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Chief Justice Amy Nechtem

Keynote speaker Honorable Amy L. Nechtem, Chief Justice for Juvenile Courts in Massachusetts

The Juvenile Summit was held May 28th at Bentley University. Sheila Gallagher, legal issues coordinator for the MPTC and Lynsey Heffernan, Detention Reform Specialist for JDAI (Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative) joined efforts to highlight alternative ways for police chiefs and community leaders to deal with troubled juveniles. Chief Kevin Kennedy from the Lincoln Police Department also partnered with Sheila and Lynsey to organize the summit for police chiefs and command staff.

The Honorable Amy L. Nechtem, Chief Justice for Juvenile Courts in Massachusetts, opened the summit as the keynote speaker and detailed some of the court initiatives that Juvenile Courts are pursuing. Lynsey Hefferenan gave a presentation as to why the teenage brain operates differently from adults and how it is a critical factor when police interact with the youth. Glenn Daly, from Executive Office of Health and Human Services described the changes that have occurred with CRA reform, the 211 Runaway Assistance Program and the opening of the Family Resource Centers. Toni Irsfield, Paul Mina, Lenore Rust and Douglas Kozlowski further provided in depth look at how these programs are being rolled out and how police can utilize them when court is closed.

The afternoon speakers included Jennifer Tracey from the Bureau of Substance Abuse and Alcohol and Karin Orr from Department of Mental Health who discussed the variety of programs that are offered to juveniles and their families that are experiencing substance abuse problems and mental health issues.  Lincoln Police Chief Kevin Kennedy emphasized why it is necessary for chiefs and command staff to collaborate with community resources to address troubled youth and served as moderator for the afternoon panel of speakers highlighting successful programs in their communities.  The panel included Lenny DiPietro, Cambridge Police; Dr. Jamie Barrett, Taunton Public Schools Superintendent Julie Hackett, Officer Steven Turner, Taunton Police; Westborough Police Chief Alan Gordon, Officers John Badenhausen and Chip Yeaton, Canton Police.

The content of this Blog was written by Sheila Gallagher, MPTC Legal Issues Coordinator.

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