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May 07, 2018
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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Dave and Buster's
25735 1st Street
Westlake, OH 44145

Lay Gaurdian Ad Litem: Targets for Friendly Fire or Hostile takeovers - and What Will Best Answer the Needs of the Court

Monday,  May 7th, 2018

Dave and Busters

Registration: 6:00pm

Dinner: 6:30 pm

Speaker Presentation: 7:00pm- 9:00pm

2 Ethics CEU


PRESENTATION: Lay Guardians Ad Litem: Targets for Friendly Fire or Hostile Takeovers—And What Will Best Answer the Needs of The Court



Speaker: Sandra B. McPherson, PhD, ABPP

Clinical and Forensic Psychology

Speaker: Judith Layne, JD,

Executive Director, Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County


In the USA, domestic relations courts have come to rely upon a variety of experts to assist with severe family dynamics intertwined with custody/visitation disputes. Mental Health Professional (MHP) Evaluators have made significant contributions to resolving these situations and legal professionals have used their professional training to provide advocacy for an abstract concept: best interests. In the evolution of the guardian role, certain ambiguities were defined by statute, allowed by local rule, and resulted in guardians who are MHPs with special legal knowledge and experience. This presentation will detail experience of the writer as lay guardian and contributor to training of lawyer guardians. An analysis of the content of representative cases allows insight into the pitfalls and potentials of this rather mixed role creature of the court. Special emphasis is laid on the kind of training that is necessary for the “mixed breed” professionals.


As a result of attending the presentation, psychologists with an interest in serving the legal system will be able to assess the pros and cons of assuming the GAL role. They will also have current information about the current practices in the Domestic Relations and Juvenile Courts of Cuyahoga County.


This research was originally presented in Mechelen, Belgium, at the 2017 meeting of the European Association of Psychology and Law.


Speaker: Dr. McPherson has been in practice since 1967 in the Cleveland area. Her primary interests early involved the merging of psychology and law. She is boarded (ABPP) in both clinical and forensic psychology. She has been active both as a teacher and  a researcher . She has published papers and chapters in edited books, edited two books, and written one with Dr. Farshid Afsarifard. Currently, she is partially retired and does only court related work ,which has included in recent years, assignments as a Guardian ad litem. Other areas of forensic focus in the Domestic Relations courts have included custody evaluation and mediation. In the criminal courts, she has conducted death penalty mitigation investigations and other pre-sentencing evaluations. She is frequently called upon to evaluate evidence in child sex abuse cases.



Speaker: Judith Layne has been the Executive Director of Child and Family Advocates of Cuyahoga County (CFACC) since its inception in 2016. Prior to integrating the 38-year attorney-based Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Project with the community volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program under CFACC, Judy was the Administrator for the Guardian ad Litem Project of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association for 14 years.  Judy has made it her personal mission to enhance the quality of child and family advocacy in Cuyahoga County and in the State of Ohio. She has been a Guardian ad litem and has recruited, trained, and monitored the performance of more than 100 Guardians ad litem practicing in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. She developed the current curriculum for mandatory New Guardian ad Litem Training and Advanced Trainings for GALs. Judy served on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee to develop the State-wide GAL curriculum. With the combined GAL/CASA program, Judy leads the CFACC team in providing joint trainings of GALs and CASAs, working toward more child-centered advocacy in the Juvenile Court, and increasing public awareness of the important role of the GAL, CASA, and the Juvenile Court in the lives of children they serve.


Judy is a member of the American Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and the West Shore Bar Association.  She served on the Safe Havens Advisory Committee for the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center and the Governing Board of the Defending Childhood Initiative. Judy earned her B.A. from Kent State University and J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.


Recently, Judy was approached by a woman, 25 years of age, who asked if she was a Guardian ad litem. When Judy replied, “Yes,” the young woman said, “You were my Guardian ad litem when I was 5. My brothers and I talk about you all the time. We always wonder if you are still a GAL and how you are doing. You made your mark on us.”


Judy asks one favor of every person she meets: Please tell at least one person you know about GALs and CASAs. Encourage them to get involved with CFACC, whether as a GAL, CASA, or in another way. We give a voice and hope to abused and neglected children. They are very special people. We hope you will join us in our mission.



2.0 MCE credits in Ethics will be provided from the OPA-MCE.  The Cleveland Psychological Association, Inc. is approved by the Ohio Psychological Association, Inc., #06P0-341377843, maintains responsibility for the program. 




Build Your Own Nachos

Four Cheese Pizza Bites with Basil Pesto

Crispy Chicken Bites with Chipotle-Honey Sauce

Mini Cheeseburgers

Coffee, Tea and Soda



Reservations: Members and non-members may register and pay online by clicking on the button below by 12:00 noon on Tuesday, May 1st, 2018.  Emergency cancellations will be accepted until 5:00pm on Thursday, May 3rd 2018.  Members who do not cancel and do not attend will be charged the guest fee and may not attend the next event until the fee has been paid.

Members: $25.00 Non-Members: $35.00 Cash and Check accepted at the door.




$25.00 Member Ticket: Lay Guardians Ad Litem

$35.00 Guest/Non-Member Ticket: Lay Guardians Ad Litem