New View Project
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia thorugh its Court Improvement Program established the New View Project in 2013. The project uses a predicitive model to generate a list of children who are likely to longer in out-of-home care. The project aims to view the top forty children on the list each year to provide new insight on the cases and make specific recommendations for achieving permanency and well-being for the children identified.
Criteria for the Predictive Model
Seventeen predictors are applied to the West Virginia's Bureau for Children and Families' Adoption and Foster CAre Analysis and Reporting System data to create the list of children. The predictors include sex, race, date of first removal to foster care, number of foster care placements, and case plan goals, among other things.
The Viewing Process
After determing the children or young adults who will be a part of the project, Ms. Chapman prepares an order for a circuit judge to sign. Once the order is entered, Ms. Chapman beings by looking at the complete circuit court file and Department of Health and Humans Resources (DHHR) file. She then interviews the case's stakeholders, which may include case workers, guardian ad litems, prosecuting attorneys, CASA workers, therapists, case managers, and most importantly, the child. After all this, Ms. Chapman prepares a report, which is filed with the circuit court, hopefully within sixty day of enterin the order.
The Project's Goals
The purpose of the project is to provide meaningful recommendations to multi-disciplinary teams and circuit courts to help in achieving permanency and well-being for the child. Additionally, the project hopes to collaborate with the West Virginia DHHR in finding solutions to systemic issues discovered by the project.
Juvenile Law Guide
The Juvenile Law Guide is an overview of West Virginia juvenile law and court procedures. It is intended to provide a framework for understanding West Virginia's juvenile justice system. This overview can be used as a training tool for juvenile justice system personnel, law enforcement, students, and the public. It is accurate as of February 2016. The table of contents can be viewed by clicking here. The law guide was a project of the Youth Services Committee of the Court Improvement Board.
The Court Improvement Program Board uses three federal grants from the federal Administration for Children and Families which are matched with state funds. The projects are aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of children and families in child abuse and neglect cases while the court system finds permanent homes for the children.
Among the many projects these grants have funded are:
- A "Child Protection and Law" class at the West Virginia University College of Law. Initially offered in the spring 2010 semester, the class will be offered once a year. It is taught by adjunct professor Teresa Lyons, a long-time member of the Court Improvement Program Board. Fresh out of law school, attorneys may be appointed to represent parents or children in child abuse and neglect cases, or they may do so as public defenders. It is the Supreme Court’s hope that the "Child Protection and the Law" course will prepare them for these important, unique advocacy roles. Students in the first class gave the course glowing evaluations. Several said it was the best class they had taken in the law school.
- The Time is Now video for parents in West Virginia child abuse and neglect proceedings.
- For more than a decade, the Court Improvement Program has provided annual training for judges, prosecutors, child and parent attorneys, foster parents, DHHR caseworkers, social workers, counselors and psychologists, Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers, law enforcement officers, and others involved in the child abuse and neglect process. The goal of these annual two-day sessions is to improve how child abuse and neglect cases are handled.
- Drafted West Virginia’s first Juvenile Rules of Procedure, which the Supreme Court approved in 2010 after a period of public comment. The rules are a synthesis of the state's juvenile statutes and case law, including recognized constitutional principles. They provide uniform court procedures to govern juvenile delinquency and status offense cases while protecting the statutory and constitutional rights of juveniles, promoting access to rehabilitative opportunities, and preserving public safety.
- Established an online Child Abuse and Neglect database in 2006.
- Drafted additions to legal rules governing child abuse and neglect proceedings, which the Supreme Court approved in 2006 after a period of public comment.
- Complete rewrite of Chapter 49
- Drug Screening in West Virginia Courts - A guide for anyone undergoing drug screening in West Virginia Courts.
- Judge led stake holder meetings
- Assessment of interstate placements of children
- Annual updates to the Judicial Benchbook for Abuse and Neglect Proceedings
- Strategies to achieve timely and complete court orders
- Amendment and creation of court rules and proposed state legislation
- Monitoring of child protection across court systems
- Judicial leadership roundtables
- Re-evaluation and updating of multidisciplinary treatment team (MDT) training
- Financial support of the annual state CASA training conference
- Annual cross-training on basic and advanced child abuse/neglect and juvenile law topics
- Biannual judicial education on child abuse/neglect topics
- Training for guardians ad litem in child abuse/neglect cases, and training for court and legal professionals on form-generating software
- Creation of a uniform child and family case plan and progress report in electronic format
- Electronic case tracking
- Catalogue of services for children in state residential placements.