H. B. 2150
(By Delegates Amores, Mahan, Pino and Schadler)
February 10, 2005
; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §49-6-1 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, relating to expanding the possible venues
where a child neglect or abuse petition may be filed.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §49-6-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 6. PROCEDURE IN CASES OF CHILD NEGLECT OR ABUSE.
§49-6-1. Petition to court when child believed neglected or
(a) If the department or a reputable person believes that a
child is neglected or abused, the department or the person may
present a petition setting forth the facts to the circuit court in
the county in which the child, custodial respondent or other named
resides, or in which the abuse or neglect occurred,
to the judge of
court in vacation. Under no circumstance
may a party file a petition in more than one county based on the
same set of facts.
The petition shall be verified by the oath of some credible person having knowledge of the facts. The petition
shall allege specific conduct including time and place, how such
conduct comes within the statutory definition of neglect or abuse
with references thereto, any supportive services provided by the
department to remedy the alleged circumstances and the relief
sought. Upon filing of the petition, the court shall set a time
and place for a hearing and shall appoint counsel for the child.
When there is an order for temporary custody pursuant to section
three of this article,
hearing shall be held within thirty
order, unless a continuance for a reasonable time
is granted to a date certain, for good cause shown.
(b) The petition and notice of the hearing shall be served
upon both parents and any other custodian, giving to
parents or custodian at least ten days' notice. Notice shall also
be given to the department, any foster or preadoptive parent, and
any relative providing care for the child. In cases wherein
personal service within West Virginia cannot be obtained after due
diligence upon any parent or other custodian, a copy of the
petition and notice of the hearing shall be mailed to
person by certified mail, addressee only, return receipt requested,
to the last known address of such person. If
the certificate, service shall be complete and
shall be filed as proof of
service with the clerk of the
circuit court. If service cannot be obtained by personal service
or by certified mail, notice shall be by publication as a Class II
legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code. A notice of hearing shall
specify the time and place of the hearing, the right to counsel of
the child and parents or other custodians at every stage of the
proceedings and the fact that
proceedings can result in
the permanent termination of the parental rights. Failure to
object to defects in the petition and notice shall not be construed
as a waiver.
(c) At the time of the institution of any proceeding under
this article, the department shall provide supportive services in
an effort to remedy circumstances detrimental to a child.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow the filing of a
child abuse or neglect petition in the county where the custodial
respondent or other abuser resides.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would