT.

Josh Lator is a graduate of the 117th Michigan State Police Trooper Recruit School.  He holds a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice.  He is currently a lieutenant at the Mount Pleasant Post.  As a trooper Josh specialized in the investigation of criminal sexual assaults on children.  He has instructed classes on advanced investigation of child sexual assault and emerging trends in technology.  He has served as a conference speaker on many topics and as an instructor at the Michigan State Police Training Academy.  He co-authored the Child Fact Finding Protocol for the state of Maine, and was responsible for the Michigan State Police Prevention Services Section for three years.  He currently serves on the board for CAFÉ in Isabella County.  As a detective he provided guidance to approximately 25 troopers with a special focus on criminal sexual assaults, abduction rapes and homicides.  As a lieutenant he is responsible for MSP investigations in four Michigan counties and currently resides in northern Gratiot County with his wife and three children.

Sarah Brown, DO, FACOP, FAAP, is a Child Abuse Pediatrician at the Center for Child Protection at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She also provides medical services at the Ottawa County CAC in Holland, Michigan.  She attended medical school at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her Pediatrics Residency at Michigan State University at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan.  Dr. Brown is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Child Abuse and Neglect and the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, and Treasurer of the Michigan Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.   She provides expert testimony in many counties across the state.  Dr. Brown leads a Peer Review program for physicians across Michigan to improve the medical care of sexual abuse victims.  Her presentation at the conference will present, through case-based learning, the benefits of strong multi-disciplinary collaboration during physical and sexual abuse investigations.

Michael Tamminga is a detective with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.  After six years of working as a road patrol deputy, he was assigned to work narcotics with the West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET).  He was promoted to the detective bureau in 2009 and has since been assigned to work child physical and sexual abuse cases with the Ottawa County Child Advocacy Center’s multidisciplinary team. Detective Tamminga co-presented a past seminar at a Michigan Chapter of the National Children's Alliance conference that focused on helping increase multidisciplinary collaboration during the investigation of physical abuse and improve communication about known and suspected mechanisms of injury. He also co-presented on the role of confession data in advancing medical knowledge about physical abuse and coordination of this information with the multidisciplinary team.  His presentation at this conference will focus on interviewing child sexual abuse suspects.

Julie A. Welch is the Director of the Child Abuse Training Services Department within the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM).  PAAM is a voluntary association of the 83 county prosecutors, the Attorney General, and the U.S. Attorneys serving in Michigan. PAAM works to keep the prosecuting attorneys of the state informed of all changes in legislation, law, and matters pertaining to their office. Julie’s duties include planning and implementing specialized trainings dealing with child abuse and neglect, foremost the Forensic Interviewing Protocol training.  Julie also works with other agencies in and outside of Michigan assuring cross professional relationships continue to grow to assist children of crime.  She is a regular trainer in forensic interviewing, child development and working with kids.  She has also consulted with other states on child welfare issues including Nevada, Maine, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. She has presented at past Michigan Chapter of the National Children's Alliance conferences on the forensic interview and the relationship to the MDT and advanced forensic interview procedures. Her presentation at this conference will focus on how predators try to gain access to children on the internet.

There are other speakers scheduled to present at the conference.  Please check back here often for information as we will be adding speaker information to this page as the information is received from the speakers. 

Conference Sponsors

We are thankful for the support of the sponsors listed below. In addition to presentation support from all sponsors, additional funding was received from the Michigan Domestic & Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board. Points of view in this document do not necessarily represent the official position of our sponsors.


Conference Center

The conference will be held at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City Michigan.  Situated on 900 acres in the northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula along the shores of Lake Michigan’s East Grand Traverse Bay, the resort is located six miles northeast of Traverse City and ten minutes from Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport. The resort features a variety of recreation offerings, including: five indoor and four outdoor tennis courts, two indoor and two outdoor swimming pools, a beach club, an upscale shopping gallery with a world-class spa, diverse restaurants and lounges, and live entertainment nightly.

Hotel rooms for conference attendees will be at the federal per diem rate.  However there is a resort fee that will add approximately $10 to overnight lodging rates.  Grant funding can be used as taxes and fees are not considered when determining per diem rates. Click Here or on the picture below to make your hotel reservations online.

You may also call the Grand Traverse Resort at 1-800-968-7352 to make your hotel reservations.  Be sure to mention the Michigan Chapter of the National Children's Alliance conference and the group code NMCA415.

We believe that you will find many activities in the Traverse City area for the entire family. Children and guest are sure to have many sites to see and attractions to explore while you are attending conference sessions.

Directions to the Grand Traverse Resort

You may use the interactive map below to obtain directions to the conference center.  Just click on the location icon to obtain driving directions to the Grand Traverse Resort.

Continuing Education Credits

*This course is approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative. Approval #022715-08
*This course has been submitted and approved through the MCOLES Network and use of 302 Training Funds will be allowed.


Conference Session Handouts

You will find handouts that have been provided by presenters below.  If you are attending any of the listed sessions, you should print out the handouts to bring with you to the conference.

 Monday Session Handouts  Tuesday Session Handouts
Session 1B - Building a Cultural Competency Plan

Film Screening - The Child Sex Trade in America

Session 2E - Combating the Child Sex Trade in America

Session 2F - It Happened Last Night

Session 2G - Empowering You to Better Serve Victims of Abuse
Plenary Session - Laughing Just for the Health of It

Session 3I - All Stressed Up & No Relief in Sight

Plenary Session - Sex Offenders What we need to know

Session 4M - Collaborating on the Child Abuse Case

Session 4N - Foundations for Safety

Session 4O - Interviewing Child Sexual Abuse Suspects

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