MACA 2024 Annual Conference Keynote

Authentically Them, Authentically You: LGBTQ+ Children and Teens and Cultivating Hope in the Face of Adversity and Trauma

Children and teens who identify as LGBTQ+ are as dynamic as the conversations our society is having about the spectrums of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Yet, these youth are at significantly higher risk for multiple adverse experiences across settings (e.g., home, school, community), and they are over-represented in child serving systems like juvenile justice and child welfare, simply because of who they are authentically.

The focus of this keynote is to enhance the knowledge of all child maltreatment professionals on LGBTQ+ youth and culture, information on adversity and trauma for these youth, including entry points to child serving systems, and how being an affirming person supports our common goal of all children being safe, happy, and healthy.

NCA Accreditation Standards:

DEA (E) (F)

Jimmy Widdifield, Jr., MA, (he/him) is a Licensed Professional Counselor (Oklahoma) and training and technical assistance provider in child maltreatment, trauma, and adversity. He is the Project Director for the Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Grant for Child Abuse Professionals at the National Children’s Advocacy Center. This national grant provides multi- and interdisciplinary TTA on child maltreatment to optimize professional development in the field.

Mr. Widdifield has extensive experience providing TTA to child maltreatment professionals and has presented locally, nationally, and internationally with an emphasis on the research and treatment of youth with problematic sexual behavior. Mr. Widdifield is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a graduate of the Interdisciplinary Training Program in Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.