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School of Law | Gilvary Symposium Explores Custody Issues

Gilvary Symposium Explores Custody Issues

The 2011 Gilvary Symposium attracted dozens of attorneys and legal experts from around the country to explore how to best protect the interests of the more than one million children touched by custody decisions each year.

The program opened on January 20 with "The Gilvary Symposium Presents: An Evening with Judge Glenda Hatchett." Hatchett is a child welfare activist, author, television host and the first African-American chief presiding judge of Atlanta's Fulton County Juvenile Court.

Hatchett kicked off the Gilvary Symposium with an impassioned and inspiring talk about the juvenile justice system and the important role played by CASA and guardian ad litem volunteers, who represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.

She encouraged those in the audience to give children the hope and potential of a bright and positive future. "There's a whole class of children waiting on us to do just that," she said.

Hatchett noted that GALs and others who work on behalf of children are not simply helping this generation of kids. "We are investing in our children's children's children's children," she said. "We can make a difference that lives beyond our lifetime."

"We don’t get another chance to get it right for this generation of children while they're still children,” she said. "Children are not like DVDs. You can't hit rewind."

The symposium continued January 21 with "Custody through the Eyes of the Child," a daylong program of panels and presentations featuring legal experts and child welfare advocates.

Katharine T. Bartlett, the A. Kenneth Pye Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law, delivered a keynote address, "The American Law Institute’s Principles of Family Dissolution, Custody and the Best Interests of the Child."

Bartlett served as a reporter for the American Law Institute’s Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution, for which she was responsible for the provisions relating to child custody.

One panel discussed the "Ethical and Legal Dilemmas Involving the Use of GALS in Litigation," and featured:

  • Barbara Glesner Fines, associate dean for faculty and Ruby M. Hulen Professor of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law
  • Katherine Hunt Federle, professor, director of justice for Children Project and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Law & Policy Studies at Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law
  • Helen Jones-Kelley '84, who was recently named executive director of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Montgomery County, Ohio

Another panel examined "Children and the Use of Mediation and Other Alternative Forms of Dispute Resolution." It included:

  • Cassandra W. Adams, director of the Cumberland School of Law Community Mediation Center and Public Interest Project at Samford
  • Jane C. Murphy, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law; JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, a clinical psychologist
  • Andrew I. Schepard, professor and director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law at Hofstra

The program’s third panel, "Resolving Tension between Parental Rights, Policy Concerns, Constitutional Limitations and Best Interests," included presentations by:

  • Annette R. Appell, associate dean of clinical affairs and professor at Washington University School of Law
  • Pamela Laufer-Ukeles, associate professor at Dayton Law
  • LaShanda Taylor, associate professor at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
  • Marcia A. Yablon-Zug, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law

In addition to the panel presentations, Terri Worthington, a family and consumer science educator at Ohio State Extension office in Geauga County, led a workshop on "Addressing the Needs of the Changing Child."

About the Gilvary Symposium

The Honorable James J. Gilvary Symposium on Law, Religion & Social Justice challenges Dayton Law students, faculty, alumni and friends in the community to ponder legal issues that have significant moral, religious and social justice dimensions. The symposium promotes the public good by providing a forum for civil dialogue that embraces diversity of thought. Previous symposia have explored the death penalty and immigration.

The symposium honors the memory of the late Judge James J. Gilvary, a highly respected leader in the Dayton legal community, a judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas and a lifelong UD supporter.


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