HPA Professor to Present at Penn State Law Conference on Foster Youth

February 2, 2010

According to the federal government, more than 100,000 U.S. children over age 15 lived in a foster home at the end of FY 2008. Among the most vulnerable individuals in the welfare system, adolescent youth in foster care will be the focus of “Youth in Transition,” an interdisciplinary conference at Penn State Law on March 25. Attorneys, social workers, policy makers, and youth advocates are invited to the event, which focuses on meeting the complex needs of older foster youth.

“This is an opportunity for lawyers and social workers to work together to improve the way we serve this youth population in Pennsylvania,” said Clinical Professor Lucy Johnston-Walsh who directs Penn State’s Center on Children and the Law and the Law School’s Children’s Advocacy Clinic.

Dr. Elizabeth Farmer, associate professor of health policy and administration in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development, will present “Placement Considerations for Youth in Care.” Professor Farmer’s research interests focus on children’s mental health services, community-based services for youth and the role of schools in children’s mental health services.

Child welfare expert Dr. Mark Courtney will present “Parenting Adult Children of the State: Lessons from Research on the Transition to Adulthood for Foster Youth.” Courtney is the Ballmer Endowed Chair of Child Well-being at the University of Washington School of Social Work and heads Partners for Our Children, a Seattle organization that, according to its Web site, strives to promote “collaboration within the state child welfare community and improve the lives of children in foster care.”

Presented in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Children & Youth Solicitors Association, the event will feature a panel discussion on implementing the federal Fostering Connections Act in Pennsylvania. The Fostering Connections Act was passed by Congress in 2008 and includes many provisions which will improve outcomes for children in the foster care system, including extending federal support to youth until the age 21.

The conference begins at 1:15 p.m. in the Greg Sutliff Auditorium of the Lewis Katz Building, University Park and will be simulcast to room 106 in Lewis Katz Hall in Carlisle, PA. This event is a component of the day-long Pennsylvania Children & Youth Solicitors Association Child Welfare 2010 Conference. Attorney registration for the entire event is $150; registration for attorneys and social workers seeking continuing education credits for only the afternoon portion is $75. Penn State students, faculty, and staff may attend at no cost and need not register.

This program has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for up to 6 hours of substantive law, practice, and procedure CLE credit. However, Pennsylvania CLE credits will be available only to those attending the program at University Park. Uniform certificates of attendance will be provided for self-reporting by those attendees desiring CLE credit for other states. The Pennsylvania Children & Youth Solicitors Association has applied for CEU credits for this program.

The Penn State Center on Children and the Law is dedicated to improving children’s overall well-being by providing a collaborative, interdisciplinary center for research, teaching, outreach, and service on children’s issues that intersect with the law.

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Editors: Media inquiries may be directed to Crystal Stryker at 717-240-5211. For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu.