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Social Work Conference

This year's annual conference will be held on May 22, 2019.

For 37 years, Western New England University has hosted the Regional Social Work Conference. The conference is a joint effort of Western New England University’s Bachelor of Social Work program, Social Work Advisory Council, and Office of Professional Development. The event has grown to encompass more than 40 workshops designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of social workers and human services professionals of all experience levels. Presentations focus on important issues facing working professionals when dealing with children and families, the elderly, mental health, substance abuse, multicultural issues, and personal development.

The conference also features the presentation of the Jim Quinn Human Service Award, which honors a human service professional who has made outstanding contributions to the profession. The award is named in memory of James N. Quinn, a social worker, child and family welfare advocate, lecturer, and advisor who devoted over 30 years of his professional and personal life to helping those in need. 

Keynote Speaker

  • Jen Falcone, LCSW

    "Inspired Social Work – A Journey to Preventing Human Trafficking"

    A survivor of child sexual abuse and trafficking as an adolescent, Jen will give an overview of her experiences and how utter devastation kick-started the healing that currently drives her life choices and professional work. She will focus specifically on launching a movement with the Springfield-area business community to address human trafficking.  Additionally, she will talk about how that movement fits in with other local human trafficking initiatives, and how social workers are ideally situated to build bridges at the macro level of practice.

    Jen Falcone, LCSW is a macro/community level social worker in the Springfield, MA area.  Currently she serves as the Director of Businesses Against Human Trafficking, a group whose mission is to use the collective influence of the local business community to address and prevent human trafficking in Western MA. In that role she guides and coordinates member organizations’ efforts, and aligns them with law enforcement, service providers, community/faith groups, and government entities addressing the issue of human trafficking in Western MA.  She facilitates business specific training in recognizing, responding to and preventing human trafficking.  Additionally, she helps lead The Prevention Collaborative, a cross-agency working group that aims to prevent child sexual abuse by raising awareness and providing training for adults. She has been involved with advocacy at the local and state level, legislative action, community consultation, and family crisis counseling related to child sexual abuse, and she leads sexual abuse prevention sessions with school and agency staff, parents, and church groups.  Prior to her ventures in social work, Jen worked in the business world with broad experiences in business operations, pharmaceuticals, and human resources development. 

Jim Quinn Human Service Award

  • Frank C Sacco, PhD

    2018 RECIPIENT

    Frank C. Sacco, PhD, began his work at the University of Massachusetts during the late 1960s, where he was involved in the Room-to-Move Drop in Center. He spent two years working with psychedelic emergencies in developing ways to cope with students having bad trips. Dr. Sacco then became involved in the Massachusetts de-institutionalization movement and cofounded Our House, Inc., a residential program for DYS kids. 

    After training at Menninger Clinic, Dr. Sacco began working with the assessment and treatment of highly disturbed young children. He spent his life operating in a community mental health center that specializes in home-based treatment for child welfare cases. He had many fond interactions with Jim Quinn. Dr. Sacco coauthored his first book in 1982, Outreach Family Therapy. He is dedicated to providing home-based psychotherapy to traumatized children in the child welfare system.

    Dr. Sacco has also spent his life researching bulllying. He has coauthored two books and 20 peer-reviewed articles on bullying, teacher bullying, threat assessment, and how to build a successful anti-bullying structure within a school. 

    He has consulted with the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit. He was recruited to bring ideas from his research on bullying after the 1999 Columbine shooting. He followed up with two more consultations with the FBI on Internet sexual exploitation and domestic violence. He has developed school bullying prevention programs in Jamaica, Australia, and Hungary. 

    Committed to the field of social work and psychotherapy, Dr. Sacco also trains psychotherapists in engaging difficult and often resistant clients.