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Ensure Justice

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The annual Ensure Justice Conference at Vanguard University will be held in Costa Mesa, California on March 2-3, 2018. The theme of our 2018 conference is Substance Abuse and Human Trafficking. Our goal is to bring together experts on the subject matter, foster learning, and provoke conversations that grow collaborative efforts.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. That’s more than 175 people every day. 7 every hour. That is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other questions to ask. How many people are addicted to a substance across our nation? Who else is impacted for each person in that number? Take for instance, our survivor advocate at ENSURE JUSTICE, Rhonda Sciortino. As an infant, her meth addicted mother abandoned her and she was placed with alcoholic grandparents.

For those who think this is a moral issue that does not impact most people, think again. The economic impact affects every person. Children who are removed from their homes for their safety, become dependent on public services. Loss can be assessed in many sectors: productivity health care, indirect Criminal Justice, Child and Family Assistance, Education, and the list grows. Altarum’s Senior Research Analyst Corwin Rhyan produced a report that shows the staggering $95 billion value of prevention. Read more here.

Ensure Justice is a two-day conference focused on equipping teachers, law enforcement, students, and community members to protect and intervene for women and children at high-risk of exploitation and violence. Understanding the contributing factors of human trafficking that run deep will inform innovative strategies for future prevention.

Don't miss our keynote speaker Katherine Chon, Director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP)

Katherine Chon is the founding director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She advises the Assistant Secretary by providing subject matter expertise and overall leadership of anti-trafficking activities.

Prior to government service, Katherine was the co-founder and president of Polaris, establishing the global organization’s innovative programs to assist individuals who have experienced trafficking, expand anti-trafficking policies, and fundamentally change the way communities respond to modern slavery.

Katherine received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Brown University and Master of Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.

Featured Speakers

Deborah Augustine

Deborah Augustine is the National Program Manager for the Victim Witness Assistance Program, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Washington, D.C.

Deborah coordinates victim issues with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and collaborates with international, national, state and local crime victim and prevention organizations. Deborah also served as the Acting Chief, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, Demand Reduction Section, and worked with the staff on drug prevention outreach and educational efforts. She presents at conferences nationwide on the topics of drug endangered children and drug crime victimization.

Dr. Jodi Quas

Dr. Jodi Quas is a professor of Psychology and Social Behavior and Nursing Science at University of California, Irvine.

Her specialty is on memory development, effects of stress and trauma on children, and children’s in the legal system. Her specific research topics include strategies to improve children’s memory accuracy; the effects of stress on memory; emotional regulation and physiological reactivity and children's functioning; and consequences of legal involvement on child victims, witnesses, and defendants.

Dr. Anne Light

Dr. Anne Light is a pediatrician specializing in childhood trauma. She earned her MD from Harvard Medical School (2005). Until 2015 she worked as pediatric provider within the Massachusetts General/Partners system and led several multidisciplinary collaborations to improve patient care and trauma outcomes. In 2015 she joined the Orange County Social Services Agency, where she serves as the Medical Director and is working to create interdisciplinary programs to support children and families. She is currently leading and developing the WE CAN Coalition: Working to End Child Abuse and Neglect. This group has more than 100 members from across Orange County organized into 9 task forces in order to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of child abuse in individuals, families and communities.

Andrea Darr

Andrea Darr is the director of the West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice which promotes and supports a statewide trauma informed response to child maltreatment and children’s exposure to violence. Before devoting her work full time on children’s initiatives, Andrea served as the Coordinator of Victim Witness Services for the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute from 2005-2015. Andrea has also worked in direct services with victims of crime, violence and abuse while serving as the Victim Liaison at the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Lt. Chad Napier

Lt. Chad Napier (retired) is the Prevention Coordination for Appalachia HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) for West Virginia and Virginia. Prior to this position, he spent twenty years in law enforcement and retired on October 30, 2015. In 2002 he was assigned as a Task Force Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Charleston, WV and remained until 2005. His primary duty with MDENT was the supervision of drug unit investigators and investigations. In January of 2006, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and was assigned to the CPD Patrol Division as a shift commander. On March 2, 2009 he was appointed as the Commander of the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT). Chad has worked on hundreds of drug related arrests and drug violations. He has also been declared as an expert witness in illegal drug possession and distribution in many state and federal courts.

Nancy Jennings

For nearly three decades, Nancy has been dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Kentucky women and their children, particularly among those with mental health and substance use disorders. She graduated from the University of Kentucky,College of Nursing in 1986. Her deep commitment to promoting parenting and improving the mental and physical health of a mother led Nancy to transition to the University of Kentucky (UK) Birthing Center. Currently Nancy holds the position of Perinatal Recovery Facilitator for PATHways and Beyond Birth.

Compassion Night

Ensure Justice 2017

Ensure Justice 2016

Date & Location

March 2-3, 2018

Vanguard University
55 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Find directions on Google Maps


Regular Price
$95 - General
$30 - Student

Register Now

More Speakers

Dr. Michael Hanna, Vanguard University Psychology Department

Dr. Sandra Morgan, Global Center for Women and Justice

Rhonda Sciortino, Successful Survivors

Holly Dye, University of Kentucky- College of Nursing

Tania Bhattacharyya, New Directions For Women

Laura Suk, NorthEast of the Well

Stephan Lambert, OC Department of Education

Dr. Sibylle Georgianna, Vanguard University Psychology Department

Rosemarie Wheeler, CA Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals

Christine Laehle, OC Department of Education

Gilbert and Virgina Contreras, Missionaries in Argentina

Joyce Cappelle, Crittendon

Beth Luthye, Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking

Jason Pope, Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking

Ruthi Hanchett, Live2free Coach

Conference Schedule

Friday, March 2

9:00am Registration and Networking

9:45am Keynote Speaker

11:30am Criminal Justice System and Youth

12:30pm Lunch

1:30pm The Brain Science of Maltreatment and Addiction

2:30pm Public Health Crisis: When Family Isn't Safe

3:50pm Living With Addiction

4:50pm Dinner


Saturday, March 3

8:30am Registration and Networking

9:00am Drug Trends To Inform Prevention Strategies

10:10am Workshop 1

11:10am Lunch

12:20pm Workshop 2

1:30pm Respond

2:30pm Public Health and Youth Prevention

3:30pm Conference Concluded

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