2019 Guardian ad Litem Symposium on Specialized Advocacy for Children – Building Stronger Communities

2019 Guardian ad Litem Symposium on Specialized Advocacy for Children – “Building Stronger Communities”: Bringing together dedicated legal professionals from child-serving agencies, as well as private attorneys and child welfare specialists from throughout Florida – to challenge, motivate, and connect them with the state’s foremost experts in advocating for children with disabilities.

The keynote speakers and panels were inspiring, thought-provoking and gave us all tools to use in helping the children we work with every day. The workshops were wide-ranging with presenters sharing their expertise in areas such as guardianships, psychotropic medications, master trusts and educational advocacy.

Below are the videos from the workshops and keynote speakers. If you are an attorney in Florida and would like to receive CLE credit you will need to watch the video and report the course number and information to the Florida Bar at www.FloridaBar.org. The course numbers are valid for 18 months or until November 30, 2020.

Speaker: Alan Abramowitz, Kelly Swartz

Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speaker: Z. Felicia Jordan

Adulting 101: WIOA, Transition, and Social Security Benefits for Students with Disabilities

In this workshop, participants will explore the interactions between the wide array of transition services available to students with disabilities and Social Security benefits provided through both the SSI and SSDI programs. An emphasis will be placed on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) through CAP. Participants will learn which agencies and programs have roles in the transition process, what issues to be alert to as a student transitions into post-secondary activities, and how work incentives can ease the transition from the beneficiary to the self-sufficient individual.

CLE Number: 1904171N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law & Marital and Family Law)
Course: ADVANCED
Speakers: Matt Bachman, Jennifer Layton

Find Teens Confusing? You Are Not Alone. Let’s (Try To) Figure Them Out Together

Helping teenagers can be one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of working in the system of care. This workshop will discuss how to meet youth where they are emotionally in order to help move from an advocate role to a mentor role. Additionally, participants will leave with a better knowledge of benefits for youth during their time in the system of care as well as after they leave, including eligibility requirements for each. Finally, attendees will have a better insight into this amazing population of youth. If you don’t work with teenagers already, you will want to after attending this workshop!

CLE Number: 1904172N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: ADVANCED
Speaker: Matthew Dietz

Rights of Parents and/or Children with Disabilities to Receive Accommodations to Achieve Permanency

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires child welfare programs and services to provide parents with disabilities and children with disabilities with necessary accommodations to provide the supports and services necessary to ensure reunification with family or placement in the most suitable, community-based placement. This workshop will provide training on the legal basis for this right, give tools to use to educate judges and others in the child-welfare system of such rights, and address strategies with real-life scenarios.

CLE Number: 1904173N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speaker: Katherine Kelly

Runaway Train: Dependency and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

This workshop will provide an overview of the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP), which refers to the discriminatory policies and practices that funnel students out of schools and into prisons. According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, there were almost 8,000 arrests during the 2017-2018 school year. Many of these children are criminalized for typical adolescent or disability-related behaviors. Participants will be provided with an overview of STPP issues and how to advocate for appropriate school services to create better life outcomes for children in the dependency system.

CLE Number: 1904174N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)

 

Course: ADVANCED
Speaker: Dennis Moore, Thomasina Moore

Representing the Child’s Interests in Adoption Intervention Proceedings

Florida’s adoption intervention statute, codified as section 63.082, was revised in the 2016 legislative session to clarify and expand the best interest factors to consider when ruling on motions for change of custody, and to clarify that it is
the best interest of the child that controls the court’s determination. How these changes are being implemented by trial and review will be explored. What procedure should be followed when a motion to intervene is filed? How do a child’s special needs play into this process? What should you do if the court rules against you? Strategies for applying the new laws and procedures with best practice tips will be discussed.

CLE Number: 1904177N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Adoption Law / Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law)

 

Course: ADVANCED
Speakers: Michelle Kenney and Jessica Rae 

The Regis Little Act: Guardianship and the Alternatives in Dependency Cases

The presenters will demonstrate how technology can be used to increase access to justice for young adults with developmental disabilities by providing user friendly, client-centered legal information and automated tools. Using Turning18.org, the presenters will review the requirements of the Regis Little Act, highlight practice tips, and provide an overview of guardianship, guardian advocacy, and the alternatives available when a child involved in a dependency case transitions to adulthood.

CLE Number: 1904175N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
 Speakers: Debra Salisbury  and C. Michael Kelly

Understanding the Unified Family Court System When Advocating for Special Needs Dependent Children

The Unified Family Court System can be confusing and complex when representing minors with special needs who are involved in dependency court. Many believe that when the dependency case closes to one parent, that parent has custody and an enforceable court order, but that simply is not accurate under the current law. Understanding the One Family, One Judge concept is essential in advocating for every child, but particularly the special needs child.

CLE Number: 1904176N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speakers: Stacey Steinberg, Jessica Zissimopulos

Children’s Privacy on Social Media

How will the digital footprints left in childhood’s wake affect them as they get older? How can foster parents and other child advocates both share on social media and also protect the privacy of the children in their care? This presentation provides an overview of the legal, safety, and moral issues surrounding sharing about children online. It suggests that educating families is the best way to balance a caregiver’s right to share with a child’s interest in controlling his or her own digital footprint.

CLE Number: 1904182N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speaker: Courtney Smith

Closing the Gap with GAP: Florida’s New Guardianship Assistance Program

In 2018, Florida Statutes were amended, authorizing the implementation of a Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP), effective July 1, 2019. GAP is another option for relatives, next of kin, and fictive kin to receive financial assistance for dependent children placed in their custody. In this workshop, the presenter will provide an in-depth view of GAP including the program eligibility, benefits, and supports available to the caregiver. Join this workshop and learn about GAP before the program launches statewide in the coming weeks.

CLE Number: 1904181N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speakers: Alicia Davis and  Ana Cristina Martinez

Dependency Representation and the JAC

The workshop provides an overview of the Justice Administrative Commission (JAC) billing process for the representation of parents and children in the dependency system. The workshop includes a discussion of the newly implemented process regarding how due process costs can be accessed by pro bono attorneys representing certain children with special needs pursuant to s. 39.01305, F.S. (Pro Bono Matters Act).

CLE Number: 1904180N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)

 

 

Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speakers: Chad SedamGraham Perkovich

The Impact of Trauma

Attendees will review the definition of trauma, its prevalence, and the impact trauma has in the community. Attendees will also be introduced to trauma informed care and resources available to address trauma.

CLE Number: 1904178N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)

 

 

Course: ADVANCED
Speakers: Candice Brower, Rachel Chadsey

Understanding Due Process in Chapter 39 to Achieve the Best Possible Outcomes for Children

Our laws have long recognized that the right to parent one’s children is fundamental and therefore may not be intruded upon without due process of law. Understanding due process is not just a legal necessity; working with parents within the dependency system is in the best interest of children. This workshop will explore in depth the rights of individuals involved in the dependency system from shelter to trial. It will explain in practical terms what is required by law to protect the legal interests of parents to ensure the best possible outcomes for children.

CLE Number: 1904179N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5  (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)

 

 

Course: ADVANCED
Speakers: Deborah Dietz, Stephanie Langer

A National Crisis: When Autism is Mistaken for Criminal Behavior and the
Devastating Consequences

The workshop will introduce child welfare professionals to the growing crisis of youth with disabilities experiencing negative interactions with police. Presenters will use real examples of these tragic encounters, discuss how current police training contributes to the problem, highlight the laws that apply, explain the long-lasting trauma that is experienced, and then introduce The Wallet Card Project, a solution that can be brought to their communities. The Wallet Card is a communication tool and training that empowers youth to safely disclose their disability when confronted by police.

CLE Number: 1904188N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General/Mental Illness)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speakers: Melissa A. Mott

Florida Medicaid Managed Care – What’s New?

In 2018, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) announced the awards of their new contracts under the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) Program in Florida. Sunshine Health was, once again, awarded the statewide Child Welfare Specialty Plan. AHCA’s new SMMC contracts became effective December 1, 2018 and include several exciting new enhancements. One of these new components includes added benefits called In Lieu of Services (ILOS), which have not traditionally been covered by Medicaid. These ILOS benefits are optional for health plans, and each plan may choose the ILOS benefits they wish to propose. This workshop will provide attendees with an overview of the In Lieu of Services benefits selected by Sunshine Health and approved by AHCA. These include ILOS benefits that directly support the behavioral health needs of children in the child welfare system. These include, but are not limited to, Mobile Crisis Assessment and Intervention, Community Based Wraparound, Infant Mental Health Pre and Post Assessment, and Family Training and Counseling for Child Development.  Finally, the presentation will offer participants’ examples of practical applications of how these ILOS benefits can directly assist children and youth in the child welfare system toward improving health outcomes.

CLE Number: 1904185N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: ADVANCED
Speakers: Charlie Crawford, Kelly Swartz

Put Your Best Foot Forward with the 3 P’s of Advocacy: Enhancing Attorney & Child Advocate Manager Trial Skills in Cases Involving Children with Special Needs

The workshop addresses preparation, presentation, and proof using hypothetical case problems and role-play. Each element of trial will be viewed from the perspective of the attorney, judge, and CAM. At the end of the workshop, each participant will better understand the elements of trial in Dependency Court. Parent accountability and failed case plans will be emphasized in the hypothetical examples.

CLE Number: 1904187N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speakers: Simone Chriss

Representing Transgender Youth: Cultural Competency and Advocacy Tips

This workshop will include a transgender cultural competency training, which will educate participants on the unique needs of the trans youth we serve, and will equip them with practical advocacy tips and tools that can be used to zealously advocate on behalf of trans youth in educational proceedings. The special education laws can be utilized to protect the rights of trans students due to the anxiety, depression, and psychological distress many face as a result of not having their identities affirmed at school. Schools should not be traumatizing and stigmatizing places for our trans youth.

CLE Number: 1904186N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General / Bias Elimination)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speaker: Lauren Eversole

Access Beyond the Classroom

This workshop will discuss how federal and state laws prohibit public and private educational and community programs (extracurricular activities, after school programs, summer camps, etc.) from excluding children based on their disability. It will discuss the legal obligations that various programs must follow to ensure equal access for children with disabilities. Participants will acquire skills to promote advocacy for children’s rights to participate in and enjoy the social benefits of activities beyond the classroom.

CLE Number: 1904168N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speaker: Laura Klossner

Disposition or Treatment: The Impact of Juvenile Courts on Children with Mental Health Needs

This workshop will look at the impact of delinquency sanctions versus dependency referrals on children with mental health needs. We will first review recent scholarly studies of available data about various issues that may impact children in the juvenile courts who have mental health issues. These issues include trauma exposure, gender, types of treatment, recidivism, family functioning, and racial/ethnic disproportionality. Secondly, we will relate those studies to our own cases and local systems of care, collaborating on ways to best advocate for our child clients with mental health needs.

CLE Number: 1904161N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General / Mental Illness)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: ADVANCED
Speaker: Roberta F. Katz

Human Trafficking: Do You Look Like a Victim?

Child victims of sex trafficking may look like the children you help every day. What signs can you see? Trauma by the ages. Trauma effects on self-regulation and self-esteem and other consequences.

CLE Number: 1904148N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General / Mental Illness)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speaker: Sara Goldfarb, Laura Lee, Joanna Summers Brunell

Making the Most of Expert Witness Testimony: Best Practices in the Wake of DeLisle v. Crane Co.

In DeLisle v. Crane Co., the Florida Supreme Court recently held the Frye test governs the admission of expert witness testimony. This presentation discusses the change to the standard for expert witness testimony, so often at issue in cases where a child has a disability. Participants will learn how to properly assess and address expert witness testimony in both the pre-trial and trial stages. The workshop will further explore when and how challenges to expert testimony should be made and provide best practices, so that only the most reliable expert testimony is admitted.

CLE Number: 1904146N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Course: INTERMEDIATE
Speaker: Casi Knowles, Erin Wirsing

Trauma-Informed Care

Being “trauma-informed” suggests that as helpers, we learn about trauma and its effects on an individual, to better meet someone where they are. Using a trauma lens helps us understand why someone might think or behave the way they do. It can be frustrating when a youth acts out, engages in risky behaviors, withdraws, or does not appreciate our time and effort. Understanding trauma’s effect on the brain and behavior helps providers create a safe space in order to promote an individual’s ability to benefit from the helping relationship.

CLE Number: 1904144N
CLE Credits: 1.5 (General / Mental Illness)
Certification Credits: 1.5 (Juvenile Law / Marital and Family Law / Criminal Appellate Law / Criminal Trial Law)
Speaker: Stephanie Zimmerman

All I Really Need to Know About Specialized Advocacy I Learned at the Symposium

The closing plenary will feature Stephanie Zimmerman, Children’s Legal Services Deputy Director and Statewide Director of Appeals from the Department of Children and Families. Ms. Zimmerman will highlight key points from the majority of the workshops at the Symposium in an “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” format. The plenary will be a super-charged learning experience where attendees will not only review the most important concepts from workshops they attended but also get highlights from other presentations they could not attend. Since all of the workshops are recorded, it will allow attendees the opportunity to identify workshops they wish to view after the conclusion of the Symposium.