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Chapter 49     Entire Code
‹ Chapter 48C  |  Chapter 50 › Printer Friendly Versions
Chapter 49  |  Article 49 - 7  |  Section 34

1 - PURPOSES; DEFINITIONS

2 - STATE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE

2A - INTERSTATE COMPACT ON THE PLAC

2B - DUTIES OF SECRETARY OF HEALTH

2C - INTERSTATE ADOPTION ASSISTANCE

2D - HOME-BASED FAMILY PRESERVATION

2E - QUALITY RATING AND IMPROVEMEN

3 - CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES

4 - CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL HEALTH CA

4A - WEST VIRGINIA FAMILY SUPPORT P

5 - JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS

5A - JUVENILE REFEREE SYSTEM

5B - WEST VIRGINIA JUVENILE OFFENDE

5C - COMMITTEES ON JUVENILE LAW

5D - MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS

5E - DIVISION OF JUVENILE SERVICES

6 - PROCEDURE IN CASES OF CHILD NEG

6A - REPORTS OF CHILDREN SUSPECTED

6B - APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL GUARDIA

6C - CHILDREN'S TRUST FUND

6D - WEST VIRGINIA CHILD PROTECTIVE

6E - EMERGENCY POSSESSION OF CERTAI

8 - INTERSTATE COMPACT ON JUVENILES

8A - THE INTERSTATE COMPACT FOR JUV

9 - MISSING CHILDREN INFORMATION AC

10 - CHILD PLACEMENT ALTERNATIVES

11 - CAREGIVERS CONSENT ACT

WVC 49- CHAPTER 49. CHILD WELFARE.
WVC 49 - 7 - ARTICLE 7. GENERAL PROVISIONS.

WVC 49 - 7 - 1 §49-7-1. Confidentiality of records.

     (a) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or by order of the court, all records and information concerning a child or juvenile which are maintained by the Division of Juvenile Services, the Department of Health and Human Resources, a child agency or facility, court or law-enforcement agency shall be kept confidential and shall not be released or disclosed to anyone, including any federal or state agency.

     (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section or any other provision of this code to the contrary, records concerning a child or juvenile, except adoption records and records disclosing the identity of a person making a complaint of child abuse or neglect shall be made available:

     (1) Where otherwise authorized by this chapter;

     (2) To:

     (A) The child;

     (B) A parent whose parental rights have not been terminated; or

     (C) The attorney of the child or parent;

     (3) With the written consent of the child or of someone authorized to act on the child's behalf; or

     (4) Pursuant to an order of a court of record: Provided, That the court shall review such record or records for relevancy and materiality to the issues in the proceeding and safety, and may issue an order to limit the examination and use of the records or any part thereof.

     (c) In addition to those persons or entities to whom information may be disclosed under subsection (b) of this section, information related to child abuse or neglect proceedings, except information relating to the identity of the person reporting or making a complaint of child abuse or neglect, shall be made available, upon request, to:

     (1) Federal, state or local government entities, or any agent of such entities, including law-enforcement agencies and prosecuting attorneys, having a need for such information in order to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect children from abuse and neglect;

     (2) The child fatality review team;

     (3) Child abuse citizen review panels;

     (4) Multidisciplinary investigative and treatment teams; or

     (5) A grand jury, circuit court or family court, upon a finding that information in the records is necessary for the determination of an issue before the grand jury, circuit court or family court.

     (d) In the event of a child fatality or near fatality due to child abuse and neglect, information relating to such fatality or near fatality shall be made public by the Department of Health and Human Resources and to the entities described in subsection (c)of this section, all under the circumstances described in that subsection: Provided, That information released by the Department of Health and Human Resources pursuant to this subsection shall not include the identity of a person reporting or making a complaint of child abuse or neglect. For purposes of this subsection, "near fatality" means any medical condition of the child which is certified by the attending physician to be life threatening.

     (e) Except in juvenile proceedings which are transferred to criminal proceedings, law-enforcement records and files concerning a child or juvenile shall be kept separate from the records and files of adults and not included within the court files. Law- enforcement records and files concerning a child or juvenile shall only be open to inspection pursuant to the provisions of sections seventeen and eighteen, article five of this chapter.

     (f) Any person who willfully violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or confined in the county or regional jail for not more than six months, or be both fined and confined. A person convicted of violating the provisions of this section shall also be liable for damages in the amount of $300 or actual damages, whichever is greater.

     (g) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, or any other provision of this code to the contrary, the name and identity of any juvenile adjudicated or convicted of a violent or felonious crime shall be made available to the public. WVC 49-7-2 §49-7-2. Guardianship of estate of child not affected by chapter.
The provisions of this chapter shall not be construed to give the guardian appointed hereunder the guardianship of the estate of the child, or to change the age of minority for any other purpose except the custody of the child.

The guardian of the estate of a child committed to guardianship hereunder shall furnish, at such times and in such form as may be required, full information concerning the property of the child to the state department or to the court or judge before whom the case of any such child is heard.

WVC 49-7-3 §49-7-3. Proceedings under chapter not to be evidence against child, or be published; adjudication not deemed conviction and not bar to civil service eligibility.
Any evidence given in any cause or proceeding under this chapter, or any order, judgment or finding therein, or any adjudication upon the status of juvenile delinquent heretofore made or rendered, shall not in any civil, criminal or other cause or proceeding whatever in any court, be lawful or proper evidence against such child for any purpose whatsoever except in subsequent cases under this chapter involving the same child; nor shall the name of any child, in connection with any proceedings under this chapter, be published in any newspaper without a written order of the court; nor shall any such adjudication upon the status of any child by a juvenile court operate to impose any of the civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by conviction, nor shall any child be deemed a criminal by reason of such adjudication, nor shall such adjudication be deemed a conviction, nor shall any such adjudication operate to disqualify a child in any future civil service examination, appointment, or application.

WVC 49-7-4 §49-7-4. Placing children in infirmaries.
A child shall not be placed in a county infirmary or similar institution for other than temporary care. When a child is so placed, written notification shall be given to the state department not later than three days after the child enters the infirmary. When a mentally defective child is so placed, notice shall be given to the state commissioner of public institutions.

A superintendent of an infirmary or other institution who fails to notify the state department or the state commissioner of public institutions, as the case may be, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

WVC 49-7-5 §49-7-5. Support of child placed in home or institution or under guardianship.
If it appears upon the hearing of a petition under this chapter that a person legally liable for the support of the child is able to contribute to the support of such child, the court or judge shall order the person to pay the state department, institution, organization, or private person to whom the child was committed, a reasonable sum from time to time for the support, maintenance, and education of the child.

The court or judge may require the person liable for the support to give reasonable security for payment. Upon failure to give security or to pay, the court or judge may enforce obedience by proceeding as for contempt of court. The court or judge may, on application, and on such notice as the court or judge may direct, from time to time, make such alterations in the allowance as shall appear reasonable and proper.

WVC 49-7-6 §49-7-6. Enforcement of order for support from wages.
If a person ordered to pay for the support, maintenance and education of a child pursuant to a proceeding under chapter forty-eight or forty-nine of this code is employed for wages, salary or commission, the court or judge may order that the sum to be paid by him shall be paid to the guardian, institution, organization or person having custody of such child, out of such wages, salary or commission, and that he shall execute an assignment thereof pro tanto. The court or judge may also order the person to report to the court or judge, from time to time, his place of employment and the amount earned by him. Upon his failure to obey the order of the court or judge, after proper notice and hearing, he may be punished as for contempt of court.

WVC 49-7-7 §49-7-7. Contributing to delinquency or neglect of a child.
(a) A person who by any act or omission contributes to, encourages or tends to cause the delinquency or neglect of any child, including, but not limited to, aiding or encouraging any such child to habitually or continually refuse to respond, without just cause, to the lawful supervision of such child's parents, guardian or custodian or to be habitually absent from school without just cause, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned in the county jail for a period not exceeding one year, or both fined and imprisoned.

(b) In addition to any penalty provided under this section and any restitution which may be ordered by the court under article eleven-a of chapter sixty-one, the court may order any person convicted under the provisions of this section to pay all or any portion of the cost of medical, psychological or psychiatric treatment of the child resulting from the act or acts for which the person is convicted, whether or not the child is considered to have sustained bodily injury.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any parent, guardian or custodian who fails or refuses, or allows another person to fail or refuse, to supply a child under the care, custody or control of such parent, guardian or custodian with necessary medical care, when such medical care conflicts with the tenets and practices of a recognized religious denomination or order of which such parent, guardian or custodian is an adherent or member.

WVC 49-7-8 §49-7-8. Proof in cases of contributing to delinquency of a child.
In finding a person guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a child, it shall not be necessary to prove that the child has actually become delinquent, if it appears from the evidence that the accused is guilty of conduct or of an act of neglect or omission of duty on his part toward the child which would tend to bring about or to encourage the delinquency.

WVC 49-7-9 §49-7-9. Court may suspend sentence, etc., following conviction under chapter.
A court or judge, upon such convictions as are imposed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, may:

(1) Suspend the sentence of a person found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a child.

(2) Stay or postpone the enforcement of execution of sentence.

(3) Release the person from custody.

WVC 49-7-10 §49-7-10. Maintenance of delinquent child by convicted person.
If the sentence of the person found guilty is suspended, the court or judge may make it a condition of suspending sentence that the person pay for whatever treatment and care may be required for the welfare of such child, and for its support and maintenance while in the custody of the department, person, or institution, and any other expense that may have resulted from, or be necessary because of, the act or acts of the person found guilty.

WVC 49-7-11 §49-7-11. Care of child upon conviction for contributing to its delinquency.
Where a person is found guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a child, the court or judge may place the child in the temporary custody of the state department or of some responsible person or approved institution.

WVC 49-7-12 §49-7-12. Custody of child by convicted person.
If the guilty person had custody of the child prior to conviction, the court or judge may, on suspending sentence, permit the child to remain in the custody of the person, and make it a condition of suspending sentence that the person provides whatever treatment and care may be required for the welfare of the child, and shall do whatever may be calculated to secure obedience to the law or to remove the cause of such delinquency.

WVC 49-7-13 §49-7-13. Suspension of sentence -- Conditions which may be attached.
The conditions upon which the sentence of a person found guilty of contributing to the delinquency, or to the neglect of any child, may be suspended, may include the furnishing of a good and sufficient bond to the state of West Virginia in such penal sum as the court shall determine, not exceeding one thousand dollars, conditioned upon:

(1) Furnishing whatever treatment and care may be required for the welfare of such child.

(2) Doing whatever may be calculated to secure obedience to the law or to remove the cause of delinquency, or neglect.

(3) Payment of such amount as the court may order, not exceeding twenty dollars per month, for the support, care, and maintenance of the child to whose delinquency the person contributed. The sum shall be expended under the order of the court or judge for the purposes enumerated.

WVC 49-7-14 §49-7-14. Same -- Recovery on forfeited bond.
The penalty of a bond given upon suspension of sentence which becomes forfeited shall be recoverable without separate suit. The court or judge may cause citation or summons to issue to the principal and surety, requiring that they appear at a time named by the court or judge, not less than ten nor more than twenty days from the issuance of the summons, and show cause why judgment should not be entered for the penalty of such bond and execution issued against the property of the principal and of the surety. Upon failure to appear, or failure to show sufficient cause, the court shall enter judgment in behalf of the state of West Virginia against the principal and surety in an amount not to exceed the penalty of the bond plus costs.

Any money collected or paid upon an execution, or upon the bond, shall be deposited with the clerk of the court in which the bond was given. The money shall be applied first to the payment of all court costs and then to the treatment, care, or maintenance of the child for whose delinquency conviction was had. If any money so collected is not required for these purposes, it shall be paid within one year into the state treasury.

WVC 49-7-15 §49-7-15. Same -- Permissive enforcement of sentence.
If it appear to the satisfaction of the court or judge at any time while a suspension of sentence or stay of execution remains in effect, that the sentence ought to be enforced, the court or judge may enforce the sentence. A jail sentence shall commence from the date upon which the sentence is so ordered to be enforced.

WVC 49-7-16 §49-7-16. Same -- Compulsory enforcement of sentence.
If the conditions of suspension are complied with, the sentence shall remain suspended, subject to enforcement upon the violation of any of the conditions imposed. Upon a failure to comply with any of the conditions imposed, the sentence shall be enforced and any bond given to insure the performance of the conditions shall be forfeited.

WVC 49 - 7 - 17 §49-7-17. Same -- Not to exceed two years.
A sentence shall not be suspended, or final judgment or execution stayed, for a period exceeding two years. At the end of two years from the time of imposition of sentence or sooner in the discretion of the court or judge, the defendant shall be finally released and discharged.

WVC 49 - 7 - 18 §49-7-18. Interference with disposition of child punishable as contempt of court.
A person who interferes with the direction of disposition of a child in accordance with an order of the court or judge made in pursuance of the provisions of this chapter, or with the state department, or a probation or other officer of the court in carrying out the directions of the court or judge under such an order, shall be subject to punishment as for contempt of court.

WVC 49 - 7 - 19 §49-7-19. Enticing child from custody.
A person who personally or by agent entices or forcibly removes a child from a custody in which the child was placed under the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned not more than six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.

WVC 49 - 7 - 20 §49-7-20. Penalties.
A person who violates an order, rule, or regulation made under the authority of this chapter, or who violates a provision of this chapter for which punishment has not been specifically provided, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not less than ten nor more than one hundred dollars, or confined in jail not less than five days nor more than six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.

WVC 49 - 7 - 21 §49-7-21. Exercise of powers and jurisdiction under chapter by judge in vacation.
The powers and jurisdiction of the court, under the provisions of this chapter, may be exercised by the judge thereof in vacation.

WVC 49 - 7 - 22 §49-7-22. Procedure for appealing decisions under chapter.
Cases under this chapter, if tried in any inferior court, may be reviewed by writ of error or appeal to the circuit court, and if tried or reviewed in a circuit court, by writ of error or appeal to the supreme court of appeals.

WVC 49 - 7 - 23 §49-7-23. Preservation of records.
The proceedings, records, reports, case histories, and all other papers or documents of or received by the state department in the administration of this chapter shall be filed of record and preserved.

WVC 49 - 7 - 24 §49-7-24. Rules and regulations under chapter.

The secretary of the department of health and human resources shall propose for promulgation legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement the provisions of this chapter.

WVC 49 - 7 - 25 §49-7-25. State department to gather statistics.
The state department shall gather statistics and study legislation and problems connected with neglected and delinquent children, and publish the results from time to time. It shall also make available, so far as possible, to officials, institutions and organizations dealing with these problems, such literature as shall tend to promote the efficiency of child welfare services.

WVC 49 - 7 - 26 §49-7-26. Duty of prosecuting attorney.
The prosecuting attorney shall render to the state department of welfare, without additional compensation, such legal services as the department may require. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the department from developing plans for cooperation with courts, prosecuting attorneys, and other law- enforcement officials in such a manner as to permit the state and its citizens to obtain maximum fiscal benefits under federal laws, rules and regulations.

WVC 49 - 7 - 27 §49-7-27. Emancipation.
A child over the age of sixteen may petition a court to be declared emancipated. The parents or custodians shall be made respondents and, in addition to personal service thereon, there shall be publication as a Class II legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty- nine of this code. Upon a showing that such child can provide for his physical and financial well-being and has the ability to make decisions for himself, the court may for good cause shown declare the child emancipated. The child shall thereafter have full capacity to contract in his own right and the parents or custodians shall have no right to the custody and control of such child or duty to provide the child with care and financial support. A child over the age of sixteen years who marries shall be emancipated by operation of law. An emancipated child shall have all of the privileges, rights and duties of an adult, including the right of contract, except that such child shall remain a child as defined for the purposes of articles five and five-a of this chapter.

WVC 49 - 7 - 28 §49-7-28. Proceeding by the state department of welfare.
The state department of welfare shall have the authority to institute, in the name of the state, proceedings incident to the performance of its duties under the provisions of this chapter.

WVC 49 - 7 - 29 §49-7-29. General provisions relating to court orders regarding custody; promulgation of rules.
The supreme court of appeals, in consultation with the department of health and human resources and the division of juvenile services in order to eliminate unnecessary state funding of out-of-home placements where federal funding is available, shall develop and cause to be disseminated no later than the first day of July, two thousand three, form court orders to effectuate provisions of chapter forty-nine of this code which authorize disclosure and transfer of juvenile records between agencies while requiring maintenance of confidentiality, the provisions of Title 142 U.S.C. Section 620, et seq., and Title 42 U.S.C. Section 670, et seq., relating to the promulgation of uniform court orders for placement of minor children and the regulations promulgated thereunder, for use in the magistrate and circuit courts of the state.

Circuit judges and magistrates, upon being supplied the form orders required by the provision of this section, shall act to ensure the proper form order is entered in such case so as to allow federal funding of eligible out-of-home placements.

WVC 49 - 7 - 30 §49-7-30. Certificate of need not required.
(a) A certificate of need, as provided for in article two-d, chapter sixteen of this code, is not required by an entity proposing behavioral health care facilities or behavioral health care services for children who are placed out of their home, or who are at imminent risk of being placed out of their home, if a summary review is performed in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(b) A summary review of proposed health care facilities or health care services for children who are placed out of their home, or who are at imminent risk of being placed out of their home, is initiated when the proposal is recommended to the health care cost review authority by the secretary of the department of health and human resources and the secretary has made the following findings:

(1) That the proposed facility or service is consistent with the state health plan;

(2) That the proposed facility or service is consistent with the department's programmatic and fiscal plan for behavioral health services for children with mental health and addiction disorders;

(3) That the proposed facility or service contributes to providing services that are child and family driven, with priority given to keeping children in their own homes;

(4) That the proposed facility or service will contribute to reducing the number of child placements in out-of-state facilities by making placements available in in-state facilities;

(5) That the proposed facility or service contributes to reducing the number of child placements in in-state or out-of-state facilities by returning children to their families, placing them in foster care programs or making available school-based and out-patient services; and

(6) If applicable, that the proposed services will be community-based, locally accessible and provided in an appropriate setting consistent with the unique needs and potential of each child and his or her family.

(c) The secretary's findings required by subsection (b) of this section shall be filed with the secretary's recommendation and appropriate documentation. If the secretary's findings are supported by the accompanying documentation, the proposal shall not require a certificate of need.

(d) Any entity that does not qualify for summary review shall be subject to certificate of need review.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the provision of regular or therapeutic foster care services does not constitute a behavioral health care facility or a behavioral health care service that would subject it to the summary review procedure established in this section or to the certificate of need requirements provided in article two-d, chapter sixteen of this code.

WVC 49 - 7 - 31 §49-7-31.
Repealed.

Acts, 2007 Reg. Sess., Ch. 39.

WVC 49 - 7 - 32 §49-7-32. Juvenile justice database.
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals is responsible for collecting, compiling and disseminating information in the juvenile justice database. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the court shall grant the Division of Criminal Justice Services access to confidential juvenile records for the limited purpose of the collection and analysis of statistical data: Provided, That the division shall keep the records confidential and not publish any information that would identify any individual juvenile.

WVC 49 - 7 - 33 §49-7-33. Payment of services.
At any time during any proceedings brought pursuant to articles five and six of this chapter, the court may upon its own motion, or upon a motion of any party, order the West Virginia department of health and human resources to pay for professional services rendered by a psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, therapist or other health care professional to a child or other party to the proceedings. Professional services include, but are not limited to, treatment, therapy, counseling, evaluation, report preparation, consultation and preparation of expert testimony. The West Virginia department of health and human resources shall set the fee schedule for such services in accordance with the Medicaid rate, if any, or the customary rate and adjust the schedule as appropriate. Every such psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, therapist or other health care professional shall be paid by the West Virginia department of health and human resources upon completion of services and submission of a final report or other information and documentation as required by the policies and procedures implemented by the West Virginia department of health and human resources.

WVC 49 - 7 - 34 §49-7-34. Commission to Study Residential Placement of Children.
(a) The Legislature finds that the state's current system of serving children and families in need of or at risk of needing social, emotional and behavioral health services is fragmented. The existing categorical structure of government programs and their funding streams discourages collaboration, resulting in duplication of efforts and a waste of limited resources. Children are usually involved in multiple child-serving systems, including child welfare, juvenile justice and special education. More than ten percent of children presently in care are presently in out-of-state placements. Earlier efforts at reform have focused on quick fixes for individual components of the system at the expense of the whole. It is the purpose of this section to establish a mechanism to achieve systemic reform by which all of the state's child-serving agencies involved in the residential placement of at-risk youth jointly and continually study and improve upon this system and make recommendations to their respective agencies and to the Legislature regarding funding and statutory, regulatory and policy changes. It is further the Legislature's intent to build upon these recommendations to establish an integrated system of care for at-risk youth and families that makes prudent and cost-effective use of limited state resources by drawing upon the experience of successful models and best practices in this and other jurisdictions, which focuses on delivering services in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the needs of the child, and which produces better outcomes for children, families and the state.

(b) There is hereby created within the Department of Health and Human Resources the Commission to Study the Residential Placement of Children. The commission consists of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Commissioner of the Bureau for Children and Families, the Commissioner for the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, the Commissioner for the Bureau for Medical Services, the State Superintendent of Schools, a representative of local educational agencies, the Director of the Office of Institutional Educational Programs, the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs and Assurance, the Director of the Division of Juvenile Services and the Executive Director of the Prosecuting Attorney's Institute. At the discretion of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, circuit and family court judges and other court personnel, including the Administrator of the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Director of the Juvenile Probation Services Division, may serve on the commission. These statutory members may further designate additional persons in their respective offices who may attend the meetings of the commission if they are the administrative head of the office or division whose functions necessitate their inclusion in this process. In its deliberations, the commission shall also consult and solicit input from families and service providers.

(c) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources shall serve as chair of the commission, which shall meet on a quarterly basis at the call of the chair.

(d) At a minimum, the commission shall study:

(1) The current practices of placing children out-of-home and into in-residential placements, with special emphasis on out-of-state placements;

(2) The adequacy, capacity, availability and utilization of existing in-state facilities to serve the needs of children requiring residential placements;

(3) Strategies and methods to reduce the number of children who must be placed in out-of-state facilities and to return children from existing out-of-state placements, initially targeting older youth who have been adjudicated delinquent;

(4) Staffing, facilitation and oversight of multidisciplinary treatment planning teams;

(5) The availability of and investment in community-based, less restrictive and less costly alternatives to residential placements;

(6) Ways in which up-to-date information about in-state placement availability may be made readily accessible to state agency and court personnel, including an interactive secure web site;

(7) Strategies and methods to promote and sustain cooperation and collaboration between the courts, state and local agencies, families and service providers, including the use of inter-agency memoranda of understanding, pooled funding arrangements and sharing of information and staff resources;

(8) The advisability of including "no-refusal" clauses in contracts with in-state providers for placement of children whose treatment needs match the level of licensure held by the provider;

(9) Identification of in-state service gaps and the feasibility of developing services to fill those gaps, including funding;

(10) Identification of fiscal, statutory and regulatory barriers to developing needed services in-state in a timely and responsive way;

(11) Ways to promote and protect the rights and participation of parents, foster parents and children involved in out-of-home care;

(12) Ways to certify out-of-state providers to ensure that children who must be placed out-of-state receive high quality services consistent with this state's standards of licensure and rules of operation; and

(13) Any other ancillary issue relative to foster care placement.

(e) On or before December 1, 2010, the commission shall report to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability its conclusions and recommendations, including an implementation plan whereby:

(1) Out-of-state placements shall be reduced by at least ten percent per year and by at least fifty percent within three years;

(2) Child-serving agencies shall develop joint operating and funding proposals to serve the needs of children and families that cross their jurisdictional boundaries in a more seamless way;

(3) Steps shall be taken to obtain all necessary federal plan waivers or amendments in order for agencies to work collaboratively while maximizing the availability of federal funds;

(4) Agencies shall enter into memoranda of understanding to assume joint responsibilities;

(5) System of care components and cooperative relationships shall be incrementally established at the local, state and regional levels, with links to existing resources, such as family resource networks and regional summits, wherever possible; and

(6) Recommendations for changes in fiscal, statutory and regulatory provisions are included for legislative action.

WVC 49 - 7 - 35 §49-7-35. Pilot program for the placement of children four to ten years of age in foster care; requirements.
(a) This section shall be known as "Jacob's Law."

(b) The Legislature finds that:

(1) The needs of young children are not always adequately addressed when the Department of Health and Human Resources is required to take custody of them;

(2) Often the behavior of young children taken from their homes pose special challenges for the department and other individuals who are charged with their care;

(3) The department must take extraordinary precautions to prevent serious emotional damage to these children; and

(4) The department has resources within the department that can be redirected to meet many of the needs of the program required by this section.

(c) The department shall choose four regions in which to implement a two-year pilot program to address children ages four through ten immediately after removal from their homes by the Child Protective Service Division due to child abuse and neglect and who, by the nature of their removal, are in crisis.

(d) The program shall:

(1) Include early intervention for children in crisis;

(2) Provide for the development of a short-term and an ongoing long-term plan for each child;

(3) Provide that each child is evaluated for emotional and physical trauma and other medical, educational, dental and other needs, in a timely manner;

(4) Require that each child be assigned an independent advocate through the community advocacy programs as staff or volunteers are made available; and

(e) The plans required by subsection (d) of this section shall:

(1) Address abandonment, separation anxiety, post traumatic stress and other emotional and physical needs of the child;

(2) Be developed by appropriately trained professional staff;

(3) Require the participation of a child care agency, the Department of Education, community programs and other appropriate agencies providing services to children ages four through ten;

and

(4) Be developed to meet the ongoing emotional needs of each child.

(f) The short-term plan required by subsection (d) of this section shall address the child's needs for the first thirty days under the department's supervision.

(g) During the initial evaluation period, and when the child is being placed into foster care, the department shall when possible place the child into an enhanced specialized foster care home. Providers offering enhanced specialized foster care homes shall include crisis intervention staffed with trained and educated professional individuals and specialized training on how to manage a child's reaction to trauma and the crisis of being removed from the custody of a parent, parents or other guardians, with emphasis on the child's emotional needs. This program shall limit the number of children in one location to three foster children at a time. A greater number is permitted if all of the children are siblings.

(h) After a short-term and long-term plan is developed, the department shall:

(1) Provide the foster family with training and education in the plan;

(2) Evaluate the child and foster parent or parents on the interaction between the child and parents;

(3) Train the foster parent on how to respond to the child's emotional crisis and how to understand the child's crisis reactive behavior; and

(4) Evaluate the foster family on its understanding of the need for this early intervention and the need for appropriate crisis management.

(i) The providers of enhanced specialized foster care services shall:

(1) Create and train a team to provide crisis intervention;

(2) Provide a call system for the enhanced specialized foster parents and the child so that the enhanced specialized foster parents or the child can speak to a team member or other appropriately trained professional during a crisis; and

(3) Require a crisis team member to visit the home if unable to adequately resolve the crisis over the telephone and to do a follow up visit within two days to meet with the enhanced specialized foster parents and child, individually, to determine the crisis was satisfactorily resolved.

(j) The department shall develop a system to evaluate the pilot program for outcomes and standards of care and report back to public, private and community partners. In addition the evaluation shall be reported to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance or other designated committees every six months for two years. The evaluation shall be contracted by the department through an external entity who shall:

(1) Establish measurable outcomes for purposes of evaluation; (2) Collect, analyze and report data quarterly and annually;

(3) Identify trends and make recommendations for program improvement;

(4) Conduct an analysis of the impact of the pilot program on the child's emotional stability including the number of placements that the child experiences and the basis for required moves;

(5) Provide technical assistance and training to the pilot program;

(6) Provide leadership in the development of data collection and outcome reporting models;

(7) Provide feedback for quality improvement to those responsible for the pilot program; and

(8) Monitor, research and present best practices through everyday communication and training opportunities.

WVC 49 - 7 - 36 §49-7-36. Quarterly status review and yearly permanency hearings.

     (a) For each child who remains in foster care as a result of a juvenile proceeding or as a result of a child abuse and neglect proceeding, the circuit court with the assistance of the multidisciplinary treatment team shall conduct quarterly status reviews in order to determine the safety of the child, the continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the placement, the extent of compliance with the case plan, and the extent of progress which has been made toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement in foster care, and to project a likely date by which the child may be returned to and safety maintained in the home or placed for adoption or legal guardianship. Quarterly status reviews shall commence three months after the entry of the placement order. The permanency hearing provided for in subsection (c) of this section may be considered a quarterly status review.

     (b) For each transitioning adult as that term is defined in §49-2B-2(x) who remains in foster care, the circuit court shall conduct status review hearings as described in subsection (a) of this section once every three months until permanency is achieved.

     (c) For each child or transitioning adult who continues to remain in foster care, the circuit court shall conduct a permanency hearing no later that twelve months after the date the child or transitioning adult is considered to have entered foster care, and at least once every twelve months thereafter until permanency is achieved. For purposes of permanency planning for transitioning adults, the circuit court shall make factual findings and conclusions of law as to whether the department made reasonable efforts to finalize a permanency plan to prepare a transitioning adult for emancipation or independence or another approved permanency option such as, but not limited to, adoption or legal guardianship pursuant to the West Virginia Guardianship and Conservatorship Act.

     (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate the responsibilities of the circuit court from conducting required hearings as provided in other provisions of this code, procedural court rules, or setting required hearings at the same time.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.


Recent legislation affecting the Code

Citation Year/Session Short Title
§49 - 5 E- 6 A - (New Code)
§49 - 5 E- 6 B - (New Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4437
PASSED - Regular Session

hb4437 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Relating to the Division of Juvenile Services
§49 - 7 - 1 - (Amended Code)
HOUSE BILL - 4504
PASSED - Regular Session

hb4504 ENR  (Uploaded - 03/25/2014)
Providing for sharing juvenile records in certain circumstances with another state
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.
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