Juvenile & Child Welfare Law (JW)

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The MBA’s Juvenile & Child Welfare Section enables practitioners who represent clients in abuse and neglect, delinquency, youthful offender and status offender cases to meet in one forum to address the variety of issues affecting children and families. The section provides opportunities for members to work on projects involving proposed and current legislation, develop and present continuing legal education seminars, roundtables and open section meetings and publish articles.


Networking Event with DYS Commissioner Forbes May 1

Please join the Juvenile and Child Welfare, Criminal, and Access to Justice Section Councils for a networking event on Thursday, May 1 from 5:30pm - 7pm at the MBA, 20 West Street, Boston, MA 02108.... MORE


The Juvenile and Child Welfare Section is sponsoring a Risk Assessment CLE on April 10, 2014: 4-7 pm at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston
FREE for MBA members!
Earn 3 juvenile deliquency or CAFL CLE credits

The... MORE

Today! (2/21/14) DCF is at Your Client's Door: Aspects of Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations

This presentation aims to provide the practitioner a general familiarity with various aspects of DCF investigations into child abuse or neglect allegations in family home settings. It will be a step-by-step... MORE


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Marlies  Spanjaard (left), chair
Jessica Berry (right), vice chair

Learn more about MBA Section Leadership.


Risk Assessments - Friends and Foes
April 10, 2014 4-7 pm

MBA, 20 West St., Boston
Register here
The increased use of risk assessments given to children accused of committing a sexual offense by schools, the Department of Children and Family, and other child-serving organizations has caused a tension between and among those representing the child to be assessed who strive to protect the child from future collateral consequences and the child serving agencies who need to ensure the safety of the other children they serve.   
The program will begin with an introduction from Barbara Quinones, Ph.D., a Clinical Psychologist about what risk assessments in this context can predict, the information the assessor needs to make the determination, certain tools that are used and how they are administered, and data and research around using risk assessments to predict future behaviors.  

If you are a lawyer who represents children or child-serving agencies, attend this program and you will learn:
• How and when they use these assessments and their success or failure in doing so;
• Objections to the use of the instruments;
• The potential danger to the child assessed that the use of these instruments pose; and
• Tips on how lawyers can protect their clients.

Finally, there will be a discussion on how might be able to come to some sort of common ground.


Holly T. Smith, Esq., program co-chair
CPCS-Youth Advocacy Division, Boston

Alisia St. Florian, Esq., program co-chair
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane LLP, Quincy

Kelly Downs, Esq., program co-chair
Department of Youth Services

Barbara Quinones, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist

Sponsoring Sections:
Juvenile and Child Welfare Section


Interested in being a part of this My Bar Access member group? Join the Juvenile & Child Welfare Section here.