Community Symposia

The History & Future of The Indian Child Welfare Act (Session 1): Background and Implementation of the Law

Thursday September 29, 2022

Featured Speakers: 

Kimberly Cluff
California Tribal Families Coalition

Sheldon Spotted Elk 
Casey Family Programs

Nikki Farago
Minnesota Department of Human Services

Click here to view symposium video

Across the country, there are 574 federally recognized Native American tribes that have a government-to-government relationship with the United States. As sovereign nations, they have legal jurisdiction over their lands and citizens. However, until the passing of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), the authority of Tribes to exercise their exclusive jurisdiction over their Native children in child custody proceedings was not recognized. ICWA established procedural guidelines for placement and removal protocols that mandate notice to Native families and Tribes in all pending child custody proceedings to prioritize family integrity and adhere to tribal sovereignty. In recent years, ICWA has been a legal battleground between non-native families seeking to adopt native children and native families trying to keep children connected to their culture and communities. The current legal challenge to ICWA is headed to the Supreme Court, which could either reaffirm the constitutionality of the law acknowledging the special relationship between tribes and the federal government or strike it down as an unconstitutional “race-based” law in violation of equal protection and states’ rights.

Voting Access and Preparation for Youth in Foster Care: Strategies for Supporting Civic Engagement

Thursday April 15, 2021

Featured Speakers: 

Lexie Grüber
Child Welfare Advocate & DNC Presidential Fellow

Jamie Lowery
Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth

Panel of Young Adult Experts

Click here to view symposium video

Click here to view the Field Center’s presentation slides.

Click here to view Lexie Grüber’s presentation slides.

Every year, approximately 20,000 young adults age out of foster care – of age to vote and with critical interests to protect. Thousands more are in extended foster care past age 18. These young people may not be made aware of their right to vote or face additional barriers due to their placements. Civic engagement has an important impact on young adults, especially youth with experience in foster care, who face increased challenges with health care, housing, education, and employment. Federal laws require child welfare agencies to request certain vital documents and requires that young men register with Selective Service before a young adult exits foster care. However, there are few, if any, regulations in place to ensure that foster youth know about their right to vote, and that those who are interested in registering to vote are supported in doing so. Advocates can inform young people about their rights and help them develop the skills they need to transition to adulthood and defend those rights. With the upcoming Pennsylvania primary election on May 18th, it is essential that older youth in foster care and those who support them know how to make sure they have any required documents and a plan to make their voices heard.

This virtual symposium brought together young adults with experience in foster care, advocates, and child welfare practitioners to offer perspectives, interventions, and strategies for improving access to voting for youth in foster care.

Read more >

Family Defense and Child Welfare: Exploring the Role of Representation for Parents in Improving Outcomes for Children

Friday March 5, 2021

Featured Speakers: 

Martin Guggenheim, Esq.
New York University School of Law

Kathleen Creamer, Esq.
Managing Attorney of the Family Advocacy Unit, Community Legal Services

April Lee
Peer Parent Advocate, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

Maggie Potter, MSW, MSSP
Social Worker in the Family Advocacy Unit, Community Legal Services

Tim Ross, PhD
Applied Researcher, Action Research

Click here to view symposium video.
Click here to view presentation slides.

Across the country, parents are provided with free legal counsel when their children are removed and placed in foster care. However, the law does not define the type of legal representation to which parents are entitled, nor does it require a certain quality of representation. One form of parental representation – an interdisciplinary model in which parents are represented by a team of attorneys, social workers, and parent advocates – shows promise in producing better outcomes for children and families involved with the child welfare system. A recent study of New York City’s parent representation providers found that children of parents represented by interdisciplinary teams spent less time in foster care. The panel of academic, research and practice experts will present the findings from this important study, provide examples of local programs providing interdisciplinary representation to parents, and discuss the role of quality legal representation for parents in reforming the child welfare system.

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Field Center 2018 Seminar Series: Predictive Analytics

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Featured Speaker:

Dr. Richard Berk
Professor of Criminology and Statistics
University of Pennsylvania

The Field Center Faculty Directors invited Professor Richard Berk, Professor of Criminology and Statistics at the University of Pennsylvania to speak on the topic of Predictive Analytics.

Dr. Berk is an international expert on evaluation research and statistical analysis. He has worked with the Philadelphia Department of Adult Probation and Parole and applies statistical algorithms to predict risk of repeated crime among the more than 50,000 adults on probation and parole. Dr. Berk’s presentation examined the possible application of Predictive Analytics to child protective services.

Watch the seminar discussion here >

Read more >

SP2 Penn Top 10 Talk: A Speaker Series on Social Impact

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Featured Speaker:

Dean John L. Jackson, Jr.
School of Social Policy and Practice
University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) Dean John L. Jackson, Jr. lead a dynamic panel of renowned experts from Penn’s social justice school as they examined child welfare and explored methods and means to ensure the prosperous future of our youth.

The event – SP2 Penn Top 10 Talk: A Speaker Series on Social Impact – was hosted at the University Club at Penn, and was live streamed and accessible to anyone interested in the discussion in real time. Q&A session followed the panel discussion. This event was the official kick-off to a compelling speaker series on social policy and social justice issues that affect individuals and communities locally and globally.

Panelists included:

Cynthia Figueroa, Commissioner
Philadelphia Department of Human Services

Debra Schilling Wolfe, MEd
Founding Executive Director of the Field Center

Ezekiel Dixon-Román, PhD, Associate Professor
School of Social Policy & Practice

Social Policy and Social Justice is the final component of the SP2 Penn Top 10 project – – a multimodal initiative launched in 2016 designed to educate, enlighten, and empower voters and policymakers from all walks of life leading up to the 2016 presidential election and beyond.

Read more >

Watch the panel discussion here >

Kids and Politics in the Year of Disruption

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Featured Speaker:

Bruce Lesley
President, First Focus

Bruce Lesley is the President of First Focus, a nonpartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. With more than 25 years of public policy experience, Mr. Lesley has worked on health care, education, human services, and immigration issues in several different capacities on Capitol Hill, and on health and human services policy on county and state levels of government.

Following the presentation, Carla Robinson, Editor-in-Chief of Child World NEWS, moderated a discussion on implications for the local community with Bruce Lesley and Donna Cooper, Executive Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY).

This community symposium is presented in collaboration with Child’s World America.

Watch the symposium here >

Read more >

A Fine Balance

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Featured Speaker:

Cindy W. Christian, MD
Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Medical Director, Philadelphia Department of Human Services

Dr. Cindy Christian reprises her highly acclaimed 2015 David L. Chadwick Endowed Lecture on A Fine Balance, first delivered at the San Diego International Conference on Child Maltreatment. In this important presentation, Dr. Christian discusses the balances required in thinking about child welfare work: nurture vs. nature, children’s rights vs. parents’ rights, truth and lies, and rules and exceptions. The work of child protection requires constant consideration of alternatives, and balancing these options is vital for the well-being of children.

Cindy W. Christian, MD holds the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Chair in Child Abuse Prevention. She is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and was appointed as the first Medical Director for the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. Dr. Christian formerly chaired the American Academy of Pediatrics Child Abuse and Neglect Committee and is a Faculty Director of Penn’s Field Center for Children’s, Policy, Practice & Research.

Read more >

Listen to the symposium on iTunesU >

The U.S. Response to Throwaway Children: From Orphan Trains to the Current Migrant Crisis

Monday, February 9, 2015

Special Guest:

Christina Baker Kline
Author of Orphan Train

The United States has historically faced the challenge of responding to the needs of children without parents to provide for their care. The Orphan Train provides a historical context for today’s social, moral and legal crisis created by large numbers of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at our borders.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research held a well-attended Community Symposium featuring three of the nation’s leading experts on this topic:

Chris James-Brown, CEO of Child Welfare League of America, the nation’s oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization who has been at the forefront of the current crisis facing migrant children.

Cindy Connolly, PhD, RN, PNP, Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and Field Center Faculty Director whose research analyzes the forces that have shaped children’s health care delivery and family policy in the United States.

Howard Davidson, JD, Director of the American Bar Association’s Center on Children and the Law, and an instrumental voice regarding immigration and children’s rights.

Read more >

Listen to the symposium on iTunesU >

The Witch Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Featured Speaker:

Ross E. Cheit

It has become widely accepted that a series of high-profile child sexual abuse cases from the 1980s and early 1990s were “witch hunts.” That view first took hold in the media, then it spread to the courts and to parts of academia. Painstaking original trial court research challenges the accuracy of that narrative.  These findings have significant implications on the debate over “child suggestibility” and the appropriateness of “taint hearings” for children.

Ross E. Cheit is professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Brown University. He has a  PhD and law degree from the University of California Berkeley. Dr. Cheit is an inactive member of the California bar and is Chair of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission. He spent more than fifteen years researching his new book, The Witch-Hunt Narrative (Oxford University Press).

Read more >

Parental Representation in Dependency Proceedings:
Best Practice from a Multidisciplinary Perspective

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Featured Speakers:

Mimi Laver, Esq.
Director of Legal Education at the ABA Center on Children and the Law and Director of the National Project to Improve Representation for Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System.

Corey Shdaimah, LLM, PhD
Associate Professor and Academic Coordinator of the JD/MSW dual degree program at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work and the author of Negotiating Justice: Legal Services Lawyers, Low-Income Clients, and the Quest for Social Change.

Ronald E. Richter, Esq.
Commissioner, New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services and former Judge, Family Court of the State of New York.

Watch Part 1 of the symposium on iTunesU >

Watch Part 2 of the symposium on iTunesU >

How Well Do Our Laws Protect Children? International Models of Child Protection

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Featured Speaker:

Jaap E. Doek, JD

Commentary by the Field Center’s Faculty Directors:

Richard Gelles, PhD
Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice; Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence

Kara Finck, JD
Practice Associate Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Director, Interdisciplinary Child Advocacy Clinic

Cindy Christian, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Chair in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect; Medical Director, Philadelphia Department of Human Services


Cynthia Connolly, PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; Faculty Director, Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, & Research

Jaap E. Doek, JD
Emeritus professor of Family and Juvenile Law at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, former chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and founding member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), will explore the many different ways countries address issues of child protection.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

The Racial Geography of Child Welfare

Wednesday November 28, 2012

Featured Speaker:

Dorothy Roberts, JD

Dorothy Roberts is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, George A. Weiss University Professor, and the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania, where she holds appointments in the Law School and Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, she has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race, and class in legal issues and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics. Professor Roberts is the author of the award-winning books Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty and Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare, as well as co-editor of six books on constitutional law and gender. She has also published more than eighty articles and essays in books and scholarly journals, including Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Stanford Law Review. Her latest book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century, was published by the New Press in July 2011.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

50 Years Since Publication of the “Battered Child Syndrome”: Can America Stop Hurting Its Children

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Featured Speaker:

John Leventhal, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University

Dr. John Leventhal is Professor of Pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine and the Yale Child Study Center, and is the Medical Director of the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital Child Abuse Program. In 2010, Dr. Leventhal received the Ray Helfer Society Award for his distinguished achievement in the field of child abuse and neglect.  He has published more than 140 articles and chapters and has lectured throughout the United States and internationally. Dr. Leventhal is the former Editor-in-Chief of the academic journal, Child Abuse & Neglect, The International Journal. He is recognized nationally for his research in the area of child maltreatment, where he has focused on the epidemiology of child maltreatment, perinatal risk factors for abuse and neglect, and distinguishing abusive from accidental injuries. Dr. Leventhal’s most recent research, published in Pediatrics, is Using U.S. Data to Estimate the Incidence of Serious Physical Abuse in Children, and is the first study to provide national estimates on the occurrence of physical injuries due to physical abuse.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: Challenges in Cross-System Policy and Practice

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Featured Speakers:

Robert Schwartz, Esq.
Executive Director, Juvenile Law Center

Hon. Kevin Dougherty
Administrative Judge, Philadelphia Family Court Juvenile Division

Timothy Ross, PhD
Managing Partner, Action Research Partners

Robert Schwartz co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975 and has been its Executive Director since 1982. Schwartz is a national leader in advocating for children’s rights and has extensive experience in all areas of juvenile law, including both delinquency and dependency.

Kevin Dougherty is supervising Administrative Judge for both divisions of the Philadelphia Family Court Juvenile Division. Judge Dougherty oversees all dependency and delinquency cases for the Philadelphia court system and has developed innovative policies to address the unique needs of dual-system youth.

Timothy Ross is Managing Partner at Action Research Partners. Dr. Ross previously worked at Child Trends as senior program area director of the Child Welfare Program Area. Prior to joining Child Trends, Dr. Ross directed the Child Welfare, Health, and Justice Program at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York and served as Vera’s research director.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

The Effects of Early Childhood Trauma on the Developing Brain

Monday, April 12, 2010

Featured Speaker:

Frank W. Putnam, MD
Professor of Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry
Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Frank W. Putnam, MD is a Professor of Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Following his residency in adult psychiatry at Yale University, Dr. Putnam joined the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program. After completing a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry, Dr. Putnam focused his research on the psychological, biological and social effects of child abuse. In 1999, he became Director of the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children, which is dedicated to improving prevention, evaluation and treatment services for traumatized children and their families. Dr. Putnam is the author of over 165 scientific publications and two books on topics related to child abuse and neglect.

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The Nexus of Housing and Child Welfare

Monday, April 12, 2010

Featured Speaker:

Corey Shdaimah, LLM, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work

Corey Shdaimah is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work and the academic coordinator for the MSW/JD Dual Degree Program. She holds law degrees from Tel Aviv University and the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. Her research focuses on how low-income families and professionals who work with them navigate government policies. Shdaimah is the author of Negotiating Justice: Legal Services Lawyers, Low-income Clients, and the Quest for Social Change.  Her new book entitled Change Research: A Case Study of Social Workers and Housing Advocacy, co-authored with Roland Stahl and Sanford Schram, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. Shdaimah’s articles on child welfare have appeared in Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, and Journal of Progressive Human Services.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

Health Care Reform: Hope for the Welfare of Children

Monday, February 1, 2010

Featured Speakers:

U.S. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz
US Representative,  Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District

Donald F. Schwarz, MD, MPH
Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity
Health Commissioner, City of Philadelphia

Rep. Schwartz is serving in her third term representing Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district. She was appointed the powerful Ways and Means Committee as well as the Budget Committee. Rep. Schwartz served as a member of Pennsylvania’s State Senate from 1990 to 2004, spearheading legislation to provide health care for children, leading to the creation of CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the model for the federal SCHIP.  In Congress, Rep. Schwartz continues to focus on health care reform. Rep. Schwartz earned a BA from Simmons and an MSW from Bryn Mawr College.

Dr. Schwarz is Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity and Health Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia, overseeing the Departments of Public Health, Human Services, Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services, and the Office of Supportive Housing. Dr. Schwarz entered government service after having been Professor of Pediatrics in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. An active researcher for 22 years, he completed his medical training and MPH at Johns Hopkins and MBA at Wharton.

Read more >

Click here to see photos of the symposium

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

The Art of Perception: Rethinking What We See

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Featured Speaker:

Amy Herman
Director, Education Development
Thirteen/WNET New York

Based on a successful collaboration between the Yale Center for British Art and Yale Medical School, Amy Herman developed The Art of Perception with the mission of making medical students better observers of their patients by teaching them how to look at art.  Underlying her program was the rationale that a vital part of physicians’ diagnostic skill depends on an ability to observe and describe visual information and yet these skills are rarely taught. The Art of Perception has expanded to seven medical institutions, and Ms. Herman has adapted the program to train law enforcement professionals to help them not only solve crimes but also enhance their perception and communication skills.  She has conducted professional training sessions for the New York City Police Department, the FBI, the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, and for school nurses, guidance counselors, drug counselors, and social workers to enhance their observation skills when working with families and children.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

The Nurse-Family Partnership:  From Trials to International Replication

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Featured Speaker:

David L. Olds, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Nursing, and Preventive Medicine
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

David Olds is Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Nursing, and Preventive Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, where he directs the Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health.  The primary focus of his work has been on developing and testing a program of prenatal and infancy home visiting for low-income mothers bearing first children, known as the Nurse Family Partnership.    Professor Olds has received numerous awards for his work, including the Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievements in Health, an Honorary Professorship at the Warwick Medical School in Coventry, England, and the 2008 Stockholm Prize in Criminology.

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Bang for Your Buck: Public Child Welfare and the Pursuit of Accountability

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Featured Speaker:

Fred Wulczyn, PhD
Research Fellow, Chapin Hall Center for Children
University of Chicago

For a variety of reasons, public agencies at all levels of government are increasingly interested in the return on their investment.  Nationally, expenditures for child welfare programs exceed $20 billion. The return on investment question simply asks – are children better off as a result of what we spend on their behalf?  In his presentation, Dr. Wulczyn will explore accountability within the child welfare system from various perspectives including the practical and the political.

Fred Wulczyn, PhD is a Research Fellow, Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, where he directs the Center for State Foster Care and Adoption Data.  He is the recipient of the 2006 Peter Forsythe Award for Leadership in public child welfare, presented by the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. In 2006 to 2007, he served on Mayor Street’s Child Welfare Review Panel. His recent writings focus on racial disparities in the foster care system, adoption in the post-AFSA era, and fiscal reform.  He is the lead author of Beyond Common Sense: Child Welfare, Child Well-being, and the Evidence for Policy Reform.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

The Allegheny County Experience: The transformation of a child welfare system to a national model

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Featured Speaker:

Marc Cherna, MSW
Director, Allegheny County Department of Human Services

Marc Cherna has been the Director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services for the past 11 years.   He has 35 years of experience including thirteen years as an Assistant Director in the NJ Division of Youth and Family Services. In 2005 Marc received the Betsey M. Rosenbaum award for Excellence in Child Welfare Administration from his peers at the National Association for Public Child Welfare Administrators.  He recently served on the Mayor’s Child Welfare Review Panel for the Philadelphia Department of Human Services.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

Findings from the Multi-Site Evaluation of Children’s Advocacy Centers: Implications for Future CAC Development

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Featured Speaker:

Lisa M. Jones, PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Psychology
University of New Hampshire
Faculty, Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC)

Lisa M. Jones, PhD is currently a Research Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire and Faculty at the Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) at UNH.  She has conducted research on child maltreatment and the community response to victims for the past ten years and has numerous publications and presentations on topics such as trends in child abuse, child abuse investigations, multidisciplinary teamwork, and Children’s Advocacy Centers.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

Studying and Changing Treatment Practices in Child Welfare: Trials and Tribulations

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Featured Speaker:

David Kolko, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Pediatrics
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Director of Science and Practice for Effective Children’s Services
Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

David Kolko, PhD was the featured presenter at the Field Center’s Spring Breakfast Symposium, held on April 11, 2007 at the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Levy Conference Center. Dr. Kolko’s talk on Studying and Changing Treatment Practices in Child Welfare: Trials and Tribulations addressed trauma treatment from a practice and research perspective. He highlighted limited outcome research and dissemination in the field, poor adoption of empirically supported treatments in real-world clinical settings, and a disconnect between current scientific knowledge and practice in the field as challenges to evidence-based practice in the trauma field. Dr. Kolko presented his work in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to illustrate empirically supported treatment.

Dr. Kolko is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Director of Science and Practice for Effective Children’s Services at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. He has been involved in child abuse treatment and prevention research for 25 years and is currently the principal investigator of the Partners for Families project, a treatment effectiveness study funded by NIMH, and a treatment development affiliate in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (SAMHSA).

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Parents’ Rights vs. Children’s Rights: A Debate of the Issues

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Alan Lerner, Esq.
Practice Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania

Featured Speakers:

Martin Guggenheim, Esq.
Author of What’s Wrong With Children’s Rights
Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law at NYU School of Law

Richard Gelles, PhD
Noted author and child abuse expert
Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice
Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence

The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research hosted a standing room only audience for its most recent Breakfast Symposium, Parents’ Rights vs. Children’s Rights. Over 200 professionals filled the Levy Conference Center at Penn’s Law School on January 31st to hear Richard Gelles and Martin Guggenheim in a thoughtful and at times controversial discussion of the issues, moderated by Penn Law Professor Alan Lerner.

The discussants are two of the nation’s most notable figures in child welfare: Martin Guggenheim is the author of What’s Wrong With Children’s Rights and Fiorello Laguardia Professor of Clinical Law at NYU Law School, while Richard Gelles is a noted author and child abuse expert, Dean of Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice, and holds the Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence at the University of Pennsylvania. The audience, comprised of judges, social workers, child welfare executives, attorneys, child advocates, physicians, nurses, graduate students, and policy-makers, enthusiastically responded to this critical look at one of the most significant issues in child welfare. Attendees described the session as “informative” and “very thought provoking,” commenting positively on the debate format and knowledge of the presenters.

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Juvenile Sexual Offenders: Analysis & Management of Risk

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Featured Speaker:

Robert Prentky, PhD
Director of Research, Justice Resource Institute

Dr. Prentky has worked as a forensic psychologist for the past twenty years, assessing or supervising the assessment of approximately 2,000 sexual offenders and paraphilics. He is formerly Chief Psychologist and Director of Research at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons and Clinical Director of the Joseph J. Peters Institute.

Read more >

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

Confronting Child Neglect: Concepts and Challenges

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Featured Speaker:

Howard Dubowitz, MD, MS
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Playing with Anger: Making Meaning of Aggression and Bonding with African American Boys

Thursday, February 21, 2006

Featured Speaker:

Howard C. Stevenson, PhD
Director of the School, Community, and Clinical Child Psychology Program
Psychology in Education Division
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Dr. Stevenson is a dynamic speaker whose research and consultation work identifies cultural strengths that exist within families and mobilizes those strengths to improve the psychological adjustment of children and adolescents using communities and neighborhoods as the major vehicles of support and social change.

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Kids in Care: Where We Are, Where We Need to Go

Tuesday, November 17, 2005


Alan M. Lerner, Esq.
Practice Professor of Law and Director, Child Advocacy Clinic
University of Pennsylvania Law School


Anne Marie Ambrose
Director, Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services,
PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Children, Youth and Families

Gillian Blair, PhD, LLM
Child, Adolescent and Family Therapist
Former Clinical Director, Youth Study Center

Angel Flores, Esq.
Chief, Juvenile Unit
Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia

Marsha Levick, Esq.
Legal Director
Juvenile Law Center

Sandra Simkins, Esq.
Assistant Chief, Juvenile Unit
Defender Association of Philadelphia

Watch symposium on iTunesU >

Risk Assessment and Stages of Change

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Richard J. Gelles, PhD
Noted Author and Child Abuse Expert
Dean, School of Social Policy & Practice University of Pennsylvania

Clinicians in the Courtroom: What Every Clinician Needs to Know About Testifying In Court

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Alan M. Lerner, Esq.
Practice Professor of Law Director, Child Advocacy Clinic University of Pennsylvania Law School

Cindy W. Christian, MD
Chair, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Mimi Rose, Esq.
Assistant General Counsel School District of Philadelphia

Issues Facing Immigrant and Refugee Children

Monday, December 6, 2004

Featured Speaker:

Gregory Chen
Director of Policy Analysis and Research Immigration and Refugee Service of America – U.S. Committee for Refugees (


Richard Gitlen
Associate Director Lutheran Children & Family Service

Len Rieser
Co-Director, Education Law Center Chair, English Language Learner Task Force

Rachel Schendler, MSS, MLSP
Immigrant Youth Specialist, Newcomers Specialized Services
Lutheran Children and Family Service

Education for Kids in Care: 50 Years After Brown vs. The Board of Education

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


Katherine R. Locker, Esq.
Founder and Supervising Attorney The Kathryn A. McDonald Education Advocacy Project, Legal Aid Society, New York

Janet Stotland, Esq.
Director, Education Law Center, Philadelphia Mimi Rose, Esq. Legal Department, School District of Philadelphia

Carla Sanders
Department of Human Services, Philadelphia

Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Children in Foster Care

Wednesday, February 4, 2004


Dr. Marilyn Benoit
President, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Toni Ward
Kinship Care Provider

Judy Silver, PhD
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Department of Psychology

Joseph E. Kuna, PhD
Director of Behavioral Health & Wellness, Philadelphia Department of Human Services

Laura DeRiggi, MSW
Director of Clinical Management, Philadelphia Behavioral Health System

Emerging Legal Issues in Child Welfare

Thursday, December 4, 2003


Mimi Laver, Esq.
American Bar Association Center for the Rights of Children

Schaundra Oliver, Esq.
City of Philadelphia Law Department
Divisional Deputy City Solicitor for Human Services

Katherine Gomez, Esq.
Family Advocacy Unit, Community Legal Services

Lourdes Rosado, Esq.
Juvenile Law Center

William Norvell, Esq.
Defender Association, Child Advocacy Unit

E. Michael Flannery, Esq.
Philadelphia Bar Association, Family Law Section

Marguerite Gualtieri, Esq.
Support Center for Child Advocate