Children and the Law provides mental health and legal expertise to organizations serving families with children and adolescents involved with the law, including the courts, and to individuals and families through their attorneys.
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For more information, call 617-585-7440
Meet Our Staff
Catherine Ayoub, R.N, Ed.D.
Kelly Casey, Ph.D.
Andrew Clark, M.D., Medical Director
Mary Corbett, Office Administrator
Christine Darsney, Ph.D.
Robin M. Deutsch, Ph.D., Director of Forensic Services
Sara McLeod, Ph.D.
Susanne Meyer, LICSW
Dr. Catherine Ayoub
Dr. Catherine Ayoub is a forensic psychologist & nurse practitioner with strong clinical and research interests in child and family development and the impact of trauma across the life span. Dr. Ayoub serves as a senior forensic mental health expert for children and adults involved in juvenile, family, criminal and civil courts across the USA and in Latin America. She has expertise in assessment of child maltreatment (physical and sexual abuse and neglect), family conflict including divorce and custody issues, family violence, and the long term impact of childhood trauma on behavior, criminal activity, and general functioning into adulthood. Dr. Ayoub has international expertise in the assessment and treatment of disorders of deception including Munchausen by Proxy and factitious disorder. She has a long term interest in the unique nature of crimes committed by women and has experience in working on cases involving infanticide. She holds a primary appointment at Harvard Medical School through the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and she is also active on the staff of Children’s Hospital as a senior interventionist and researcher. Dr. Ayoub has published over 75 articles and books related to child development, impact of trauma on development, parenting, mental health and educational prevention and intervention service delivery systems and related topics.
Raised in Mexico, Dr. Ayoub comes from a multicultural background and has special expertise in clinical work, program development and research with Latino families. She is an international clinical consultant to early childhood programs, legal organizations, professional organizations and governments including in Chile, Bolivia and Turkey. She has over 30 years of experience in developing, implementing, scaling up and evaluating prevention and intervention systems in health, legal and educational settings to combat risk and promote resilience with emphasis on young children and their families across cultures and communities. As past Director of the Risk and Prevention Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education she was critical in the development and implementation of this important progressive master’s program focused on multidisciplinary work with vulnerable children and adolescents.
As both an interventionist and a researcher, Dr. Ayoub is a leader in the design, implementation, and evaluation of mental health and educational programs for young at risk children and families. She is a founder of the Parent Child Center; one of the oldest child abuse prevention programs in the United States aimed as offering supportive services to at risk children at families from birth onward. Dr. Ayoub directs several research studies including a longitudinal developmental study of maltreated children and their parents, a study of Munchausen by Proxy families, and a project that explores the impact of conflicted divorce and family violence on children, and a longitudinal study of the impact of Early Head Start. She is currently working with other Harvard faculty to design, implement and evaluate programs for children birth to 6 years living in poverty for the Ministry of Education in Chile and has led a national conference on child sexual abuse for supreme court justices, prosecutors, and forensic evaluators in Chile and has provided consultation to programs for homeless children in Bolivia.
Kelly Casey, Ph.D.
Dr. Kelly A. Casey, Ph.D. graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She then went on to obtain an MA in general psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology from American University and a Ph.D. in Clinical, Foresnic Psychology from Alliant University, CSPP. Dr. Casey has completed internships in adult forensic psychology at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, N.C., Psychological Testing at Alvarado Parkway Hospital in San Diego, California, and juvenile forensic psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. She completed her postdoctorate fellowship in 2008 with the Children and the Law Program / Boston Juvenile Court Clinic and joined the staff of these organizations. Currently, her clinical interests are as follows:
- Psychological Testing
- Juvenile Forensic Evaluations
- Adult Forensic Evaluations
- Risk Assessments
- Care and Protection
- Termination of Parental Rights Evaluations
- Divorce/Parenting Issues
Andrew Clark, M.D.
Dr. Andrew Clark is a child and adult psychiatrist who has worked on the staff of the Children and the Law Program at Massachusetts General Hospital since 1996; he became the Medical Director of the program in 2005. In that capacity he has conducted over a hundred Guardian ad litem evaluations in conflicted custody cases, and has served as an expert witness in a wide range of cases involving children and families in Probate, Juvenile, District and Federal Courts. He has had a special interest in children and parents with severe psychiatric illness and the impact of traumatic experiences on children, and has maintained an active private practice of child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. In addition, he has worked for twelve years as the Director of Psychiatric Services at the Suffolk County House of Correction, a large urban correctional facility.
Dr. Clark holds academic appointments at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He regularly supervises trainees in child psychiatry and in forensic psychiatry and psychology, and he presents frequently to judges, attorneys, and child protection workers around child psychiatric illness and treatment. He is Board Certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry, and Forensic Psychiatry, and he was previously trained and Board Certified in Pediatrics.
For additional information on Dr. Andrew Clark, please see his curriculum vitae.
Christine Darsney, Ph.D.
Dr. Christine Darsney is a pediatric forensic psychologist who has been on the staff of the Children and the Law Program at Massachusetts General Hospital since 1997. In that capacity, Dr. Darsney has conducted over a hundred Guardian ad Litem evaluations in conflicted custody cases, and has served as an expert witness for cases involving child custody, child sexual abuse, attachment and bonding, child abuse and neglect, and psychological testing, in both Probate and Juvenile Courts throughout Massachusetts and New England. Dr. Darsney maintains a strong interest in the Juvenile Court Clinics in Massachusetts, and she is the Manager of the Court Clinic Contracts for MGH/Children and the Law, as well as the Clinical Director of the Norfolk County Juvenile Court Clinic (where she has been on staff since 1997). She is a Certified Juvenile Court Clinician, Levels I and II, and she supervises postdoctoral fellows and child psychiatry residents at the Boston Juvenile Court Clinic. Dr. Darsney has particular expertise in the evaluation of child sexual abuse in the context of high conflict divorce custody cases, and in conducting parenting evaluations in the context of abuse and neglect allegations. Dr. Darsney holds academic appointments at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital.
For additional information on Dr. Christine Darsney, please see her curriculum vitae.
Robin M. Deutsch, Ph.D.
Dr. Robin Deutsch is a child forensic psychologist who has been on the staff of the Children and the Law Program since 1990 and has served in a variety of roles including Co-Director of the program with Kenneth Herman, Ph.D., J.D. She is currently the Director of Forensic Services and Training. She has conducted over 400 custody evaluations, has worked on the development of Standards for Guardians ad Litem in the state of Massachusetts, and provided the state mandated trainings for GALs. She has served as an expert witness in Juvenile, Probate and Family, District, and Federal Courts. She also provides Parenting Coordination services, as well as consultation and expert witness services to attorneys throughout North America. Dr. Deutsch holds an appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Deutsch has provided educational and scientific presentations to judges, lawyers, parent groups, and mental health professionals throughout North America and Europe on issues including:
- Child and adolescent development
- Child abuse and neglect
- Children’s voices in the legal system
- Children at risk
- Effects of divorce on children
- Understanding and management of difficult clients
- Effects and assessment of domestic violence
- Custody evaluations
- Management of and interventions for high conflict divorces
- Complex custody issues
- Parenting coordination
Dr. Deutsch has been involved in a number of national leadership positions including:
- Chair of the American Psychological Association (APA) Ethics Committee
- President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)
- Co-chair of the APA-ABA Working Group on Issues of Alleged Abuse, Neglect and Endangerment
- Co-chair of the APA-ABA Working Group on Psychological and Legal Interventions with Parents, Children and Families
- Member of the APA task force developing Guidelines for Parenting Coordination
- Member of the AFCC task force that developed Guidelines for Parenting Coordinators
- Member of the AFCC committee that developed Shared Parenting: A Guide for Parents Living Apart
Dr. Deutsch has over twenty publications and is the coauthor of 7 Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You: and How to Talk about Them Anyway, Ballantine, 2005.
For additional information on Dr. Robin Deutsch, please see her curriculum vitae.
Sara McLeod, Ph.D.
Dr. Sara McLeod, Ph.D. is a psychologist with the Law and Psychiatry Service of the Massachusetts General Hospital and holds an appointment at Harvard Medical School. She has extensive experience in child sexual abuse and provides expert witness testimony in civil and criminal cases and conducts Guardian ad litem evaluations for the probate courts, specializing in the evaluation of sexual abuse allegations that emerge in the context of high-conflict divorce. She lectures in the Law and Psychiatry Service’s seminar series and supervises post-doctoral fellows.
Prior to joining the Law and Psychiatry Service, Dr. McLeod was the senior psychologist on the Sexual Abuse Treatment Team (SATT) at The Children’s Hospital, Boston, where she conducted clinical sexual abuse evaluations, and provided trauma-focused psychotherapy to children and psychotherapy/parent guidance to parents and other caregivers. She taught in the weekly didactic seminar offered to trainees and to hospital staff, supervised pre-doctoral psychology interns and provided consultation to hospital staff and to the community at large. She served as a liaison between the Children’s Hospital and the Suffolk County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) where she provided ongoing consultation to SAIN Teams and to staff at the CAC and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. She served on the committee that developed the model to be used for conducting sexual abuse evaluations under the auspices of the Suffolk County CAC, and also served on the Cardinal’s Commission for the Protection of Children (March – October, 2002).
Dr. McLeod also maintains a private practice in Wellesley, Massachusetts where she conducts clinical sexual abuse evaluations, provides therapy and/or consultation to children and adults, many of whom have histories of sexual abuse or are involved in high-conflict divorce situations. She consults to other mental health providers, to schools and to attorneys regarding sexual abuse issues, and has presented at state and regional conferences. She is a licensed psychologist and health service provider in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (B.A.: Yale College; Ed.M.: Harvard Graduate School of Education; Ph.D.: Boston College).
Susanne Meyer, L.I.C.S.W., B.C.D.
Susanne Meyer, L.I.C.S.W., B.C.D. is a board certified clinical social worker who has been on the staff at the Children and the Law Program at Massachusetts General Hospital since 2000. Prior to that time Ms. Meyer served as the Director of the Sexual Abuse Treatment Team in the Department of Psychiatry at Children's Hospital, Boston for 12 years, and worked for 6 years as a senior staff clinician in the Child Protection Program there. Ms. Meyer has an extensive background in the area of child sexual abuse and has particular interests in allegations of sexual abuse arising in the context of high conflict divorce, and in the assessment of preschoolers suspected of having been sexually abused. Throughout her career she has conducted several hundred comprehensive clinical and forensic sexual abuse evaluations, as well as serving as a Guardian ad litem involving issues of child abuse and custody. She provides consultation to legal, mental health and medical professionals regarding sexual abuse, has published in the field, and has given presentations at local, regional and national conferences. Ms. Meyer has also served as an expert witness in the Trial Courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and other states.
For additional information on Susanne Meyer, please see her curriculum vitae.
Joseph Begany, Ph.D.
Dr. Joseph Begany is a clinical psychologist specializing in pediatric neuropsychology and forensic psychology. Dr. Begany conducts a wide range of neuropsychological and forensic evaluations with children and teens, and parenting evaluations with adults. Dr. Begany has particular interest and experience in applying the brain-behavior principles of pediatric neuropsychology to forensic evaluation of children and teens. Dr. Begany has been with the Children and the Law Program since 2005 and he works primarily in the Boston Juvenile Court Clinic where he provides forensic consultation and forensic neuropsychological consultation to the Boston Juvenile Court. Dr. Begany also participates in the training and teaching of predoctoral and postdoctoral psychologists, and MGH psychiatry residents. Dr. Begany maintains a private practice in pediatric neuropsychology. He provides consultation services to a range of clients including parents, school systems, physicians, juvenile and district courts, and to state agencies such as the Department of Mental Retardation and the Department of Youth Services as well as other forensic professionals. Dr. Begany also serves as the consulting psychologist to the Department of Children and Families Northeast Regional Clinical Review Team, which reviews and makes determinations on complicated DCF cases.
Patricia Brady, LMHC
Patricia Brady is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked as a consultant to the Children and the Law Program at Massachusetts General Hospital since 2007. In that capacity, she has conducted Forensic Evaluations in Child Welfare Cases involving issues related to parental fitness, visitation, where children have been alleged to be victims of severe abuse and or neglect or subject to a high conflict custody dispute. In addition to her work at Children and the Law, she has been in private practice conducting evaluations in Juvenile and Probate Courts in the Commonwealth.
Ms. Brady has been qualified as an expert witness in trials related to issues involving:
- Risk Assessment
- Attachment Disorder
- Family Systems Issues
- Child Welfare
- Placement and Permanency Planning
- Sexual Abuse
- Child Custody Evaluations
Ms. Brady has a special interest in cases involving Adoption and Adoption Disruption, as well as cases where there have been concerns related to fabrication, exaggeration and inducement of symptoms in children. Ms. Brady has been licensed by the Commonwealth for 17 years and is Board Certified in Psychotherapy by the APA. Ms. Brady is a field supervisor for Graduate students at Boston College as well.
Jennifer Murphy, Ph.D.
Dr. Jennifer A. Murphy is a staff psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Children and the Law Program and works primarily with court-involved children, adolescents, and families through the Suffolk County Juvenile Court system. Her research interests include comprehensive support services in public schools, children and adolescent’s capacity to understand legal proceedings, and inter-professional collaboration among mental health experts and lawyers advocating for children in legal contexts.
Dr. Murphy is a Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, an Adjunct Lecturer in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an Adjunct Lecturer in Psychology at Boston College. She earned a master’s degree in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Risk and Prevention Program and subsequently worked in urban elementary and middle schools providing intervention and prevention services in collaboration with the Judge Baker Children’s Center. Dr. Murphy later earned a doctorate in psychology at Boston College and completed her internship and post-doctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School with specializations in the areas of adult, child, and family therapy, psychological and neuropsychological testing, and pediatric forensic psychology.