2018 Louisiana Laws
Revised Statutes
TITLE 15 - Criminal Procedure
RS 15:186.3 - Safe Return Representation Program; duties of the board; subject to appropriations

Universal Citation: LA Rev Stat § 15:186.3 (2018)

§186.3. Safe Return Representation Program; duties of the board; subject to appropriations

            A.(1) Subject to appropriation and the availability of other monies to the program, the board shall administer a program to provide qualified legal representation to indigent children committed to the custody of the office of juvenile justice pursuant to Title VII and Title VIII of the Louisiana Children's Code and promote safe return and reentry for youth in custody.

            (2) Except for the regulatory authority of the Louisiana Supreme Court provided for in Article V, Section 5, of the Louisiana Constitution, the Louisiana Public Defender Board or any successor to that board, shall have all regulatory authority, control, supervision, and jurisdiction, including auditing and enforcement, and all power necessary to administer the program throughout the state.

            B. In the administration of the Safe Return Program, the board shall:

            (1) Regularly collect detailed data from judicial districts, where applicable, of workload, resources, employees, and expenditures relating to representation of children in the custody of the office of juvenile justice.

            (2) Review and evaluate the operations of the program and emphasize special training for counsel representing children in the custody of the office of juvenile justice.

            (3) Review and approve an annual budget for the program.

            (4) Review and approve an annual report on the operation of the program and submit such report to the legislature, the governor, and the chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.

            (5) Submit an annual report to the legislature regarding the state of the program. Such report shall include:

            (a) Recommendations for changes in the law regarding the board or any regulated activity.

            (b) A detailed explanation of all revenues and expenditures.

            (c) Comprehensive workload data regarding the program.

            (6) Ensure all policies, procedures, and public pronouncements of the board recognize the role of attorneys in safeguarding fundamental rights and promoting the safety, reintegration, and well-being of children in the custody of the office of juvenile justice.

            (7) Promote accessible family preservation, medical resources, educational resources, substance abuse treatment, vocational training, and mental health resources for children in the custody of the office of juvenile justice.

            (8) Take such actions as necessary and appropriate to secure private and state, federal, or other public funds to help support the program.

            (9) Institute or cause to be instituted legal proceedings as necessary to enforce any of the duties or powers of the program.

            (10) Employ and train attorneys and other staff as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the program. All attorneys representing indigent children through this program shall be licensed to practice law in Louisiana and qualified in accordance with the standards and guidelines adopted by rule of the board.

            (11) Contract with organizations or individuals for the legal services for indigent children in the custody of the office of juvenile justice.

            (12) Administer an efficient and effective statewide program for the representation of indigent children which safeguards their rights and facilitates timely and fair decision-making concerning safety, reentry, reintegration, and well-being.

            (13) Establish and modify a plan of organization to conduct the business of regulating and controlling the delivery of program services. The plan of organization shall provide for:

            (a) The granting of contracts.

            (b) The review of investigative and audit reports and findings.

            (c) The enforcement of board rules.

            (14) Develop and disseminate standards, procedures, and policies to ensure that quality representation of indigent children in the custody of the office of juvenile justice is provided consistently throughout the state.

            (15) Prepare and submit to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget not later than March first of each year an annual financial report which outlines the expenditures of all program funds, including local, state, and federal funds, for the previous calendar year.

            (16) Prepare and submit to the governor, legislative auditor, and legislative fiscal officer, not later than June first of each year an estimate of unexpended balances in every account in the custody of the board.

            (17) Develop and maintain a comprehensive information system on the revenues received by the board and any district from local, state, and federal sources, as well as the expenditure of any revenue, and submit a summary of the information annually to the legislature.

            (18) Assign appropriate staff to:

            (a) Coordinate training and performance evaluation for attorneys representing indigent children pursuant to this Section.

            (b) Apply for and assist in the disbursement of federal funds or other grant money to aid the statewide program, provided that such gifts, grants, and donations are not otherwise prohibited by law or rule.

            (c) Assist district public defenders in maintaining compliance with standards and guidelines adopted by the board pursuant to this Section. The board staff shall assist the district public defenders with implementation of standards, guidelines, supervision, policy, and procedures to maintain compliance.

            (19) Work with public and private representatives, including but not limited to judges, social service personnel, district attorneys, and service providers to promote sound juvenile justice policy and practice.

            C. The powers and duties of the board provided for by this Section shall be in addition to the powers and duties provided for in R.S. 15:147.

            Acts 2016, No. 617, §2.

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