Child Guidance Clinic
The Child Guidance Clinic is a branch within Family Court Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. It is designed to meet both the needs of the Court and its staff for the purposes of providing comprehensive clinical and forensic psychological evaluations. Individual and group psychotherapy is also provided, as well as empirical research and consultation.
The District of Columbia is home to many ethnic groups and culturally diverse individuals. The majority of the youth represented in the city’s juvenile justice system are from economically disadvantaged and under-resourced communities. Many of the youth and their families have been exposed to multiple traumatic experiences over the course of their lives. The Child Guidance Clinic serves individuals with varying identities, backgrounds, needs and abilities to include: LGBTQ+, non-English speaking youth, individuals with co-occurring behavioral health disorders, individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing, and individuals who are physically disabled. As a result, our staff and trainees have exceptional and unique opportunities to conduct culturally-informed assessments and provide services to youth that present with an array of cognitive, emotional and interpersonal problems in both community and secure settings.
The Child Guidance Clinic also offers clinical training for pre-doctoral psychology students to include a one-year, full-time APA accredited internship program, and training in assessment and psychotherapy for externs in doctoral programs. Click to learn more about the program.
Court Ordered Forensic/Mental Health Evaluations
- General Battery (Psychological)
- Competency to Stand Trial
- Competency to Waive Miranda Rights
- Violence Risk
- Sex Offender
- Waiver of Juvenile Jurisdiction Evaluation
- Individuals and Group Therapy
- Anger Management
- Competency Attainment Classes
- Juvenile Sex Offender Treatment
Multidisciplinary Consultation and Prevention Services
- Specialty/Diversion Courts
- Juvenile Behavioral Diversion Program (JBDP)
- H.O.P.E. Court
- Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) MDT and Task Force
- Family Court Judges
- Department of Behavioral Health (DBH)
- Office of the Attorney General (OAG)
- Defense Bar
- Child and Family Service Agency (CFSA)
- Department of Health Services (DHS)
- Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS)
Past and Current Research
- Developed of Sex Trafficking Assessment Review (STAR), empirically validated screening took to identify youth at risk for CSEC
- Measurement variance of African-Americans in the juvenile justice system
- Construct development of measures for African-American involved in the juvenile justice system
- Evaluation of the efficacy of mental health court and other probation programming
- Evaluation of stereotype threat and racial identity attitudes in the juvenile justice population
- Demographic and psychosocial factors in the juvenile justice population
- Epidemiological studies
DEPUTY DIRECTOR AND ACTING CHIEF PSYCHOLOGIST
MALCOLM H. WOODLAND, PHD
Dr. Woodland is the Deputy Director for the Court Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (DCSC). He is also the Acting Chief Psychologist for DCSC’s Child Guidance Clinic. Dr. Woodland attained a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Howard University, completed internship at the NYU Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, and completed undergraduate studies at Tougaloo College.
Dr. Woodland has worked in juvenile justice and behavioral health for many years as a practitioner and advocate, conducting evaluations, performing clinical research, and providing clinical treatment and expert testimony. Dr. Woodland was instrumental in establishing the DC Superior Courts’ Juvenile Behavioral Health Diversion Program. Previously, Dr. Woodland was an American Educational Research Association fellow at the University of California, Berkley. He now serves as the chair of clinical research for the Child Guidance Clinic and co-led the development of the Sex Trafficking Assessment Review (STAR) screening tool, published in 2016. Dr. Woodland’s research on youth development, forensic assessment, and African-American males can be found in several peer-reviewed publications including the Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, Journal of Counseling Psychology, Urban Education, the Journal of Negro Education, and the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. Dr. Woodland is also a Washington, DC native.
ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR & CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST
MICHAEL E. BARNES, PHD
Dr. Barnes is the Assistant Deputy Director of the Court Social Services Division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (DCSC). He has been with DCSC since 1996, and served as the Chief Psychologist of DCSC’s Child Guidance Clinic for 20 years prior to his current position. Before joining DCSC, Dr. Barnes served as a Staff Psychologist at the Howard University Counseling Service (HUCS), providing student, family, and group therapy interventions. While at HUCS, Dr. Barnes also served as the Coordinator of the Drug Education and Prevention Program, established the Project for Educational and Cultural Health (PEACH) program, coordinated the Employee Assistance Program at the former Greater Southeast Community Hospital, and served as the chair for the National Institute of Health’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention grant review committee. Dr. Barnes also served as an expert witness in the District of Columbia for an attorney/defendant for the Office of Bar Counsel.
During his tenure with DCSC, Dr. Barnes has been awarded many accolades, including the American Psychological Association’s award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Institutional Practice in August 2012. Dr. Barnes was instrumental in the creation of DC’s first juvenile mental health court, and continues to serve on its Suitability Committee and Implementation Committee. Dr. Barnes is the co-chair of the Internal Residential Review Committee and the Creating Other Options for Life (COOL) House at Boys Town. In addition, Dr. Barnes remains an integral part of the coordination and supervision of the APA-Accredited predoctoral internship program partnership between the DC Superior Courts and Howard University.
DIRECTOR OF CLINICAL TRAINING
JENNIFER CHRISTMAN, PSYD
Dr. Christman is a licensed psychologist in the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, and is credentialed by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists. Dr. Christman has practiced forensic psychology for many years in criminal and civil courts, forensic hospitals, and correctional facilities. Dr. Christman completed her predoctoral internship with the Colorado Department of Corrections in maximum-security prisons. Dr. Christman has previously served as a regional supervising psychologist for the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice, a PTSD evaluator for Veterans in Washington, DC, and a forensic evaluator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Forensic Evaluations Unit in North Carolina. Dr. Christman has given community, state, and national professional presentations on juvenile evaluations, psychopathy, trauma and juvenile delinquency, and mental health training for correctional staff. Dr. Christman earned a PsyD from the American School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC and completed undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University. She is also a native of the Washington, DC metro area.
MITCHELL H. HUGONNET, PHD
Dr. Hugonnet has practiced forensic psychology for over 25 years in a variety of forensic evaluation and treatment settings. He completed an APA internship and residency at St. Elizabeths Hospital in the forensic inpatient division. He then served as the Director of the forensic inpatient pre-trial evaluation and treatment unit at St. Elizabeths Hospital for 14 years. His work has included training psychology interns, residents, and medical students. He has conducted numerous pre- and post-trial forensic assessments such as competence to stand trial, competence to waive insanity defense, criminal responsibility, sexual and violence risk assessments, and eligibility for civil commitment. For the past 12 years, Dr. Hugonnet has been a supervisory forensic psychologist at the Child Guidance Clinic of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He also served as the Director of Internship Training for 9 years. In this capacity, Dr. Hugonnet developed the Sexual Abuse Violates Everyone (SAVE) assessment and treatment program for youth who have committed sexual offenses. Until recently, SAVE was the first and only juvenile sex offense-specific treatment program in the DC area.
MICHAEL GUILBAULT, PHD
Dr. Guilbault is a licensed psychologist in the District of Columbia and Maryland. He joined the DC Superior Court’s Child Guidance Clinic staff in July 2016 after previously completing both the Clinic’s assessment externship in 2008 and predoctoral internship in 2010. Dr. Guilbault received his PhD in Counseling Psychology from Howard University in 2010. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Maryland, College Park where he specializes in administering and supervising psychoeducational evaluations on both adolescents and adults. He also works with the University’s athletic department on student-athlete testing referrals. Dr. Guilbault served as an adjunct professor in the graduate Counseling program at Trinity Washington University from 2012 - 2016 teaching the following courses: Principles and Theories of Counseling, Counseling and Group Process, and Practicum in Counseling. He completes assessments on a contract basis for the Division of Parole and Probation (Maryland) and the US Department of Labor. From 2010 to 2016, he was employed with Maryland's Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services at a maximum security treatment facility. He is the author of several articles and has presented at various annual conferences. He currently serves on The Journal of Negro Education's Young Scholars Editorial Board. His undergraduate degree was attained at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1998 (Kinesiology).
KATARA WATKINS-LAWS, PHD
Dr. Watkins-Laws is a licensed psychologist in the District of Columbia. She received a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Howard University in 2014. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Working with Survivors of Trauma and Torture from the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Watkins-Laws completed her pre-doctoral internship at Lawrence Hall Youth Services, a residential treatment center in Cook County, Chicago, IL. She provides psychotherapy, assessment and consultation to children, adolescents and adults in the Washington, DC region. Dr. Watkins-Laws has worked in school, outpatient hospital and community settings.
Dr. Watkins-Laws returned to the Child Guidance Clinic in 2014 and completed her postdoctoral training as a Clinical Research Associate. In this role, she coordinated the data collection and completed outcome statistics for the DC Superior Court’s mental health court, Juvenile Behavioral Diversion Program (JBDP). She also was the coordinator of the mental health screening program for status and delinquent offenders and youth at risk for sexual exploitation (CSEC). Dr. Watkins-Laws has also held research positions with the Research Initiative for Student Enhancement program (RISE) at Kennedy Krieger Institute Family Center, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and was a federal intern at Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the Office of Policy and Political Planning. Dr. Watkins-Laws has been an invited presenter on the topic of identifying youth for sexual exploitation and has presented research on the effects of childhood trauma, testing measurement and identifying youth at risk for CSEC at professional conferences. She has also authored and co-authored several research articles in peer-reviewed journals including the NSHA Dialog, The Journal of Negro Education, and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Dr. Watkins-Laws received her undergraduate degree from Oakwood University (Psychology/English) and is a native of Washington, DC.
MS. DANUISKA CRUZ
Ms. Cruz is originally from Dominican Republic and moved to Maryland 23 years ago. She has completed a paralegal degree at Prince Georges Community College in 2006. Prior to her current position at the Child Guidance Clinic, she has worked as a bilingual legal assistant, an office manager for Medical Health Insurance Program for low income families, and has held positions at Catholic Charities DC and the Bilingual Family Liaison.
MS. TERRI STRICKLAND
Ms. Strickland is originally from Chicago and moved to Washington, DC in 2012. Her professional background has been primarily in the legal field. Previous to her position with the Child Guidance Clinic, she managed a word processing staff at an international law firm. She lives in a small town in Maryland with her husband.
The research laboratory housed in the Child Guidance Clinic is dedicated to the advancement of psychological science in child and adolescent forensic practice.
The Clinic’s services are primarily focused on mental health screening and assessment to aid therapeutic jurisprudence for Court-involved juveniles. DCSC serves a juvenile population that is predominantly African-American. The majority of DCSC youth also reside in areas of Washington, DC affected by high levels of violence, low rates of high school graduation, and low levels of household income.
Given that many psychological measures are not validated on diverse groups, similar to those served by DCSC, one of the primary goals of the CGC Research Lab is to examine the reliability and validity of psychological assessment measures used by the Clinic for the DCSC population. The Clinic has also focused on factors associated with psychological assessments, such as stereotype threat, that might diminish the validity of assessment scores. Another area of focus has been the development of assessment tools intended for use with the DCSC population, and other similar populations.
Furthermore, the research lab aims to examine psychosocial variables in forensic issues, including the effects of racial identity attitudes and stereotypes on psychological screening and assessment tools among African American adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system. The research lab also studies local and national convergence between female and male arrest rates, and how convergence may be associated with differences in mental health statuses.
Andretta, J.R., Watkins, K.M., Barnes, M.E., & Woodland, M.H. (2016). Towards the discreet identification of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) victims and individualized interventions: Science to practice. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 22, 260-270.
Andretta, J. R., Worrell, F. C., Ramirez, A.M., Barnes, M.E., Odom, T., & Woodland, M. H. (2016). A pathway model for emotional distress and implications for therapeutic jurisprudence in African American juvenile court respondents. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 22, 341-349. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000053
Andretta, J.R., Ramirez, A.M., Barnes, M.E., Odom, T., Roberson-Adams, S., & Woodland, M.H. (2015). Perceived parental security profiles in African American adolescents involved in the juvenile justice system. Journal of Family Psychology, 29, 884-894. doi: 10.1037/fam0000105
Andretta, J.R., Worrell, F.C., Ramirez, A.M., Barnes, M.E., Odom, T., Brim, S., & Woodland, M.H. (2015). The effects of stigma priming on forensic screening in African American youth. The Counseling Psychologist, 43, 1162-1189. doi: 10.1177/0011000015611963
Ramirez, A.M., Andretta, J. R., Barnes, M. E., & Woodland, M. H. (2015). Recidivism and psychiatric symptom outcomes in a juvenile mental health court. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 66, 31-46. doi: 10.1111/jfcj.12025
Worrell, F.C., Andretta, J.R., & Woodland, M.H. (2014). Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS) scores and profiles in African American adolescents involved with the juvenile justice system. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61, 570-580. doi: 10.1037/cou0000041
Woodland, M.H., Andretta, J. R., Moore, J. A., Bennett, M. T., Worrell, F. C., & Barnes, M. E. (2014). MACI scores of African-American males in a forensic setting: Are we measuring what we think we are measuring? Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 14, 418-437. doi: 10.1080/15228932.2014.973773
Andretta, J. R., Thompson, A. D., Ramirez, A. M., Kelly, J., Barnes, M. E, & Woodland, M. H. (2014). A study on the psychometric properties of Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating Scales-Self Report scores in African-Americans with juvenile court contact. Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, 14, 1-23. doi: 10.1080/15228932.2014.863051
Andretta, J. R., Woodland, M. H., Ramirez, A. M., & Barnes, M. E. (2013). ADHD symptom frequency and ADHD symptom count clustering in African-American adolescents with juvenile court contact. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, 24, 570-593. doi: 10.1080/14789949.2013.823218
Andretta, J.R., Odom, T., Barksdale, F., Barnes, M.E., Ramirez, A.M., & Woodland, M.H. (2014). An examination of management strategies and attitudes among probation officers. Journal of Forensic Social Work, 4, 150-166. doi: 10.1080/1936928X.2014.958644