Monday, March 11, 2019 at 9:00 AM CDT
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 4:30 PM CDT

Add to Calendar 


The Westin Chicago Northwest 
400 Park Blvd
Itasca, IL 60143

Driving Directions 


Michelle Hammitt 

10th Annual

 Champions of Children Conference

This two day MDT enrichment conference features highly regarded speakers in their fields representing each discipline, with four separate tracks for participants to choose from that will best meet their professional development needs.

Your registration includes breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack on both days!


Matthew Sandusky

Matthew Sandusky, Founder and Executive Director of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse from the age of 8 to 17 at the hands of his adopted father, Jerry Sandusky. Matthew is working to turn his traumatic personal experience into a mechanism to prevent childhood sexual abuse and help other survivors heal.

Through his work with Peaceful Hearts, Matthew, raises awareness around child sexual abuse in local communities, supports the life-saving work of children's advocacy and sexual assault treatment centers, and advocates for legislative changes. Matthew works with researchers, clinicians, the media, politicians, social workers, and child protection professionals to raise awareness and improve the quality and availability of services to survivors nationwide.

In addition to his advocacy work, Matthew is committed to empowering and educating children to use their voices and help protect them against abuse. He is working with other advocates to implement an in-school curriculum to empower children to use their voices as a first line of defense, along with parents and teachers.

Matthew is also an accomplished author, chronicling his years of abuse in his memoir, Undaunted: Breaking my silence to overcome the trauma of child sexual abuse, which sheds light on the truth about abuse and the healing journey that a victim goes through to become a survivor.

As an internationally recognized spokesperson, on the topic of child sexual abuse, Matthew is asked regularly to comment on breaking news. He has done a one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey, been featured in two documentaries, Happy Valley and Invisible Scars, and is regularly published in major newspapers across the country.

Matthew attended Penn State University, studying Business. He along with his wife and children currently reside in State College, PA. Through his work with Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Matthew Sandusky has moved from victim to survivor of child sexual abuse.


Attendees wishing to stay at The Westin Chicago Northwest will be responsible for making their own reservations here or by calling 1-888-627-8510.  Guests making such reservations must identify themselves as members of "Children's Advocacy Centers of Illinois - Champions of Children Conference 2019". 

All reservations must be guarateed with a major credit card. 

Should a cancellation be necessary, a guest must cancel within 48 hours before the check-in date.  If this is not done, the hotel may charge the credit card one night's room fee plus any applicable taxes. 

The cut-off date for reserving rooms in the room block has BEEN EXTENDED UNTIL 5:00 pm on February 22, 2019.


DCFS EMPLOYEES PLEASE NOTE:  If you wish to attend this year's conference, please contact your supervisor for instructions.    This link does NOT apply to DCFS employees, unless you have been provided a promo code, and registrations made here will be void.

Register Now! Champions of Children Conference historically has been an approved provider of CEUs for those professions requiring continuing education for their licensing, including:  Attorney MCLE, Mental Health/Social Work CEUs, and DCFS CEUs. CEU credit will be offered pending approval.  

 Information about obtaining Mental Health/Social Work CEU will be provided at registration. 

Attorneys select the attorney pricing option for MCLE certificate to be included in your registration- this must be done at time of registration. MCLE certificate will be emailed to attorneyspending payment, and attendance at the conference sessions.