Friday, February 20, 2015

Registration for the Annual Conference is OPEN!

We are pleased to announce that registration for the Annual Conference is OPEN!  The cost of the conference will be $100.00 and includes 11.5 hours of CLE (pending approval).

Free Book to the First 50 to Register!

This year's Keynote Speaker is Retired Judge Leonard Edwards who will be speaking to us on the topic of reasonable efforts.  He has recently published a book called "Reasonable Efforts: A Judicial Perspective."  We have obtained 50 copies of this book for distribution and these will go to the first 50 people who register.

A digital copy of the book will also be available for download at the time of the conference.

To select to receive a copy of the book, you will need to put in that you want one on the merchandise page of the registration.  It looks like this:


Everyone who wants one will be able to select a room for the night of Thursday, April 23, 2015 without charge.

If you are traveling more than 50 miles from the Zermatt, you are also entitled to a room on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.  Please use the code 50MILES to receive the room without charge.

In the past, we have had some interested in staying an extra night after the conference is over.  We are offering a Friday night room at our discount rate of $90.  You can pay for the room as part of your registration and we will work with the Zermatt to ensure it is available.

Food for Guests

In years past, we have also had members interested in bringing a spouse or friend to the conference.  If you are planning on bringing someone this year, you can pay for their meals as part of your registration.

If you have any questions about the registration process (or anything else, really) give Kate a call: 801-834-7646 or

Monday, February 9, 2015

DOJ finds Massachusetts wrongly removed infant from developmentally disabled woman

The Department of Justice recently found that the Massachusetts Department of Children and Family (DCF) violated a mother's civil rights under the ADA by discriminating against her based upon a disability.  DCF had removed a 2 day old baby from the mother because they had determined she was unable to parent due to a developmental disability even though she had support from her parents.

You can read a news article HERE.

You can read the full DOJ report HERE.

If you have cases where clients may have disabilities and need assistance, don't forget you can consult with the Disability Law Center.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Skills Training

Every other year the Court Improvement Program hosts a skills training for attorneys in the child welfare system.  (On the off years the CIP hosts a summit.)

In past years they have had NITA come and train on cross examining expert witnesses and other trial skills.

What are you interested in seeing offered this year?  Let us know and we will pass your suggestions along.

Law Review Article: Can the Child Welfare System Protect Children Without Believing What They Say?

A new Law Review Article by Tara Urs was recently published by Seattle University on how suggestibility and lie-telling behavior in children impact child welfare investigations and cases.  It's called Can the Child Welfare System Protect Children Without Believing What They Say?  You can get the full article HERE.

Abstract: In Kennedy v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court noted that the problem of “unreliable, induced, and even imagined child testimony” creates a “special risk of wrongful execution in some child rape cases.” Indeed, empirical research has repeatedly demonstrated problems with accuracy in children’s accounts of their own experiences. Although the research and commentary in this area has focused on how allegations of child sexual abuse are addressed in the criminal justice system, these studies have much broader implications: every year, state officials conduct millions of interviews with children in the context of child welfare investigations. These investigations have serious consequences for families — for instance, they can lead to the placement of a child in foster care or the termination of parental rights. This article examines the reliability of child welfare determinations by looking at a subset of the information investigators consider: children’s statements about their past experiences. First, this article reviews empirical research on suggestibility, lie-telling behavior, and the capacity of adults to detect lies in children. The article then examines the impact of structural features in the child welfare system, and posits that these structural features do not facilitate the proper evaluation of child statements. The article concludes by proposing legal reforms to improve the reliability of child welfare determinations. Ultimately, this article aims to defend the proposition that caring deeply about children and their safety does not necessarily mean the child welfare system should rely on what children say.