CHAPTER 49. CHILD WELFARE.
ARTICLE 5A. JUVENILE REFEREE SYSTEM.
§49-5A-1. Juvenile referee; qualifications; compensation;
authority;"child," etc., defined.
In each county, the judge or judges of the circuit court may
appoint one person who is qualified by education and experience to
serve as juvenile referee on a full-time or part- time basis who
shall serve at the will and pleasure of the appointing court. The
salary of such referee shall be fixed by the court in accordance
with the rules of the supreme court of appeals, and shall be paid
out of the state treasury. It shall be the duty of the referee to
hold any detention hearing determined necessary pursuant to the
provisions of section two of this article. Each referee shall also
perform such other duties as are assigned to him by the court to
carry out the purposes of this article. Referees shall not be
permitted to conduct hearings on the merits of any case.
As used in this article, the terms "child" or "children" shall
have the meaning ascribed to those terms elsewhere in this chapter.
§49-5A-2. Investigation and release of child taken into custody;
A child who has been arrested or who under color of law is
taken into the custody of any officer or employee of the state or
any political subdivision thereof shall be forthwith afforded a
hearing to ascertain if such child shall be further detained. In
connection with any such hearing, the provisions of article five of
this chapter shall apply. It shall be the duty of the judge or
referee to avoid incarceration of such child in any jail. Unless
the circumstances of the case otherwise require, taking into
account the welfare of the child as well as the interest of
society, such child shall be released forthwith into the custody of
his parent or parents, relative, custodian or other responsible
adult or agency.
§49-5A-3. Orders of juvenile referee or judge following detention
hearing; force and effect and finality of such
After a detention hearing conducted by a judge, magistrate or
referee an order shall be forthwith entered setting forth the
findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to further
detention pending hearing and disposition of the child proceedings
involving such juvenile. A copy of such order shall be furnished
to the court, if entered by a referee, and to the child and his
attorney, if any, and to the parent or parents or guardian of the
child. A detention order of a judge or referee shall become
effective immediately, subject to the right of review provided for
in section four of this article, and shall continue in effect until
modified or vacated by the judge.
§49-5A-4. Review of order following detention hearing.
Upon the application of any person in interest or on his own
motion, a judge may modify or vacate any order entered in his court
after a detention hearing and enter such order as to detention or
release from detention as he deems just and proper.
§49-5A-5. Detention in other counties.
If further detention is ordered, the court may order or
referee direct such child to be detained in a facility other than
a jail in a county other than the county in which such court sits
if no facility other than a jail exists in the county wherein the
§49-5A-6. Assistance of division of juvenile services of the
department of military affairs and public safety.
The division of juvenile services of the department of
military affairs and public safety is authorized to assign the
necessary personnel and provide adequate space for the support and
operation of any facility operated by the division of juvenile
services of the department of military affairs and public safety
providing for the detention of children as provided in this
article, subject to and not inconsistent with the appropriation and
availability of funds.
WVC 49 - 5 A- 6 A
§49-5A-6a. State plan for predispositional detention centers for
(a) The division of juvenile services of the department of
military affairs and public safety shall develop a comprehensive
plan to maintain and improve a unified state system of regional
predispositional detention centers for juveniles. The plan shall
be predicated upon the maximum utilization of existing resources,
facilities and procedures and shall take into consideration
recommendations from the department of health and human resources,
the regional jail and correctional facility authority, the division
of corrections, the governor's committee on crime, delinquency and
correction, the supreme court of appeals, the state board of
education, detention center personnel, juvenile probation officers
and judicial and law-enforcement officials from throughout the
The principal purpose of the plan shall be, through statements
of policy and program goals, to provide first for the effective and
efficient use of existing regional juvenile detention facilities
and the prudent allocation of resources for any future expansion or
(b) The plan shall identify operational problems of secure
detention centers, including, but not limited to, overcrowding,
security and violence within centers, difficulties in moving juveniles through the centers within required time periods, health
needs, educational needs, transportation problems, staff turnover
and morale and other perceived problem areas. The plan shall
further provide recommendations directed to alleviate the problems.
(c) The plan shall include, but not be limited to, statements
of policies and goals in the following areas:
(1) Licensing of secure detention centers;
(2) Criteria for placing juveniles in detention;
(3) Alternatives to secure detention;
(4) Allocation of fiscal resources to the costs of secure
(5) Information and referral services; and
(6) Educational regulations developed and approved by the West
Virginia board of education.
(d) The president of the Senate and the speaker of the House
of Delegates shall designate a committee or task force thereof, to
act in a continuing capacity as an oversight committee, which shall
assist the director of the division of juvenile services in the
development, periodic review and update of the state plan for the
predispositional detention centers for juveniles. To this end, the
director shall make regular reports to the designated legislative
oversight body during the interim period and immediately before any
regular session of the Legislature, which reports shall include any recommendations for legislative enactment, together with drafts of
any proposed legislation necessary to effectuate those
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session