Executive Council President: Kathleen Carty Secretary: Susan McCarter Treasurer: Robert Butters Rob.butters Councilors: Elgie Dow Stacey Hardy dr.stacey.hardy@ Viola Vaughan-Eden Violavaughaneden Executive Director: Paul Brady

Open Court
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Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement Award
The Honorable Sol Gothard has devoted his entire career to protecting the abused and to improving the legal system to which they are entrusted. For this and for his continued work with the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, he was honored at the 28th annual conference with the Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement Award from NOFSW. In his remarks, Judge Gothard reflected on his personal experience with forensic social work. “My childhood was traumatic because of the domestic violence that occurred in the home. It was so bad that child protection workers actually appeared at my home to remove me to a foster home or some kind of institution for neglected children.” Judge Gothard received his B.A. from the City College of New York (1953) and his Masters of Social Work from Case Western University (1957). While serving as a probation officer, and eventually Asst. Director of Probation in the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, he attended law school at night for 4 years. Judge Gothard graduated from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans (1962). In 1972, he was elected to the bench of the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Juvenile Court. Sol stated that “the social workers that helped define me, gave me hope and a purpose in life, and expanded my horizons were the most important people in my life throughout this time. Social workers were my heroes, father figures, role models, and mentors until they, were ultimately replaced by my wife (whom I met in Case Western Reserve University’s School of Social Work) and my family. During his tenure as Chief Judge on the juvenile bench, the court was nationally recognized for its comprehensive and innovative evaluation and treatment programs. Under Judge Gotthard's leadership, in 1978, the Jefferson Abuse and Neglect Advocacy Project, which created the Tulane Juvenile Law Clinic, began. The Clinic jointly trained law students, social work students, and volunteer local attorneys to advocate for abuse and neglect victims in the court. He was elected to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal where he served until his retirement in 2005. He served as a board member of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work. Judge Gothard taught at the Tulane School of Social Work, served on the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, The American Humane Association, Loyola University, and Southern University Graduate School of Social Work. Judge Gothard was also selected "Citizen of the Year" by the Louisiana State Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. “Receiving the (NOFSW) award was a complete shock to me,” said Gothard, who has been an active participant in NOFSW meetings and activities for 25 years.

President’s Column Exec. Council Elections NOFSW’s 28th conference Student Spotlight CA Judicial Council

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NOFSW has meant more to me than all of the other organizations. Whatever contribution I have made throughout these years, has been more then matched by what I have received in friendship and satisfaction with the folks of our group. Thank you, again, for this wonderful honor. I cannot express how much it means to me. -Sol

Nofsw needs you! Please vote!
NOFSW executive council election—details on p. 2



I am humbled to have the opportunity to welcome you as new members, returning members, and visitors! There have been significant changes to the National Organization of Forensic Social Work this year and here are some updates! In our 2010 survey you requested a certification and education committee. This committee, chaired by the knowledgeable and forward-thinking former NOFSW President, Dr. Stacey Hardy, has begun developing the protocols and processes for implementation. NOFSW will be the organization which will facilitate and guide schools to develop exceptional programs to educate and prepare cutting-edge forensic social workers. mittee has also changed. Elgie Dow and
Dr. Stacey Hardy, and our recently recruited group of savvy volunteers, have begun an enthusiastic recruitment campaign to add 100 new members this year. Will you be the first “new” member? Elgie has also graciously volunteered to be our historian and will be contacting you to obtain relevant stories, historical facts, and other information regarding your experience with NOFSW. I am the chair of our Ethics Committee and am pleased to be joined by talented and thoughtful students as well as long-term members whose breath of experience is truly an asset. Our job will be to develop a “handbook” of ethical guideOur Membership

President’s Column
begin our 29th year. This organization was begun by a small group of professionals over dinner in their home in New Orleans. They saw a void and an opportunity. We are the organization where our members consistently tell us they “finally feel at home”! The enthusiasm and expertise of the forensic front-line workers who began this journey called NOFSW is equal to the forensic researchers who strive for innovative and useful tools to facilitate change, and to the forensic educators who recognize that excellent training and preparation saves lives, improves treatment, and creates a safe environment for our members, students, and clients. We anticipate an equally innovative Executive Council this year and encourage We are the your vote for our new organization where officers and our members councilor! consistently tell us Thank-you for your they “finally feel at commitment home.” and undeniable tenacity! A few final thoughts as we

lines to help NOFSW members navigate this complex system in which we work. The Journal

of Forensic


Social Work debuted! Co-editors,
Drs. Vaughan-Eden and Butters, have devoted their time and expertise to the success of the JFSW. The founding editor, Dr. Ira Neighbors, continues to provide his expertise to assure scholarly excellence. Our tremendous thanks to the publishers: Taylor and Francis, authors, and reviewers; and best wishes for continued success. I hope to read your article in one of our journal editions! Our conference committee, hosted by former NOFSW President, Suzanne Dowling, is already running at full speed! We will be hosting our 2012 conference in Baltimore with the tremendous help of local professionals, many of whom were present at the NOLA conference and who are excited to host our 29th annual conference!

NOFSw executive council elections
continued from p.1 If you were able to attend the NOFSW annual membership meeting in New Orleans, you may already know that we were short a quorum to hold our annual election for officers and councilor. We will thus, conduct our election by mail ballot. However, before we vote, the EC wanted to offer one more opportunity for members to volunteer or make recommendations for the positions: (There can be more than one nominee for a position & all positions listed below are eligible for nomination.) President-Elect. The President-Elect shall assist the President with all corporate activities and will serve a one-year term and then serve two years as President of the NOFSW. Vice President: The Vice President fills in for the President in his/her absence & serves a one-year term on the Executive Council and committees. Secretary: The Secretary keeps minutes and the membership rolls for the organization. Treasurer: The Treasurer serves a one-year term on the Executive Council and maintains the financial records for the NOFSW. Councilor: A Councilor shall render active service on at least one committee and serves as a liaison for a three-year term of office on the Executive Council. Volunteer yourself or nominate someone else to serve by 06/14/11. Eligibility criteria: degree in social work at the masters or doctoral level, minimum of 5 years continuous, F/T professional experience in forensic SW, NOFSW full member for 2 years, and a willingness to host a conference and serve on a committee. For detailed descriptions of the positions and for more information on how to vote, please visit NOFSW at:







NOFSW’s 28th Annual Conference Forensic Social Work: Global Horizons

Conference CDs are still available—visit the website or contact Paul.

Road Trip!: Students travel to present at NOFSW conference in New Orleans
When we first volunteered to give a presentation about forensic social work to high school students visiting the University of Utah in February, we never guessed it would turn into a trip to New Orleans - but that’s exactly what happened! Our presentation generated so much great energy that we decided to submit a proposal to present at the 28th annual conference of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, April 17-20, 2011. With the support of ASUU and Dean Jannah Mather, four forensic social work students: Candice Adair, Steven Jones, Eliot Sykes, and Daniel Lancaster; along with Dr. Rob Butters traveled to Louisiana to present. We were part of a student panel titled “The Next Generation of Forensic Social Workers: A Moderated Panel of Forensic Social Work Students.” The goal of the presentation was to discuss the educational experiences of students from around the nation and forecast growth in the field. Forensic social work is the practice of social work and the law. This may include work in criminal justice, family court, child welfare, and programs for offenders or victims of crime. The conference was an opportunity for us students to meet professionals in the field, attend conference presentations on various topics, and to collaborate with other students interested in criminal justice and forensics. We began our trip to New Orleans as anyone should, heading out for a big southern-style dinner of fried catfish, shrimp, and crawfish in the French Quarter. As we walked the streets of New Orleans, we marveled in the way the city has made its way back to life after Hurricane Katrina. Even on a Sunday night, Jazz and Blues singers bellowed from the open windows of cafes and bars. The streets were alive with festivities and vendors selling voodoo dolls, t-shirts, and every other type of memorabilia one could imagine to the passing tourists and revelers. Monday morning we rose early to attend the conference. We all attended different workshops and presentations based on our areas of interest. Forensic social work is a broad area of practice and the there were lots of seminars to choose from. We all were able to pick different sessions. Daniel Lancaster appreciated Monday’s keynote address on Developing Mitigation Evidence in Capital Cases. For Eliot Sykes, it was Tuesday’s lecture on Building a Collaborative Relationship in the Forensic Setting that caught his attention. Steve Jones commented that the Interviewing Techniques for Juveniles in the Criminal Justice System provided him with “new insight in how to approach younger clients who may feel overwhelmed and intimidated when caught up in the system.” Tuesday afternoon was our presentation and the four MSW students from the U were joined by three others – two MSW students and one PhD student: Ashley Jackson - University of Chicago, Melissa Johnson UNC Charlotte, and David McLeod - Virginia Commonwealth University. The panel was moderated by Dr. Butters. Strong lively discussion ensued about the state of forensic education and opportunities for students in the future. The presentation was very well-received by the audience of social work practitioners, educators, and other students. It was a great opportunity for us students to highlight our educational experiences and the program at the U. Several students commented that they were “jealous” of the experience and training we had received in our program. Candice also remarked, “I feel so fortunate to have had the professors and courses in forensics that I have and the University of Utah!” The presentation was such a success that the student panelists as well as several social work educators joined us for dinner and an evening of live music and late-night beignets at Café Du Monde. At dinner Eliot remarked, “I grew up in Louisiana and this has been a real gift to end my graduate career here amongst so many wonderful peers and fine mentors. I hope to be back in the Crescent City again soon!” As the students raised their glasses around the table, it was clear that sentiment was shared by all.







Student Spotlight
Open Court Co-Editors: Susan McCarter Cynthia Edwards
Next Open Court will be published September 1, 2011 Get your copy in by August 1, 2011!
To submit to Open Court, email your articles to the co-editors by the deadline (one month prior to publication). All submissions become property of NOFSW.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas MSW/FSW Student Wins 3rd Place in Graduate Scholar Symposium Danielle Puentedura, BSHS – a second year MSW student and candidate for the AdvancedGraduate Certificate in Forensic Social Work at the University of Nevada Las Vegas – won 3rd place in a Symposium aimed at promoting and supporting graduate student research. As Dr. Tara Emmers Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education UNLV - Greenspun College of Urban Affairs describes: "This poster forum is an informal walkabout event in which faculty, staff, students, university colleagues, interested community parties, family, friends, etc. can come down and hear students talk about their work, their methodology, the significance and impact of their work, etc.” The title of Ms. Puentedura’s project was: School of Social Work and Forensic Social Work – Clark County Family Mediation Center: A Time Efficient Solution to Child Custody Dispute Resolution. This study examines if the type of mediation plan and/or attorney involvement affects the duration to case resolution in child custody disputes. Child custody disputes place considerable stress on children, families, and the court system. In an effort to reduce this stress, the State of Nevada has implemented mandatory mediation for divorce cases where child custody is in dispute. The researcher found that Full and Partial Plans decreased the amount of time to resolution significantly as compared to other resolution plans. Partial Plans took almost twice the time to achieve successful resolution compared to Full Plans, and all other plans took between 5 and 3.5 times longer than the Full Plan. These findings suggest that mediation can be an effective and efficient tool in reducing stress on children, families, and the court system in respect to child custody disputes. “The experience was both exciting and rewarding, I was so grateful to be given the opportunity to undertake a research project” said Ms. Puentedura. The Family Mediation Center (FMC) is placing the study’s poster in the waiting area to educate all who come to FMC.

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California Judicial Council soliciting input through June 20, 2011 on forensic qualifications: Should social workers do juvenile competency evaluations?
As many of you may know, California just enacted a new law which requires that developmental immaturity must be considered in determining a juvenile’s competency to stand trial. Now the state’s Judicial Council is tasked with developing new Rules of Court (5.645) to help implement the law, including guidelines about who qualifies as an expert in juvenile competency proceedings. The Council has issued a specific call for comments on whether the court should expand the list of accepted experts from psychologists and psychiatrists only, to include other professionals such as social workers. Currently, five California superior courts have adopted protocols regarding juvenile competency matters. The Superior Courts of San Diego and Sacramento counties require the appointment of a psychologist or psychiatrist, whereas San Francisco County appoints a psychologist, and the Los Angeles and Santa Clara courts used an expert panel. In one forensic psychologist’s opinion: My concern with expanding the eligible professions is that, although there many fine social workers in the field, their education and training does not prepare them to perform state-of-the-science assessments in this complex area. Social work programs do not provide the education and training in psychometric testing, statistics, or differential diagnosis that is routine in psychology graduate programs. For more on this psychologist’s opinion, visit: http://

To offer your opinion, follow the guidelines at:

Before June 20, 2011!

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