Annual Meeting 


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Committee on Children and the Law


The Robert J. Schack Memorial Program


Children in the Court:

Concerns, Challenges and Benefits of Youth Participation in Court Proceedings


New York Marriott Marquis

1535 Broadway, New York City


9:00 a.m.—-12:10 p.m.

(3.5 MCLE Credits)



Majestic Complex (6th Floor)




Under New York’s MCLE rules, this program has been approved for all attorneys including those newly admitted for a total of 3.5 credit hours in the area of professional practice.


Discounts and Scholarships: New York State Bar Association  members may apply for a discount or scholarship to attend this program, based on financial hardship. This discount applies to the educational portion of the program only. Under that policy, any member of the Association who has a genuine basis of financial hardship can receive a discount or scholarship, depending on the circumstances. To apply for a discount or scholarship, please send your request in writing to the New York State Bar Association, Attn: Catheryn Teeter, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207 or via e-mail


Special Note for Law Guardian and Family Court Assigned Counsel Panel Members: Members of Appellate Division Law Guardian Panels are eligible to apply for a tuition waiver for this program.  If you qualify for this waiver, you cannot register online.  You must obtain a 2008 Waiver Form from your Law Guardian Director or download the waiver form at, attach it to the completed Annual Meeting Registration Form, and fax or mail back the completed forms to the number/address listed.  A limited number of waivers are available on a first come/first serve basis for Family Court or Family Court Appeals assigned counsel panel members who are not currently on a law guardian panel.  To inquire about these waivers, please call Catheryn Teeter at (518) 487-5621 before January 22, 2008.  No waivers can be issued after the cutoff date.  Please note that if you are not a member of the New York State Bar Association, the $200 nonmember surcharge cannot be waived.

Committee Chair                                                      Program Chair

HON. EDWARD O. SPAIN                                     GEORGE E. REED, JR., ESQ.

Associate Justice, Appellate Division                    White Plains
Third Department, Albany


Children in the Court:
Concerns, Challenges and Benefits of

Youth Participation in Court Proceedings


An in-depth look at the benefits and concerns of involving children directly in their own court proceeding. What involvement is required, what participation is permitted, and what practices should be required and permitted.  How to determine what involvement to ask for, and how to prepare children to go to court and be engaged participants in their own case.



8:30-9:00 a.m.     Registration


9:00-9:05             Welcome and Opening Remarks

                                                GEORGE E. REED, JR., ESQ.

                                                Program Chair


9:05-9:30             Children at Court and in Court:  An Overview of Current Perspectives, Benefits and Challenges of Youth Involvement In Child Welfare Proceedings

— Why involving children and youth in court is important:  the critical role of the court and legal process

                                    — National picture: current perspectives and practices

— Benefits, concerns and challenges in regard to bringing children into the court process

                                    — Promoting opportunities for youth involvement

                                    — Youth "speak out"

                                                MIRIAM A. KRINSKY, ESQ.


9:30-9:55             The Psychology of Inclusiveness

— Empowerment vs. protection, participation vs. decision: Weighing the benefits of including children in the court process against the costs

— Perception and desire for involvement among subject children of Family Court and divorce proceedings: Age, teen brain,      family context, and risk factors

                                                ROBIN M. DEUTSCH, Ph. D.




9:55-10:20           Involvement of Children in New York Practice

— Traditional level of involvement of children

— When do children have a right to appear?

— Varying practices in New York City and upstate

— Innovations in increasing involvement

                                                HON. MARTHA WALSH HOOD


10:20-10:30         Coffee Break


10:30-10:55         Children in Child Welfare Proceedings

— Role of the attorney for the child in abuse/neglect hearings:  client participation and the client-directed advocacy model

— Unique challenges in implementing a "children in the court"      model in New York City:  theory vs. practice

— Preparing and debriefing your young client when appearing in court

— Crossover clients:  comparing the delinquency/PINS models and the abuse/neglect model currently in use

                                                TAMARA A. STECKLER, ESQ.


10:55-11:20         Perspective of Foster Care Children

— Impact on children of omission from the process and exclusive reliance on caseworkers and law guardians for input

— Creative approaches to participation of children

— Should inclusiveness be the prima facie standard where children are either in foster care or facing substantial possibility of placement in foster care?

                                                JACLYN J. JENKINS


11:20-11:45         Child Custody, Visitation and Family Offense Proceedings

  — What standards should be set for children’s involvement in private custody, visitation and domestic violence cases?

— What forms of involvement are appropriate for children of different ages?

— Should in camera interviews be routinely used, should they be used early in the case, and what alternatives are there?

— Mediation and alternatives to litigation:  Does keeping cases out of court mean keeping children out of the process?

                                                PROF. ANDREW I. SCHEPARD



11:45-12:10         Panel Discussion and Questions





Program Chair

White Plains



Director of Forensic Services

Children and the Law Program

Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston, MA




Family Court Judge and Acting Justice of the Supreme Court





Student and Notes Editor, Family Court Review

Hofstra University School of Law




Special Consultant

Policy, Reform and Legislative Initiatives

California Judicial Council

Los Angeles, CA



Director, Center for Children, Families and the Law

Hofstra University School of Law





Juvenile Rights Practice

Legal Aid Society

New York City




About Robert J. Schack


Robert J. Schack was a founding member of the Committee on Children and the Law and, for many years, Chair of the Legislative Subcommittee. A supervising attorney at the New York State Attorney General's Office, Mr. Schack represented the State in several landmark juvenile justice and child welfare cases. He was a tireless advocate for children’s rights and interests, and contributed enormously to the Committee's and the NYSBA's achievements.



Table of Contents of Program Book

Registration Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Committee on Children and the Law Program
View this Flyer in PDF

Annual Meeting Registration Form

NYSBA General Annual Meeting Information

Register on-line now (not for Law Guardians)

2008 Waiver Form for Law Guardians

Last Updated January 31, 2008