Juvenile Court Consultation Program

The Juvenile Court Consultation Program (JCCP) at Massachusetts General Hospital provides court-ordered clinical assessment and consultation services to the Juvenile Courts of Suffolk and Norfolk counties.
See clinic location & contact us Meet our staff

Contact JCCP Central Administration at: 617-724-8658

Overview

Services of the Juvenile Court Consultation Program (JCCP) are provided through contracts with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health’s (DMH) Forensic Services Division and the Trial Court of Massachusetts.

JCCP staff comprises psychologists and social workers at Mass General who have completed a specialized state-supervised training and certification process (CJCC I & II). JCCP clinicians staff juvenile courts in Dedham and Dorchester, and work alongside their DMH counterparts at the Boston Juvenile Court in downtown Boston.

Meet our staff

What We Do

  • Court-ordered evaluations - We perform comprehensive evaluations of children, adolescents and their families who are parties in a variety of legal matters in response to questions posed by the Court.
  • Education and training - JCCP and DMH collaboratively sponsor education opportunities for an annual training class consisting of predoctoral and postdoctoral psychology fellows, master's level social work interns and rotating psychiatry residents.

Our Certifications

Certified Juvenile Court Clinicians (CJCC I & II) have completed a state-certified training and mentorship program. They have also passed an exam and been appointed by the Assistant Commissioner of Forensic Mental Health Services to conduct the following evaluations for the juvenile court:

  • CJCC I & II - child requiring assistance (CRA), care and protection (C&P) and delinquency disposition evaluations
  • CJCC II only - competency to stand trial (CST) and criminal responsibility (CR) evaluations

Our Staff

  • Christine Darsney, PhD, CJCC I & II

    Program Manager, Juvenile Court Consultation Program
    Clinical Director, Norfolk County Juvenile Court Clinic

    Christine Darsney, PhD is the program manager for the Juvenile Court Consultation Program, as well as the clinical director of the Norfolk County Juvenile Court Clinic. Dr. Darsney holds appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. She has clinical expertise and interest in evaluating parenting capacity, termination of parental rights, high conflict divorce custody cases, attachment, psychological testing, children with developmental disabilities including autistic spectrum disorders and child sexual abuse.

    See Dr. Darsney's CV

  • Barbara Amidon, PhD, CJCC I & II

    Staff Psychologist

    Barbara Stone Amidon, PhD is a forensic psychologist at the Juvenile Court Consultation Program. She is credentialed as a forensic psychologist at Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital. Her areas of expertise include competency and criminal responsibility, sex offender evaluations, fire setting evaluations, risk assessment, emergency assessment and placement issues.

  • Celine Crespi-Hunt, PsyD, CJCC I & II

    Staff Psychologist

    Celine Crespi-Hunt, PsyD is a clinical and forensic psychologist who earned her doctorate of psychology at Pepperdine University and has been conducting forensic evaluations of children and families since 2013. Her experience includes individual, group, and family therapy with children, adolescents and adults; psychological testing and evaluation in outpatient and forensic settings, treatment with juveniles on probation, treatment with homeless adults and families and milieu interventions with adults with major mental illness. Her research background is in post-traumatic growth and the treatment of individuals who experienced trauma with specific focus on the role of social support. Currently, Dr. Crespi-Hunt conducts forensic evaluations including emergency evaluations and psychological testing, supervises and conducts training seminars for new staff, graduate level interns, postdoctoral fellows and psychiatry residents and serves as an expert witness. Dr. Crespi-Hunt’s areas of expertise and clinical interest include psychological testing, evaluations with individuals who have cognitive limitations, particularly in relation to parenting evaluations and juvenile competence to stand trial evaluations, adolescent mental health and trauma-informed treatment.

    Email Dr. Crespi-Hunt: ccrespi-hunt@mgh.harvard.edu
    See Dr. Crespi-Hunt's CV

  • Pooja Khialani, PsyD, CJCC I & II

    Staff Psychologist

    Pooja Khialani, PsyD is a clinical and forensic psychologist who earned her doctorate in psychology through the Williams James College (formerly Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology) and has been conducting forensic evaluations of children and families since 2010. Her experience includes forensic evaluations of children and families involved with child protective agencies, comprehensive psychological testing services, evaluations of families involved in visitation and custody disputes, risk assessments of and individual therapy with adults with severe and persistent mental illness, and trauma focused individual therapy with children and adults. Currently, Dr. Khialani conducts forensic evaluations including emergency evaluations and psychological testing; supervises and conducts training seminars for new staff, graduate level interns, postdoctoral fellows and psychiatry residents; and serves as an expert witness. Dr. Khialani also serves as a consultant to the MGH Law and Psychiatry Service where she conducts forensic evaluations and psychological testing of adults involved in civil and criminal matters. Dr. Khialani’s areas of expertise and clinical interest include domestic violence; the impact of trauma on child development; forensic interviewing of young children; psychological testing and the use of the Rorschach in forensic evaluations; issues related to parental fitness; juvenile delinquency and violence risk assessments.

    Email Dr. Khialani: pkhialani@mgh.harvard.edu
    See Dr. Khialani's CV

  • Elana B. Klein, LICSW, CJCC I Mentor

    Clinical Site Coordinator, Dorchester Juvenile Court Clinic
    Staff Social Worker

    Elana Klein is the Clinical Site Coordinator of the Dorchester Juvenile Court Clinic.  She earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at Boston University and has been conducting forensic evaluations of children and families for over six years.  Her experience includes social service agency management, coordination of a variety of youth programs in Boston and surrounding communities, and provision of clinical services at a high school for student in recovery from substance use disorders.  Currently, Ms. Klein conducts forensic evaluations including emergency mental health screening and section 35 evaluations, supervises and conducts training seminars for new staff, graduate level interns, postdoctoral fellows and psychiatry residents; and serves as an expert witness.  Ms. Klein’s areas of expertise and clinical interest include childhood trauma assessment and treatment, adolescent development, substance use assessment, treatment, and prevention, issues of social justice related to the juvenile justice system, and the role of social systems and institutions in addressing social problems.  She also serves as the Juvenile Court Clinic’s liaison to community substance abuse treatment providers. 

    Email Elana: eklein3@mgh.harvard.edu
    See Elana's CV

  • Jennifer A. Murphy, PhD, CJCC I & II Mentor

    Director of Training, Staff Psychologist

    Jennifer A. Murphy, PhD is a forensic psychologist at the Juvenile Court Consultation Program. She holds academic appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Her forensic expertise includes parenting capacity, competency to stand trial, juvenile delinquency, the impact of trauma on child development and parenting, psychological and neuropsychological testing and the commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children.

  • Jenna Obelsky, LICSW, CJCC I Candidate

    Staff Social Worker

    Jenna is a clinical and forensic social worker who earned her master’s degree in Social Work at Simmons School of Social Work. She has been conducting forensic evaluations of children and families since 2014. Prior to joining the Juvenile Court Consultation Program, Jenna evaluated children committed to the Department of Youth Services. Currently, Jenna conducts forensic evaluations, emergency evaluations, and serves as an expert witness.  Jenna’s areas of expertise and clinical interest include juvenile justice and the complex factors that contribute to juvenile offending, and the intersection between juvenile justice and educational institutions.

    Email Jenna: jobelsky@mgh.harvard.edu
    See Jenna's CV

  • Leslie Penni, LCSW, CJCC I candidate

    Staff Social Worker

    Leslie Penni is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a candidate in training for the Juvenile Court Consultation Program (CJCC I). She began her work at the Boston Juvenile Court Clinic as an intern in 2014, before joining the staff in 2015. Leslie now serves the Norfolk County population at the Dedham Juvenile Court Clinic. She holds particular interests in the clinical fields of trauma and early attachment, adolescent development and delinquent behaviors, and working and families with internationally adopted children. Her experience and training in the practice of meditation, energy healing, and yoga has also led her to an interest in implementing healing practices into therapeutic interventions. She conducts mental health evaluations for juveniles in matters relating to delinquencies, risk assessments, and Child Requiring Assistance petitions. She also conducts parenting evaluations for Care and Protection cases for the Juvenile Court.

    Call Leslie: Dedham Juvenile Court, 781-329-1500 (ext. 244)
    Email Leslie: lpenni@mgh.harvard.edu
    See Leslie's CV

  • Margaret Witecki, PhD, CJCC I & II mentor

    Senior Consultant

    Margaret Witecki, PhD is a clinical and forensic psychologist who earned her doctorate through New York University in 1978. She has been conducting forensic evaluations of children and families since then, initially at the Boston Juvenile Court Clinic, then during the 1980s at Judge Baker Children’s Center/Children’s Hospital, where she co-founded the Children and the Law Program, the first pediatric forensic psychology training program in the United States. Since the 1990s, she has maintained a private practice for therapy and evaluation, and she worked at the Norfolk County Juvenile Court Clinic through the Juvenile Court Consultation Program from 1997 to 2016. Currently, she remains a senior consultant to the JCCP and continues her practice. Her specialties include competency to stand trial and evaluation of court-involved adolescents that include risk assessment and treatment planning. 

    Contact Dr. Witecki: 508-740-5033
    See Dr. Witecki's CV

Evaluations

Court-ordered Clinical Evaluations

The Juvenile Court Consultation Program (JCCP) offers comprehensive evaluations of children, adolescents and their families who are involved in a variety of legal matters. We perform these evaluations in response to questions posed by the court. Our evaluations may involve forensic interviews, historical record review, consultation with collateral contacts and, in some cases, psychological testing.

Types of Evaluations We Offer


Children and adolescents before the court due to delinquent behavior

  • Disposition evaluations to aid the court in developing intervention plans
  • Competency to stand trial (CST) evaluations
  • Criminal responsibility (CR) evaluations (under specific conditions)

Children and adolescents before the court as the subjects of child requiring assistance (CRA) applications* due to status offenses

  • Runaway evaluations
  • Stubborn child evaluations (chronic failure to obey guardian)
  • Habitual school offender evaluations (chronic failure to obey school rules)
  • Truancy evaluations

*Formerly known as "child in need of services" (CHINS) petitions


Children and/or their parents or guardians before the court as parties in care and protection matters

  • Parental fitness evaluations
  • Evaluation of a parent’s mental health functioning as it impacts parenting capabilities
  • Evaluation of a child’s vulnerabilities as they impact his or her special care and custody needs
  • Evaluation of a parent’s competence to proceed in a care and protection matter

Same-day emergency mental health screenings

  • Evaluations (pursuant to MGL Chapter 123 Section 35) to assess a person’s need for civil commitment due to substance use that poses a threat of serious harm to the person or others
  • Evaluations (pursuant to MGL Chapter 123 Section 12) to assess a person’s need for civil commitment due to symptoms of mental illness that pose a threat of serious harm to the person or others

Additional JCCP Services

  • Expert witness testimony
  • Psychological testing reports
  • Ongoing consultation to judges, probation officers, attorneys, court-appointed special advocates (CASAs), guardian ad litems (GALs), school staff and caseworkers for state agencies (Department of Mental Health, Department of Youth Services, Department of Children and Families, Department of Developmental Services)
  • Short-term case management
  • Psychoeducational groups for court-involved children and adolescents on a variety of topics including anger management, emotional regulation, life skills and substance use prevention and recovery

As part of the program's overall voluntary contribution to the academic and clinical mission of Mass General, members of the JCCP can provide limited consultation services to Mass General clinicians whose clients are involved with the Juvenile Court.

Education & Training

The Juvenile Court Consultation Program (JCCP) at Massachusetts General Hospital and Department of Mental Health (DMH) collaboratively sponsor education opportunities for an annual training class consisting of predoctoral and postdoctoral psychology fellows, master’s level social work interns and rotating psychiatry residents.

Mass General/McLean Hospital child psychiatry residents also participate in the training activities and conduct evaluations under supervision at the clinic during a first-year rotation of their residency. Trainees participate in individual supervision, group supervision and a didactic seminar series covering a variety of topics relevant to the practice of child and forensic psychology.

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Juvenile Forensic Psychology

The JCCP sponsors a one-year postdoctoral Fellowship in Juvenile Forensic Psychology through Mass General at the Boston Juvenile Court Clinic (BJCC) in a busy, urban juvenile court. During the course of the training year, fellows will take primary responsibility for conducting court-ordered evaluations including child requiring assistance (CRA), care and protection (C&P), delinquency, emergency and testing evaluations and may also be called to testify in court. Fellows receive the training required for Certified Juvenile Court Clinician I during the course of their training year and begin to learn how to conduct competency to stand trial (CST) and criminal responsibility (CR) evaluations.

Learn more about the Juvenile Forensic Psychology Fellowship

Internships for Predoctoral Psychology Students and Masters-level Social Work Students

Psychology and social work student interns at the Boston Juvenile Court Clinic are collaboratively supervised by JCCP and DMH clinicians. In this part-time placement, interns have the opportunity to learn about many aspects of the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts and to address a variety of clinical issues including family systems dynamics, individual psychopathology, substance use disorders and learning disabilities. Court clinic interns also co-lead psychoeducational groups for court-involved adolescents.

Contact Us

Clinic Locations

Central Administration, Law and Psychiatry Service
One Bowdoin Square
15 New Chardon Street, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02114-2927
Phone: 617-724-8658
Fax: 617-724-2808

JCCP Staff

  • Christine Darsney, PhD, CJCC I & II, Program Manager: 781-329-1500, ext. 244

Boston Juvenile Court Clinic (BJCC)
24 New Chardon Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-788-6460
Fax: 617-788-8975

JCCP Staff

  • Celine Crespi-Hunt, PsyD, CJCC I & II: 617-788-6702
  • Pooja Khialani, Psy.D., CJCC I & II candidate: 617-788-6472
  • Elana B. Klein, LICSW, CJCC I: 617-788-6456
  • Jennifer A. Murphy, PhD, CJCC I & II: 617-788-6467
  • Jenna Obelsky, LICSW,CJCC I candidate: 617-788-6469

*For a full listing of BJCC staff, including DMH staff, call 617-788-6460


Dorchester Juvenile Court Clinic (DJCC)
510 Washington Street
Dorchester, MA 02124
Phone: 617-288-9500
Fax: 617-436-3595

JCCP Staff:

  • Elana B. Klein, LICSW, CJCC I, Site Coordinator: 617-288-9500, ext. 402
  • Jenna Obelsky, LICSW, CJCC I Candidate: 617-288-9500, ext. 409

Norfolk County Juvenile Court Clinic
55 Allied Drive
Dedham, MA 02026
Phone: 781-329-1500, ext. 244
Fax: 781-329-1640

JCCP Staff

  • Christine Darsney, PhD, CJCC I & II, Clinical Director: 781-329-1500, ext. 244
  • Barbara Amidon, PhD, CJCC I & II: 781-329-1500, ext. 244
  • Leslie Penni LCSW CJCC I candidate: 781-329-1500, ext. 244
  • Margaret Witecki, PhD, CJCC I & II: 508-740-5033
See clinic location & contact us Meet our staff

Contact JCCP Central Administration at: 617-724-8658

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