Child Abuse and Neglect: Essential Information for Practicing & Presiding in Child Welfare Cases

April 23 - 24, 2009 Albuquerque, NM

This 2-day training introduces the central legal concepts and practices unique to civil child abuse and neglect cases in New Mexico. Perfect for both new and experienced judges and attorneys, this "core curriculum" provides a comprehensive overview of the child welfare system, from investigation to appeal, emphasizing constitutional and statutory requirements that apply to in-court proceedings and out-of-court events. This program is offered annually. For faculty bios, click here.

Overview of the Training Program

Overview Video

District Court Judge Charles Currier begins our program by welcoming participants and emphasizing how children's law is sui generis, with its own body of statutes, rules, and practices, as well as the rules of evidence that apply in other kinds of cases. Judge Currier acknoweldges the tension between child protection and parents' rights and underscores how attorneys must use collaboration and traditional advocacy to protect parents, children, and families.

Medical Manifestations of Child Abuse and Neglect

Medical Manifestations Video Power Point for Medical Manifestations of Child Abuse and Neglect

In this detailed and graphic presentation, Dr. Karen Campbell helps legal professionals understand how medical experts distinguish between injuries and other medical conditions (such as failure to thrive syndrome) caused by abuse or neglect from those with other organic causes. Dr. Campbell is Medical Director of Child Protective Services for the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and Co-Medical Director of the Child Abuse Response Team (CART) at the UNM Department of Pediatrics.

History and Overview of Key Principles

History and Overview Video Power Point for History and Overview of Key Principles PDF: Putative Father Registry
Putative Father Registry

This presentation describes the evolution of the child abuse and neglect system from the first juvenile courts in the late 1800s (based on parens patriae) to the modern child welfare system we know today—an amalgamation of federal and state law that emphasizes child safety, permanency, and well-being, as well as parents' rights. Dan Pearlman, an agency attorney, explains the differences in purpose and practice between civil and criminal child abuse/neglect cases, the meaning of "best interests of the child," the rights of children and parents, and the requirements of the Adoption and Safe Families Act.

How a Child Enters the System

How a Child Enters the System Video Power Point for How a Child Enters the System An Informal Glossary
Commonly Used Terms
PDF: Relevant Reglations
Relevant Regulations
PDF: Structured Decision Making Tools
Structured Decision Making Tools

In this session, Dan Pearlman, JD, and Grace Hernandez, an Investigative Supervisor, present the nuts and bolts of how children and families come into the child welfare system, covering the out-of-court events that lead up to the filing of a petition and the ex parte custody order. Dan and Grace discuss reporting requirements, agency responses to reports and priorities for investigation, tools for assessing safety, interviewing practices, family centered meetings, the decision to take a child into custody, the decision to file a legal case, and reasonable efforts to prevent removal, among other things.

Roles, Procedures, and Timelines — Part I and Part II

Roles, Procedures and Timelines Video Power Point for Rules, Procedures, Roles and Timelines Children's Court Rule 10-343
Children's Court Rule 10-343
Proposed Changes to Rule 10-343
Proposed Changes to Rule 10-343
Maria C.
Maria C.

In these two sessions, an attorney for children and parents, Cristen Conley, and a Treatment Supervisor for CYFD Protective Services, Cynthia Chavers, walk participants through the life of a case, from entry into foster care through adoption and appeal, looking at the roles and duties of each player, the goals and purposes of each proceeding (whether an in-court proceeding, such as the adjudication, or an out-of-court event, such as the Citizen Review Board, a family-centered meeting, or a mediation), and the requirements of the NM Children's Code and the Adoption and Safe Families Act.

Introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act

Indian Child Welfare Act Video Power Point Slides for Indian Child Welfare Act

District Court Judge John Romero and Amanda Hartmann, JD, describe the history and purposes of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), ICWA's applicability and requirements (jurisdiction, evidence, active efforts, placement preferences, etc.), and the relationship between ASFA and ICWA.

Zealous Representation and Advocacy in a Collaborative System

Power Point: Zealous Advocacy

A typical child welfare is lengthy, involves many different participants, requires participation in a number of formal and informal communications and proceedings, and demands a wide variety of skills of each lawyer involved. This professionalism session explores the complex web of relationships and interactions that arise in the civil child welfare system and examines how lawyers can zealously represent their clients in a system that functions best with a combination of traditional advocacy and collaboration.

Handout materials not specific to any particular session:

Faculty Bios

Administration for Children and Families IV-E Program Instructions

Summary of 2009 Changes to the NM Children's Code