West Virginia Children’s Justice Task Force Bylaws

 

Article I ‐ Name

1.1 The name of this advisory body shall be the West Virginia Children’s Justice Task Force, (Task Force).


Article II – Statutory Basis/Purpose

2.1 Purpose. The Task Force is established in accordance with the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (codified at 42 USC 5106c) which authorizes grants to states to develop, establish, and operate programs designed to improve:

2.1.1 The assessment and investigation of suspected child abuse and neglect cases, including cases of suspected child sexual abuse and exploitation, in a manner which limits additional trauma to the child and the child’s family;

2.1.2 The assessment and investigation of cases of suspected child abuse‐related fatalities and suspected child neglect‐related fatalities;

2.1.3 The investigation and prosecution of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation; and

2.1.4 The assessment and investigation of cases involving children with disabilities or serious health‐related problems who are suspected victims of abuse or neglect.

The mission of the Task Force is as follows: Child abuse and neglect are community problems requiring community solutions. The WV Children’s Justice Task Force, a multi‐disciplinary body of public and private agencies and individuals, is committed to the protection of children. Our mission is to identify barriers to the successful investigation, prosecution, and resolution of child abuse and neglect issues; and to educate and advocate for change.

2.2 Recommendation Categories. Children’s Justice Act (CJA) grants shall be used to implement Task Force recommendations in the following three categories:

2.2.1 Assessment and Investigation of cases of child abuse and neglect. Investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as cases involving suspected childmaltreatment‐ related fatalities and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as interstate, federal‐state, and state‐tribal, in a manner which reduces the additional trauma to the child victim and the victim’s family and which also ensures procedural fairness to the accused;

2.2.2 Innovative approaches. Experimental, model, and demonstration programs for testing innovative approaches and techniques which may improve the prompt and successful resolution of civil and criminal court proceedings or enhance the effectiveness of judicial and administrative action in child abuse and neglect cases, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation cases and cases involving children with disabilities or serious health‐related problems, including the enhancement of performance of court‐appointed attorneys and guardians ad litem for children, and which also ensure procedural fairness to the accused; and

2.2.3 Process improvement. Reform of state laws, ordinances, regulations, protocols and procedures to provide comprehensive protection for children from abuse, including sexual abuse and exploitation, while ensuring fairness to all affected persons.

2.3 Limitations. Supporting child abuse prevention programs or treatment services is not an appropriate use of CJA funds.


Article III ‐ Activities

3.1 Advisory Role. The Task Force shall make policy and training recommendations to organizations, offices, or entities on the issues of child maltreatment as needed.

3.2 Task Force Responsibilities. The Task Force’s responsibilities are as follows:

3.2.1 Participate in the three‐year assessment process to comprehensively evaluate the State’s investigative, administrative and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse, as well as cases involving suspected child‐maltreatment related fatalities and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions. The Task Force must make policy and training recommendations to improve the child protection system based on its assessment. The development of the three‐year assessment will be a strategic process with efforts to include stakeholders, both internal and external to the CJTF. Input from administrators, field workers, and consumers will be sought.

3.2.2 Determine the priorities that will guide the grant‐making process as well as inform CJA’s purpose.

3.2.3 Make recommendations regarding policy issues. The Task force may submit to policy makers proposed improvements consistent with its mission or recommendations, or express opinions on other state policy issues. In order to make a recommendation on a policy issue the matter must be presented to and approved by the Task Force.

3.2.4 Support CJA staff. The Task Force should ensure that CJA staff has the resources and support they need to further the goals of the Task Force.

3.2.5 Ensure effective planning. The Task Force must actively participate in periodic planning processes and assist in implementing and monitoring resulting recommendations.

3.2.6 Monitor and strengthen programs and services. The Task Force’s responsibility is to determine which programs are consistent with Task Force recommendations and monitor the effectiveness of those programs.

3.2.7 Build a competent Task Force. The Task Force has a responsibility to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance.

3.2.8 Ensure ethical integrity. The Task Force is ultimately responsible for adherence to grant conditions and ethical norms. Task Force members should recognize and disclose conflicts of interest. Task Force members shall not communicate with potential grantees regarding pending applications nor communicate with existing grantees in manners related to grant administration.

3.2.9 Enhance the organization's public standing. The Task Force should clearly articulate CJA’s mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.

3.2.10 Participate in Task Force meetings. All Task Force members must make efforts to regularly attend quarterly Task Force meetings.

3.2.11 Actively contribute skills, expertise, and knowledge to Task Force. Members must serve on committees and working groups as needed. Members should attend professional development programs relevant to the purpose and goals of the Task Force.

3.2.12 Serve as a liaison between the Task Force and national funders, programs, and initiatives.

3.2.13 Review the annual federal application and other required reports.

3.2.14 Approve projects supported by the CJA grant. The Task Force will approve special projects and other project‐related funding decisions.

3.3 Grantee Responsibilities.

3.3.1 Fiscal and programmatic monitoring of subgrantee.

3.3.2 Serve as a liaison between the Task Force and national funders, programs, and initiatives.

3.3.3 Prepare the annual federal application and other required reports.

3.4 Subgrantee Responsibilities. Staff responsibilities are as follows:

3.4.1 Coordinate and provide support for Task Force, committee, and working group meetings.

3.4.2 Participate in discussions as appropriate during Task Force, committee, and working group meetings.

3.4.3 Develop processes for implementing Task Force recommendations.

3.4.4 Review and recommend projects for CJA support.

3.4.5 Prepare progress and financial reports to grantee.

3.4.6 Perform daily administrative functions of grant, including programmatic and fiscal monitoring.

3.4.7 Provide updates to Task Force members on grant activities.

3.4.8 Act as primary contact with grantees and prospective sub grantees regarding funding opportunities and grant activities.

3.4.9 Develop, maintain, and report on Task Force budget.

3.4.10 Serve as a liaison between the Task Force and national funders, programs, and initiatives.

3.4.11 Preserve and maintain records on activities and history of the Task Force.


Article IV ‐ Membership

4.1 Mandatory Representation. The Task Force shall be composed of individuals with knowledge and experience relating to the criminal justice system and issues of child physical abuse, child neglect, child sexual abuse and exploitation, and child maltreatment related fatalities. In accordance with the federal program instructions, the Task Force shall include members representing the following disciplines:

4.1.1 Law enforcement Community;

4.1.2 Criminal/civil court Judge(s);

4.1.3 Prosecuting Attorney(s);

4.1.4 Defense Attorney(s);

4.1.5 Child Advocate(s) (Attorneys for Children);

4.1.6 Court Appointed Special Advocate Representative(s);

4.1.7 Health Professional(s);

4.1.8 Mental Health Professional(s);

4.1.9 Child Protective Service Agencies;

4.1.10 Individual(s) experienced in working with children with disabilities;

4.1.11 Parent Group Representative(s);

4.1.12 Adult former victim(s) of child abuse or neglect; and

4.1.13 Individual(s) experienced in working with homeless children and youth.

4.2 Recommended Members. The Task Force shall also seek to include members representing the following disciplines:

4.2.1 Crime Victims Compensation Fund

4.2.2 Probation/Parole

4.2.3 Youth Services

4.2.4 Children’s Advocacy Centers

4.2.5 Victim Advocates, including representation from Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and System‐based Advocacy

4.2.6 Juvenile Services

4.2.7 Education

4.2.8 Medical Examiner’s Office

4.2.9 WV Division of Justice and Community Services

4.3 Discretionary Members. Other members may be added at the discretion of the Task Force.

4.4 Member Diversity. So far as may be possible, the Task Force should strive to attain members who bring diverse perspectives and reflect varied ethnicities and genders, as well as the various geographic communities located in West Virginia.

4.5 Task Force Appointments. Nominations for new members will be considered on an ongoing basis by the Membership Committee and submitted in advance of a full meeting in writing for approval by the Task Force. The Membership Committee shall evaluate the composition of the Task Force on an annual basis to ensure the mandated, recommended, and discretionary members are appropriately represented and shall make recommendations to the task force regarding any membership additions or changes.

4.6 Meeting Attendance. If any member or designee does not attend three (3) consecutive, regularly scheduled meetings of the Task Force, without good cause shown, the Membership Committee, with attention given to participation in Task Force activities, may recommend the Task Force remove the member and fill the resulting vacancy.

4.7 Provision for Remote Participation. Task Force members may participate in meetings by teleconference or webinar at the discretion of the Chair.

4.8 Vacancies. Vacancies in membership shall be filled as soon as practical if necessary to maintain statutorily required representation as set out in Section 4.1 using the nominating process described in 4.5. The same procedures will be followed for other vacancies, as determined necessary by the Membership Committee.


Article V ‐ Officers

5.1 Officers. Officers of the Task Force shall consist of a Chair and Vice‐Chair.

5.2 Chair. The Duties of the Chair include the following:

5.2.1 Guiding and leading the Task Force toward its goals;

5.2.2 Presiding at Task Force meetings;

5.2.3 Approving the written agenda for meetings of the Task Force.

5.2.4 Appointing committees and committee chairs as provided by these bylaws;

5.2.5 Overseeing federally required assessments; and

5.3 Vice Chair. The Vice‐Chair shall preside at meetings in the absence of the Chair and perform other duties as may be assigned by the Chair or be necessary in the absence of the Chair.

5.4 Term. Officers are elected for a one year period upon majority vote of Task Force members present or by the returning of e‐mail ballots, and may be re‐elected for up to two, one‐year terms.

5.5 Qualifications. To the extent possible, officers should represent different disciplines from the mandatory representation (4.1) to ensure Task Force leadership reflects a multidisciplinary perspective.


Article VI‐ Committees

6.1 Appointment. The Chair and Vice‐Chair shall designate and appoint committees of the Task Force as deemed necessary. Non‐Task Force members may be appointed to any committee at the discretion of the Task Force.

6.2 Committee Chairs. The Task Force Chair shall designate the chairperson for each committee. Task Force members are expected to serve on committees as needed.

6.3 Standing Committees. The Task Force shall maintain the following standing committees: Executive Committee, Membership Committee, and Training Committee.

6.3.1 Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the officers of the Task Force, the chairs of each standing committee, and at the Task Force’s discretion, one additional voting member. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for overseeing Task Force affairs in the intervals between meetings and dealing with matters of urgency that may arise between meetings. In addition, the Executive Committee shall oversee the annual budgetary process, review requests for funding, and make recommendations regarding grant allocations to the Task Force. The Executive Committee shall meet at the discretion of the Chair.

6.3.2 Membership Committee. The Membership Committee shall recommend candidates to fill Task Force member and officer vacancies and shall present a slate of candidates for member and officer positions to the Task Force before the meeting at which approval of recommended candidates will be sought. The Membership Committee shall also be responsible for building the capacity of Task Force members by providing orientation for new members and ongoing trainings, as necessary for existing members.

6.3.3 Training Committee. The Training Committee shall make recommendations and assist in planning any conferences or trainings directly sponsored and implemented by the Task Force.

6.4 Ad Hoc Committees. The Chair may appoint ad hoc committees composed of Task Force members and/or non‐members for purposes deemed appropriate by the Chair. The term of such committees shall not be more than one year.

6.5 Term of Office. Each member of a committee shall serve a term of one year, unless the committee is sooner terminated or unless a committee member is removed from such committee.

6.6 Vacancies. Vacancies in the membership of any committee may be filled by appointment made in the same manner as provided in the case of the original appointments.


Article VII‐ Meetings

7.1 Frequency of Meetings. The Task Force shall schedule at least four meetings a year, with additional meetings called by the Chair if necessary. A meeting schedule with at least three future meeting dates set shall be established at the beginning of each federal fiscal year. The Chair shall establish meeting dates in consultation with the Task Force. Meetings may be cancelled by the approval of a majority of the Task Force members.

7.2 Quorum. The presence of a majority of voting Task Force members shall constitute a quorum.

7.3 Task Force Action. The Task Force may adopt a position, plan action, or amend a recommendation upon a majority vote of members present at a duly announced meeting, at which a quorum is present, provided that a written agenda has been distributed to all members at least three days in advance of the meeting. Although additional items may arise for discussion at a meeting, no final action shall be taken without written notice to all members unless there is unanimous consent of those present and a quorum exists. Each Task Force member shall have one vote.

7.4 Electronic Voting. Members must be present or participating via the provisions outlined in 4.7 to vote on matters under consideration by the Task Force, except that at the discretion of the Task Force, matters may be voted upon by e‐mail ballot. Only duly elected Task Force members are permitted to vote.

7.5 Governance. Task Force meetings shall be conducted in accordance with the most current version of Robert’s Rules of Order unless otherwise specified by these bylaws.


Article VIII ‐ Conflicts of Interest

8.1 Each Task Force member shall annually sign a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form. Task Force members shall abide by the Conflict of Interest policy as depicted on the Disclosure Form.


Article IX – Confidentiality

9.1 Task Force members shall not disclose sensitive information obtained as a result of the grant award and monitoring process or the content of Task Force deliberations regarding grant approval. CJA staff shall act as sole contact with grantees and prospective sub grantees regarding pending applications and approved grant activities.


Article X ‐ Amendments

10.1 These bylaws may be amended upon majority vote of the Task Force membership at a duly announced meeting at which a quorum is present, provided that proposed amendments are distributed to members at least ten days in advance of the meeting.