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Gold medalist to speak at symposium

Frank Shorter, a survivor of childhood abuse, developed his passion for running as an escape from abuse.

Shorter, an Olympic gold medal long-distance runner, will share his story of perseverance and stopping the cycle of violence as one of many featured speakers July 22-24 at the North Dakota Children’s Justice Symposium at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck.

“The symposium is an opportunity to engage in conversation about services and to provide skill development and networking for professionals who work with children and families to support their safety, permanency and well-being,” said Lisa Fair McEvers, a North Dakota Supreme Court justice.

The three-day symposium will feature workshops on topics including trauma-informed investigations, kinship caregivers, engaging fathers in the lives of their children, navigating the juvenile court system, making stable permanent placement decisions for youth, child welfare worker safety, helping children with early drug exposure, managing challenging behaviors in children with complex trauma and other topics.

There will also be three preconference workshops on July 21 that will focus on understanding the effects of childhood trauma on child-welfare professionals, identifying potential secondary trauma risk factors, and children and family services review training.

Shorter’s closing keynote presentation on overcoming childhood abuse is at 10 a.m. July 24. The man credited with igniting the running boom in the 1970s will also lead a community run at 6 p.m. July 23 on the Sertoma Park Loop Trail near shelter 7. The public is invited to participate.

Law enforcement professionals, attorneys, social workers, judges, educators, therapists and others who work with children and families and child-welfare issues are encouraged to attend the symposium.

“Creating positive outcomes for children and families takes a great deal of collaboration and open communication among the many professionals participating in this training event,” said Shari Doe, director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Children and Family Services Division.

The Children’s Justice Symposium is free and open to the public. A complete schedule and online registration is available at

The Children’s Justice Symposium is held every other year in North Dakota and is a co-sponsored by the North Dakota Supreme Court, the University of North Dakota Children and Family Services Training Center and the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Children and Family Services Division.