To Report Child Abuse

Nebraska: 1 (800) 652-1999
Iowa: 1 (800) 362-2178

To Contact Us

(402) 595-1326
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
After hours by appointment only

Speakers

Keynote Luncheon Speaker

Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad proved to the world that the power of the human spirit cannot be measured nor denied. In 2013, at the unlikely age of 64, Nyad became the first and only person in history to swim non-stop the 110.86 miles from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Florida.

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Plenary Speakers

 

Francoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC., RP

Françoise Mathieu is the founder of Compassion Fatigue Solutions, and a sought-after speaker and educator in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

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Thom Singer

Thom Singer is an experienced speaker, podcast host, and the author of 12 books.

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Darrel Turner, Ph.D.

Dr. Turner is a clinical and forensic psychologist who specializes in the field of sexual abuse of children and the risk assessment of child molesters and child pornography offenders.

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Karen Vadino

Karen Vadino is a Motivational Speaker, Humorist, Trainer and Consultant. In her thirty-plus years as a human service professional, most of Karen’s experience has been in the field of chemical dependency, both as a licensed clinician and as a certified prevention specialist.

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Additional Speakers

Julia Hebenstreit, PhD., J.D.

Julia Hebenstreit has been with The Kim Foundation since December of 2011 and currently serves as the Executive Director.  Julia is an active member for the Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition, Metro Area Suicide Prevention Coalition, Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, BHECN’s Advisory Committee, RESPECT Advisory Committee, and the Connections Advisory Committee.


Stuart White, PhD.

Dr. White is an expert in trauma/PTSD and aggression/Disruptive Behavior Disorders. He earned his doctorate in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of New Orleans in 2010 and completed his post-doctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He joined the Center for Neurobehavioral Research at Boys Town National Research Hospital where he directs the Developmental Clinical Neuroscience Lab, funded by NIMH.


Colleen Brazil, MSW

Forensic Interview Program Manager 

Colleen Brazil is the Forensic Interview Program Manager at Project Harmony.  She has been with Project Harmony since 2015 and supervises forensic interviewers as well as manages the intake process.  Before Project Harmony, Brazil was the Clinical Director with Family Connections, Inc. in Council Bluffs from September 2014 – October 2015 and a forensic interviewer at Child’s Voice in Sioux Falls, SD from its inception in 1998 until August 2014 when she moved to Omaha.

Brazil has interviewed over 6,000 children regarding allegations of abuse or neglect.  She has trained child protection workers, law enforcement officers and other multi-disciplinary team members throughout South Dakota.  She is frequently called upon to provide consultation to these professionals.  In addition, Brazil has mentored other forensic interviewers both at Child’s Voice and within South Dakota.  She served as an expert witness in Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota courts regarding cases of child abuse.  She previously worked in private practice with Lutheran Social Services performing child custody evaluations.

Brazil has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and she is an adjunct professor in their social work department.


Shelly Sudmann

Shelly Sudmann is a career prosecutor who has worked at the City of Council Bluffs, the Pottawattamie County Attorney Office and as an Assistant United States Attorney. Shelly has over fifteen years of experience prosecuting felony cases. Shelly has handled a multitude of child victim crimes. Shelly works closely with law enforcement and crime victims throughout the criminal process.


Cassandra Salter

Cassie Salter was hired on the department in October 2011 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Minor in Sociology. Cassie then received her Master’s Degree in Forensic Science while working in May 2014. Cassie holds the highest level as a Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst through the International Association for Identification, with over 700 hours of training in the field of crime scene investigation.


Dave Sullivan

Dave Sullivan has been a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security for 27 years.


Kristi O'Donnell

Kristi O’Donnell has been working for the Iowa Department of Human Services since 2004. She began her journey as an intern then went into working long term with families in case management and then began doing Child Protective Assessments in 2013. She is a believer in working alongside community partners because it is key to any assessment, which helps identify adequate services and safe planning for families.


Sarah McGinnis

Sarah is currently a Human Trafficking Specialist for Catholic Charities Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program. Sarah has a Bachelor’s Degree in both Biological Sciences and Criminal Justice. Sarah has specialized in domestic and sexual violence/human trafficking and has been an advocate for 8 years. Sarah has been a commissioned law enforcement officer for almost 10 years. Sarah works as a full-time advocate and part-time police officer.


Amber Kennedy

I am a Detective with the Council Bluffs Police Department and a member of the Iowa Internet Crimes Against Children task force. I have been an Officer with the Council Bluffs Police department for 11 years and was promoted to detective in 2014 and assigned sex abuse and child abuse cases. I became a member of the ICAC task force in 2015 and investigate child pornography, sexual exploitation and trafficking of minors online.


Rebecca Vivrette

Rebecca Vivrette, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Vivrette is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in psychological assessment and trauma-focused interventions for children and families. She has been trained in numerous evidence-based practices, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Child-Parent Psychotherapy. Dr. Vivrette has extensive experience providing education, training, consultation, and mental health services to community-based agencies and early childcare settings. Dr. Vivrette also has a strong interest in perinatal traumatic stress and substance use.  Dr. Vivrette is an accomplished researcher for multiple federally-funded grants, primarily focused on parent-child relationships, early childhood development, and traumatic stress in families. She is an Associate Director of Clinical Research at the Center for Epigentic Research on Child Health and Brain Development. She is an evaluator for the Family Informed Trauma Treatment (FITT) Center, a Category II Center within the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prior to joing UMSOM, Dr. Vivrette served as a Research Associate for the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress at UCLA, where she helped to manage data analyses and dissemination of research findings from a national dataset of over 14,000 clinic-referred youth. Dr. Vivrette has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and presents locally and nationally at professional conferences. She is the co-developer of the UCLA PTSD Reaction Index for DSM-5 for Children Age 6 and Younger.  In addition to her clinical and research activities, Dr. Vivrette also provides training, education, and clinical supervision for the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She serves on the teaching faculty at the Taghi Modarressi Center for Infant Study (CIS) and the Child Trauma Disorders Clinic at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and provides guest lectures and clinical consultation to other UMB departments and community agencies. Dr. Vivrette is the Assessment Co-Coordinator for the VAMHCS/UMB Psychology Internship Consortium. She serves on numerous committees and coalitions aimed at improving the lives of children and families.


Jan Waters, Masters of Counseling, LCPC

Jan Waters has 20 years of clinical and managerial experience and working with children and adults who have experienced abuse and other types of trauma. She has extensive training and experience working with children and adults who have experienced child sexual abuse and sexual assault.   Ms. Waters has presented and offered trainings internationally on topics such as developmental psychotherapy, trauma, autism, and mindfulness.


Stefania Agliano, LMSW

Stefania M. Agliano, LMSW received her graduate degree at Fordham University and has worked in child welfare services and child protection for over twenty-five years. She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work at Sacred Heart University.  Ms. Agliano has been a contributing member of efforts to eradicate trafficking on the local and national level.


Bryan Hall

Bryan Hall II, LCSW received his graduate degree from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and has worked in child welfare and adult probation services in excess of seventeen years. Mr. Hall’s clinical background consists of treating adolescents with persistent legal issues and/or mental health disorders. Mr. Hall has been instrumental in the development and facilitation of prevention programming designed for adolescents.


Jill Gresham

Jill Gresham serves as a Senior Associate with the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare at Children and Family Futures. In this role, she provides various levels of technical assistance to states and regions across the country in issues related to substance abuse, child welfare and the courts. Jill primarily serves the In-Depth Technical Assistance program providing support to states addressing infants with prenatal exposure.


Maria Trent

Dr. Trent is a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health who has been consistently ranked by her peers as a ‘top doc’ in the greater Baltimore Metropolitan area. She is an independent scientist that serves as the principal or key investigator multiple research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding agencies. A major focus of Dr. Trent’s research and clinical interest has been on reducing adolescent and young adult sexual and reproductive health disparities. She is also committed to producing the next generation of adolescent health scientists and directs the NIH-funded Adolescent Reproductive Health Training Program within Johns Hopkins Medicine. She is a sought-after speaker and the author of scientific research articles, editorials, book chapters, and patient-directed media materials in the field of adolescent health. She has been recognized for her work by medical associations and the lay press and has subsequently emerged as an important voice in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health. She currently serves as the Chair of the Section on Adolescent Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics and President-elect for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.


Mike Krapfl

Mike Krapfl is a Special Agent in Charge in the Major Crimes Unit with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, where he oversees agents working homicides, robberies, officer-involved shootings, and other felony offenses. Mike served as an Agent in the Major Crimes Unit for 14 years and previously worked as a patrol officer and investigator for eight years with a municipal police department. Mike is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association and presents at state and national law enforcement conferences.


Jon Turbett

After graduating from the University of Iowa College of Law, Jon Turbett began his law enforcement career as a Special Agent with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation assigned to the Gaming Unit. After five years, he was reassigned to the Major Crimes Unit, where he has worked since 2005. Jon currently investigates a significant number of felony level offenses, including homicides, human trafficking, fraud, and sex crimes. He has presented at the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association Conference, the Midwest Gang Investigators Conference, and the Conference on Crimes against Women. Jon oversees the legal component of The CTK Group’s Interview and Interrogation courses.


Molly Keane J.D.

Molly Keane has been a Deputy Douglas County Attorney since January 2005.  Ms. Keane did her undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she studied mathematics and psychology, earning her Bachelors Degree in 1998.  After that, she attended Boston College Law School receiving her Juris Doctor.  Upon graduation, Ms. Keane worked in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts as a criminal prosecutor from 2001 to December 2004.  In 2005, she joined the Douglas County Attorney’s Office Criminal Division.  Since 2012, Ms. Keane has led a team of attorneys who specialize in the prosecution of felony crimes of sexual assault and both physical and sexual abuse of children.  Within this unit, the team handles all felony sex crimes including but not limited to sexual assaults of adults and children, human trafficking, child pornography, and child enticement. The team also prosecutes all felony crimes involving physical abuse of children including child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury or death.  Since October 2018, Ms. Keane has also been a Team Leader in the Douglas County Attorney’s Office supervising a team of attorneys in the prosecution of all types of felony offenses.  In addition, Ms. Keane is a member of the Douglas County Investigative Team, the Douglas County Sexual Assault Response Team, the Nebraska Child and Maternal Death Review Team, and is on the Board of Directors of the Nebraska County Attorneys Association.  In 2017, she was honored to receive the Kids First Award at the Project Harmony Speaking of Children Conference.


Justin Fitzsimmons

Mr. Justin Fitzsimmons is a Program Manager in the High-Tech Crime Training Services (HTCTS) department of SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. He helps coordinate training with law enforcement agencies, prepares budgets, oversees the HTCTS project staff, and develops high-tech crime training projects for justice, public safety, and homeland security agencies nationwide. He also conducts legal, policy, and regulatory research, prepares white papers, and provides assistance and instructional services to justice, public safety, and homeland security agencies, particularly in digital evidence recovery, investigation, and prosecution.

Mr. Fitzsimmons is conducting a national research effort to determine the current capabilities of law enforcement to investigate crimes with digital evidence and make recommendations to decision-makers about resources to assist law enforcement. He also presents at conferences and trainings, participates on advisory committees and task forces, and supports agencies and jurisdictions as they create and implement effective procedures, practices, and technology applications that seek to combat high-tech crime and recover digital evidence.

Before joining SEARCH in 2012, Mr. Fitzsimmons worked for the National District Attorneys Association, where he was Senior Attorney for its National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse beginning in 2009. He responded to requests for assistance in child sexual exploitation cases from prosecutors and law enforcement around the United States, designed and presented training seminars, and published articles on emerging technological issues in child sexual exploitation. From 1998–2009, he was an assistant state’s attorney (ASA) in the State’s Attorney’s Offices for Kane and DuPage Counties, Illinois, where he prosecuted cases involving sexual exploitation and digital evidence. As an ASA for Kane County, he supervised the Special Prosecution Unit, responsible for investigating and prosecuting felony cases, including Internet crimes against children. He was also assigned to a Child Advocacy Center team that investigated and prosecuted cases of severe physical and sexual abuse against children, crimes of Internet solicitation of children, and child pornography. As an ASA for DuPage County, he worked in the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau and the Felony Domestic Violence Unit.

Mr. Fitzsimmons frequently presents and teaches at international, national, and regional conferences, workshops, webinars, and training courses on digital evidence collection, computer forensics, crimes against children, cybercrime, and human trafficking. He has published articles on digital evidence authentication, computer forensics for prosecutors, child sexual exploitation, and more. In addition, he has drafted legislation that was signed into law in Illinois on several technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation issues from 2006–08.

Mr. Fitzsimmons was a member of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) National Strategy Working Group on Child Exploitation and co-chaired its Training Subcommittee. He also participated in the DOJ Office for Victims of Crime Working Group on Restitution for Victims of Child Pornography, the FBI Innocence Lost Working Group, and the Internet Child Exploitation Task Force. He has served as faculty of the National Children’s Advocacy Center, Huntsville, Alabama, and for the North-East Metropolitan Regional Training Center, Police Training, Aurora, Illinois.

Mr. Fitzsimmons is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University in Ohio.


Teresa Gil Ph.D.

I have a Ph.D. in Social Work from the State University of New York at Albany.

For over twenty-five years, I have been a psychotherapist, professor, and trainer. I have private practice working with women, children, and families dealing with addictions and recovery from child abuse and trauma. I am full professor and teach courses in psychology.


Barbara Facher

Barbara Facher is a social worker at the Alliance for Children’s Rights. Ms. Facher works on issues specific to pregnant and parenting teens living in foster care and collaborates with public and private agencies to improve and expand services for this population; she co-chairs the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) Task Force on Pregnant and Parenting Teens. She also focuses on health care issues for children in foster care to ensure youth have access to health and mental health care and other critical supports and services. Prior to joining the Alliance for Children’s Rights in 2001, Ms. Facher worked as a medical social worker. She previously served as the California Director of Human SERVE, a national voter registration and education organization focused on expanding voter participation among low income and minority populations. Ms. Facher has a B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and received a Masters of Social Work from San Francisco State University School of Social Work.


Hipolito Mendez

Hipolito Mendez has worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for the last 12 years. He began his career with DCFS as a Children’s Social Worker Trainee. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. With the assistance of DCFS and the CalSWEC Program he received his Masters of Social Work from Cal State University, Long Beach. He has worked as a case carrying Children’s Social Worker, a Dependency Investigator, and a Supervising Children Social Worker. He currently facilitates the Pregnant and Parenting Teen Conferences for DCFS.


Kristine Grush

Bio to come


Betsy Funk, LCSW, LIMHP, MPA, REAT

Betsy is a clinical social worker and Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner in private practice and co-founder of Omaha Therapy and Arts Collaborative. She has been practicing as a social worker in the community for over 20 years and has worked with various agencies including Goodwill Industries, Phoenix House Domestic Violence Shelter, Nebraska Health and Human Services, and Lutheran Family Services. Currently, she works with people coping with challenges of all kinds with a specialty in trauma and abuse related issues. She has specialized training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child Parent Psychotherapy as well as Expressive Arts Therapy. Her passion involves bringing the arts into treatment in a way that promotes healing and resiliency. She is the developer of the “GREAT” Teen and Kids Groups, which are Expressive Arts therapy groups she facilitates in the OTAC studio and in area elementary and middle schools. Additionally, she provides consultation and presentations on the use of the arts as a method of self-care.


We wish to thank you for your hospitality and the wonderful program and tour of Project Harmony. We are so fortunate to have an organization acting on the behalf of our children with such outstanding enthusiasm and dedication.

- Rotary Club of Omaha Northwest

Thank you so much for coming to Children’s and speaking to our staff. Your talk on “Understanding Poverty” was excellent, and I could see “wheels turning” as some staff members commented on simple ways their interactions might make a difference for children and parents.

- Patty Carrell, CMSW

I have felt that my input has been highly valued and respected when it comes to doing my job, and that is something that speaks volumes to the working environment here at Project Harmony.

- Brenda Jewell

We began collaborating with the Project Harmony through their Connections program last year, and we’ve continued the partnership. Connections represents an extremely valuable partnership and an opportunity to provide our students with a bridge to mental health services.

- Papillion La Vista Community Schools

Our experience and partnership with Project Harmony/Connections has been fantastic! It is a comfort knowing we have a partner who can connect our students and families with the appropriate resources in times of crisis or trauma.

- Millard Public Schools

This shadowing experience actually made me very interested in this field. One aspect that helped me narrow my choice of careers is the environment that Project Harmony had. It was very upbeat, cheerful and bright.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Project Harmony for planning and delivering professional development to our 70 counselors, social workers and community counselors. We feel fortunate to have such a valuable resource in our community to partner with.

- Millard Public Schools

You have a top rate program – really national quality. I’m totally impressed.

- Lisa Fontes

At our last D2 Center Board meeting, I was describing the training and professional development we provide for our staff. At the top of the list was Project Harmony. Please know that you are providing an invaluable service to nonprofits in our community.

- Greg Emmel

Congratulations on the great media coverage of your Stewards class at Project Harmony on WOWT. You did a great job articulating the importance of prevention, and Susan was amazing too. Thank you so much for your partnership and all the important work you are doing.

- Cindy McElhinney – Darkness to Light

Just wanted to know that you made a difference in my life, and I will be using that momentum to make a difference in the lives of others. You are truly a rock star and a role model for me. Thank you for a new life I’m getting the chance to live.

- Anonymous

Many children through my caseload have received a backpack generously donated to the Project Harmony Triage Center. I have witnessed many faces light up when given the opportunity to pick out a new backpack, and I am very grateful for the generosity of the Junior League.

- DHHS – Children & Family Services

I have never felt as valued at other organizations like I do at Project Harmony. I really feel that the culture of a working environment is incredibly important. If an employee feels respected, valued and supported, that person will likely give more to fulfill the mission.

- Javier Castellote

Nick and Javier were great teachers and role players. It gave us an opportunity to see how someone in that situation would have reacted to our questions. They did a great job at showing us the difference between sympathy and empathy.

- Anonymous

I was able to shadow Mr. Nick Zadina. He was in charge of dealing with abused kids and help them. I am thankful to know all the information I learned during shadowing because it was eye opening.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

The experience at Project Harmony was a deepening reminder of empathy that will be vital in my career as a nurse. I felt my perspective was widened on how others think, especially when discussing the assumptions we make.

- Anonymous

I didn’t know how many people work at Project Harmony, so I drew a lot to show how much Project Harmony means to me!

- Project Harmony Client

As difficult as a removal is on a child, the backpack they receive at Project Harmony provides a sense of belonging and hope. It truly is amazing something that seems so simple can change the perspective and shine light on these children.

- DHHS – Children & Family Services

Great leadership for a wonderful cause with outstanding long-term goals. Keep on doing all the good you do.

- Bill & Jean O’Conner

Project Harmony is the reason I started my journey in college. I just finished my associates and I'm going for my bachelors now in Child Protection and Juvenile Justice. Y'all helped my daughter back in early 2013 and I knew what I wanted to do with my life — help children.

- LaLa Ann

A young lady who works in our field told me that she loved what we do here at Project Harmony — she had been to Project Harmony seven years ago for a forensic interview. She said her positive experience was the biggest reason she is doing the work that she is today.

- Trainee

I found out that my foster son is going to have a forensic interview here at Project Harmony soon. It’s been interesting being on the other side of things and feeling so reassured that the child I care so deeply about is in very caring and capable hands.

- Jessica Kroeker

Nick demonstrated how one person could impact a huge group of student nurses by just attending his presentation. He gave me the reason, the courage to act, and the knowledge how to save victims that I will face in my future nursing career.

- Anonymous

I recently attended the Testifying Training course. Since that class I have been subpoenaed three times, and I had to testify at each hearing. Without this class I would have been less than prepared and too nervous to be credible. Thank you so much!

- Jenny Lewis

You are part of the solution.

The cycle of abuse does not have to continue, but we can’t end it alone. Anyone has the power to be someone who makes our community a safe place for all children.

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