2021 OhioMHAS Annual Forensic Conference: National Issues Across the System

November 2021

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OhioMHAS is pleased to announce that the 2021 Annual Forensic Conference will be held in November 2021 live online via Zoom. There are three two-hour sessions and one five hour session that will be held live over four different dates in November. 


Sessions are $10/session for students and $20/session for Professionals.

The student rate is $10 per session ($40 for all 4 sessions).  The professional bundle price for all four sessions is $60. (One session free)

Students who need a scholarship should contact MHuegel@FESC-OH.org for assistance.

The registration fee includes live online instruction, continuing education credits, and e-copies of all session materials.  These are live session only and take place on the specific date at the specified time. There will be no access to any recordings of this conference.

Registration will end two days prior to each of the scheduled events (at 6:00 PM EST) and October 31, 2021 (at 4:00 PM EST) for registration for the complete package. Early registration is recommended because though this is a virtual conference, there is a limit to the audience size. Conference sessions may be filled before this deadline.

Save & bundle all sessions by registering below



OhioMHAS Session Icon

The Intersection of Mental Disabilities and the Criminal Justice System

Presented by: Elizabeth Kelley

November 2nd, 2021

10:00 am – 12:00 pm Eastern

Criminal defense attorney, Elizabeth Kelley is an advocate for persons with mental and intellectual disabilities. She is the chair of the ARC’s National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability and has published a practical guide for criminal defense lawyers representing people with mental disabilities and for individuals with autism spectrum characteristics including a handbook for families of people with disabilities and criminal court situations (see her bio for details). Ms. Kelley will share with the audience her experiences of defending individuals with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, severe mental illness, and autism, and her efforts to make the criminal justice system aware of the unique needs and situations for this population.


Learning Objectives

Upon Completion of this session participants will be able to:
OhioMHAS Session Icon

National Issues related to Competency Restoration and Ohio’s Response: Implementation of SB2

National Issues related to Competency Restoration

Presented by: Neil Gowensmith, PhD

November 4th, 2021 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm Eastern

Ohio’s Response: Implementation of SB2

Panel Presenters: Evelyn Stratton, Christina Shaynak-Diaz, Robert Baker, Vicki Montesano, Betsy Johnson, and Kathy Yokum

Moderated by: Lisa Gordish

November 4th, 2021 | 12:45 pm – 3:15 pm Eastern

Dr. Gowensmith will speak about the national trend towards increasing referrals for competency restoration which has placed heavy burdens on the state-operated psychiatric facilities resulting in waitlists for forensic services.  He will also address the factors that may be driving this issue and how other states have responded.  You will also learn about Ohio’s passage of Senate Bill 2 and the impact this will have on Ohio’s forensic mental health system.  A Panel of Ohio’s experts will address the multi-system implications to SB 2 and how providers are responding.

Learning Objectives

Upon Completion of this session participants will be able to:
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Dual Status Youth: Innovative Solutions & Positive Outcomes

Presented by: John A. Tuell

November 5th, 2021

10:00 am – 12:00 pm Eastern

The term “dual status youth” refers to juveniles who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems and occupy various statuses in terms of their relationship to the two systems. A growing body of research has consistently confirmed that, in comparison to juveniles without such cross-system involvement, dual status youth present a range of important challenges. The challenges and costs associated with dual status youth strongly suggest the need to devise and implement innovative ways to manage these difficult cases. The RFK National Resource Center has provided guidance for state and local jurisdictions, including six currently in Ohio, in their endeavor to improve the outcomes for dual status youth (DSY) and families and to enhance system performance. This session will dynamically highlight the approach, the practice – and the innovative solutions and positive results from this work. The session will provide a roadmap for other jurisdictions to achieve the same positive results.

Learning Objectives

Upon Completion of this session participants will be able to:
OhioMHAS Session Icon

The Role of the Mental Health Court in Ohio, now and moving forward

Presented by: Judge Cindi Morehart, Judge Jodi L. Thomas, Jill Hillman

Moderated by: Zach Vicha

November 12th, 2021

9:00 am – 11:00 am Eastern

“We need to find new ways to change the lives of persons with mental illness so that they can have a chance to recover and live a life of meaning that we all want,” said Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton. “We have recognized that jails and prisons have become the de facto mental health hospitals of our day. Through initiatives such as mental health courts, we seek to shatter the revolving door that has developed.” 

This panel will focus on the treatment and rehabilitation efforts being made in Ohio’s mental health courts. There are over 40 certified or courts in active pursuit of certification of mental health courts in Ohio. You can see a map of specialized dockets around the state on the Ohio Supreme Court’s website and learn more about the standards that these courts must meet. 

The mental health courts’ fundamental goals are: 

  • Divert nonviolent offenders out of the traditional criminal justice track 
  • Reduce the length of confinement for offenders with serious mental illness 
  • Improve the mental health and well-being of the participants 
  • Increase access to treatment services 
  • Create effective working relationships between the treatment and criminal justice systems 
  • Improve public safety by reducing recidivism 
  • Relieve jail and prison overcrowding 

Moving from incarceration to a treatment-based setting under the guidance of one judge and a multi-disciplianry team frees up needed and expensive jail beds and lets a person progress towards a healthy re-entry to the community. Ohio has been recognized nationally for its leadership in establishing mental health courts and currently has about 244 specialty courts around the state. 

Learning Objectives

Upon Completion of this session participants will be able to:

Our Presenters

Live Event Policy


When registering, use an email that is active and that you check regularly.

The Zoom login information will be sent 1-week, 1-day, and 1-hour before the start of each session.  We are not responsible for communications not being received; if you do not add caps@paloaltou.edu to your email safe sender list, our emails are likely to end up in your spam or junk folders.


We will refund any registrations canceled up to October 31st at 6:00 PM EST, less $5 to cover the costs of processing.

Students: If you are in financial need and would like to request a scholarship for the conference, please complete the form here.

Event Conduct

Please conduct yourself in a professional manner throughout the event. Our goal is to make this as interactive an experience as possible for all who attend. We reserve the right to remove any participants who are disruptive or who act unprofessionally.