Former foster child and award-winning blues singer to speak at child welfare conference

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Former foster child and award-winning blues singer Janiva Magness will speak during the ninth annual Mississippi Child Welfare Institute Conference Feb. 17-18 at the Jackson Marriott Hotel, 200 E. Amite St., in Jackson, Miss. Magness’s latest CD, “The Devil is an Angel, Too,” was just named the No. 1 blues CD of 2010 by “Living Blues” magazine.

Sponsored by the Jackson State University College of Public Service School of Social Work, the two-day conference will focus on building community partnerships for safe and healthy children and families. The event will feature local and national experts who will provide the latest information on issues affecting vulnerable children and families.

During her 30-year career, Magness has performed at theatres and festivals across the world. In 2009, she received the coveted Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, making her the second woman ever to win this award.

Although she achieved success as a singer, Magness’ rise to the top was not easy. At 16, she lost both parents to suicide, which pushed her out onto the streets and from one foster home to another. She became pregnant at age 17 and gave up her daughter for adoption. Magness said her life started to turn around after becoming inspired by Motown music and the blues and country songs in her father’s record collection.

Magness now serves as a national spokesperson for the Casey Family Programs promoting National Foster Care Month. Although she relinquished her parental rights as a teenager, Magness has since established a relationship with her daughter, and is the proud grandmother of an 8-year-old boy.

The conference will begin at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 17. Plenary speakers include Eileen Mayers Pasztor, associate professor at the School of Social Work, California State University – Long Beach, and Juli Alvarado, president of the personal and professional development firm Coaching for Life. Magness will be the keynote speaker during the closing luncheon on Feb. 18. 

Social work students, educators, practitioners, human service workers and mental and health care professionals are invited to attend. Participants will receive 10 continuing education hours.

For more information, call 601-432-6816 or 601-979-1123.

 Registration form:

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