Kinscherff to keynote Third Annual Juvenile & Child Welfare Conference on May 23

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019
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Massachusetts Bar Association Juvenile & Child Welfare Conference keynote speaker Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., J.D.

Join the Massachusetts Bar Association for the Third Annual Juvenile & Child Welfare Conference on Thursday, May 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at UTEC Center, 35 Warren St., Lowell. The conference theme will focus on 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 burn out, 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. This conference is approved for 7 CAFL/YAD/MH credits.  


Conference Agenda

  • Welcome
    Presenter: Valerie Irving, chair of the MBA Juvenile Justice & Child Welfare Council
  • Keynote Address by Robert Kinscherff, PhD., JD: The Intersection of Mental Health and the Courts
    This year's keynote speaker, Robert Kinscherff, PhD, JD, 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.
  • 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.
  • Networking Break
  • Breakout Sessions 
    • 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 and promoting your own self-care.
  • Lunch
    Lunchtime Panel: Hear from organizations that have engaged teens and young adults in the Merrimack Valley regarding the services and outreach they provide.
  • 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.
  • Networking Break
  • 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.
  • 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

This conference is $50 for MBA members and $100 for non-members. 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.