Convention provides training

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Foster parents, social workers and teachers from all over the state gathered to learn Wednesday at the Natchez Convention Center.

Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth, an organization based in Jackson, is holding a series of workshops.

Wednesday was the first day, and the most popular workshop by far was a lecture on children&8217;s interpretation of trauma and loss.

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The room was packed, and some audience members had to sit outside the open doors.

The workshop, lead by Priscilla Roth-Wall, a clinical psychologist, covered how trauma, such as abuse or the loss of a caregiver, can influence a child&8217;s development.

Many children remember trauma vividly, even if they experienced it at a very young age, Roth-Wall said.

It can influence how they grow and react later in life, she said.

John Barber, a Columbia foster parent of three, attended the lecture. He and his wife are trying to adopt the children.

&8220;We&8217;re here to learn how to deal with the problems they may have later on in life,&8221; Barber said.

The conference provides training for individuals who work with children, youth and families, particularly at-risk youth, Executive Director Sue Cherney said.

This is the organizations 18th conference and it&8217;s fourth year in Natchez.

Sandra Parks, with the department of health, children and youth services in Jackson, said she attended for several reasons.

&8220;Definitely the training, the top-notch speakers, and the fellowship,&8221; Parks said.

&8220;I get to see friends and professionals I don&8217;t see but twice a year.&8221;

Parks said she was looking forward to the closing session because the keynote speaker was once a foster child.

Grace Williams is a nurse at the Care Center in Jackson that provides long-term care for children.

&8220;I wanted to come to the conference,&8221; Williams said. &8220;Anything to broaden my horizons.&8221;

The series of workshops, which will run through Friday, covers a broad spectrum of topics, from how to manage stress to sexual abuse.