Erica E. Cushna, Trial Panel Director          •        Melissa Ellis, Staff Counsel
35 Congress Street, Suite 351                                1822 North Main Street, Suite 205
Salem, MA 01970                                                      Fall River, MA 02760

Filing Complaints (for YAD Private Counsel):

  •  By Telephone: (978) 219-5425, Erica Cushna, Trial Panel Director
  •  By Electronic or Regular Mail: To access the form, please click here: YAD Complaint FormPlease submit electronically to [email protected].  You may also mail the form or submit a written complaint to the attention of: Erica Cushna, YAD Trial Panel Director, Committee for Public Counsel Services, 33 Congress Street, Suite 351, Salem, MA 01907. An administrative staff member will contact you to discuss the complaint.


YAD’s private counsel trial panel includes over three hundred specially trained attorneys that accept delinquency, youthful offender, juvenile murder, and GCL revocation cases, to help young people achieve their legal and life goals.

The majority of juveniles under the age of 18 charged with delinquency matters in Massachusetts are represented by private court-appointed counsel on a case-by-case basis under the auspices of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, pursuant to MGL c.211D. Currently, over 300 private attorneys in the state have been trained and certified to accept assignment of these delinquency cases by CPCS.  Many of these attorneys devote a significant portion of their practice to representing juveniles. In order to do so, attorneys must comply with rigorous CPCS Performance Standards, annual caseload limits, continuing legal education requirements, supervision, oversight, and other requirements. They also must be selected by a county-wide bar advocate program and comply with the program’s contractual obligations, including reporting, training, supervision and other responsibilities.

CPCS contracts with a local bar advocate program in each Massachusetts county, for purposes of providing a legal services delivery system and professional oversight of private counsel to indigent youth in delinquency, youthful offender, and adult criminal cases. The programs, in turn, contract with qualified private attorneys, who are assigned duty days in the district and juvenile courts of the county. Pursuant to contract, private attorneys are assigned private local Resource Attorneys through the bar advocate program. These resource attorneys serve as mentors to less experienced counsel.

Additionally, CPCS contracts with private attorneys to serve as Juvenile Supervising Attorneys (JSAs) in each county. The JSAs provide technical assistance, training, support, and oversight to the private counsel representing juveniles in delinquency and youthful offender cases in the county. JSAs also serve as a liaison between the courts, judges, CPCS, DYS, and other agencies, and provide leadership to the private bar with respect to juvenile practice throughout the state.

If you need an attorney appointed or for any questions or concerns regarding YAD Private Counsel contact:

Erica Cushna                           Melissa Ellis                             Carly Pederson
Trial Panel Director             Staff Counsel                     Administrative Assistant
978.219.5425                           508.484.5787                             978.219.5430

Racial Inequities

CPCS and YAD are also committed to challenging racial inequities in the juvenile justice system at every stage of client representation. Accordingly we have attached the following links to assist attorneys in pursuing racial justice through litigation and education. These links will be updated periodically:

  1. Racial Justice for Youth: A Toolkit for Defenders  first responders for youth justice this Toolkit can help attorneys advocate for change for clients and youth of color in this moment and beyond;
  2. Sample Motion to Modify Detention Status  (includes a racial justice argument);
  3. Helpful Statistics on Race & Ethnicity in the Juvenile Justice System
  4. National Juvenile Defender Center Resources (some may require creating an account):

Resources for YAD Private Counsel defenders:

Assigned Counsel Manual
Delinquency and Youthful Offender Certification

List of Presumptive Youthful Offender Charges 

CPCS E-Bill Manual
CPCS E-Bill Program
Fillable Juvenile Appeal Referral Form

Juvenile Defender Advisory Council (JDAC)
Juvenile Supervising Attorneys


List of Upcoming YAD Trainings
CPCS Training Calendar