Saturday, September 25, 2010

2010 Judicial Teleconference on Youth Voice in Court


  • Introduction of Topic and Panel Members 
  • Magistrate shared the history of youth involvement in court and how this plays out in practice
  • Youth Panel
  • Questions from the audience

Youth Panel Questions

  1. Please tell us a little bit about your experience in foster care… 
  2. Were you able to attend one/more court hearings?   If so was it helpful?  Were you prepared ahead of time?
  3. If not, what was it like not knowing what goes on in court?  What information about your case did you want the judge/magistrate to know?
  4. How is hearing from youth in person different from hearing from their CASA or caseworker?
  5. What would you tell a judge or magistrate that was on the fence about including youth in hearings?

Additional Questions:

a.) Are all hearings equal, or are some hearings more important than others? (i.e. placement decision/change in case/general review with no change)

b.) Should they make exceptions based upon:

  • The child’s age?
  • What a young person wants?
  • If they think the child/teen isn’t emotionally ready?
  • If the logistics are inconvenient? (long drive for adult/long wait for child)
  • Whether or not the court is kid-friendly? (or teen-friendly)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Superintendent Delisle quotes Alex McFarland

The Office for Exceptional Children held their annual Special Education Leadership Conference yesterday afternoon and Superintendent Deborah Delisle provided the keynote address.

In her closing, she mentioned that she had come from a meeting with the OFCF Cabinet Council, where she heard from an amazing youth who had previously been in foster care. She proceeded to share Alex McFarland’s story as an example of the difference that one teacher can make in the life of a child, especially one that others may have overlooked or given up on.

Kara Waldron of the Office for Exceptional Children relates:

"Alex’s story was truly an inspiration to our crowd of more than 1,700. We are grateful for the work that he continues to do on behalf of Ohio’s youth. Without Alex McFarland, Adrian McLemore, and their counterparts, we might forget the meaning behind our efforts."