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Child Advocates Gather For Training

By Staff | Nov 16, 2016

Photos provided Susan Scharf, Executive Director of The Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center, along with Jim Holler, Jr.

CPS workers, members of law enforcement, mental health professionals and other advocates for children gathered at West Virginia Northern Community College on Thursday, Nov. 3 for a special “Champions for Children” training event sponsored by the Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center.

Presenter for the event was Jim Holler, Jr, who possesses an extensive background in law enforcement and public safety. The retired police chief served as Chief of Police for Liberty Township Police Department in Adams County, Pa. for 16 years.

Holler became an Internet Crimes Against Children investigator in 2005 and started the first task force in Adams County. He has made multiple arrests for possession of child pornography and undercover chat related arrests for soliciting sex from a minor.

Chief Holler’s advocacy for children doesn’t end there however. Additionally, Chief Holler was founder and board president of Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center in Gettysburg, Pa. and past board president of the Wetzel-Tyler Child Advocacy Center in Paden City (now Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center).

His resume also includes service as fire marshal for Liberty Township for eight years; he also became the township’s first fire/arson investigator. Holler also worked as a paid firefighter for Montgomery County Maryland, and retired with 23 years of service.

He currently trains fellow child advocates all over the United States, and he is currently Board Chair of the Adams County Domestic Violence Shelter.

At Thursday’s training Holler went over several topics relevant to those who first respond to, and investigate crimes against children. Holler discussed the importance of Child Protective Services and law enforcement working together. He also spoke to those in attendance on how to defuse a hostile situation that might come up during an investigation, and he explained the importance of communicating effectively, verbally and non-verbally, and trainees were reminded on the importance of listening.

Holler’s training was also revelant to parents. Besides reminding parents to be mindful of who they allow around their children, Holler also spoke on the importance of internet safety and cellphone safety.

And besides parents being mindful of what kind of images their children might upload to their social media accounts, Holler warned parents themselves against uploading so many photos of their children online. Holler reminded that a predator can easily right-click and save a photo of a child. That easily, a child can become prey.

Holler also reminded parents to warn their children about the dangers of sexting and sending inappropriate images to friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends. Holler said even a program such as Snapchat, which is supposed to erase images, is still dangerous, as predators have the ability to install third-party software on a device.

Parents are urged to monitor their childrens’ online activities. Notably, Holler recommends setting a cell phone bedtime. For instance, when children go to bed, they should give their cell phones to their parents, until the morning. Holler recommended that this a good opportunity to scan a child’s phone. The former police chief gave an example of how a parent, after attending one of his trainings, followed this advice and ended up discovering that her minor child had been conversing with a strange man.

Holler cited www.missingkids.com as a good resource for parents who want to learn more about protecting their children from predators.

The site has resources for families, including educational programs to teach families and children about preventing abduction, online safety, and more.

Additionally, for more on Holler himself, check out hollertraining.com

Holler also has a Facebook page, “Holler Training,” which he uses to post “Parent Detective 101” tips to.