Media Advisory

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

January 5, 2012
MEDIA CONTACT: Terri Durdaller (813) 917-7570

Children’s Legal Services Host Training at Stetson University
~ Attorneys will learn how to better advocate for the best interest of children ~

TAMPA, FLA. – Children in the welfare system need an advocate to ensure their best interests are being represented in dependency court hearings. The Department of Children and Families' Children's Legal Services does just that. They make recommendations to judges on how the case should proceed, if a child should be able to visit with parents and if a child should be reunified with parents, placed permanently with relatives or be made available for adoption.

The SunCoast region is bringing together 80 Children’s Legal Service attorneys for training in order to make them even stronger advocates. The one-day training at Stetson University tomorrow is the first of its kind. The SunCoast Region is the only region in the state where Children’s Legal Services is comprised of attorneys from three different agencies: DCF, Office of the Attorney General and the State Attorney’s Office.

The media is invited to attend the training and will be able to interview Children's Legal Service staff and presenters. Please contact Terri Durdaller if you plan on attending.

Friday January 6 – Training Highlights
Stetson University College of Law
Tampa Law Center – Smith Courtroom
1700 N. Tampa St.

9:30-10:30 a.m. Teaching The Witness And The Witness Teaching You – Dr. Randell Alexander, Florida's Statewide Medical Examiner

10:30-11:30 a.m. Let the Rules of Evidence Work for You: Child Hearsay and Other Rules of Evidence - Roberta K. Flowers, Trail Advocacy & Evidence Professor at Stetson University College of Law

11:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m. What a Judge Expects From Dependency Attorneys – The Honorable Katherine G. Essrig, Judge 13th Judicial Circuit; The Honorable Jack Day, Judge 6th Judicial Circuit

12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. Awards Ceremony