20th Annual Robert E. Shepherd Jr.

Juvenile Law and Education Conference - Defending Difference: Mental Health Challenges in Child Advocacy

Those wishing to register early for the Conference may do so via the following link: http://app.certain.com/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x20121965975

Tentative Conference Agenda
Final agenda and conference materials will be published here when available. All events will be held in the Law School Moot Court Room and Atrium.

May 15, 2015
Conference sessions from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

8:00 Registration

8:50 Welcome

9:00 - 9:30 Keynote Address
Nell Bernstein, author of Burning Down the House.
From Ms. Bernstein’s website:
When teenagers scuffle on the basketball court, they are typically benched for the game. But when Brian got into it on the court, he and his rival were sprayed in the face at close range by a chemical similar to Mace, denied a shower for twenty-four hours, then locked in solitary confinement for a month. 

One in three American schoolchildren will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three and many will spend time locked inside horrific detention centers that fly in the face of everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In a clear-eyed indictment of the juvenile justice system run amok, award-winning journalist Nell Bernstein shows that there is no right way to lock up a child. The very act of isolation denies delinquent children the thing that is most essential to their growth and rehabilitation: positive relationships with caring adults. 

Bernstein introduces us to youth who have suffered violence and psychological torture at the hands of the state. Too many will never recover from the experience, creating a cycle that leaves the public less safe, not more so. Bernstein presents them all as fully realized people, not victims. As they describe in their own voices their fight to maintain their humanity and protect their individuality in environments that would deny both, the young people offer a hopeful alternative to the doomed effort to reform a system that should only be dismantled.

9:30 - 11:00 First Plenary
"Understanding Adolescent Development:" Marty Beyer, PhD.

From Dr. Beyer’s website: Dr. Beyer is a U.S. Justice Department monitor in New York state juvenile facilities. She was LGBT consultant to the Hawaii Office of Youth Services and an expert in Rosie D. (a Massachusetts class action on behalf of Medicaid-eligible children). She supported the implementation of  strengths/needs-based practices with delinquent youth in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. She provides developmental assessments for juvenile waiver/transfer hearings, sentencing for juveniles in adult court, and dispositional planning in juvenile court. Dr. Beyer offers training and consultation on juvenile justice, child welfare, and mental health services for children and families. Dr. Beyer’s child welfare publications include "Too Little, Too Late: Designing Family Support to Succeed,” “Developmentally-Sound Practice in Family and Juvenile Court,” “Visit Coaching: Building on Family Strengths to Meet Children’s Needs” and a chapter in Children of Incarcerated Parents: Developmental and Clinical Issues (Yvette R. Harris, James A. Graham, and Gloria Oliver Carpenter, eds.).  Dr. Beyer’s juvenile justice publications include "Juvenile Boot Camps Don't Make Sense," “Experts for Juveniles at Risk of Adult Sentences,” "Delinquent Girls: A Developmental Perspective," "What's Behind Behavior Matters,” "Punishing Children for their Disabilities," "Fifty Delinquents in Juvenile and Adult Court," “Developmentally-Sound Practice in Family and Juvenile Court” and a chapter in Promoting Health and Well Being in the Juvenile Justice System (Francine Sherman and Francine Jacobs, Eds.).

11:10 – 12:30  Second Plenary
Mental Health Diagnosis & Treatment: Dr. Aradhana A. (Bela) Sood, M.D. FAACAP
From VCU: Aradhana "Bela" Sood, M.D., was drawn to the field of child psychiatry by her desire to make a lasting impact through early intervention. Recognizing that children depend on multiple adults for emotional wellness, she feels the most effective treatment methods should incorporate everyone, from family, teachers and members of the community, to a wide variety of health professionals — all working in collaboration. She refers to this idea as the "wrap around approach" and found VCU's urban setting and centralized location to be the perfect match for this methodology.

With Sood as its medical director, Virginia Treatment Center for Children - VTCC was the first psychiatric hospital in Virginia to permit parents to "room in" with residential patients, where they also participate in team meetings. And because most of VTCC's patients arrive from areas near Richmond, she is also able to incorporate their teachers, counselors and past therapists into the treatment planning process. Her methods have helped to establish VTCC as a flagship center for effective clinical treatment and training in the field of children's mental health care.

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch and 2015 Legislative Update
Brought to you by JustChildren
From Just Children’s website: The JustChildren Program is Virginia’s largest children’s law program. We rely on a range of strategies to make sure the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable young people receive the services and support they need to lead successful lives in their communities.

Our strategies include individual representation, community education and organizing, and statewide advocacy. From our Charlottesville, Richmond, and Petersburg offices, we provide free legal representation to low-income children who have unmet needs in the education, foster care, and juvenile justice systems. We produce popular training materials for lawyers, parents, and other service providers to help them become informed and skilled advocates.

JustChildren’s attorneys and organizers also seek local and statewide reforms to improve the systems that our children depend on. Through coalition building, policy advocacy, and litigation, we make lasting improvements for all children in Virginia. 

Track 1
Defense Breakout--Expert Witnesses – The Mechanics of Securing and Using an Expert Witness

Topics covered will include:

  • Qualifying experts
  • Laying foundation for medical records
  • Finding and using experts
  • Evidentiary Issues
  • What does ultimate issue mean?
  • Securing funding for experts
  • School and due process hearings

Track 2
GAL Breakout – 18: One day from Childhood to Adulthood

Topics covered will include:

  • Aging out of Foster Care
  • Educational rights
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Community CollegesBecoming one’s own payee
  • Website resources

2:30 – 3:30 Concurrent Breakouts
Advocating for Children in DJJ Custody
& Advocating for Children in Public Schools

3:40 – 4:40 Ethics: Top Tips in 60 Minutes for defense attorneys and GALs

5:00 Adjourn