CLE Program

Third Annual Juvenile & Child Welfare Conference


Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


UTEC Center
35 Warren Street
Lowell, MA, 01852

Program Code:


Program Options:


MBA Paralegals : $50.00
MBA Law Student : $50.00
MBA Member : $50.00
MBA New Admittee : $50.00
Non-member : $100.00

The MBA offers, upon request, Certificates of Attendance to individuals who attend real-time webcasts. Certificates are not available for participation in recorded MBA On Demand programs.

Online registration for this event has closed.

Please note that all programs are subject to cancellation. All program updates will be posted on

If you have questions concerning a program you are registered for or your registration status, please contact MBA Member Services at (617) 338-0530.

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The Intersection of Mental Health and the Juvenile Court

An ever-increasing number of juvenile court cases have a mental health component. From a client’s complex or dual diagnoses and frequent provider turnover, to our own professional secondary trauma or burnout, mental health awareness is an essential part of our practice. We will explore how trauma impacts mental health, burdens children and parents in the child welfare system, and fuels the school-to-prison pipeline. Join us as we give you a solid foundation of mental health knowledge, confront issues in accessing mental health services for our clients, and give you strategies for working with traumatized clients and for self-care.

  • 10-10:15 a.m.: Welcome
    Presenter: Valerie Irving, chair of the MBA’s Juvenile & Child Welfare Section Council
  • 10:15-11 a.m.: Keynote Address by Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., J.D.: The Intersection of Mental Health and the Courts
    This year's keynote speaker, Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., J.D., will provide an overarching view of the burden of mental illness in the court-involved population, including the over-criminalization of mental illness, over-diagnosis of people of color and indigent populations, and the stigmatization of mental illness in the court system.
  • 11 a.m.-noon: Plenary Session: Understanding Mental Health to Improve Advocacy
    The array of mental health diagnoses can be dizzying. This session will provide a brief overview of the most prevalent mental health diagnoses, treatment options, and strategies for engaging with clients and finding the right services or experts to help with their cases.
  • Noon-12:10 p.m.: Networking Break
  • 12:10-1 p.m.: Breakout Session
    • OPTION 1: Healing the Wounds of Racial, Physical and Emotional Trauma
      Learn about the hidden wounds of trauma in our clients, how it impacts their lived experience, and how we as lawyers can be part of the continuum of healing in identifying and addressing the trauma.
    • OPTION 2: Strategies for Coping with Secondary Trauma and Promoting Self-Care
      Zealous advocacy of our clients in the Juvenile Court often comes with high stress and compassion fatigue. Learn about the signs and symptoms of secondary trauma and learn strategies for coping with this trauma, better managing your time, and promoting your own self-care
  • 1-2 p.m.: Lunch/Lunchtime Panel
    Hear from organizations that have engaged teens and young adults in the Merrimack Valley regarding the services and outreach they provide.
  • 2-3 p.m.: Plenary Session -- Mental Health in the Classroom
    Hear about how mental health is dealt with by school systems, including how new school-police MOUs are affecting school policing of individuals with mental health diagnoses, and how to advocate for diagnosis-appropriate IEPs/504s and school placements.
  • 3-3:10 p.m.: Networking Break
  • 3:10-4:10 p.m.: Plenary Session -- Understanding and Navigating the Youth Psychiatric Hospitalization System
    Psychiatric hospitalizations are on the rise in youth populations, but beds are often in shortage. Learn about how to navigate this complex system and hear strategies for addressing rapid-sequence hospitalizations and limiting emergency room waiting for placement.
  • 4:10-5 p.m.: Conclusion -- Next Steps in Mental Health Advocacy in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Cases
    Learn about strategies and available resources to help destigmatize mental illness and ensure access to high-quality services.

This conference is approved for 7 CAFL/YAD/MH credits. Special pricing is available for practitioners on the CAFL, YAD, and Mental Health Litigation Division panels. Attend for $75. Call MBA Member Services to register at (617) 338-0530.


Hon. Jay Blitzman, Conference Co-chair
Middlesex County Juvenile Court, Lowell
Cristina F. Freitas, Esq., Conference Co-Chair
Freitas & Freitas LLP, Lowell
Debbie F. Freitas, Esq., Conference Co-chair
Freitas & Freitas LLP, Lowell
Karen Hennessy, Esq., Conference Co-chair
Law Office of Karen Hennessy, Woburn
Valerie Torpey Irving, Esq., Conference Co-chair
Law Office of Valerie Torpey Irving, Westwood
Audrey Murillo, Esq., Conference Co-chair
Dhar Law LLP, Charlestown
Alexandra Roark, Esq., Conference Co-chair
CPCS-Worcester, Worcester
Erin O'Sullivan, Esq., Conference Co-chair
The EdLaw Project, Boston
Robert Kinscherff, PhD, JD, Keynote Speaker
William James College, Newton Center
Heidi Alexander Esq., Panelist
Supreme Judicial Court, Boston
Danielle Audet, PysD, Director, Panelist
Suffolk County Juvenile Court, Boston
Martha Bitsberger, Phd, LMHC, Panelist
North Shore Medical Center, Salem
Alice B. Braunstein, Esq., Panelist
Alice B. Braunstein, Attorney At Law, Boston
Maya Cameron-Gilsey, LICSW, Panelist
Home for Little Wanderers, Boston
Samantha Chamberlin, LICSW, Panelist
Home for Little Wanderers, Boston
Patrick Colvario, Esq., Panelist
Law Offices of Patrick J. Colvario & Juvenile Supervising Attorney Suffolk County, Boston
Matthew Cregor, Esq., Panelist
Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, Boston
Marisol Garcia, Esq., Panelist
Health Law Advocates Inc., Boston
Michael V. Glennon, Esq., Panelist
Shawn Healy, PhD, Panelist
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers | MassLOMAP, Boston
Paul Jay, LCSW, Panelist
North Shore Medical Center, Salem
Maryam Jernigan-Noesi, PhD, Panelist
Jernigan & Associaties, LLC, Atlanta
Donna Kausek, LMHC, Panelist
Mobile Crisis Intervention Program, Lynn
Kristine Latour Kennedy, LICSW, Panelist
Juvenile Court Clinic Essex County, Salem
Linda Richards, LICSW, Panelist
Dan Sanford, Psy D., Panelist
Middlesex County Juvenile Court Clinic, Cambridge

Sponsoring Sections:

Juvenile & Child Welfare Law Section

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