Testifying in Juvenile Cases: A Neuroscience and Psychosocial Development Framework

Date: Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Time: 11:00 am – 3:30 pm (EDT)
Format: Live interactive training offered via Zoom
Hosted by:  David Prescott, LICSW, ATSA-F

Credit: 4 CE Credit Hours
Cost of training & CE certificate: $120.00
CE Eligibility: APA Psychology, NBCC Counseling
*Social Workers, we have applied for credits from other agencies

To be eligible for a certificate, you must attend the entire live training and complete an evaluation form within 24 hours following the live event.

Mental health professionals frequently serve as expert witnesses in court cases in which juveniles face the possibility of being prosecuted as adults. Neuroscience and psychosocial development research support the findings that adolescents are less capable of mature judgement and more vulnerable to negative external influences, but also have a greater capacity for change and reform. Research has also identified indicators of normative psychosocial maturity associated with desistance from antisocial behavior, even among serious juvenile offenders. Landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases have been based on elaborating fundamental differences between adolescents and adults that inform decisions about criminal culpability, responsibility, and sentencing. 

The role of the expert witness in the juvenile justice system can have professional and personal implications in cases involving very serious crimes and victim impact. In this training, Tom Leversee presents a framework for expert witness testimony that focuses on brain science, developmental age and crime trajectories, and psychosocial maturity and desistance. He begins by examining juvenile law and what contemporary neuroscience informs us about culpability and assessment processes. He next explores adolescent development and susceptibility to pressures from communities and peer groups.  Then he provides guidance for professional recommendations and testimony in legal settings, including how to make research findings clear to criminal-justice professionals.

Topics to be covered include:
1) The role of mental health professionals in decisions regarding the transfer of juveniles to adult court 
2) Reverse-transfer hearing statutory criteria, in which juveniles tried as adults are transferred back to juvenile courts
3) Neuroscience and psychosocial development
4) Developmental age/crime trajectories
5) Psychosocial maturity and desistance
6) Harms associated with placing juveniles in adult facilities

As a result of this training, attendees will be better able to:
1) Explain the behavioral implications of the maturational imbalance between the arousal of the socioemotional system and the full maturation of the cognitive control system.
2) List reasons why juveniles are more likely to take risks and make risky decisions when friends are present.
3) Describe the brain-based maturation associated with a juvenile’s greater capacity for reform.
4) Explain the indicators of psychosocial maturity associated with desistance from antisocial behavior.
5) Describe two types of negative outcomes associated with placing juveniles in adult prisons.

Four Hours of Training

The training session starts at 11:00 am Eastern Time and runs until 3:30 pm. The charge is $120. Each registration includes a certificate, whether it be for CE credits hours or for attendance. To be eligible for a certificate, you must attend the entire live training and complete an evaluation form within 24 hours following the live event.

We can refund your training fee up to 24 hours prior to the start of the training.

Continuing Education Credit Hours

Continuing Excellence is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Continuing Excellence maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Testifying in Juvenile Cases: A Neuroscience and Psychosocial Development Framework has been approved by NBCC for NBCC credit. Continuing Excellence, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. NBCC Approval No. SP-4265.

This program is co-sponsored by Safer Society Foundation and Continuing Excellence, LLC

Continuing Excellence, LLC
P.O. Box 134, East Middlebury, VT 05740
Tel: (802) 771-4155

Tom Leversee, LCSW
Adjunct Professor, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work

Tom Leversee, LCSW, worked for 34 years in direct care, clinical work, supervision and management, and administrative positions in the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections. He has extensive clinical experience with adolescents who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior and facilitated the Denver County Sexual Abuse Review Team. Tom currently has a private practice focused on consultation, training, and clinical services for adolescents. Tom has served on numerous occasions as an expert witness, with a recent focus on applying a neuroscience and psychosocial development framework to juvenile transfer hearings. Tom is also an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work with courses focused on Delinquency and Youth Violence and Forensic Practice. Tom has numerous publications and has presented extensively nationally and internationally. He served on the state Sex Offender Management Board and on the Board for the Association for the Treatment and Prevention of Sexual Abuse.  

Additional Information

This training is for professionals working with people who have who have perpetrated abuse. Professionals who will benefit from this training include social workers, psychologists, clinical counselors, and interested paraprofessionals.

Content Level

The presenter does not have published materials related to the training from which they may benefit financially.

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