Last Day of Conference Begins with Frankie Guzman’s Story

photo courtesy of: http://media.vcstar.com/media/img/photos/2013/04/05/771720_t607.JPG

Frankie Guzman, a Soros Fellow at the National Center for Youth Law, starts off this morning’s session with his life story of overcoming years in juvenile prison in California and later attending Berkeley and UCLA Law.  Most striking to me was the disparity in armed robbery sentences that he received as a Hispanic man (15 years) and two white women he knew (2 weeks).  Even as experienced juvenile defenders it is good to have a reminder of the potential of our young clients.  How many other young offenders could grow up to become lawyers or doctors or social workers or whatever they desire, if only given a second (or third) chance?

Later today we will hear from Professor Joseph Tulman from the University of the District of Columbia about advocating for young client’s special education needs.

At lunch Mayor Annise Parker, the mayor of Houston, will be addressing conference attendees.  So many exciting sessions this afternoon!

Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

The Bully Effect, Anderson Cooper 360

An extraordinary documentary called “Bully” captured a behavior adults hear about, but rarely see: the way some kids pressure and relentlessly harass their peers. Filmmaker Lee Hirsch was embedded in several schools for an entire year. What he filmed was so raw and eye-opening that the project catapulted a movement, sounding the alarm about the critical and dangerous issue of bullying.

Something profound has also happened as a result. In the time since “Bully” was released, a number of kids and parents profiled in the documentary, and the filmmaker himself, have been on life-changing journeys, and in some instances have experienced remarkable transformations.

AC360° has dedicated the past year to tracing the course of their journeys and personal missions. In partnership with Cartoon Network, AC360° wants to share their stories with you in a powerful documentary called “The Bully Effect,” premiering on CNN on February 28 at 10 p.m. ET.

Adoption, Wales Online

Children in Wales are spending almost five years in care before being placed with adoptive parents, statistics released to WalesOnline show.

In Ceredigion children on average spent four years and nine months in care, which is more than twice as long as the Welsh average stay of two years and three months.

In 2011 researchers at the University of Bristol concluded instability in care “often leads to a downward spiral” of “poor educational results, unemployment and a lifetime of poverty”.

Georgia Lawmakers Take Up Ethics, Juvenile Justice, The Augusta Chronicle

Two major pieces of legislation come to the House floor this week, ethics and juvenile-justice reforms…The juvenile law rewrite has been in the works for years, and agreement has finally been reached by advocates on all sides. It would change where most troubled children are held, from state custody to county supervision.