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University of Baltimore School of Law

Center for Families, Children  and the Courts 

CFCC's Full Court PressSpring/Summer 2011
In This Issue
Telling it to the Judges
Honoring Legal AId, and Human Rights
Families Matter Collaboration Continues
UCS Symposium Draws Crowd
Celebrating 10 Years! 

Professor David Wexler speaking with Judge Peggy Hora and  UB Vice President Peter Toran (Photo by S. Rubinstein)

CFCC's tenth anniversary was a festive affair, with friends from far and wide coming to reminiscence and celebrate with us.  The Honorable Peggy Fulton Hora, former drug court judge in Alameda County (California) and a national and international expert on problem-solving courts, and Professor David Wexler, distinguished research professor emeritus of law at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law and co-founder of therapeutic jurisprudence, spoke about therapeutic jurisprudence and the courts in a noon lecture.  CFCC also hosted an evening celebration that included remarks from Maryland Chief Judge Robert M. Bell, Maryland First Lady and Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley, and University of Baltimore President Robert Bogomolny.

Here's to another wonderful ten years!


Professor Barbara Babb speaking about unified family courts

(Photo by L. Oswin)

CFCC Tells it to the Judges: The Truancy Court Program 

On March 18, CFCC Director Barbara Babb and Senior Fellow Gloria Danziger traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to participate on an ASTAR (The Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center) panel that discussed CFCC's Truancy Court Program.  The panel was part of a two-day training session for judges from around the country to enhance their understanding of scientific issues that affect children adjudicated by the courts.  
Joining to Honor The Maryland Legal Aid Bureau's 100th Anniversary, with a Human Rights Focus

The University of Baltimore School of Law and the University of Maryland School of Law co-sponsored a day-long symposium to launch the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau's 100th Anniversary Celebration.  The symposium, "Advancing Human Rights and Justice for All," included opening remarks by Wade Henderson,  president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Professor of Public Interest Law at the David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia.  Additional speakers included: Professor Edgar S. Cahn, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Law, the David A. Clarke School of Law,  University of the District of Columbia;  Professor Florence Roisman, the William F. Harvey Professor of Law at Indiana University School of Law -- Indianapolis; Professor Lisa A. Crooms, Howard University School of Law; and  Professor Barbara Olshansky, Visiting Professor of Law, the University of Maryland School of Law.
LAB panel

Professors Cahn, Milleman and Babb, introduced by the LAB's Joan Little (Photo by S. Rubinstein) 

Families Matter: Spreading the Word

CFCC continues its collaboration with the American Bar Association Section of Family Law (FLS) on the Families Matter initiative that was launched at last year's invitation-only symposium on June 25-26, 2010.  The Winter 2011 issue of CFCC's Unified Family Court Connection newsletter is devoted entirely to articles penned by symposium participants.  The April FLS newsletter features a link to the PDF of the UFC Connection, and it can be accessed here and on CFCC's website. In addition, there was a special program on the initiative at the FLS Continuing Legal Education (CLE) meeting on April 6-9.  The FLS plans to continue its focus on the initiative at its Fall 2011 CLE meeting with a plenary on promising practices in family law.




Two CFCC Student Fellows received University of Baltimore (UB) 2011 Service-Learning Scholar Awards for excellence in combining their academic coursework with community service and active reflection. Meaghan Eyler and Kate Wolfson, who were enrolled in the Student Fellows Program during the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters, accepted the award for their work in CFCC's Truancy Court Program during the annual student life and leadership awards on May 1.  The UB Provost's Office selected Ms. Wolfson and Ms. Eyler for this very competitive honor in recognition of students who apply their knowledge and skills in their community.



 CFCC Student Fellows Meaghan Eyler and Kate Wolfson holding their awards. 


The Corporation for National and Community Service defines service learning as "a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities." Service learning can be curricular (existing within the structure of a credit-bearing course) or co-curricular (existing outside the structure of a credit-bearing course).


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The Center for Families, Children and the Courts hosted an overflow crowd for its third Urban Child Symposium. The topic, "The Urban Child in the Child Welfare System:  From Fracture to Fix," was more than sobering, but the combined contributions of the expert panelists and the audience created an uplifting experience for all of those who attended. Read more about the event in this newsletter (and link to a podcast and powerpoints), where you can also read about developments on the Families Matter front, see photos from CFCC's 10th Anniversary Celebration, learn about outreach and our Truancy Court Program, and see highlights of a symposium marking the 100th Anniversary of Maryland's Legal Aid Bureau.
In case you missed our inaugural issue of CFCC's Full Court Press, you can visit our e-archives here, where you also will find copies of our Truancy Court E-newsletter. We will soon have dedicated channels on YouTube and Vimeo for our podcasts, and we have just launched a new Facebook page,  at
We hope you will follow along with one or more of our communications products, and will join the conversation
Third Annual Urban Child Symposium Draws Large Crowd; Features National and Home-Grown Child Welfare Experts Sharing Policy and Personal Insights


The crowd spilled out of the University of Baltimore School of Law Moot Court Room at CFCC's third annual Urban Child Symposium on April 7, as speakers educated and moved the rapt audience. Shay Bilchik, former Director of the Child Welfare League of America and founder and Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, delivered the keynote address for "The Urban Child in the Child Welfare System: From Fracture to Fix." He elaborated on the critical importance of family engagement, policies, and multi-system efforts to address the needs of children and families. Social workers, lawyers, academics, students, interested citizens, policy makers, teachers, and program providers were all exhorted to get involved and make a difference in the lives of the state's most vulnerable citizens.



Keynote speaker Shay Bilchick addressing the audience  (Photo by A. Green)



Panelists gave very candid assessments of their experiences working in, trying to change, or dealing with the child welfare system. Former Maryland Department of Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald shared her insights into the system's responsibility for child well-being and the importance of intervening early enough to prevent children from going into foster care. Attorney Mitchell Mirviss questioned whether thirty years of an increased due process and court focus had amounted to  better outcomes for children, when other needs went unmet. Columbia Law School Professor Jane Spinak argued that the focus of the child welfare system should be on child safety and stability first and foremost, with more resources being shifted to prevention. The ABA Center on Children and the Law's Director Howard Davidson offered sixteen proposals for child protection laws to guide practice improvements.




"Appropriate Scope and Process of the Child Welfare System" Panel, including presenters (from left) Brenda Donald, Mitchell Y. Mirviss, Howard Davidson, and Jane M. Spinak (Photo by A. Green)


From the front lines, Maryland Legal Aid Bureau CINA Chief Attorney Joan Little offered a practitioner's perspective, and Dean Richard Barth of the University of Maryland's School of Social Work gave recommendations for strengthening child welfare laws in Baltimore City. Carmen Amyot Brown spoke about providing effective services to children and families in the child welfare system from her perspective as an administrator for the Maryland Department of Human Resources and senior vice president of the Arrow Ministries, a service provider for foster youth. Gina Wood, Director for Policy and Planning in the Office of the President at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, spoke about the importance of early intervention into the lives of families struggling with social, economic, emotional, and other problems.


   Panelist Gina Wood with moderator and CFCC Senior Fellow Gloria Danziger (photo by A. Green)


Other panelists offered firsthand accounts of the child welfare system.  A mother, Melissa Brandenburg, told about how she had given up her children for adoption because of incarceration and drug abuse, and she urged better treatment services for parents. A grandmother, Pat Owens, related how she had become an effective advocate for the notification of kin before an adoption because her own grandchild had been adopted without her knowing of his existence. Shantel Randolph, now Director of Youth Advocacy with the Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center, spoke from her own experiences as a foster child and as the creator of Foster Youth Inc., a self-advocacy program; she noted the alarming number of youth falling through the cracks and aging out of care into homelessness. Baltimore City Circuit Court Chief Judge Martin Welch, University of Baltimore School of Law Professor Daniel Hatcher, and Baltimore County Department of Social Services Assistant Director Judith Schagrin rounded out the program. Judge Welch drew from his many years of experience in the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, and he counseled better coordination and cooperation among partners in the system, as well as cross-system collaboration.  Professor Hatcher decried the severe fiscal problems that have affected child welfare agencies and talked about children's need for money, already allocated in their name, to be used for their transition to adulthood rather than absorbed into states' general funds.  Ms. Schagrin discussed the challenges of a state child welfare system's local departments, and she emphasized that any true reform must start with understanding and addressing workforce issues.


Podcasts of the conference are available by selecting these links, and powerpoints are available, as well.


Thank you to one and all for making this our best-attended Urban Child Symposium.


The First Lady's Truancy Court Program  Reception

                                  Happy participants 

Judge Catherine Curran O'Malley, the First Lady of Maryland, has been a TCP judge since 2005. On June 6, she once again opened the Governor's Mansion to honor TCP graduates with an end-of-year celebration. They, their families, school personnel, CFCC staff, judges, and others enjoyed the festivities, with a few eyes welling up at the touching and remarkable changes in some children's lives. For more pictures, follow this link:

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Barbara Babb, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Center for Families, Children and the Courts
CFCC Staff: Gloria Danziger, Senior Fellow; Sharon Rubinstein, Senior Fellow; Andrea Bento, TCP Manager and School Liaison; Anthony "Bubba" Green, TCP Mentor Coordinator; Sharon Curley, Program Administrative Specialist; Elizabeth Mullen, Administrative Assistant

Editing Staff: Barbara Babb, Editor; Gloria Danziger, Editor; Sharon Rubinstein, Editor/Writer; Elizabeth Mullen, Assistant Editor


University of Baltimore School of Law Center for Families, Children and the Courts

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