Child Summit – What We Need to Know to Protect Our Youth

August 28, 2019

Pictured above: WPTV newsman Jon Shainman facilitates of panel of representatives from Okeechobee, Indian River and St. Lucie County law enforcement

Every year, Guardians for New Futures, a small, grassroots nonprofit organization located in St. Lucie County, coordinates and hosts a huge, two-day Child Summit at Indian River State College’s Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex in Fort Pierce. This year’s Summit, slated for Wednesday, September 25, 2019 and Thursday, September 26th is absolutely free and open to all who are concerned about children.

In order to provide up-to-the-minute, quality, professional education on the issues facing our youth, Guardians for New Futures gathers professional speakers and facilitators. As you can imagine based upon some of the more horrific and tragic news stories we’ve all endured already in Florida, this year’s focus is on what we need to know to protect our youth. Educated, experienced, and qualified professionals will speak about a number of topics including: The Internet Culture, Internet and Social Media Addiction, Current Trends in Drug Use, How Shame Develops in Children and the Cycle of Shame, and Creating Upward Mobility by Tapping into the Talents of People Themselves.

There will also be presentations on Self-Care – Who Cares for the Caregivers, What it Means to be Trauma-Informed, Identifying Autism Spectrum Disorder and Related Disorders of Behavior and Maladaptive Coping Skills, Trafficking and Our Community, Implicit Bias, and the Neurobiology of Addictions and the ABC’s of MAT. As in past years, one of the summit’s highlights will be a panel discussion featuring sheriff’s representatives from Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties.

It may come as a surprise to many that a conference of this magnitude would be provided at no cost to participants, but anyone who is familiar with Guardians for New Futures is not surprised because though small, the organization is mighty and committed to supporting the unfunded needs of abused and neglected children while increasing community awareness and education to further protect children.

A few years ago, recognizing that children who were removed from their homes in the middle of the night due to abuse and neglect cases often had nowhere to rest but in someone’s office, Guardians for New Futures focused time and energy on fundraising and donations to help build the Sanctuary4Kids, a 24/7 emergency shelter serving children from St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties from birth to age 17. Working with other organizations, including Devereux, DCF, Tykes and Teens, Palm Beach Behavioral Health and Wellness, Place of Hope, and Hibiscus Children’s Center, Guardians for New Futures spearheaded the project from start to completion, and gifted the house to Hibiscus Children’s Center.

Knowing that so much more is needed to protect our children, Guardians for New Futures continues to focuses on education and awareness-building, which is precisely the purpose of the informational Treasure Coast Child Summit. Though the event is free to the public, you must register in advance in order to attend. You can register online at or via email at