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Child Welfare Open Space Meet Up - Shared screen with speaker view
Elizabeth Henderson
If you did not receive an email with the resources for today’s training, please email Kate McPherson at McPhersonK@courts.mi.gov to request a copy. Thanks!
Judge Tracey Yokich
Will the local MDHHS offices make available to the judicial officers the Agency plans for safe resumption of in-person parenting time? Thank you!
Brittney - what is the best age to allow children to be at hearings? Or should that not be the norm?
Sonia Chenault
Age 10 and older if they have the ability to articulate their needs and interests in the case.
Esther Harris
What did you want from your LGAL? When they visited with you what did you want that to look like?
Elizabeth Weisenbach
What about counselor input regarding hearing the traumatic situation being discussed?
Elizabeth Weisenbach
So often professionals tell children, and make parents tell their children, "white lies" about what is going on. For example, if a parent goes to jail, they don't want children to know. Or if visits are suspended, kids are not told that, but something else instead. I believe this is harmful. I believe one can be honest and help a child understand without excessive details. What do you all think?
Karen Bunker
I have had jurists put my clients out of a hearing and tell me directly that my clients are not welcome at court hearings. As LGAL, my response is that they have a right to be present at their court hearings. At most, the child allowed to make a statement to the court and then put out. We need training for Jurists on this issue.
How many have the practical problem of a hearing room that is simply too small to allow the children to be present?
Nichole Smithson
Can you slow down, you are talking really fast
Where to we find the information for preparing children for court?
Elizabeth Henderson
Friendly reminder – if you select the dropdown box after “To:” in the chat box, you can select “All panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your questions or comments. Thanks!
Vivek Sankaran
The ABA Center on Children and Law has a great website with resources on youth engagement.
Vivek Sankaran
We haven’t yet mentioned the law. Remember that MCL 712A.12 gives kids a right to appear in court. And MCL 712A.17d and MCL 712A.19(a) places legal obligations on lawyers and judges to ascertain a child’s wishes.
Elizabeth Henderson
Copy and pasting this message from Brittney so all attendees can see - I would love to connect with any of you with any questions or further comments. You can reach me at brittney16@fosterclub.com
Vivek Sankaran
NCJFCJ = National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Elizabeth Henderson
From Brittney to Lynda McGhee: Lynda- I transitioned out of care at 16 years old so unfortunately I did not have a transition plan. hOWEVER, I do believe transition plans should happen as early as 13 years old! Would be happy to discuss that more with you!
Elizabeth Henderson
From Brittney to Elizabeth Weisenbach: Elizabeth- Counselor input is important. All dynamics and opinions are important. However, we must look at the issue of suppression of trauma. If we aren’t involving kids in court, we are putting a blanket over the trauma, and we need to address the aftermath rather then ignoring it. :)
Cathy Krebs
Sorry for talking so fast, so much to cover! The link to the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law Youth Engagement in Court webpage is in the materials and here is the link: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_interest/child_law/project-areas/youth-engagement-project/resources/
Cathy Krebs
And feel free to contact me directly at cathy.krebs@americanbar.org
Evelyn Calogero
Do the kids come with their foster parents, and can the foster parent also play a role in preparing the child for court?
Esther Harris
I've found it helpful to have the kids in the courtroom. They call the foster care workers out, when needed. And they have told me they feel more empowered and listened too
Antonio Carlesimo
In a busy court with a long docket there is no time to allow the child to participate fully.
Esther Harris
Nichole Smithson
@ Esther Harris…isn’t it the attorneys job to be calling out the foster care workers for not doing their job? Why should it take children coming to court for that to happen?
Perhaps a look at how hearings are scheduled should be reviewed to make sure there is plenty of time for children to participate fully.
Dorothy Dean/Attorney
My question is how to make the time to allow the child to participate fully as it seems they are equally a stakeholder to the process and we should at least see their level of interest. How do we shift the paradigm of the jurist who are in a hurry to move on.
Esther Harris
@Nichole its not appropriate for me to call a foster care worker a liar. And it has more weight if a child can tell their own story. If they are there let them speak
cecilia Quirindongo
I think a lot of times its driven by the size of the dockets. It shouldn't be, but that is the reality. We would need more jurists and bigger court houses
Belinda Barbier
It would be helpful if court did not schedule these cases every 15 min. for a full morning or afternoon.
cecilia Quirindongo
@esther Why isn't that appropriate if that is the truth? I think it is your job to call them out if they are being untruthful
Esther Harris
@Nichole I can class it up "my client stated the foster care worker didn't do …"
Elizabeth Weisenbach
Entering the courthouse also involves coming into contact with people charged with crimes, inmates in chains, and their friends/family "support" people who may be unsavory people for the children to see. These aren't the only court cases going on. Even a metal detector screening could be an experience
Esther Harris
Kids can use language that we as attorney cannot. It hits differently to hear a childs perspective. Giving he child a voice
Judge LaFlamme
Excellent discussion, sorry I have to leave it.
Paula Aylward
Thank you all; great webinar; lots of great, helpful information!
Dorothy Dean/Attorney
Thank you Brittney for your voice. Excellent input from the child's viewpoint.