Symposium explores ways to improve responses to children and families at risk

William Mitchell College of Law will host an all-day symposium based on an upcoming, special issue of the William Mitchell Law Review (Volume 40, Issue 3), which is focused on issues related to child protection and families at risk:

“A Critical Look at Child Protection: Improving Responses to Children and Families at Risk” will take place from 9 am to 4:15 pm Friday, April 11, in the Kagin Commons Ballroom at Macalester College (1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, Minn.).

The program will feature leading practitioners, scholars, and advocates, including Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea presenting on the “State of the Child.”

The keynote speaker will be Judge William Thorne of the Utah Court of Appeals. Judge Thorne is an expert on the issues of child abuse and neglect, disproportionality, and the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Other topics will include:

  • Programs and solutions for parents, including those who are incarcerated, struggling with mental health, or dependent on chemicals
  • Issues related to children, including “aging out and the 21-law,” juvenile sexual behavior issues, and permanency best practices from the perspective of a child’s lawyer
  • Racial disparities in the child protection system, with an emphasis on the Native American perspective
  • Judicial perspectives on systemic change, and examples of initiatives for reform in Minnesota and beyond.

The event costs $25 to attend. Application has been made for 6.0 standard CLE credits (Event Code: 189346). A buffet lunch, including vegetarian options, will be served.

Register for A Critical Look at Child Protection

Online registration is strongly encouraged. However, if you’d like to pay by check, please call Meg Daniel at 651-290-6425 or email Meg.Daniel@wmitchell.edu for information.

Program agenda and list of speakers
8:30–9 am   Registration
9 am Welcome

Dean Eric S. Janus, William Mitchell College of Law

9:05–9:45 am Opening Remarks

Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea, Minnesota Supreme Court

Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, Minnesota Department of Human Services

9:45–10:45 am Parents Panel

Moderated by Professor Sarah Deer, William Mitchell College of Law

Jean Lawrence, J.D., Children in Need of Assistance (CINA)

Wright Walling and Stacia W. Driver, Walling, Berg and Debele, P.A.

Lisa McNaughton, Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office Father’s Program

Panelists will discuss the state of the law pertaining to parenting and foster care issues while parents are incarcerated, mentally ill and/or chemically dependent.

10:45–11 am   Break
11 am–noon Kids Panel

Moderated by Judge Gail Chang Bohr ’91, Ramsey County District Court

Amy Russell, Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center

Anne Gueinzius & Julia Hillel, Children’s Law Center

Child clients—two individuals who have successfully aged out of foster care

Panelists will discuss the state of the law pertaining to children aging out of foster care, juvenile sexual behavior issues and permanence best practices from perspective of child’s lawyer.
noon–12:45 pm Lunch
12:45–1:30 pm Keynote Address Judge William Thorne, Utah Court of Appeals, expert in child abuse and neglect, and disparities in child protection system.
1:30-2:15 pm Coordinated Responses at William Mitchell Joanna Woolman, William Mitchell College of LawJames Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney
2:15-2:30 pm Break
2:30-3:30 pm Judicial Perspective on Change

Moderated by Anna Light, William Mitchell Law Review

The Hon. Helen Meyer ’83, Minnesota Supreme Court (retired), Distinguished Jurist in Residence, William Mitchell College of Law

Judge John Rodenberg, Minnesota Court of Appeals

Judge Mark Ireland, Ramsey County District Court

3:30-4:30 pm Unto a Third Generation by Victor Vieth

Introduction by Jeff Anderson ’75

Victor Vieth, Executive Director Emeritus, Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center

Mr. Vieth will identify the five obstacles that prevent us from ending child abuse and will discuss the sweeping changes now taking place in our child protection system that will enable us to significantly reduce and perhaps eliminate child abuse over the course of the next three generations.