How can the legal system and courts better meet the needs of children and adolescents? Legal and mental health professionals gathered at the 11th National Conference on Children and the Law in Washington, D.C., June 3-5, to discuss the issue from myriad angles--from how best to communicate with youngsters to the ethical challenges of meeting both federal privacy law and clients' needs. Psychologists and other social scientists also explained how cutting-edge research into children and adolescents' development can inform the legal process.

The meeting--which drew attorneys, psychologists, judges, child advocates and other professionals--is a biennial event sponsored by the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law. The conference theme, "Lawyers and psychologists working together," reflects a new development in 2004: APA for the first time co-sponsored the event. In fact, several APA-affiliated individuals helped plan the meeting, including representatives from three APA divisions, conference presenter Robert Kinscherff, JD, PhD, chair of APA's Ad Hoc Committee on Legal Issues, and APA staffer Donna Beavers, who coordinates APA's law-psychology efforts.