Addressing Compassion Fatigue – An Ethical Mandate
Webinar Roundtable – American Bar Association, aired September 30, 2015
Working with clients in trauma can impact lawyers who represent children in the child welfare system, both personally and professionally. Prolonged or repeated exposure to the abuse and neglect suffered by child victims can result in an acute form of burnout called compassion fatigue.
However, child lawyers, unlike other helping professionals, rarely have language for this loss of capacity nor support systems in place to combat it. Large caseloads, inadequate resources and systems that sometimes re-victimize instead of rehabilitate, leave practitioners feeling ineffective, incompetent and lacking compassion. These conditions compromise the child lawyer’s ethical duty to provide competent representation.
Speakers focus on preventative and responsive strategies for solo practitioners, agency lawyers and leaders who manage child lawyers, as well as the ethical implications of compassion fatigue on child representation.
Trenny Stovall, Esq., DeKalb County Child Advocacy Center, Decatur, GA (moderator)
Alexandra Dolan, MSS, LSW, Support Center for Child Advocates, Philadelphia, PA
Josh Spitalnick, PhD, ABPP, Adjunct Asst. Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University SOM, Atlanta, GA
Françoise Mathieu, M.Ed., CCC., Co-Executive Director, TEND, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Danielle Lynch, Esq., Supervising Attorney. DeKalb Child Advocacy Center, Decatur, GA