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Changing Lives In the Juvenile Court

Recorded on May 29, 2015

Air Date: June 1st, 2015

Children can become wards of the State of Oregon for many reasons. They can be the victims of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; parental drug or alcohol abuse; or physical, medical, or emotional neglect. Children who are put into the system frequently need support and services — and so do their parents. Speakers at the City Club Friday Forum will describe the scope of the problem facing Lane County and how they and their agencies work together to help vulnerable children.

The Honorable Valeri Love has responsibility for tough decisions, including appointing special advocates for the children in serious cases. Executive Director Megan Shultz will describe how the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program fits into the system. Terry Brodkorb will present her uniqueperspective as someone who was a foster child and now works to help foster children.All three will talk about how and why members of the public can become involved.

In particularly serious cases of abuse or neglect, Judge Love appoints a specially trained volunteer, a CASA, to speak for the children with the Department of Human Services (DHS) caseworker, the children’s schools, physicians and therapists, and the parents and foster parents. A child’s CASA writes a report for the judge and appears in court.

Judge Love was elected to her position on the Lane County Circuit Court bench in 2012 (she had been appointed in 2011). She now serves as the county’s Juvenile Court Judge. She began her legal career in 1995 as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Darryl L. Larson. During her service as a Lane County Deputy District Attorney, she handled domestic violence and financial fraud cases. She is also involved with civic organizations and activities that include the Lane County Bar Association, Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and Oregon Women lawyers.

Megan Shultz has served as the Executive Director of CASA-Lane County for 15 years. She is the president of the board of directors for the Oregon CASA Network, which includes 24 programs serving Oregon communities. During her chairmanship of that network’s legislative committee, CASA shepherded its first public policy bill through the 2013 legislative session. She has served on governor appointed task forces and is a co-founder of the 90by30 initiative to reduce child abuse by 90% by 2030. She pioneered a staffing model in which experienced CASA volunteers mentor newer volunteers, which allowed the Lane County organization to expand its services 138 percent. Across the nation, 90 other CASA agencies now use that staffing system.

Terry Brodkorb has been at both ends of the system: She was a foster child and is now a caseworker who has an adopted child. Her work with Child Welfare Services focuses on children who have mental and emotional challenges that require specialized treatment. Brodkorb is also involved with planning and implementing the Crossover Youth Practice Model for children in Lane County, and with the Wrap Program for children and families who have Trillium medical coverage.

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