2019 Judicial & Bar Conference Focuses on Protecting Youth in the Legal System

April 9, 2019

On April 12 the D.C. Bar and District of Columbia Courts will present the Judicial and Bar Conference, a day-long event bringing together judges, Bar leadership, attorneys, health professionals, and other experts to explore topics under the theme “Children and the Law: Protecting the Future.”

 Karl Racine Gupta image[1] copy
 Karl A. Racine
Vanita Gupta

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine will moderate the morning plenary panel on the methods of recognizing and responding to traumatized children and adolescents navigating the legal system. Vanita Gupta, president and chief executive officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, will deliver the luncheon keynote address.

Designed for attorneys whose practice intersects with child matters, the conference offers seminars on topics such as alternatives to school suspension, the Family First Prevention Services Act, best practices for child-focused parenting plans, and post-disposition rights of children. Other seminars will dive into mental health issues to help LGBTQ youth, children who have been victims of or witnesses to a crime, immigrant children in the legal system, and young people facing race-based traumatic stress.

For example, in the session “Restorative Justice & Collateral Consequences: Mitigating the Harms of Juvenile Court Involvement,” attendees will learn more about the D.C. Office of the Attorney General’s innovative Restorative Justice Program, which promotes healing, builds empathy, and aids recovery for juveniles as they transition into adulthood.

Another session, “Child Welfare: Striking the Balance Between the Best Interests of the Child and the Parents’ Rights,” will examine the legal issues faced at every phase of a child abuse and neglect case. Specific attention will be given to decisions that require an evidentiary hearing and the prevailing case law that must be considered.

Panelists include attorneys from the Children’s Law Center, Whitman-Walker Health, and the National Juvenile Defender Center; officials from the D.C. Office of the Attorney General; law professors; mental health providers; and family law attorneys.

The conference will wrap up with a reception honoring D.C. and federal judges of courts located in the District of Columbia, especially judges who have retired or taken senior status in the past year.

Don’t miss out on these valuable learning and networking opportunities.