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2019 Annual Awards Invitation

 

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO ATTEND THE COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC COUNSEL SERVICES
2019 ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY
TO HONOR MEMBERS OF OUR STAFF AND PRIVATE BAR

_________________________________________________________________

JOHN ADAMS COURTHOUSE, PEMBERTON SQUARE, BOSTON
WEDNESDAY APRIL 24, 2019
5:00-8:00 p.m.
________________________________________________________________

Thurgood Marshall Award
Don Bronstein

Edward J. Duggan Public Counsel Award for Outstanding Service
Yolanda Acevedo

Edward J. Duggan Private Counsel Award for Outstanding Service
Lois J. Martin

Maura Mellen Administrative Professional Award
Sarah Pegus

Jane Addams Award for Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments
Kelsey Haggett

Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award
Debra S. Kornbluh

Maria Souto-Armand Goyette Investigator Award
Ami Rose Jackson

Teresa McParland Award for Operational Excellence
Karin Doss

Jay D. Blitzman Award for Youth Advocacy
Robert F. Hennessy & Merritt Schnipper

Carol A. Donovan Award for Exceptional Advocacy
Kate Frame

Margaret Winchester Child Welfare Advocacy Award
Carol Rosensweig

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RECEPTION TO FOLLOW AWARD CEREMONY

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CPCS Annual Training Conference – May 14, 2019

Please join us at the CPCS Annual Training Conference on Tuesday, May 14, 2018, 8:00 – 5:00, at the DCU Center on 50 Foster Street in Worcester, MA.

The keynote address will include remarks by two exceptional speakers:

Dr. Yusef Salaam, a transformational speaker, has traveled the United States facilitating conversations about race and class, the failings of our justice system, legal protections for vulnerable juveniles, and fundamental human rights. His experience of being wrongfully convicted at age 15 as one of the “Central Park Five” for the rape of the “Central Park Jogger”, holds lessons for us all.

Vincent Schiraldi co-founded the Justice Lab at Columbia University, which is devoted to reducing society’s reliance the justice system as a solution to social problems through research, education, and collaboration among scholars, practitioners, policy makers, advocates and formerly incarcerated people. His projects include eliminating youth prisons, reducing the footprint and negative impact of community corrections, and creating a developmentally appropriate response to offending by young adults.

The keynote will be followed by workshop sessions on a variety of topics of interest to criminal, juvenile, child welfare and mental health practitioners.  At midday, we will gather to hear remarks from Chief Counsel Anthony Benedetti. A boxed lunch will be served.

The Conference is approved for 6 CLE hours for all private panels.

ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIREDOur annual conference fills up quickly so please register early to ensure a seat.   To register, please visit the Eventbrite Annual Conference Registration Page by CLICKING HERE. 

 

In a Broken Foster System, Some Kids Can’t Find a Bed For the Night reports Boston Globe

The Boston Globe recently published an article on the severe shortage of foster homes for children removed from their parents.  According to the article, Massachusetts has one of the worst records nationally for placement instability, lagging behind all but three states.  “In 2018 nearly a third of children in foster care in Massachusetts were moved three or more times during their first year in the system.”  Indeed, “virtually every night, DCF response workers, with kids in their back seats, are crisscrossing Massachusetts, or camping out at a 24-hour McDonald’s as they await word of a foster family with space for another child.”  “Many DCF offices have become de facto day-care centers, with toddlers crawling amid computers and paper clips.” 

The article included quotes from CAFL’s Deputy Chief Counsel Mike Dsida, who stated, ““Foster care is warranted in some cases because of the risks children face in their homes.  But there has to be more thought given to the harm that they suffer as a result of being removed from their homes and placed in an overtaxed foster care system.”  He continued: “That doesn’t mean that children should be left home in risky situations, but many more of them could be maintained safely in their own homes if parents are provided better support.”   In a follow up article, the Globe reported the reactions of several state legislators to the piece. Their responses include advocating for increased funding for family support and stabilization services and possibly refiling a bill that would require an independent review of cases anytime a child experiences more than two placements after entering foster care.  

The April 6 article can be found here.

The April 9 article can be found here.

 

 

2019 Nominations for Annual Awards

Nomination Process

The Committee will present the awards at an Awards Ceremony on April 24, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston.

All nominations should be submitted to Ms. Denise Simonini, Executive Assistant to the Chief Counsel, Committee for Public Counsel Services, 44 Bromfield Street, Boston, MA 02108, by fax to 617-988-8495, or by email to dsimonini@publiccounsel.net.

Nominations must be submitted no later than February 22, 2019.  All nominations must include a written explanation of why the nominee should be honored.

The Committee is pleased to announce that an award designed to honor excellence of Operations staff will be presented for the first time at the 2019 Awards Ceremony.  The Teresa McParland Award for Operations Excellence honors Terry’s almost 40 years of dedicated service to CPCS, in a career that spanned the Finance, Human Resources and IT Units. 

For a list of past award recipients, please check our website at https://www.publiccounsel.net/award-recipients-1998-2018/.

Awards

The Teresa McParland Award for Operational Excellence is presented to a person who demonstrates dedication, creativity and passion to improving agency operations in service to our clients through enhancing agency performance and accountability.  These attributes were all hallmarks of Terry McParland during her CPCS career. The award honors Operations staff who exhibit extraordinary dedication, excellent performance, vision, and creativity in improving the services, systems, quality of life, efficiency, and environment provided to agency staff, clients, and private counsel.

The Jane Addams Award for Outstanding Social Service Accomplishments honors a staff social worker or social service advocate who exemplifies a commitment to clients through their advocacy, support, and dedication.  The Addams Award recognizes the profound impact of social workers and social service advocates serving as members of a legal team.  It is named for Jane Addams, a pioneer in establishing the field of social work and the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize.      

The Jay D. Blitzman Award for Youth Advocacy is presented to a person who has demonstrated a commitment to juvenile rights, which is the hallmark of Judge Blitzman’s long career as an advocate.  The award honors an advocate who has exhibited both extraordinary dedication and excellent performance to assure that children accused of criminal conduct, or otherwise at risk, are treated fairly and with dignity in the courtroom, in the community, and in the custody of the state. 

The Carol A. Donovan Award for Exceptional Advocacy is presented to the lawyer, public or private, whose representation of poor people facing the awesome power of the state is most reminiscent of Carol’s fierce commitment to their vigorous and effective representation, and the cause of equal justice for all.

The Edward J. Duggan Award for Outstanding Service award is given to both a Public Defender and Private Counsel attorney and is named for Edward J. Duggan, who served continuously from 1940 to 1997 as a member of the Voluntary Defenders Committee, the Massachusetts Defenders Committee and the Committee for Public Counsel Services.  The award is presented each year to the public defender and private attorney who best represent zealous advocacy – the central principle governing the representation of indigents in Massachusetts. 

The Paul J. Liacos Mental Health Advocacy Award recognizes a public defender or private attorney whose legal advocacy on behalf of persons involved in mental health civil commitment, guardianship of adults, or criminal mental health proceedings, best exemplifies zealous advocacy in furtherance of all clients’ legal interests and autonomy. 

The Thurgood Marshall Award honors a person or persons who champion the cause of zealous representation for the poor and the right to effective assistance of counsel for all.

The Maura Mellen Administrative Professional Award honors an administrative staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to the delivery of zealous and effective advocacy for CPCS clients.  The award recognizes that administrative staff members perform many critical roles in the provision of zealous representation to CPCS clients. 

The Maria SoutoArmand Goyette Investigator Award honors a staff investigator for outstanding investigative work.  Maria Souto was an indefatigable CPCS investigator in the Boston office.  Armand Goyette, the first investigator at the Massachusetts Defenders Committee, was recognized as a consummate criminal defense investigator who provided outstanding service for over 25 years.

The Margaret Winchester Award for Child Welfare Advocacy honors a staff member or a private attorney who, through their zealous advocacy and extraordinary commitment to children and parents in care and protection and other Massachusetts child welfare cases, is a model for other advocates seeking to protect the rights of children and parents.

Changes to DCF Foster Care Review Process

CAFL attorneys should have received an e-mail from Virginia Peel on January 23, 2019 notifying them that DCF has implemented changes to its foster care review process. These changes include e-mailing attorneys notice of reviews. If you did not receive Virginia’s e-mail, you need to contact her ASAP to ensure that you receive notice of future reviews. Virginia can be reached at virginia.peel@state.ma.us. A copy of her e-mail, and the letter from DCF General Counsel Andrew Rome she references in it, are available here. The written foster care review policy isn’t finished quite yet. But it’s really important that you understand what’s different before you go to a review. For example; DCF has eliminated ratings – full, partial, or insufficient – for task compliance. Instead, the review panel will determine whether each person “demonstrated the desired behavioral changes.” Virginia’s e-mail includes a link to four brief training videos about the new foster care review process. You can watch them here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF2PqsUUKpjh5I27AQmhd9Vh6UGClHjzE. Additionally, Carmen Andrews and Linda Silva in the Fall River CAFL office transcribed the third and fourth videos – “Participate in a Foster Care Review” and “Follow-Up on a Foster Care Review” – which explain how reviews are supposed to be conducted and DCF’s responsibilities following reviews, respectively. The transcripts are available here. Thank you, Carmen and Linda! Stay tuned – we will let you know when the new foster care review policy is available.

Updated Foster Care Review Determination Questions

DO YOU WANT TO HELP PROTECT THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE FACING GUARDIANSHIP PETITIONS? APPLY TO JOIN THE MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION DIVISION TRIAL PANEL!

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to its spring 2019 Guardianship Certification Training.

A guardianship is a substantial deprivation of liberty – under guardianship the person can no longer legally make their own decisions about many issues,including where to live, what medical treatment to accept or refuse, and other decisions adults make every day. Because of this significant infringement on civil rights, respondents are entitled to court-appointed counsel.

There is a great need for certified attorneys to represent these clients and it is rewarding work. Effective advocacy by attorneys can make a real difference in these cases. You will get client contact, litigation experience, and the satisfaction of knowing that the some of the most vulnerable people in the Commonwealth had a lawyer to fight for their rights.

This certification training will be held at Community Legal Aid in Worcester on March 18, 19, 20 (8:45 a.m. to 5:00 each day) and April 10, 2019.  April 10th will be mock trials (schedule to be determined depending on the number of accepted applicants).

Please download the application from our website at :  https://www.publiccounsel.net/wp-content/uploads/MHLD-Panel-Application-1.9.19.pdf

The deadline to apply is February 19, 2019. Applicants to the program must be accepted before registering. The cost of the training is $125.00.

For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Guardianship Certification Training, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782, mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net or Paulette Marie at (617) 910-5844, pmarie@publiccounsel.net.

Committee Meeting Dates – CY 2019

All meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be held on the third Wednesday of the month except where noted.

January 15, 2019 (Tuesday starting at 11:00 a.m.)
February 20, 2019 February 26, 2019 (Tuesday)
March 20, 2019
April 17, 2019
May 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
July 17, 2019
August – NO MEETING
September 18, 2019
October 16, 2019
November 20, 2019
December 18, 2019

Upcoming Children and Family Law Certification Trainings

Guardianship Certification Training in Fall River and Holyoke

CAFL is presenting a one-day certification training for attorneys wishing to represent children and parents in guardianship of minor proceedings in the Probate and Family Court. The training is open to all CAFL attorneys in good standing on the care and protection trial panel who have graduated from the CAFL mentor program. The trainings will take place in Fall River on January 22, 2019 at the CPCS office at 1822 North Main Street, Suite #205, Fall River, MA 02720 and in Holyoke on March 18, 2019 at Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Ave, Holyoke. For CAFL trial panel attorneys who are interested in the training but have not yet graduated from the mentor program, please email caflattorney@publiccounsel.net indicating your interest and include your full name, BBO number, the courts from which you are willing to accept assignments, the name of your mentor, and a brief description of any experience you have in the Probate and Family Court. If you are already certified to take Guardianships in the Probate and Family Court and want to come to the training for a refresher, you are welcome. If you are not sure if you are certified to take guardianship cases, please contact Rita Caso at rcaso@publiccounsel.net to find out.

To register for the January 22 Training in Fall River go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/training-to-represent-children-and-parents-in-guardianship-of-minor-proceedings-in-the-probate-and-tickets-53437965393

To register for the March 18 Guardianship Training in Holyoke go to:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/training-to-represent-children-and-parents-in-guardianship-of-minor-proceedings-in-the-probate-and-tickets-53656793915

CAFL Trial Panel Certification Training

The Children and Family Law Division (CAFL) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services is seeking qualified attorneys to represent children and indigent parents in care and protection/termination of parental rights and child requiring assistance cases in the Juvenile Court. The Certification Training will be held March 25-26, April 1-2, April 8-9 in Springfield, MA followed by a One Day Mock Hearing on either April 23 or 25 at various locations throughout the state.

 There is a significant shortage of CAFL lawyers in central and western Massachusetts. The need is most critical in the Springfield Juvenile Court. As a result, we are particularly interested in applicants who are able to accept CAFL appointments in Springfield. Admission to the CAFL trial panel is by application only. Applicants must be members of the Massachusetts Bar or be admitted to the Bar of another state and be eligible to practice law in Massachusetts. All attorneys who accept CPCS assignments are required to maintain malpractice insurance.We will give preference to attorneys who commit to practicing in central and western Massachusetts and to attorneys who submit completed applications by Friday, February 8, 2019. We will continue to accept applications after that date, particularly from those planning to practice in western Massachusetts.The application can be found here.

Appellate Panel Certification Training

The Committee for Public Counsel Services is accepting applications for the Children and Family Law (“CAFL”) Appellate Panel Certification Training on April 29, 30 and May 1, 2019 in Worcester. Applicants must have a demonstrated proficiency in legal research and writing and at least one of the following: two years of child welfare trial experience, primary authorship of two or more appellate briefs in other subjects, a recent judicial clerkship, substantial editing experience for a law journal, publication of a law journal article, or other substantial research and writing experience. Admission to the training is competitive and not all applicants will be admitted. All admitted applicants must attend the three-day CAFL appellate training program on April 29, April 30, and May 1, 2019 at the offices of Community Legal Aid, 405 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts.

To be considered, you must submit a completed application by March 22, 2019. The application and more information can be found here.