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MSBA CHILDREN AND THE LAW SECTION
Annual Report for
2011-12

Section Membership
As of July 2, 2012, the Children & the Law Section has 170 members.  This accounts for an 9% increase in membership since July 1, 2011.

Financial Status
The Children & the Law Section had an account balance of $1,435.61 as of May 30, 2012. 

Continuing Legal Education Programs and Social Events
The Section hosted 4 CLE programs in fiscal year 2011-12. 

Program Date

Program Title

CLE Event Code and Credit

# of Attendees

9/23/2011

"The Annual State of the Child in Minnesota's Legal System Summit"

159973 / 2.5 Standard and 1.0 EOB

38

10/28/2011

CANCELED - Children of GLBT Relationships: Special Legal Considerations

N/A

N/A

2/27/2012

Anchor Babies: Dispelling Immigration Myths and Revealing Truths

16480 / 2.0 EOB

35

4/26/2012

A Perilous Playground: The Juvenile Jungle Gym of Immigration Enforcement on Children (co-sponsored with the Children & the Law Section and the Immigration Law Section)

166438 / 2.0 Standard

35

5/16/2012

"The Marriage Amendment - Exploring the Potential Impacts on Law and Life and the Children in the Law Section's Annual Meeting"

168658 / 2.0 EOB (still awaiting approval)

31

Legislation and Amicus Briefs
The Children & the Law Section did not submit any legislative proposals for MSBA consideration in 2011-12 and did not take any Section-only legislative positions.  Likewise, the Section did not submit any amicus briefs this year.

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Children & the Law Section annual meeting and elections were held on May 16, 2012, at 2:30 p.m. at the offices of Frederikson & Byron.  In addition to a brief business meeting, the event included a CLE program about the Marriage Amendment on the ballot in Minnesota this fall, and Minnesota laws affecting GLBT families and individuals.

The following individuals were elected to serve as officers from July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013:

Chair:            Linda Miller
Vice Chair:   Wendy Watson
Treasurer:     Lori Semke
Secretary:      Kristen Bullock

The following individual will serve as the Section’s Legislative Liaison to the MSBA Legislative Committee in 2012-13:

Wendy Watson

The following individuals will serve as the Section’s MSBA Assembly representative and alternate from July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012:

Linda Miller, Representative
Wendy Watson, Alternate

Other Section Accomplishments
The Section awarded the Justice Blatz Child Advocate Award in September 2011 at the annual “State of the Child Summit” to Monica Bogucki of Mid-Minnesota Legal Services - Legal Aid Society. 

 

Submitted By:

Lori Semke, Section Chair

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

MSBA CHILDREN AND THE LAW SECTION
Annual Report for
2010-11

Section Membership
As of June 15, 2011, the Children & the Law Section has 153 members.  This accounts for an 11% increase in membership since July 1, 2010.

Financial Status
The Children & the Law Section had an account balance of $1,924.13 as of April 30, 2011. 

Continuing Legal Education Programs and Social Events
The Section hosted eight CLE programs in fiscal year 2010-11. 

Program Date

Program Title

CLE Event Code and Credit

# of Attendees

9/24/2010

The State of the Child in MN

148767; 1.0 EOB and 2.5 Standard Credits

52

10/6/2010

Custodial Agreements and Guardianships for Minors

148893; 1.0 Standard Credits

76

10/28/2010

Issue Spotting in Family Immigration Law: Birth, Marriage, and Death (co-sponsored with Immigration)

149608; 1.5 Standard Credits

35

11/9/2010

Cyberbulling Trends & Legal Implications (co-sponsored with Computer Law)

149846; 1.0 Standard Credits

41

12/17/2010

Children’s Legal and Ethical Issues: Immunizations and Newborn Testing
(co-sponsored with the Children & the Law Section, Food & Drug Law Section and Health Law Sections)

151240; 1.0 Ethics Credits

38

2/1/2011

Annual Children and the Law Legislative Preview Breakfast

152098; 1.5 Standard Credits

31

4/19/2011

Research Involving Children: Legal and Ethical Considerations (co-sponsored with Food & Drug)

154562; 1.0 Ethics Credits

9

5/12/2011

Cyberbullying: Sticks & Stones Will Break My Bones, But Can Electrons Cause Civil Liability

155025; 1.0 Standard Credits

15


Legislation and Amicus Briefs

The Children & the Law Section did not submit any legislative proposals for MSBA consideration in 2010-11 and did not take any Section-only legislative positions.  Likewise, the Section did not submit any amicus briefs this year.

The Section did sponsor a legislative preview CLE and breakfast with a group of Minnesota legislators in an effort to provide timely updates about potential and existing changes in the area of child law.

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Children & the Law Section annual meeting and elections were held on May 12, 2011, at noon at the Minnesota State Bar Association offices.  In addition to a brief business meeting, the event included a CLE program about the civil implications of cyberbullying.

The following individuals were elected to serve as officers from July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012:

Chair: Diana Hamilton
Vice Chair: Lori Semke
Treasurer: Wendy Watson
Secretary: Kristen Bullock

The following individuals were elected to council member positions from July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2013:

Yvonne Moore
Jamie Miller
Linda Miller
Rebecca Fritz
Lori Semke
Elise Buie
Wendy Watson
Susan Smith
Diana Hamilton
Kristen Bullock

The following individual as immediate Past Chair of the Section will serve as the Section’s Legislative Liaison to the MSBA Legislative Committee in 2011-12:

Susan Smith

The following individuals will serve as the Section’s MSBA Assembly representative and alternate from July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012:

Diana Hamilton, Representative
Lori Semke, Alternate

Other Section Accomplishments
The Section awarded two Justice Blatz Child Advocate Awards in September 2010 at the inaugural “State of the Child Summit.” 

The Section continues to investigate Child Law Certification through NACC.

Submitted By:
Susan S. Smith, Section Chair

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MSBA CHILDREN AND THE LAW SECTION
Annual Report for 2006-2007

By Sherri D. Hawley, Chair of the MSBA Children and the Law Section

The Children and the Law Section of the MSBA had less than active year:

Membership: 
The Section has experienced very little participation from section members in the past couple of years.

Section Meetings:
The section did not focus on CLE programs this year, having determined that, while people did sporadically attend CLE’s in prior years, that attendance did not result in any increase in participation in the section.  A meeting was held at the beginning of the year to discuss what members want to see from the section.  Very few members attended and there was no real vision for the section.  A meeting was held in March to address changes in the child support law by allowing members to come together and present the issues they have faced in applying the new law and to learn from others’ experience.  No one attended the meeting other than the section chair.

Service
The section adopted a family in need during December.  Through contributions of a handful of section members, a family of 4 children and their grandmother received everything they had asked for through the Sponsor-a-Family program.

Annual Meeting: 
The Section held its annual meeting on June 28, 2007, at the MSBA’s annual convention held at RiverCentre in St. Paul.  In attendance were Sherri Hawley, Wendy Watson, Irene Opsahl, Gillian Blomquist, and Katarina Jimenez.  All members were notified of the meeting by email and were invited to respond if they were interested in serving on the council or as an officer but could not attend the meeting.  No such responses were received.

Election Results: 
The members attending the annual meeting agreed to the following officers and council members: 

Officers for fiscal 2007-2008 are:
Chair:               Gilliam Blomquist
Treasurer:         Wendy Watson
Council members elected for fiscal 2007-2008 are:       Katarina Jimenez and    Irene Opsahl
The Section’s MSBA representative for 2007-2008 will be Sherri Hawley, past chair of the section.

Fiscal Status: 
The Section finished the year with a surplus of $4,157.09.

 

 

MSBA Children and the Law Section
2004-05 Annual Report


Duly elected in May 2004, the Children and the Law Section officers and council members for the 2004-2005 year were as follows:
Chair Tammy L. Pust
Vice Chair Mark Fiddler
Secretary Angela Montgomery Montez
Treasurer Wendy Watson
Council Members Richard Wayman
Jody Alholinna
Louise Bruce
Daniel Ventres, Jr.

On June 28-29, 2004, the President of the Minnesota State Bar Association hosted organizational meetings for all Section chairs to discuss improved section-to-section communication, membership goals, legislative plans and planned special projects. Chair Pust attended on behalf of the Children and the Law Section and shared the section's plans for partnering with other sections on relevant continuing legal education (CLE) presentations and our ongoing concerns related to viability as an historically small section. This proved to be just one of many opportunities to meet with other Association leadership and work collaboratively to improve the services offered to members of the MSBA.

The Council attended a retreat on August 19, 2004 to plan the upcoming year, at which we:

1. Reviewed the history of the Section to familiarize ourselves with the priorities and accomplishments of the organization over the years [see Attachment A];
2. Discussed the need to and ideas for increasing membership for the section;
3. Reviewed the Section Bylaws to identify any necessary amendments to facilitate increased membership;
4. Identified topics for CLE presentations;
5. Analyzed interest in a legislative agenda;
6. Discussed our ability to participate as a Section in community service projects; and
7. Planned communication improvements for Section members, focusing on the Section website and a proposed newsletter.

The results of the retreat were reported to the membership at our first Section meeting on September 21, 2004 and have formed the basis for the work of the Section during the year.

On August 24, 2004, the Section presented upon invitation to the Minnesota Supreme Court's Listening Session on Children in the Minnesota Courts. In addition to our willingness to work with the Court to improve the lives of children in Minnesota, we emphasized four topics: (1) the need for more training of judicial officers and court personnel related to identification of children with disabilities and/or mental health issues; (2) need for improved transition services for youth aging out of the child welfare system; (3) need to reduce the child welfare system's contribution to the proliferation of youth homelessness; and (4) need for legislative change in child support guidelines. Our presentation was well-received and was included in the report of the proceedings as a resource for further study of relevant issues by the judicial system.

Throughout the year the section hosted the following Continuing Legal Education presentations:

10.28.04 Children's Justice Initiative: What We've Accomplished and What Remains to be Done, The Honorable Susan Miles, Judge of Tenth Judicial District Court

12.16.04 Adoption Rules 101: What You Should Know about New (effective 1/1/05) Minnesota Rules of Adoption Procedure, Gary Debele and Marian Saksena, Walling, Berg & Debele, P.A.

1.20.05 Legal Issues Impacting Homeless Youth in Minnesota: Facts, Figures, and Focus for Future Action, Richard Wayman, Streetworks

3.17.05 Indian Child Welfare Act: The Basics and Beyond, B.J. Jones, Chief Judge of Prairie Island Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Court and Director, Northern Plains Tribal Judicial Training Institute, University of North Dakota School of Law

4.21.05 Special Education Law: Reauthorization of the IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, Amy Goetz, Center for Education Law

5.19.05 Reactive-Attachment Disorder and Best Interests of the Child: Critical
Concepts and Questions
, Krista Nelson, Wilder Foundation Center for
Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder

My thanks to all section officers and members for their productive support this year, and to Eyleen Burnside, Kim Basting, Mary Kempton, Lisa Wilde and other staff of the Minnesota State Bar Association for their assistance throughout the year.

It has been a pleasure to serve as the Chair of the Children and the Law Section of the Minnesota Bar Association. I thank the section for this opportunity, and wish you all well as you continue your work in support of Minnesota's children and families throughout the state

Tammy L. Pust
2004-2005 Chair


MSBA Children and the Law Section
2003-04 Annual Report

MSBA Children and the Law Section’s mission for the 2003-2004 year was to celebrate and promote the membership’s diversity, and to attract new members. Non-members were invited to sample a free CLE; seven CLE programs were held:

October 9, 2003
“Early Neutral Evaluation”
Chief Judge James Swenson, Hennepin County
1.0 hour Standard CLE
* 23 in attendance

November 13, 2003
“Professionalism in Your Practice”
Julius Gernes & Tom Vasaly, MSBA Professionalism Committee
1.0 hour Ethics CLE
* 10 in attendance

December 11, 2003
“Child Support Bills”
Representative Steve Smith, District 33A & Representative Rob Eastlund, District 17A
1.5 hours Standard CLE
* 33 + in attendance

February 12, 2004
“Collaborative Project”
Christine Carney, OFP Attorney, Alexandra House, Inc.
1.0 hour Standard CLE
* 14 in attendance

March 11, 2004
“Nuts & Bolts of School Law”
Kris Avery, IDEA Program Specialist, ARC Hennepin-Carver
Wendy Watson, ARC of Hennepin-Carver
1.0 hour Standard CLE
* 10 in attendance

April 8, 2004
“What’s New in the Court Rules for Juvenile Protection Procedure?”
Ann Stiehm Ahlstrom, MN Supreme Court
1.0 hour Standard CLE
* 17 in attendance

June 17, 2004
“Overview & Update of the Service Members Civil Relief Act”
Daniel B. Ventres, retired JAG officer and Colonel, US Marine Corp.
1.0 hour Standard CLE
* 16 in attendance

--Louise Bruce, Esq.
Chair, MSBA Children & the Law Section (2003-2004)


MSBA Children and the Law Section
2002-03 Annual Report

The Children and the Law Section officers and council members met on August 15, 2002 for an initial meeting to plan the upcoming year, at which:

1. Discussed goals for the section, which included: increase attendance at meetings, improve the website so that it has all minutes and upcoming CLEs, policy focus;
2. Reviewed the member survey, which was to be sent out with a return date of September 9, 2002;
3. Topics for the continuing legal education portion of the section meetings and assignment of responsibility for arranging for speaker(s) for the same were set;
4. Ways to increase membership and visibility of the section was discussed.

The section started the year by surveying all members to determine the best day and time for people to meet, the areas that were most important to section members and possible CLE topics. Over 50 section members responded to the survey. The most striking result was that a vast majority of people preferred meeting over lunch rather than evening meetings. Because of this finding, the meetings were changed to the second Thursday of the month at noon. This led to increased attendance at most CLE presentations. Those presentations were as follows:

1. Children as Witnesses, Mindy Mitnick (October 9, 2002);
2. Changes in the GAL Program, Mark Toogood (November 14, 2002);
3. Undoing Paternity Adjudications, Mark Ponsolle (December 12, 2002);
4. Legislative Session 2003, Nancy Mischel (January 9, 2003);
5. DHS Appeals, Inta Sellars (March 13, 2003);
6. Racial Bias in the Foster Care System, coordinated with HCBA Juvenile Law Section (April 17, 2003);
7. Special Education Administrative Process, Jim Mortenson (May 8, 2003).

The survey also provided information about the areas most important to members. Twenty-seven people said that policy work on behalf of children was the most important reason to be involved in the section, twenty people said CLEs on child related issues and only three said access to volunteer opportunities.

The section did not have any volunteer project this year, but did vote to make a donation to StreetWorks, an advocacy organization for homeless youth. The section considered the possibility of creating a newsletter. However, the newsletter did not come to fruition this year.

The Section Council officers and members for the 2003-2004 year were elected at the May 8, 2003 meeting. They are as follows:

Chair Louise Bruce
Vice-Chair Tammy Pust
Secretary Richard Wayman
Treasurer Mark Fiddler
Officer Marian Saksena (2002-2004 term)
Officer Gail Chang Bohr (2002-2004 term)
Officer Jody Alholina (2003-2005)
Officer Wendy Watson (2003-2005)

I thank all section members for the work they have done for section's activities this past year. I hope that the section accomplished all of its goals for next year. I also want to give special thanks for the administrative support MSBA staff over the past year. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve as co-chair of the Children and the Law Section.

--Bridget Gernander,
2002-2003 Co-Chair


MSBA Children and the Law Section
1998-99 Annual Report

The Children and the Law Section officers and council members met on August 27, 1998 for an initial meeting to plan the upcoming year, at which:

  1. Section positions were discussed (legislative coordinator, to be appointed at the September meeting), newsletter editor/web master (Tonja Rolfson appointed), CLE program chair (Kathy Scott appointed);
  2. A meeting schedule was set;
  3. Topics for the continuing legal education portion of the section meetings and assignment of responsibility for arranging for speaker(s) for the same were set;
  4. Section committees and past activities of the section were discussed;
  5. Special projects for the year were discussed, including the creation of a committee to work on a CLE Institute, continuing sponsorship with regard to the Children's Coalition (United Nations convention on the rights of the child) and the creation of a section newsletter; and
  6. Ways to increase membership and visibility of the section was discussed.

The section had a business meeting each month from September 1998 through May 1999. Section Council meetings were held every other month, prior to the section meeting. Elections for officer and council member vacancies was held at our May 24, 1999 section meeting, in the hopes of increased membership participation. The section's last meeting of the year is to be held in conjunction with a joint meeting of the MSBA's Family Law Section at the Annual MSBA convention in Duluth.

At the September 28, 1998, section meeting, the 1997-1999 list of committees was discussed, and it was decided to streamline the same, in order to prioritize the areas in which the section would make the most impact. The following committees were retained: Section Council (Kathy Scott, chair); Legislative Committee (Heather McCleery and Mark Fiddler, co-chairs); Amicus Committee (Gary Debele, chair); Children's Coalition Committee (f/k/a the Special Projects Committee, Mark Fiddler, chair); Children & the Law Institute Committee (Irene Opshal, chair).

At most of the monthly meetings of the section, a CLE presentation was held. Those presentations were as follows:

  1. Proposed Juvenile Protection Rules (September 28, 1998);
  2. CHIPS Permanency Timelines (October 26, 1998);
  3. Combining the Jurisdiction of Family Court and Juvenile Court and the Ramsey County Pilot Project (January 25, 1999);
  4. Open Adoption: How it Works from a Legal and Human Perspective (February 22, 1999);
  5. Effect of Domestic Violence on Children, including the Effects of Witnessing Domestic Violence: Implications for the Child Maltreatment System (March 22, 1999);
  6. Legislative Response to Holmberg Decision (Child Support Collection Process) and Miscellaneous Legislation Affecting Children (April 26, 1999);
  7. Summary of Legislation Affecting Children (May 24, 1999);
  8. The Intersection of Tribal and State Court: The Clash of the Titans? (Joint CLE with the Family Law Section to be held on July 1, 1999, in Duluth).

Legislation proposed by the section was discussed in the place of a CLE presentation, at the November 23, 1998 and December 14, 1998 section meetings.

At each of our monthly meetings we received a Treasurer's Report from Mark Fiddler. As of the end of April 1999, the balance in the section's account was $848.03. The section did authorize a mailing in May to advertise the above mentioned Tribal and State Court CLE at the MSBA annual convention, with the hopes of increasing attendance at the same.

For the second year in a row we were involved as a section in legislative activities. Heather McCleery and Mark Fiddler were our section's Legislative Committee cochairs and did an excellent job in bringing legislative proposals to the section for discussion, and then bringing the same to the Legislature. The final version of the bill that passed and was signed into law is Senate File 834 and the text is at: http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us:81/SEARCH/BASIS/hstat/public/www/SF. The bill amends Minnesota Statutes Chapter 259 (adoptions) to make minor changes in the putative fathers registry law, makes several changes in the law allowing communication or contact agreements between adoptive parents and a child's birth relatives, and provides for giving full faith and credit to post adoption reporting requirements imposed by foreign countries. The section also joined with the Family Law Section to support or oppose other House and Senate bills relating to children. Hopefully next year we will continue this tradition and advance legislation that our section supports and that benefits children.

Our section also monitored the Supreme Court Task Force's work on changes to the Juvenile Court Protection Rules and the Supreme Court's Parental Cooperation Taskforce. New juvenile court protection rules were enacted. The Parental Cooperation Taskforce's work is still ongoing.

The section considered the possibility of creating a newsletter (e.g. section's web site as a means of disseminating newsletter-type information to the section members) and to hold a Children's Law Institute. However, because of the section's other priorities, these projects were put on hold this year and will hopefully be reconsidered next year.

The section kept in contact with several outside organizations that have an impact on Children and the Law. Kathy Scott was the section's liaison to the Minnesota County Attorney's Association's Juvenile Law Committee. Deborah Randolph was the section's liaison to the Children's Law Center of Minnesota. The Children's Law Center of Minnesota kindly agreed to send a membership recruitment letter (signed by the section chair and the Center's executive director) to the center's mailing list. The section decided not to discontinue monitoring the activity of the high school law clinic program staffed through the Volunteer Lawyer's Network because that program is now firmly established.

The Children's Coalition Committee (f/k/a Special Projects Committee) completed the study commenced last year. The final document is entitled: A Children's Human Rights Coalition, Feasibility Study and Recommendations. This was a joint project between our section and the Kellogg International Leadership Program. Currently, the Children's Coalition Committee has submitted a grant proposal to the MSBA Impact Fund for $10,000. The project title is "Children's Human Rights 2000 Project." The proposal is to sponsor a conference in November 1999 at the University of Minnesota entitled, "The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Implications for Children in Minnesota." Cosponsored by the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, and the University of Minnesota Children, Youth and Family Consortium, this regional conference will: (1) educate the legal community and public about how the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) applies to Minnesota's children, and (2) develop practical strategies for implementing the CRC in Minnesota law and policy. The conference would use "Open Space Technology" (OST), a conference methodology in which the participants break into small groups and produce a final report before the end of the conference. The conference would coincide with the 10th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly's adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Two of the sections preliminary efforts identified in last year's annual report have gone forward by developing CLE's that addressed such topics. That is, working with the Family Law Section and the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association with regard to children's issues in tribal and state courts; and addressing the issue of combining the jurisdictions of juvenile, family, and probate court.

It has been a very successful year for the section. While some projects did not get off the ground, many were successfully completed or the groundwork laid for future action by the section. Goals for next year include:

  1. Continue legislative activities;
  2. Continue to provide quality CLE's at section meetings;
  3. Sponsor the November 1999 CRC conference, if we receive the impact grant, and if not, plan to co-sponsor a Children's Law Institute with the Family Law Section or other child advocacy group;
  4. Set up a Bylaws Committee to look at amendments to the same;
  5. Set up a section library at the new MSBA offices, that would contain section notices, agendas, minutes and other resource materials; and
  6. Issue a section newsletter.

The Section Council officers and members for the 1999-2000 year were elected at the May 24, 1999 meeting. They are as follows:

Chair Tonja Rolfson
Vice-Chair Heather McCleery
Secretary Rachel Cleary
Treasurer Mark Fiddler (second term)
Officer Gary Debele (1998-2000 term)
Officer Inta Sellars (1998-2000 term)
Officer Louise Bruce (1999-2001)
Officer Kathy Scott (1999-2001)

I am very proud of the work our section has done this past year. I thank all section members for all the work they have done to promote the welfare of children through their participation in the section and the section's activities this past year. I also want to give special thanks for the administrative support MSBA staff have given the section and me this past year. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve as chair of the Children and the Law Section for the 1998-1999 year.

--Kathryn P. Scott,
1998-1999 Chair

 


MSBA Children and the Law Section
1997-98 Annual Report

The officers and the Executive Committee members met on Monday, July 28, 1997 for an initial meeting to plan the upcoming year for the Children and the Law Section. At that time, a list of topics was agreed upon for the continuing legal education meetings for the upcoming year, a discussion was had about past activities of the section, and there was discussion of special projects for the upcoming year. Meeting dates were set and section committee assignments were reviewed. Special projects highlighted for the upcoming year included working with the Children's Law Center of Minnesota, investigating the American Bar Association's adoption project, the creation of a "Special Projects Committee," consideration of the Children and the Law Section sponsoring a continuing legal education institute through the MSBA, and the creation of a section newsletter. Ongoing discussion was had regarding ways to increase membership and visibility of the section.

The section had a business meeting each month from September through May. Executive Committee meetings were held every other month. The year-end meeting was held in conjunction with a joint meeting of the MSBA's Family Law Section and the Annual MSBA convention in Duluth. At each of the monthly meetings of the section, a CLE presentation was held. Those presentations were as follows:

  1. September 22, 1997: Jody DeSmidt and Jan Beebe, "Changing Trends in Adoption from a Legal and Social Perspective."
  2. October 27, 1997: Kathy Scott, "Juvenile Law Legislative Update."
  3. November 24, 1997: Judy Nord, "Implementation of the New Guardian ad Litem Rules."
  4. December 15, 1997: Margaret Westin, "Data Practices as they Apply to Children and the Law."
  5. January 26, 1998: Randy Gullickson, "School Adequacy Lawsuit in St. Paul."
  6. February 23, 1998: Minh Ta, "Minnesota Task Force on Maltreatment of Minors Update and Summary of Pending Child Welfare Legislation."
  7. March 23, 1998: Professor Esther Wattenberg, "Dual-Track Theory."
  8. April 27, 1998: Sarah McNeely and Deanna Steckman, "Foster Care: What You Don't Hear About."
  9. May 18, 1998: Sarah McNeely and Deanna Steckman, "Implications of the New Foster Care Legislation."
  10. June 25, 1998: Loretta Frederick and Judge Mary Louise Klas, "Presentations from the Joint Section Committee on Children and Domestic Violence," and Judge Heidi Schellhas and. Rob Scott, "Presentation on Opening Juvenile Court in CHIPS Cases."

At each of our monthly meetings we received a treasurer's report from Tonja Rolfson. Early on in the year, it became apparent that our section was experiencing financial difficulties. Under Tonja's leadership, the section implemented a plan to increase dues and reduce expenses so as to put the section on sound financial footing next year.

For the first time in the section's history, we were involved as a section in legislative activities. Heather McCleery was our legislative committee chairperson and did an excellent job in leading the section into this new area. I am proud to report that the section, with the assistance of MSBA lobbyist Mike Flanagan, successfully advanced legislative initiatives to correct some deficiencies in the Putatitve Father's Adoption Registry and also modified provisions in the statute allowing for contact agreements in open adoptions. Hopefully next year we will continue this tradition and advance legislation that our section supports and that benefits children.

Our section also monitored the Supreme Court Task Force's work on opening up CHIPS proceedings in juvenile court. This committee worked under the direction of incoming chairperson Kathy Scott. Attorney Candace Barr was the section's liaison to the Supreme Court Task Force. We received reports on this project throughout the year and this topic is the subject of a program featuring Judge Heidi Schellhas and Assistant Anoka County Attorney Rob Scott at the year-end meeting, held in conjunction with the MSBA annual convention.

The section considered the possibility of creating a newsletter. This project was chaired by Tonja Rolfson. Much discussion was had regarding the newsletter, with the general consensus being that the section should do one. However, because of the section's financial difficulties, this project was put on hold this year and will hopefully be reconsidered next year. One of the options being considered is to use the section's web site as a means of disseminating newsletter-type information to the section members.

The section kept in contact with several outside organizations that have an impact on Children and the Law. Kathy Scott was the section's liaison to the Minnesota County Attorney's Association's Juvenile Law Committee. Gail Chang Bohr, the executive director of the Children's Law Center of Minnesota, kept the section apprised of that organization's many activities and continued the ongoing close relationship between the Children and the Law Section and the Children's Law Center of Minnesota. Gail Chang Bohr frequently reported to the Children and the Law Section on the activities of the American Bar Association's Children and the Law Projects. The section continued to monitor the activity of the high school law clinic program staffed through the Volunteer Lawyer's Network under the direction of Geri Pederson.

Several new projects were begun this year that will hopefully continue on into the years to come. As indicated above, the section created a "Special Projects Committee" that initially started out with the task of reviewing a myriad of studies conducted both here in Minnesota and across the country that have looked at children's legal issues. The initial plan was to put together some legislative initiatives to advance the cause of children and the law. As the group met over the year, the focus of this Special Projects Committee has turned to the creation of a children's lobby. The Special Projects Committee now has nearly 20 members who will hopefully continue to work on this project in the years to come. Section member and incoming Treasurer Mark Fiddler has been instrumental in seeking funding through his involvement with the Kellogg Foundation to support a feasibility study. Questionnaires are now being formulated to send out to interested entities to solicit their input, and an overall proposal for the project continues to be formulated. Look for more activity on this project in the months to come.

There are preliminary efforts now underway to create a committee that will analyze children's issues in tribal courts in this state and perhaps to work with the Family Law Section and the Native American Bar Association to propose criteria that tribal courts and state district courts would use in resolving jurisdictional disputes between state and tribal courts. There is also a preliminary discussion regarding the possibility of the section creating a committee to address the issue of combining the jurisdictions of juvenile, family, and probate court and working with other MSBA committees and sections involved in this issue.

There were some projects that unfortunately did not get off the ground this year, but can perhaps be considered in the years to come. One of these was the American Bar Association's Adoption Project. Early in the year I spoke with Bob DeNardo, the head of the Adoption Unit at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, about this project. DHS, the ABA, and other interested groups across the country are moving in the direction of increasing activities in the adoption area and working with the significant changes that have occurred in both the federal and state level on dealing with the problem of increasing numbers of children in foster care. Hopefully, the section will be able to work on this issue and offer support to DHS and/or local county units to assist in increasing the numbers of adoptions. I would also like to see the section doing some amicus work, in addition to the legislative activity that has just begun this past year. Last, I would like the section to revisit the issue of putting on a Children and the Law institute for next year. I believe our section has come to a point in its history where there is enough interest and certainly the issues are of such a significant nature that this would justify at least a full day CLE/Institute devoted to children and the law issues.

The officers for the 1998/1999 year were elected at the May 18, 1998 meeting. They are as follows:

  • Chair
    Kathy Scott
  • Vice-Chair/Chair Elect
    Tonja Rolfson
  • Treasurer
    Mark Fiddler
  • Secretary
    Shawn Fremstad
  • Executive Officers
    Gary Debele (2 year term)
    Inta Sellars (2 year term)
    Tami Pust (1 year remaining)
    Christa Anders (1 year remaining)

I am very proud of the work our section has done this past year and I look forward to continuing to be active in the section next year and beyond. I thank all section members and the MSBA staff for giving me the opportunity to serve as chairman of the Children and the Law Section for the 1997-1998 year.

--Gary A Debele,
1997-98 Chair


MSBA Children and the Law Section
1996-97 Annual Report

The Children and the Law Section Long Range Plan identifies three goals or priorities. The following report identifies section activities for the 1996-97 year within these priority areas.

Goal Number One: to ensure that Minnesota attorneys have multidisciplinary training and educational opportunities pertaining to children's issues.
The section sponsored CLE components at every section meeting. The topics included: Opportunities for Direct Services to Children -- Partners in Human Rights Education and the Volunteer Lawyers Network School Clinics; The Representation of Children: How Minnesota Compares to Other States; Juvenile Law Update; The Federal Welfare Reform Law and its Impact on Children: Perspectives from the State and Advocates; Report from the Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Child Support and Visitation; Children as Witnesses; Special Education Law and Issues; the Children's Mental Health Act: What Attorneys Need to Know; and Preserving the Family vs. Protecting the Child: Is Visitation or Reunification Always in the Best Interest of the Child?

The section cosponsored, along with the Children's Law Center of Minnesota, the following training: Foster Child Advocacy Project Training and Truancy Prevention Project Training.

Goal Number Two: to provide public service and outreach to children and child advocacy organizations by making opportunities for section members to provide direct service to children or agencies serving children's interests.
Opportunities were provided for section members to provide direct services through: The Volunteer Lawyers Network High School Clinics, The Partners in Human Rights Education Program, The Foster Child Advocacy Project, The Truancy Prevention Project, and representation of children at SSI termination hearings.

Members were also asked to participate in: Youth and Crime Institute planning, Children's Law Center of Minnesota -- Ramsey County Unified Court Pilot Project Evaluation, and Statewide Juvenile and Family Courts Mental Health Conference planning.

Goal Number Three: to provide advocacy regarding children's legal issues and market the section to ensure that others are aware of children's issues and the services the section can provide.
Section members actively participated in various statewide task forces including: the Supreme Court Task Force on Foster Care and Adoption and the Supreme Court Task Force on Child Support and Visitation. Members also provided other section members with valuable legislative updates and discussion opportunities. The section also provided legal columns related to children's issues as part of a public relations project funded through the MSBA Impact Fund.

Officers for the 1996-1997 year were: Christa Anders, chair; Gary Debele, vice chair; Lucia Davies, treasurer; and Dwight Penas, secretary. The Executive Council was comprised of Richard Currotte, Tammy Pust, Shawn Fremstad, and Inta Sellars.

Additionally, Jean Holloway served as legislative liaison and Gail Chang Bohr participated as an important part of the section planning activities in her role as executive director of the Children's Law Center of Minnesota.

Section officers and council for 1997-1998 are: Gary Debele, chair; Kathy Scott, vice chair; Tonja Rolfson, treasurer; and Heath McCleary, secretary. The Executive Council is comprised of Tammy Pust, Shawn Fremstad, and Christa Anders.

A special thanks to the 1996-1997 section officers and council for all of their support and assistance.

Christa Anders,
Chairperson

 

 

- Last Updated 06/21/2013 -

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