Civil Justice Clinic Faculty Present at Prominent National Family Law Conference

Faculty from both the Civil Justice Clinic’s (CJC) Juvenile Rights and Re-Entry Project and its Children and Family Defense Project were invited to present ideas, insights, and examples of their students’ work at a national family law conference in Chicago at the start of the semester.

CJC: Juvenile Rights and Re-Entry Project 

How much Internet access should juvenile offenders have, how can we help them use the Web and social media website appropriately, and should they be prosecuted for ordinary adolescent behaviors enacted online? Those were among the many cutting-edge legal issues discussed recently at “Families Matter,” the 35th National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law Conference convened by the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC).

As part of the program, Mae Quinn, professor of law and co-director of the Civil Justice Clinic, and Kathryn Pierce, lecturer in law and supervising attorney, joined Marsha Levick of the Juvenile Law Center for a panel discussion on “Kids, Social Media, and the Law.”

Representing the Civil Justice Clinic’s Juvenile Rights and Re-Entry Project (JR-REP), Quinn recounted recent efforts by JR-REP student attorneys Ben Rosebrough and William Waller to change local probation conditions that—among other things—require youth to provide all social-media passwords to their probation officers regardless of the nature of the crime charged.

The materials drafted by Rosebrough and Waller have been used by other juvenile defense groups across the country. They were recently solicited by the National Juvenile Defender Center for inclusion in its 2012 Juvenile Defender Resource Guide, which shares model materials and best practices for juvenile defense.

Pierce presented the work of student attorneys Hannah Ahn, Evelyn Chuang, Marie Hastreiter, and Carolyn Rosenthal, who had been assisted by Anna Gennari, a Brown School of Social Work practicum student working with the clinic. The PowerPoint presentation and handout offered an alternative to policing and prosecution by educating young people about responsible use of the Internet and social media websites.

CJC: Children and Family Defense Project  

Josh Gupta-Kagan, lecturer in law and supervising attorney for the Civil Justice Clinic, then shared the podium with Stephen Pennypacker of the Florida Department of Children and Families and Vivek Sankaran of the University of Michigan. Their presentation, “Reforming the ICPC: How We Can Move the Conversation Forward,” explored the current status of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and efforts to reform the interstate placement process.

“As a metropolitan area that straddles state lines, the clinic has been and likely will continue to be engaged with ICPC issues,” Gupta-Kagan noted.

Building on his expertise as a litigator and policy advocate with the Children’s Law Center in Washington D.C., Gupta-Kagan recently wrote an amicus curiae brief to the Connecticut Supreme Court on behalf of the NACC and eight other children’s advocacy organizations.

Gupta-Kagan’s brief argued that the ICPC does not apply to parents, and that its application harms children by placing them in foster care when they have fit and willing parents ready to care for them. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of the NACC’s position on July 17, 2012, and Gupta-Kagan’s presentation focused on how to expand the Connecticut decision to other states and the need to reform the ICPC to avoid similar legal problems in the future.

View the program brochure.