MORGANTOWN -- In an effort to address child protection issues in West Virginia and the United States, the West Virginia Law Review will host a symposium Nov. 8 at the West Virginia University College of Law.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom. It begins at 9 a.m.

“Child abuse and neglect is at epidemic levels across West Virginia and the nation,” said West Virginia Law Review Editor Michael Bush, “and our goal is to initiate a conversation about how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of child protection. We felt a duty to use our skills and resources to gather leaders and practitioners in this field to discuss how we can better protect children and families.”

The symposium will address the current statistics of child abuse and neglect in West Virginia, its impacts, and the laws surrounding these crimes, as well as preventative policies that may improve child protection in the future. Five experts will discuss these topics at the West Virginia Law Review Symposium, moderated by Professor Gregory Bowman.

Keynote Donley Lecturer, Claudia Gold, M.D., will begin the symposium with her topic, “Confronting Childism: How the Field of Infant Mental Health Can Inform the Field of Child Protection.” Childism is the theory that adults are prejudicial towards children and perceive them as property to serve the needs of adults. Gold’s lecture will aim to help practitioners of child protection understand how abuse and neglect impact children, and how to act in the best interests of the child.

Gold serves as the director of Early Childhood Social Emotional Health Program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and is a pediatrician with a long-standing interest in child protection from a mental health perspective.

Other Donley speakers at the West Virginia Law Review symposium include Nicholas County Circuit Judge Gary Johnson, WVU College of Law Professor Kendra Fershee, Executive Director of West Virginia KIDS COUNT Margie Hale, and Andrew Oosterbaan, chief of the United States Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

The symposium is produced in association with the WVU College of Law Donley Lecture Series. An article based on Dr. Gold’s presentation will be published in Issue 3 of Volume 115 of the West Virginia Law Review.

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