(414) 266-2000

Together for Children conference


Together for Children Conference

The Greg and Mary Ann Renz Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

Mark your calendar:

April 9, 2019 – Together for Children Full Day Seminars
April 10-11, 2019 – Together for Children Conference
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, WI

On Wednesday, April 10, the conference will kick off with the keynote presentation, “Randy & Me: A Prosecutor's Story of his Childhood Sexual Abuse” by Kevin Mulcahy.  Kevin is a survivor of child sexual abuse.  He works as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit. Throughout his career, Kevin has prosecuted a variety of cases; but most of his caseload focuses on child exploitation crimes, including production of child pornography cases, traveler cases and other significant crimes against children prosecutions. Kevin has been a prosecutor since 2002, all on the federal level.

Questions – contact Jane at (920) 969-7925 or email

Conference updates will be posted here and follow us on Facebook:  Child Abuse Prevention – Children’s Hospital of WI

Who should attend

The purpose is to improve prevention, treatment, investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect by providing knowledge and skills to address emerging issues, research questions and public policy changes in child welfare and child protection.

Our target audience is:

  • Child abuse prevention personnel
  • Child Advocacy Center personnel
  • Child Protective Services
  • Domestic Violence Center personnel
  • Judicial officers and attorneys
  • Law enforcement officials
  • Medical and health professionals
  • School personnel
  • Social workers
  • Therapists and psychologists

Children’s Hospital and Health System fully intends to comply with the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If any participant is in need of accommodation, please call (414) 337-7716.

Conference schedule


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

8 – 9

Registration and light continental breakfast

9 – 10:30

Session 1

Drug Endangered Children

9 – 10:30

Session 2

Understanding and Responding to Youth Sex Trafficking in Wisconsin

10:30 – 10:45


10:45 – 12:15

Continue sessions

12:15 – 1:15


1:15 – 2:45

Continue sessions

2:45 – 3


3 – 4:30

Sessions conclude

Day one of conference

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

7:30 – 8:30

Registration and light continental breakfast

8:30 – 8:45

Welcome & opening comments

8:45 – 10:15

Keynote: PTSD – To Protect and Serve Those Who Protect and Serve

10:15 – 10:30


10:30 – 12:00

Keynote presentation concludes

12:00 – 12:15


12:15 – 1:15


1:15 – 2:45

Breakout Sessions

· Abusive Burns in Childhood

· Watching a Child Forensic Interview: How to be a Good Observer (part 1)

· Gender Differences in a Child’s Experience of Sexual Abuse: Implications for Response and Prevention

· Ethical Decision Making in the time of Crisis (part 1)


2:45 – 3


3 – 4:30

Breakout Session

· Creating a Community for Mental Health

· Watching a Child Forensic Interview: How to be a Good Observer (part 2)

· Wisconsin Drug Trends

· Ethical Decision Making in the time of Crisis (part 2)


NOTE: Ethical Decision Making in the Time of Crisis - Ends

5:00 - 6:00

Wisconsin Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Meeting -
Grand Libelle Parlor

Day two of conference

Thursday, April 12, 2018

8:00 – 8:30

Registration and light continental breakfast

8:30 – 10

Breakout sessions

· Let’s Get This Straight: Exploring the Intersection of Trauma, Gender and Sexuality for Gender Nonconforming and Sexual Minority Youth

· Five Years of the Wisconsin ACE Study: What Have We Learned

· The Resilience Clinic: An Innovative Approach to Treatment of Traumatized Children

· Is Zealous Representation Always Effective Representation in Children Court Cases? That and other ethical considerations guiding attorneys in these cases.

10 – 10:15


10:15 – 11:45

Breakout sessions

· Marks that Matter, Sentinel Injuries

· Child and Family Well Being: Bringing Sanctuary to Child Welfare

· Crisis De-Escalation

· Family/Drug Treatment Courts - Ethics and Operation

11:45 – 12:45


12:45 – 2:15

Breakout sessions

· The Crying Infant: Strategies to Prevent Abuse

· Protective Parent Panic

· New Innovation in Measuring Safety Outcomes

· Law and Order: Trial Prep and Courtroom Conduct

(part 1)

2:15 – 2:30


2:30 – 4

Breakout sessions

· The Sky’s the Limit: Unusual Presentations of Child Abuse

· The Internet is Forever – Educating Youth on the Dangers of the Internet

· Addressing Child Neglect From an Ecological Perspective

· Law and Order: Trial Prep and Courtroom Conduct

(part 2)

Registration and fee information

Registration is open - click here to register

Scholarships: Thanks to conference sponsors, there are a limited number of scholarships available.  Application is available here.

Deadline to submit applications:  Feb. 5, 2018


  • Multidisciplinary team discounts: We encourage members from a community's multidisciplinary team to attend the conference. A multidisciplinary team is defined as a minimum of 3 members including a combination of at least 2 different groups. These include, but are not limited to, social services, law enforcement, prosecution, victim advocates, school personnel, medical staff, etc. Each attendee will receive a discounted registration fee. NOTE: Team members CANNOT be from the same organization - See group discount below.
  • Group Discounts: Group discounts are available when 4 or more attendees are from the same organization.
    Contact Jane Yeager or call (920) 969-7925, for more information by March 9, 2018.

Fee schedule

Early bird registration fee on or before March 19, 2018
After March 19, 2018
Attending 1 day of the event: $125.00 $150.00
Attending 2 days of the event:
Attending 3 days of the event:

 Cancellation policy and refunds:

Requests for refunds must be made in writing prior to March 27, 2018. You will receive a refund, less a $50.00 administrative fee. To cancel, email Jane Yeager. NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN AFTER MARCH 27, 2018. Substitutions from the same agency are permitted. No shows will be responsible for the full registration fee.

For questions or assistance, contact Jane Yeager at (920)969-7925.

Presenter biographies

Timothy Whitcomb is the Sheriff for the Cattaraugus County Sheriff Office in Western New York. He is currently serving his 28th year in Law Enforcement, where he spent 7 years in the Criminal Investigation Bureau. It was in this role that he was recognized as the Blue and Gold Officer of the Year in October 2000.

Sheriff Whitcomb possesses a Masters degree in Counseling Education for St. Bonaventure University and is a certified police instructor in the areas of Interview and Interrogation, Basic and Advanced Juvenile Officer Training, the Investigation of Sex Crimes, and the Law Enforcement Response to School Violence. Sheriff Whitcomb is a graduate of the 206th Session of the FBI's National Academy and his specialized training includes Crisis Negotiation with the Los Angeles Police Department, Death Scene Management with the FBI, a Sex Offense Seminar with the New York State Police, and he has been certified as a SWAT Team fitness specialist.

Sheriff Whitcomb has been an adjunct professor for both Saint Bonaventure University and Jamestown Community College. He currently serves as President for the New York State Sheriff's Association, and is a Past President of the State of New York Police Juvenile Officer Association.

Rhonda Ackerman, MS, CSW - Director of  Quality, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Lynn Cook, MSW, CAPSW - Forensic Interviewer, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Alex Cossi, JD - Attorney, Alexander D Cossi Attorney at Law

Steve Denovi - Detective, Marathon County Sheriif's Office

Pennie Felton, MSSW, APSW - Community Services Safety Manager, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Elizabeth Ghilardi, MSW, LCSW - Forensic Interview Program Supervisor, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Ms. Ghilardi received her BA at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in Social Welfare and her MSW at Washington University, George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis Missouri. Ms. Ghilardi is currently the Forensic Interview Program Supervisor for Child Advocacy and Protection Services within Children's Hospital and Health Systems. She has been employed at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin since 1990. She has been with the Child Advocacy Center, working as a forensic interviewer, since 1992. She has completed over 2000 interviews of children regarding allegations of child maltreatment and witness to violence. Ms. Ghilardi provides training for professionals, para-professionals and foster parents on issues of child sexual abuse, interviewing children, sexualized behavior and mandated reporting. She has also testified in court as an expert witness regarding child sexual abuse and interviewing. She currently supervises 10 forensic interviewers in the Children's Hospital and Health System throughout the state of Wisconsin as well as continues to interview children and conduct training. Ms. Ghilardi has been a member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) and a member of the Wisconsin chapter of that organization (WIPSAC) since 1995.

Jacqueline Gremler, MS, CSW - Forensic Interviewer, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Kristen Iniguez, DO - Marshfield Child Advocacy Center Director; Child Abuse Physician and Medical Director, Marshfield Clinic Health System and Family Health Center of Marshfield Inc.

Tony Iniguez, BFA - Marshfield Child Advocacy Center Education Specialist, Marshfield Clinic Health System

Joy Ippolito, PhD - Human Trafficking Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Ann Jadin, Ed. D OTR BCB - Community Engagement Director, NAMI Fox Valley, Appleton

Christa Jensen, LCSW - Access and Initial Assessment Supervisor, Marathon County Department of Social Services

Ms. Jensen is a licensed Social Worker and the Access and Initial Assessment Supervisor for Marathon County Department of Social Services (MCDSS). Ms. Jensen has worked in the field of Child Protection for 10 years in Wisconsin and Minnesota completing Child Abuse Assessments as well as providing ongoing case management services to these families. Ms. Jensen has been in a supervisory role at MCDSS for 2 years.

Erin Karshen, JD - Assistant District Attorney, Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office

Bryan Kastelic - Special Agent in Charge, Wisconsin Department of Justice, Native American Gang and Drug Initiative (NADGI)

SA Kastelic is a Special Agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, as is assigned as the Task Force Commander of the Native American Drug and Gang Initiative. SA Kastelic has served with DCI for the past seven years during which time he was also assigned to the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area/DEA Task Force 63. SA Kastelic is a Team Leader on the DCI Tactical Team and instructor on firearms, defense and arrest tactics, less lethal and laser systems. Prior to joining DCI, SA Kastelic served 10 years with Brown County Sheriff's Department as a Narcotics investigator, Emergency Response Unity member, patrol officer and Unified Tactical Instructor. SA Kastelic also served 10 years in the United States Army (Infantry) (Active and Wisconsin National Guard).

Barbara Knox, MD - Medical Director, University of Wisconsin Child Protection Program, American Family Children's Hospital, Madison

Dr. Knox is the Medical Director of the University of Wisconsin Child Protection Program at the American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Knox completed her residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She then completed a fellowship in Child Abuse Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center before joining the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin, where she is currently an Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Child Abuse Pediatrics. Dr. Knox is board certified in General Pediatrics and Child Abuse Pediatrics. Dr. Knox is Chair of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatric Section on Child Abuse and Neglect and is a member of the Ray E. Helfer Society of Child Abuse Physicians. She is the Past Chair of the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevent ion Board that administers the Wisconsin Children's Trust Fund. She is also a team member serving on the Department of Justice's Statewide Child Fatality review team that advised state agencies and the Legislature on law, policy and practice modification in on-going effort to reduce preventable childhood deaths. She co-directs a statewide Medical Peer Review project in Wisconsin. She currently serves as a Member-at-Large for the Ray E. Helfer Society Executive Committee. Areas of research interest for Dr. Knox include child physical/psychological torture as a form of child abuse and sexual torture as a form of child abuse. Dr. Knox has published on many topics, including child torture as a form of child abuse, burns of abuse, abusive head trauma, and is currently an editor for the book The Investigation, Diagnosis and Prosecution of Child Torture. She also reviews current child abuse and medical research journal articles for The Quarterly Update. As part of her practice she cares for children who have been or are suspected of being victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, medical child abuse, and neglect.

Karla Lehmann - Forensic Interviewer, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Duke Lehto, JD - Attorney, Lehto Law Office

Patrick Leichtman - Social Worker, Juvenile Court Intake, Sheboygan County HHSD/Tower Academy

Nina Maroszek Brennen, MSW - Forensic Interviewer, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Rebecca Mather, MS - Prevention Education Coordinator, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board

Claudine O’Leary - Consultant,  Rethink Resources

Patricia Parker, BA, MCCMH - Certified Social Worker, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Dawn Perez - Child Welfare Manager, Marathon County Department of Social Services

Ms. Perez began working with children and families after earning her Bachelors in Criminal Justice. Her lifelong goal to see kids grow up in safe homes motivated her to become a social worker and go on to earn her Master's degree in Social Work. Now as the Child Welfare Manager, Ms. Perez works closely with Social Work Supervisors and their staff to assess, monitor, and manage the safety of children and the community. This requires close partnership with professionals locally and throughout the state.

Hillary Petska, MD, MPH - Child Abuse Pediatrician, Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Petska is a board certified Child Abuse Pediatrician where she evaluates children in foster care and children with suspected child maltreatment. She also provides expert child abuse consultations and court testimony in cases of suspected child maltreatment. In addition to working as a clinician, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Petska teaches medical students, residents, fellows, and the community about injuries, child maltreatment, and medical conditions that may be mistaken for abuse or neglect. Research interests include child abuse prevention, improved detection of child maltreatment, drug exposure in children, and public health.

Angela Rabbitt, DO - Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin

Joanette Robertson - Children Youth and Families Mental Health Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Anna Salter, PhD - Lecturer, Author, Consultant

Laura Sheets, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow, University of Michigan 

Laura Sheets, MD completed her adult psychiatry residency training at the University of Michigan and remains there for the Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry which she will complete in June of 2019. She is a graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin Medical School and remains a loyal Green Bay Packers fan despite her current proximity to Detroit. She has particular interests in advocating for underserved populations, expanding access to mental healthcare through its integration into the primary care setting, and collaborating with the community on grassroots initiatives focused on violence prevention and trauma-informed care.

Lynn Sheets, MD - Child Advocacy and Protection Services, Professor and Medical Director, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Medical College

Lynn K. Sheets, MD, FAAP is a Professor and Section Chief in the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and Medical Director of Children’s Hospital Wisconsin’s (CHW) Child Advocacy and Protection Services (CAPS). She began her career 30 years ago as the medical director of the child abuse program at the University of Kansas Medical Center where she co-founded the first Child Advocacy Center in Kansas and led the development of a joint nursing student and medical student elective in family violence. Dr. Sheets has led the CAPS program at CHW since 2006 and was instrumental in developing the accredited child abuse pediatrics fellowship at MCW which was one of the first in the nation to be accredited. In addition to providing clinical services, educating others and leading research, she is President-elect of the Wisconsin Child Death Review Council, co-founder of the Wisconsin Child Abuse Network (WI CAN), and member of the Wisconsin American Academy of Pediatrics Board of Directors. In 2013, she was the winner of the prestigious Ray E. Helfer MD Award from the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds and the American Academy of Pediatrics. In 2014, the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee awarded Dr. Sheets the Equal Justice Medal for her work in advocating for poor and vulnerable children and families. She has a strong commitment to the prevention of child maltreatment and the development of trauma-informed approaches to improve child, family, workforce and community resilience.

Dawn Shelton-Williams, MSW - Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Aurora Family Service

Kristi Slack, MSW, PhD - Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Social Work

Kristin Slack is a Professor of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches classes on child abuse and neglect, child welfare policies and services, social policy, and program evaluation. Her research focuses on the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and the intersection of different social service systems in the lives of low-income families with children. She is also the Principal Investigator for the Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System.

Eric Sparr, JD - Assistant District Attorney, Winnebago County District Attorney's Office

Jody Spiegelhoff, BA - Investigator, Racine Police Department, Criminal Investigations and Peer Support Coordinator

Matthew Torbenson, JD - Deputy District Attorney, Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office

Luke Waldo, MSEd - Well-Being Manager/Associate Director, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Myra West PsyD - Marshfield Child Advocacy Center Clinical Psychologist, Marshfield Clinic Health System

Theresa Wetzsteon, JD - District Attorney, Marathon County

David Whelan, MSW, LCSW - Director of Family Case Management, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Monica Wightman, MSW, LCSW - Monica Wightman is an Education Consultant with the Department of Public Instruction.  She has been a social worker for thirty years, with half of her career in child welfare/mental health positions, and the other half in schools. She is a strong advocate for youth and family-driven practices that encourage all of us to have greater impact through collaboration at all levels.  She is currently a Project Coordinator for Project AWARE, a large federal SAMHSA grant focused on school mental health, safety and climate. She is excited about DPI's new School Mental Health Framework that will guide districts and their partners to provide a continuum of supports that will enhance the well-being and resilience of children and families.

Continuing education credits

Medical College of Wisconsin: CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAM


ACCME Accreditation Statement:
The Medical College of Wisconsin is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

AMA Credit Designation Statement:
The Medical College of Wisconsin designates this live activity for a maximum of 17.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Hours of Participation for Allied Health Care Professionals:
The Medical College of Wisconsin designates this activity for up to 17.5 hours of participation for continuing education for allied health professionals.

Social work clock hours

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, provider #1021 is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB),, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 01/29/2016 through 01/29/2019.

This workshop fulfills Continuing Education requirements for the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services for the State of Wisconsin for Social Work certification and licensure under MPSW 19.

For nonsocial work credentialed or licensed staff; of other academic disciplines - please check with your licensing/regulatory board for CEU approval.

By participating in this activity, social workers will receive:

  • Preconference - 7.2 social work clock hours
  • Day 1 of conference - 7.2 social work clock hours
  • Day 2 of conference - 7.2 social work clock hours

Resolution of grievances will be handled by the SW Continuing Education Committee. Contact Julie Turkoske with questions or grievances (415-337-7716).

Social Workers must complete all sessions and turn in an evaluation form in order to complete the course.


Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Wisconsin Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credential Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Nurses who successfully complete this activity will receive:

  • Preconference - 6.0 contact hours
  • Day 1 of conference - 6.0 contact hours
  • Day 2 of conference - 6.0 contact hours


Continuing Legal Education - 21.5 hours. This is the maximum credit(s) allowed for the conference.

Ethics and Professional Responsibility - 3.5 hours. This is the amount that qualifies for the EPR component. Do not add this number with the CLE hour(s).

Guardian Ad Litem Family - 21.5 hours. This is the amount that qualifies for the GALf component. Do not add this number to the CLE hour (s).

Guardian Ad Litem for a Minor - 21.5 hours. This is the amount that qualifies for the GALm component. Do not add this number to the CLE hour (s).

The Osthoff Resort, lodging information

Visit for more information about The Osthoff Resort, Elkart Lake.

Contact The Osthoff Resort directly to book a hotel room before the room block expires on March 12, 2018. You must mention the Together for Children Conference, when registering, to receive the discounted room rate of $82.00/single or $112/double.   Call (800) 876-3399 and press prompt #1.

OR to book online:

  • Visit
  • Click on the meetings tab at the top of the screen
  • Click on "To make your individual group reservations"
  • Use GPREVENT for Group ID and then CHILDREN for the Password. This will direct you through the online reservations process.

Elkhart Lake dining options

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