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In Conjunction with Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s

39th Annual Legislative Conference



WASHINGTON – Former social worker and community activist, U.S. Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-NY) will host a forum to explore the impact of mental health on youth violence during the 39th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Conference. A diverse panel of experts from the fields of education, social work and mental health will discuss how youth violence is impacting schools, homes and communities all across the country. The discussion will focus on whether or not existing mental health illnesses predispose youth to violence, or if mental health issues develop in youth who are frequently exposed to high levels of violence.


Researchers claim that while mental health issues are treatable, if left undetected or unaddressed, they can lead to violent behavior.  Youth violence, according to criminology experts, has become a “public health epidemic” with potentially devastating and, in some cases, irreversible effects on communities and families.  During the forum, panelists will look into the various risk factors associated with violent tendencies in youth and ways to alleviate cycles of violence. 


Rep. Towns will deliver the forum’s opening remarks.



MODERATORS:       Charles E Lewis, Jr., PhD

Professor, Howard University School of Social Work


PANELISTS:               Von Nebbit, PhD

                                                Professor, Howard University School of Social Work


                                                Kenneth Barnes, Sr., PhD

                                                Founder and CEO, Reaching Out to Other Together, Inc.


                                                Orin Howard, LICSW 

Supervisory Social Worker

Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services


                                                Darcy Gruttadaro, JD

                                                Director, Child and Adolescent Action Center,

                                                National Alliance on Mental Illness


DATE:                         Friday, September 25, 2009


TIME:                         10:30 a.m.


PLACE:                      Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Room 143-C

                        Washington, D.C.




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