Minnesota’s Future: Addressing the Needs of Vulnerable Youth
April 18, 2019 | Mitchell Hamline Auditorium
This year’s annual Mitchell Hamline Law Review Symposium, sponsored by the Minnesota Institute for Families, Children, and Communities, will feature discussions on how Minnesota is and is not addressing problems facing the state’s most vulnerable youth.
This event will provide a forum for critical reflection on the intersection of vulnerable youth and Minnesota’s legal systems and supports. Speakers will discuss some of the most pressing issues, including discrimination in the foster care system, the epidemic of youth homelessness, whether youth should be tried as adults in criminal proceedings, what happens to children when their caregivers are sentenced to jail or prison, and how attorneys can work with youth.
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Anne McKeig will deliver a keynote address to start the morning, followed by five panel discussions. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The event will conclude with a cocktail hour, sponsored by the law firm Fredrikson & Byron.Register Here
Schedule of events
8 am | Breakfast and Registration
8:45 am | Keynote—Justice Anne McKeig—Overcoming the Odds: Wounded Children
Every year, more than 11,00 children enter the foster care system in Minnesota (and 500,000 nationwide). We say it takes a village to raise a child, but who is that village?
10–11 am | Panel—Minnesota’s foster care system—Racial Disparities and the Implications on Foster Care Placement
In this session, Joanna Woolman, Associate Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Institute for Children, Families, and Communities, will lead a discussion on disparities in the foster care system and how this impacts out-of-home placements.
- Deb Beske Brown, Agency Policy Specialist, Child Safety and Permanency
- Representative Rena Moran, Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from the 65A District
- LaTonia Rolbiecki, Licensed Foster Care Provider and Community Member
- Joanna Woolman, Associate Professor of Law and Executive Director of the Institute for Children, Families, and Communities
11–11:15 am | Break
11:15 am–12:15 pm | Panel—Youth facing homelessness in Minnesota
With an estimated 6,000 youth experiencing homelessness on a given night, Minnesota is in the midst of an epidemic. In this session, Michelle Basham, Executive Director of the Bridge for Youth and Adjunct Professor at Mitchell Hamline Law School, will lead a panel discussion on the current crisis, including causes of homelessness, the economic costs, and steps Minnesota can take to solve the problem.
- Michelle Basham, Executive Director, Bridge for Youth
- Hanna Getachew – Kreusser, Executive Director, Face to Face
- Zayed Ahmed, Director of Programs, Avenues for Homeless Youth
- Andrea Simonett, Program Administrator, MN Department of Human Services (Coordinator Homeless Youth Act and Safe Harbor funds and policy)
- David Hewitt, Director, Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness
12:15 pm–12:45 pm: Plenary: Ramsey County Attorney John Choi—Sexually Exploited Youth
Hundreds of youth in Minnesota are sexually exploited every year and they are specifically targeted for their vulnerabilities. Prior to the passage of our Safe Harbor law, sexually-exploited children faced the delinquency system; now, they are treated as children in need of protection and recognized as the victims they are. John Choi will talk about Minnesota’s journey to Safe Harbor and how our victim-centered approach is not only helping vulnerable children get the help they need, but also assisting state prosecutors in bringing their traffickers to justice.
1–2 pm | Panel—Life Without Parole and Juveniles
The United States Supreme Court has held that is it unconstitutional to impose a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole on juveniles – but the Court has not defined what it means to be a juvenile. In this discussion, panelists, including Bradford Colbert, resident adjunct professor, will discuss whether a juvenile should be defined by their chronological age or by brain science.
- Judge Jeffrey Bryan, Ramsey County 2nd District Judge
- Bradford Colbert, Resident adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline Law School
- Jeffrey Wald, Ramsey County Juvenile Prosecutor
- Perry L. Moriearty, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota Law School
2–2:15 pm | Break
2:15–3:15 pm | Panel—Children of incarcerated caregivers
When a caregiver is sentenced to jail or prison, under Minnesota law, judges do not consider the best interests of their children, even though parental incarceration can lead to depression, negative mental health problems, and negative coping mechanisms for their child. In this session, Julie Matonich, trial attorney at Matonich Law and Executive Board Member of Children of Incarcerated Caregivers, will present on the need for sentences to consider the parental status and a path forward for Minnesota.
- Julie Matonich, Trial Attorney at Matonich Law; Founder and Board Chair of Children of Incarcerated Caregivers
- Mary Britts, Executive Director of the YMCA of Greater Twin Cities at the Blaisdell Branch
- Veronica Horowitz, PhD student at the University of Minnesota
- Caitlin Curry, PhD student at the University of Minnesota
- Kristin Stock, Mitchell Hamline 3L
3:15–3:30 pm | Break
3:30–4:30 pm | Panel—Representing Youth in Foster Care
In this session, Anne Gueinzius, Managing Attorney of the Children’s Law Center, will lead a discussion on the issues surrounding the representation of youth in foster care.
- Anne Gueinzius, Managing Attorney, Children’s Law Center of Minnesota
- Cathleen Gabriel, Attorney, CGW Law Office
- Debra Kovats, Staff Attorney, Children’s Law Center of Minnesota
- Denise Rahne, Partner, Robins Kaplan LLP
4:30 pm | Cocktail hour sponsored by Fredrikson & Byron
Questions about the event
Contact lukas.boehning @mitchellhamline.edu. Check back here for updates.
6 CLE Credits pending.
The main parking lot on the corner of Summit Ave and Victoria has a few event parking spots. If those are full, there is an overflow parking lot at Grotto and Summit, about 2 blocks east of the law school on Summit Avenue. There is also street parking on Summit, Ashland, Portland, and Victoria, but please double check to make sure you do not need a permit for those locations. (Ashland is the best choice for no permits).
Thank you to the Mitchell Hamline Institute for Families, Children, and Communities for co-hosting the event, and thank you to Fredrikson & Byron for sponsoring the happy hour.