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

New Juvenile Court Rules and Time Standards Effective November 5, 2018

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has issued new Juvenile Court Rules for the Care and Protection of Children, effective on November 5, 2018. The new 2018 rules will replace the 2007 Juvenile Court Rules for the Care and Protection of Children. Along with these Rules, the Juvenile Court has issued new Standing Order 2-18 governing Time Standards for care and protection, CRA and delinquency cases.  The new time standards are also effective November 5, 2018.  See below for links to the new Rules and Standing Order, along with a memorandum summarizing the new Rules prepared by CAFL’s Ann Narris.

New Juvenile Court Rules for the Care and Protection of Children

Juvenile Court Standing Order 2-18, Time Standards

CPCS Memorandum Summarizing the New Juvenile Court Rules

Childhood Trauma And Its Lifelong Health Effects More Prevalent Among Minorities – NPR

NPR Reported on Monday about a new study that show the impact of childhood trauma on Lifelong health

When researchers first discovered a link in the late 1990s between childhood adversity and chronic health problems later in life, the real revelation was how common those experiences were across all socioeconomic groups.

But the first major study to focus on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) was limited to a single healthcare system in San Diego. A study published Monday in JAMA Pediatricsthe largest nationally representative study to date on ACEs — confirms that these experiences are universal, yet highlights some disparities among socioeconomic groups. People with low-income and educational attainment, people of color and people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual had significantly higher chance of having experienced adversity in childhood.

Full Story

YAD Staff Recognized for their Efforts Fighting Racism Across the State

It is my pleasure to share with everyone the news that three staff members from YAD will receive awards at the Annual Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) Awards Breakfast on September 20, 2018 (see attached flyer).  JDAI is a national juvenile justice initiative that focuses on reducing the unnecessary and harmful use of secure detention for juveniles.  It has a special focus on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice population.  Dozens of YAD staff members and private attorneys participate in JDAI activities on a regular basis. Continue reading

MLW Top Women of the Law

Congratulations to our colleague Atty. Rebecca A. Jacobstein and former colleague Atty. Kelli L. Porges for being among those to be honored by Mass Lawyers Weekly as Top Women of Law 2018.  Rebecca and Kelli are among 50 women attorneys being celebrated for their “outstanding achievements….by exceptional women lawyers who have made tremendous professional strides and demonstrated great accomplishments in the legal field…”[1]

Atty. Jacobstein is a CPCS staff attorney in the Appeals Unit of the Public Defender Division and has been one of the lead lawyers in the on-going litigation probing the misconduct of former Amherst Drug Lab chemist, Sonja Farak.  She joined the Appeals Unit in April, 2014.

Atty. Porges was a CPCS staff attorney, most recently with the Boston Superior Court Trial Unit, where she put her incredible courtroom skills to work in gaining acquittals for clients charged with murder.  She joined CPCS in August 2004, was certified to take murder cases in 2012, and recently left the agency to be a partner at the law firm of Iglehart & Porges.

The Top Women of Law 2018 event will be held on Thursday, October 18, 2918.  Anyone who would like to attend can visit the following website for more details:  https://masslawyersweekly.com/top-women-of-law-2018/honorees/.

 

 

[1] https://masslawyersweekly.com/top-women-of-law-2018/

 

 

Staff Counsel Posting for MHLD in Boston