[ skip to content ]


The stories in the media are heartbreaking and appear all too often: children being injured or killed at the hands of their parents. For Old Dominion University sociology professor Karen Polonko, they are also stories that can't be ignored. Polonko, a longtime advocate of ending physical violence against children, has pulled together a panel to discuss more effective measures to keep the nation's children safe and to look at cultural differences among African American, Asian and Hispanic families.

The panel will discuss whether rates or types of child abuse differ by culture, whether denial or justification of child abuse is more common in one group than another, whether parents need help in learning healthy parenting, and whether social workers and psychologists need different strategies in working with families. Scheduled for 7:30-9 p.m. Thursday, March 20 in 1002 Constant Hall on the ODU Campus, the talk is free and open to the public.

Panel members include Belinda Bruster, instructor of social work at Norfolk State University; Chris Chao, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and clinical supervisor of psychology at the University of Denver; and Cecilia Gonzalez of Norfolk State University and parent educator with the Healthy Families Partnership.

Bruster, in private practice with the Adolescent and Family Institute, conducts research on African American women and welfare reform. She also works with social service and foster care placement agencies.
Chao is a noted author of numerous articles and book chapters on race, ethnic and cultural issues in couples therapy and the role of culture working with Asian children and families. He is a cultural consultant to several universities, agencies and government programs.

Gonzalez co-authored the book "You Are Not Alone" for parents and implemented "Crianza con Carino," a Spanish-language parenting class.

Call 683-3797 or e-mail kpolonko@odu.edu for more information.

This article was posted on: March 13, 2003

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.