Hello Members and Attendees,

Hello Members and Attendees,

We had a wonderful 2024 conference with some very interesting and first class presentations. The speakers astounded. We were happy to be able to gather in person, while many also attended and participated remotely. A good time was had by all and the weather cooperated. Amber Schroeder, ATSA Executive Director, attended and was able to speak to the members. We also had various State probation officers, Florida Coalition and a good group of forensic psych doctoral students joining us. We wish Rick Morris, our president all the best as he transitions to his new position as past-president. Robert Parham, a longtime board member and dedicated member of ATSA and FATSA stepped aside and Taylor Thalacker joined the board. We also have Dr. David Feldman, from Nova Southeastern (Fort Lauderdale), join us as a new addition to the board. It’s going to be another exciting and productive year!  We are building for the future. Thanks for all your support.

George Deitchman

President

We are delighted to introduce Taylor Thalacker, an emerging talent in the field of sex offender treatment, as the newest member of the Florida Association for the Treatment & Prevention of Sexual Abuse (FATSA) Board of Directors. Taylor’s appointment will be officially announced at the annual meeting on March 9, 2024.

Taylor brings a fresh perspective to the board, having recently joined the ATSA organization. With a clear understanding of the challenges faced by newcomers in this field, Taylor is poised to play a pivotal role in attracting and supporting young professionals starting their journey in sex offender treatment. This focus is crucial for maintaining the high standards of care in Florida and contributing to the reduction of sexual offense recidivism.

Taylor’s commitment extends beyond personal career growth. They are passionate about fostering a supportive environment for others new to this field, emphasizing the importance of engaging in meaningful training and building strong networks within the Florida ATSA community. Taylor’s first-hand experience at the Florida ATSA conference earlier this year reinforced their belief in the power of community and collaboration for effective change.

Looking ahead, Taylor aims to leverage their insights and enthusiasm to enhance the planning of Florida ATSA conferences and events. Their vision includes creating welcoming and inclusive spaces that encourage new members to forge essential connections with fellow practitioners. With such dedication and vision, Taylor is set to make a significant impact on the FATSA board and the broader community of professionals dedicated to the treatment and prevention of sexual abuse.

Introducing Dr. David Feldman, the Newest Board Member of the Florida Association for the Treatment & Prevention of Sexual Abuse (FATSA)

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. David Feldman to the board of the Florida Association for the Treatment & Prevention of Sexual Abuse (FATSA). Dr. Feldman, a recent addition to our Florida community, has been an active member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) since 2005. His extensive background, spanning over a decade, encompasses clinical practice, academic instruction, and research in the critical field of sexual abuse treatment and prevention.

Currently serving as an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Clinical Forensic Psychology Concentration at Nova Southeastern University, Dr. Feldman has significantly contributed to the academic realm. He pioneered a doctoral-level course titled “Psychological Interventions with Sexual Abusers” and established the Sexual Abuse and Forensic Research (SAFR) laboratory. Under his guidance, the laboratory has become a hub for about 15 doctoral students engaged in various innovative projects.

Dr. Feldman’s clinical expertise is equally impressive. His experience includes providing clinical services at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., and The Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia, FL. Notably, he has specialized in working with Deaf sexual offenders, offering clinical and consultation services in Florida and nationwide. His insights on this topic have been shared widely through professional presentations, including those for ATSA, and will soon feature in a Safer-Society webinar and a student panel discussion at MnATSA.

As a FATSA board member, Dr. Feldman is eager to bolster our organization’s presence on Florida’s college campuses and among graduate-level trainees in relevant fields. He envisions the development of a FATSA professional member/student mentorship program, aiming to bridge academic learning with practical experience in sexual abuse treatment and prevention. This initiative is designed to provide students with invaluable opportunities for shadowing, practicum, and externships, fostering the growth of the next generation of professionals in this vital area.

Dr. Feldman is also passionate about increasing student involvement in FATSA conferences and events, suggesting ideas like volunteer opportunities, student poster sessions, and research panels. These platforms would not only encourage student research but also facilitate invaluable networking opportunities with established professionals.

A unique and invaluable aspect of Dr. Feldman’s expertise is his work with individuals with disabilities, particularly those who are Deaf or non-verbal. As a member of the Broward County Advisory Board for Individuals with Disabilities (ABID) and a Gallaudet University alumnus, he has extensive experience in this field. His work includes publishing, consulting, and conducting clinical evaluations and assessments. Dr. Feldman’s involvement will significantly enrich FATSA’s resources, highlighting the needs of often underserved populations in the realm of sexual abuse treatment and prevention.

We are confident that Dr. Feldman’s diverse expertise and innovative vision will greatly enhance FATSA’s mission in advancing the treatment and prevention of sexual abuse in Florida and beyond. His commitment to integrating academic knowledge with practical application, coupled with his specialized focus on marginalized groups, aligns perfectly with our goals. Please join us in welcoming Dr. David Feldman to the FATSA family.

Stop It NOW!

In more than 70% of child sexual abuse cases, a child or teenager is harmed by another juvenile. The average age of first time sexual violence perpetration is between 15 and 16 years old

Unfortunately, many young people don’t realize that something is wrong until after they’ve harmed a friend, sibling or younger child. Our WhatsOK helpline is the only resource of its kind, specifically offering young people a place to ask tough questions and get help even if they’ve harmed someone. 

When a young person tells us that they’ve messed up – be it crossing a boundary or sexually abusing – our expert counselors help by: 

  • Affirming their courage in asking for help 
  • Holding them accountable
  • Explaining consent and its limits 
  • Suggesting ways to validate those they’ve harmed 
  • Getting them resources and support 
  • Offering hope that change is possible 

2023 Partners Day

The 2023 Florida ATSA Conference and Annual Membership Meeting will be held on March 10-11, 2023.  We will also have a pre-conference Partner’s Day on March 9, 2023 for our FATSA Members and our Florida Partners such as the Department of Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, and other advocates and partners in Florida. The Partner’s Day event will be 100% virtual and will be FREE for Florida ATSA members and partners. 

NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED FOR THE PARTNERS DAY. A LINK WILL BE SENT TO ALL ACTIVE MEMBERS AND PARTNERS PRIOR TO THE EVENT.

Save the date March 9, 2023 (the day prior to the conference) for the special MEMBERS and PARTNERS-only training. 

Would you like to become a facilitator for Family Support Groups?

As part of FATSA’s annual conference & community partners’ day, Jill Levenson & Shelley Kavanagh will host a training session for FATSA members interested in becoming a facilitator for support groups for family members of people required to register in Florida. Therapists and Interns are welcome, and peer facilitators can participate in the training as well. The goal is to create a network of support teams for family members of registrants throughout Florida. Arrest, conviction, incarceration, and registration for a sexual crime are very impactful experiences for every member of a family. These individuals are a neglected group who are in need of services in their own journey of healing, but who often don’t know where to turn to find compassion and support.

The training will take place in person on Thursday 3/9/23, 6:30-9 pm, in the conference hotel – THE FLORIDA HOTEL, Orlando, FL

RSVP required. To RSVP please contact Jill Levenson at levenson.jill@gmail.com

2022 Florida ATSA Conference

It seems like forever since we gathered in person for our Annual Florida ATSA Conference and Annual Meeting.  After the 2020 FATSA conference was canceled due to COVID and the 2021 conference was held virtually which allowed many to attend across the country. A BIG thank you goes out to the 2022 Conference Planning Committee for the great work in preparing for the next conference.

The 2022 FATSA Conference will be a hybrid of in-person and online. We hope you will choose to take a couple of days out of your schedule and join us in person this year. However, for those who are unable to travel, we will also provide an online Virtual experience.  We will be gathering at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Altamonte Springs, FL just on the north side of Orlando. The hotel has been great for our previous conferences with plenty of restaurants nearby.

We are excited to offer a varied and useful program for you. As always, we are attempting to touch on our core areas: adult and adolescent treatment and outcome improvement, evaluation and information useful to therapists, probation, polygraphists, prosecutors, defense, judges, and families, and improving cooperation and coordination of all involved. We encourage you to attend both days.  As always we encourage you to join the organization to save money on the conference, but also you will receive first notice of all conferences and any matters of importance with the organization. Of course, you must be a member of ATSA to join FL-ATSA.

Rick Morris – Florida ATSA President