Tuesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Missouri’s Juvenile Justice System in Crisis, Finds Report, Washington University in St. Louis

Missouri has been held out as a model for juvenile corrections programs, but the court system that puts young people into these programs is in crisis, finds a recent report by the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC).

“Many young people in Missouri wind up having to defend themselves in our juvenile courts – and sometimes from behind bars,” says Mae C. Quinn, JD, professor of law and co-director of the Civil Justice Clinic at Washington University in St. Louis.

“These young people deserve counsel to assist them throughout the juvenile court process, but due to inadequate funding and the problematic –potentially unconstitutional – structure of Missouri’s juvenile court system, this is not happening.”

Minnesota Faces Special Education Teacher Shortage, Education Week

The shortage in educators trained in special education is an old story, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune provides depth to the issue in an recent article which notes that while more than 800 special education teachers quit in last school year, only 417 new special educator teaching licenses were granted in that timeframe.

As a result, the state is relying more on teachers who do not have special education training, teachers are traveling hundreds of miles to provide services at far-flung schools, and specialists are working with students over the Internet, the article says. The piece also notes the paperwork burden on teachers, and the fears they have of some of their students, who may have problems with aggression. From the piece:

New Report Details Numerous Problems in Tennessee’s Child Welfare System, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

A report released last week by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) calls for the state’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) to step up its efforts in meeting the needs of young people with psychological and other health problems. The assessment, “Kids Count: The State of the Child in Tennessee,” finds that more than half of Tennessee’s foster care youth have mental illnesses, while approximately nine-out-of-10 youth in the state’s juvenile facilities are estimated to have mental health issues.

Earlier this year, a national Annie E. Casey Foundation report listed Tennessee as the 10th worst state for “food hardship” among children, with both Knoxville and Memphis ranked among the 25 worst metro areas for food insecurity.

Seats are Still Available at this Weekend’s Zealous Advocacy Conference

The 12th Annual Zealous Advocacy Conference, with this year’s theme of Zealous Advocacy: It’s Common Sense, still has a few seats remaining. Registration is available for $200, a bargain considering the materials and speakers who will be presenting this weekend.

The Zealous Advocacy Conference is an annual training seminar organized by the Center for Children, Law & Policy and the Southwest Juvenile Defender Center. The conference is the premier professional development training for juvenile public defense attorneys practicing in the Southwestern United States. Our theme this year is Zealous Advocacy: It’s Common Sense. We’ve put together a stellar lineup of presenters and we are confident that this will be our best conference yet.

Please see conference information below and on our Conference Registration page. The conference will take place on the University of Houston Law Center campus.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns at Center4CLP@gmail.com.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE:

  • Date: Thursday, May 16 & Friday, May 17, 2013
  • Location: University of Houston Law Center (click for address & directions)
  • Price: $200
  • CLE Hours: likely 13 hours with 3 ethics hours (pending)
  • Conference Hotel: Out-of-town attendees can book rooms at the University of Houston Hilton Hotel (832- 531-6300), located on the UH campus.

Keynote Speaker: David Domenici

David Domenici

Co-founder, Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
Director, Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings

David co-founded and served as the founding principal of the Maya Angelou Academy-the school located inside the District of Columbia’s long-term, secure juvenile facility-from 2007 to 2011.

He designed the key elements of the school model, including short, thematic units aligned with state standards, incentive programming based on the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports framework, a technology-enhanced instruction and learning platform, and a set of technology tools designed to enhance communication between school and correctional staff.

The Maya Angelou Academy’s success has been widely recognized. Retention rates (the percentage of students remaining in school or holding jobs after release to the community) have doubled since the Maya Angelou Academy began serving D.C.’s incarcerated youth.

Other Presenters Include:

  • Professor David Dow
    University of Houston Law Center
  • Hon. Angela Ellis
    Associate Judge, 315th District Juvenile Court of Texas
  • Professor Sally Terry Green
    Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Professor Michael Lindsey
    Southern Methodist University
  • Professor Ellen Marrus
    University of Houston Law Center
  • Chris Phillis
    Director, Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate
  • Miriam Riskind
    Isenberg & Riskind
  • Hon. Michael Schneider
    Presiding Judge, 315th District Juvenile Court of Texas
  • Professor Joseph Tulman
    University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
  • National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) Training Team

HOW DO I REGISTER?: You can register starting TODAY and get more information at the Center for Children, Law & Policy Conference Registration page.

More information on CLE hours, presenters, and the payments can be found on the Conference Registration page.

Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

photo courtesy of: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fgyCgFTctWQ/UNVKh7EogwI/AAAAAAAAAJc/1drH3uyEgQ4/s400/menthalhealthissuesforoct-3post.jpg

National Juvenile Defender Center releases Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Delinquency Cases 

Schaible Children to Get Court Ordered Medical Care, The Philadelphia Enquirer

Herbert and Catherine Schaible’s seven [remaining] children were placed in temporary foster care after the couple told police they did not bring their 8-month-old, Brandon, to a doctor when he showed serious signs of illness last month. The Schaibles – members of a church that shuns medical care – are on probation for the 2009 death of their 2-year-old son, Kent.

While authorities await the results of Brandon Schaible’s autopsy, child welfare workers are monitoring the medical needs of the seven other Schaible children, said Mythri Jayaraman, a lawyer for Catharine Schaible, after a probationary status hearing Monday at the Criminal Justice Center.

At a Family Court hearing last week, a judge ordered Department of Human Services workers to ensure the children’s “routine and special” medical needs were being met, Jayaraman said . . .  All of the children have received medical examinations and any needed immunizations, and appear to be healthy, Hoof said.

Mother’s Quest to Find Treatment for Son Highlights Mental Health System’s Limitations: Chicago Woman Says She Faced Many Barriers to Acquiring Long-Term Care for Child, Who Spiraled Downward into Drug Use, Incarceration, Chicago Tribune

Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Marciano bounced from emergency room to jail to the streets. When he believes he is Jesus Christ or Tupac Shakur or tells his mother she needs to “watch her back,” Gabel said, she double-checks the locks on her house in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood and alerts her neighbors that her son might come home. She estimates he has been hospitalized 45 times.

Americans have longed for better ways to prevent and treat mental illness in children for years, and the desire is especially amplified after school shootings such as Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 or Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December. The haunting questions stubbornly remain the same: Are parents clueless? In denial? Why don’t they just do something about their troubled children?

Gabel has tried so hard for so long that she is emotionally and financially drained, she said. Her quest illuminates the challenges of navigating a mental health care system that many say is broken, leaving too many children and young adults with psychosis and nowhere to turn . . .

Of the 15 million U.S. youths with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, less than half will get medical attention, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  There are treatments that work, “but frequently you cannot get them to the people in crisis,” said Susan Resko, executive director of the Balanced Mind Foundation, a national children’s mental health advocacy group based in Chicago.

The hurdles are especially high in Illinois, which slashed more than $100 million in mental health services from 2009 to 2011 and perennially dwells at the bottom of state rankings, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. During Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget address in March, he emphasized mental illness should be a “top priority” and proposed an additional $25 million investment to improve care.

Gabel, an administrative assistant and mother of three, fears her 24-year-old middle child is now too ill to respond to medical intervention, not unlike a cancer patient who ignored early symptoms and is left with a body riddled with tumors.  “He’s just so far gone now,” she said . . .

“My mom has fought long and hard for that boy,” Stephanie Marciano said. “She’s talked to anybody and everybody that she possibly could, and he’s just fallen through the cracks every time.”

Specific events in Marciano’s life — such as the state’s decision to not provide him with an Individual Care Grant and his incarcerations — stand out as turning points in what his 26-year-old brother calls “a slow, gradual spiral downward.”

“He should have been one of the ones accepted, and he got shunned,” said Tim Marciano, who works in banking. “In the meantime, he was just rotting in prison, when he should have been getting help in a mental health facility somewhere. Look at where it’s gotten him.”

Ex-Browerville Athlete Admits to Sexual Assaults on Teammates, Minneapolis StarTribune

A former Browerville High School student has admitted that he was among athletes who sexually assaulted teammates in incidents that stretched from the small western Minnesota community to a downtown Minneapolis hotel.

Seth Kellen, 19, pleaded guilty Monday in Todd County District Court to felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for using force or coercion during sexual contact. Specifically, Kellen admitted to digitally penetrating a 17-year-old teammate in March 2012 while the basketball team was in Minneapolis for the state tournament.

Kellen also was accused of pulling down his pants while in a Minneapolis parking-ramp elevator with his teammates and two student managers, ages 11 and 12. He then jumped on teammates’ backs and hit them with his penis, the charges say. He had also been accused of sexually assaulting football and basketball teammates numerous times . . .

When sentenced, Kellen is expected to be given a 30-day jail term and placed on probation for 10 years. Terms of probation include being assessed for anger management and counseled about sexual boundaries. If he complies and doesn’t violate probation, the felony case will be dismissed, said County Attorney Chuck Rasmussen.

In November, co-defendant Connor S. Burns, 19, pleaded to an agreement that will dismiss charges against him if he has no similar offenses during his five years of probation. Burns will not have to serve any time. Another player, Seth Christiansen, was tried as a juvenile and also came to a plea agreement.

Attorneys for Kellen and Burns had argued that the alleged assaults were part of a common culture of horseplay and hazing that’s gone on for years at the school in Browerville, which has about 790 residents. They insisted that the acts weren’t sexual.