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Focusing the Lens: Assessing Equity Issues in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare (2021 Juvenile Justice & Children's Rights Section Program)

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Overcoming Implicit Bias in the Juvenile Justice System*

Chief Judge Elizabeth T. Trosch, North Carolina District Court, Charlotte
Judge Donald R. Cureton Jr., North Carolina District Court, Charlotte

Justice being blind or impartial is a hallmark of our American court system. However, studies show implicit bias is present in our justice system — including in the juvenile justice system. Judges Trosch and Cureton explore ways in which implicit bias shows up in the judicial system, how implicit bias impacts juvenile justice in North Carolina, and practical solutions to overcome bias.

10:30      Break

10:40      Disproportionate Impact/Treatment of Minority and Disabled Students

Cari E. Carson, Advocates for Children's Services – Legal Aid of North Carolina, Durham
Jennifer R. Story, Advocates for Children's Services – Legal Aid of North Carolina, Durham

Statistics illustrate disproportionalities and disparities in the treatment and outcomes of minority and disabled students. Discipline disparities, disproportionalities in special education and gaps in achievement are three areas where our education system struggles. The COVID-19 pandemic has acerbated these and other educational challenges. This session discusses those topics and provides education law practitioners and other attorneys who represent juveniles with tools and strategies to advocate for juveniles' educational needs.

11:25      Break

11:35      Panel Discussion: Crossover Youth and the Impacts in Minority Communities

Sara A. DePasquale, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill
Mary G. Holliday, Jackson County Department of Social Services, Webster
Lyana G. Hunter, New Hanover County Office of the Public Defender, Wilmington
Eric J. Zogry, North Carolina Office of the Juvenile Defender, Raleigh (Moderator)

Minority juveniles are overrepresented in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Juveniles' and families' challenges are compounded when they are involved with both systems. This session helps attorneys representing juveniles and families to navigate and advocate in both systems.

12:35      Lunch Break

1:05        Panel Discussion: Overrepresentation of Minority Families in the Child Welfare System

Derrik Anderson, Race Matters for Juvenile Justice, Charlotte
Christina Harrison, North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program, Raleigh
Reginald D. "Reggie" O'Rourke, North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program, Raleigh (Moderator)
Wendy Sotolongo, North Carolina Parent Representation Coordinator, Durham

Statistics show that 33 percent of children in foster care in the United States are African American, but these children make up only 15 percent of the child population. Numerous studies have shown that not only is there disproportionality in child welfare cases, but that racial disparities also occur at various decision points in the child welfare continuum. This session reviews recent child welfare statistics in North Carolina, examines approaches attorneys can use to address racial disparities, and discusses strategies for being more responsive to the needs of minority children and families in abuse, neglect and dependency proceedings.

1:50        Break

2:00        Looking Forward: The Impact and Implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act

Lisa Cauley, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh

The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 ("Family First Act" or "Family First") significantly changes how the child welfare system is funded and operates. Family First prioritizes the importance of children living with families and includes a number of provisions related to prevention services, foster care placement and transition from foster care. This session details North Carolina's plans for implementation of the act this year and notes important impacts for child welfare attorneys and practitioners.

2:30        Adjourn

*Indicates portion providing Ethics/Professional Responsibility credit


Description

Many events in 2020 elevated the focus and conversations around diversity and equity issues in the justice system. Like the justice system as a whole, juvenile justice and child welfare matters are also impacted by issues related to diversity, equity, disproportionality and disparate treatment.

Contributors

  • Tawanda Foster Artis

    Tawanda Foster Artis is a senior staff attorney at the North Carolina General Assembly. Prior to joining the non-partisan state employee staff at the legislature, Tawanda served as appellate counsel at the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts handling appellate cases from across the state of North Carolina and training other attorneys to do the same. She has also served our state as an assistant attorney general at the North Carolina Department of Justice representing the North Carolina Department of Labor in employment and labor law disputes and as an assistant district attorney prosecuting felony and misdemeanor matters. Prior to attending law school, Tawanda worked in human resources and training and development functions with several corporations.

    Tawanda is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors and the 2020-2021 NCBA Diversity Task Force. She also contributes to the NCBA as the Treasurer and CLE Co-Chair of the Juvenile Justice and Children’s Rights Section and as a member of the Professionalism Committee and Government and Public Sector Section. She is the Educational Resources Subcommittee Chair of the Wake County Bar Association's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and a member of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the North Carolina Commission on Racial & Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. Tawanda is a former co-chair of the NCBA Minorities in the Profession Committee and past president of the Capital City Lawyers Association. In 2020, Tawanda was honored with the "Citizen Lawyer Award" for providing exemplary public service to her community and the legal profession.

    Tawanda enjoys volunteering with child literacy and education programs in local schools, as well as with hunger relief and arts-related charities. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Arts Council of Wilson. She has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Food Runners Collaborative, Inc., and as an associate board member for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Inc.

    Tawanda has taught continuing legal education courses and workshops on a variety of topics across the State of North Carolina. In 2015, as an adjunct law professor, she created an appellate advocacy clinic to teach law students to write appeals in child welfare cases at Elon University School of Law. Tawanda is a North Carolina native and proud double Tarheel, receiving both her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

    Click here for more information about Tawanda.

  • Derrik Anderson

    Derrik Anderson, Race Matters for Juvenile Justice, Charlotte

    Click here for more information about Derrik.

  • Cari E. Carson

    Cari E. Carson, Advocates for Children's Services – Legal Aid of North Carolina, Durham

    Cari is a Skadden Fellow and attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina's Advocates for Children's Services Project. The specific focus of her work is on providing trauma-informed educational advocacy for North Carolina youth with disabilities who are involved in the child welfare, juvenile delinquency, and/or adult criminal justice systems. Cari holds JD and MSW degrees from the University of Michigan, and a BA in Political Science from Yale University. She has worked with the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan in efforts to stop the school-to-prison pipeline, with the educational advocacy projects for court-involved youth at both the Toledo (OH) Juvenile Court and the Nashville (TN) Public Defender's Office, and with the DC Children's Law Center. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a middle school special education teacher in rural south Louisiana.

    Click here for more information about Cari.

  • Lisa Cauley

    Lisa Cauley, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh

    Click here for more information about Lisa.

  • Judge Donald R. Cureton Jr.

    Judge Donald R. Cureton Jr., North Carolina District Court, Charlotte

    Judge Cureton is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University and Howard University School Law School. He is a native of Charlotte. His previous legal experience includes serving as a district court judge from 2011-2018, assistant public defender, and practicing law in the private sector. Judge Cureton is a member of several organizations that specialize in juvenile protection and family advocacy matters. He also volunteers with local organizations and mentorship programs in Charlotte.

    Click here for more information about Judge Cureton.

  • Sara A. DePasquale

    Sara A. DePasquale, UNC School of Government, Chapel Hill

    Sara joined the School of Government in 2013. She specializes in child welfare law in North Carolina and teaches and consults with judges, social services attorneys, parent attorneys, and other law professionals.

    Prior to joining the School of Government, she practiced for 17 years at Pine Tree Legal Assistance, the statewide civil legal services provider in Maine. She started at Pine Tree as a Skadden Fellow and spent her last nine years there as the directing attorney of KIDS LEGAL, Maine's first and only children's law program. She is a member of the North Carolina and Maine state bars. DePasquale received a BA with honors in history and sociology from Binghamton University, is a magna cum laude graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law, and also earned a dual degree with an MSW in child welfare/family systems from the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.

    Click here for more information about Sara.

  • Christina Harrison

    Christina Harrison, North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program, Raleigh

    Click here for more information about Christina.

  • Mary G. Holliday

    Mary G. Holliday, Jackson County Department of Social Services, Webster

  • Lyana G. Hunter

    Lyana G. Hunter, New Hanover County Office of the Public Defender, Wilmington

    Click here for more information about Lyana.

  • Michelle FormyDuval Lynch

    Michelle FormyDuval Lynch, North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, Raleigh

    Click here for more information about Michelle.

  • Reginald D. "Reggie" O'Rourke

    Reginald D. "Reggie" O'Rourke, North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program, Raleigh

    Click here for more information about Reggie.

  • Wendy Sotolongo

    Wendy Sotolongo, North Carolina Parent Representation Coordinator, Durham

    Click here for more information about Wendy.

  • Jennifer R. Story

    Jennifer R. Story, Advocates for Children's Services – Legal Aid of North Carolina, Durham

    Click here for more information about Jennifer.

  • Chief Judge Elizabeth T. Trosch

    Chief Judge Elizabeth T. Trosch, North Carolina District Court, Charlotte

    Judge Trosch received her B.A. in philosophy and social psychology from Hollins College in 1998, and her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law in 2002. From 2002-08, Trosch worked as an assistant public defender in Charlotte. In 2009, she assumed the office of district court judge where she presided over civil and criminal district courtrooms with an emphasis on juvenile law, domestic violence, drug treatment court, and child support enforcement. She is a state certified juvenile judge, the lead judge for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the presiding judge on the Mecklenburg County Youth Treatment Court.

  • Eric J. Zogry

    Eric J. Zogry, North Carolina Office of the Juvenile Defender, Raleigh

    Click here for more information about Eric.

April 8, 2021
Thu 8:55 AM EDT

Duration 5H 35M

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