2009 West Virginia Code
CHAPTER 49. CHILD WELFARE
ARTICLE 1. PURPOSES; DEFINITIONS.
(a) The purpose of this chapter is to provide a coordinated system of child welfare and juvenile justice for the children of this state that has goals to:
(1) Assure each child care, safety and guidance;
(2) Serve the mental and physical welfare of the child;
(3) Preserve and strengthen the child's family ties;
(4) Recognize the fundamental rights of children and parents;
(5) Adopt procedures and establish programs that are family-focused rather than focused on specific family members, except where the best interests of the child or the safety of the community are at risk;
(6) Involve the child and his or her family or caregiver in the planning and delivery of programs and services;
(7) Provide services that are community-based, in the least restrictive settings that are consonant with the needs and potentials of the child and his or her family;
(8) Provide for early identification of the problems of children and their families, and respond appropriately with measures and services to prevent abuse and neglect or delinquency;
(9) Provide a system for the rehabilitation of status offenders and juvenile delinquents;
(10) Provide a system for the secure detention of certain juveniles alleged or adjudicated delinquent;
(11) Provide a system for the secure incarceration of juveniles adjudicated delinquent and committed to the custody of the director of the division of juvenile services; and
(12) Protect the welfare of the general public.
(b)In pursuit of these goals it is the intention of the Legislature to provide for removing the child from the custody of his or her parents only when the child's welfare or the safety and protection of the public cannot be adequately safeguarded without removal; and, when the child has to be removed from his or her family, to secure for the child custody, care and discipline consistent with the child's best interests and other goals herein set out. It is further the intention of the Legislature to require that any reunification, permanency or preplacement preventative services address the safety of the child.
(c) The child welfare service of the state shall be administered by the department of health and human resources. The division of juvenile services of the department of military affairs and public safety shall administer the secure predispositional juvenile detention and juvenile correctional facilities of the state. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the administrative authority of the division of juvenile services over any child in this state extends only to those detained or committed to a secure detention facility or secure correctional facility operated and maintained by the division by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction during the period of actual detention or confinement in the facility.
(d) The department of health and human resources is designated as the agency to cooperate with the United States department of health and human services and United States department of justice in extending and improving child welfare services, to comply with regulations thereof, and to receive and expend federal funds for these services. The division of juvenile services of the department of military affairs and public safety is designated as the agency to cooperate with the United States department of health and human services and United States department of justice in operating, maintaining and improving juvenile correction facilities and centers for the predispositional detention of children, to comply with regulations thereof, and to receive and expend federal funds for these services.
(e) The department of health and human resources and the division of juvenile services shall present a joint plan for a coordinated system of child welfare and juvenile justice, including specific provisions for juveniles who have been accused of an act of delinquency through the filing of a formal petition pursuant to section seven, article five of this chapter, to the designated legislative task force for juvenile oversight on or before the first day of September, one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine. The department and division shall report regularly during the interim period to the designated task force before completion of the plan to advise the Legislature as to progress of the plan's development.
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