A legal assessment of the problems arising from interviewing children witnesses in court

Katherine James and Robert Galatzer-Levy.

A legal assessment of the problems arising from interviewing children witnesses in court

Time of final adjudicatory hearing Scope of child abuse and neglect rules These rules set forth procedures for circuit courts in child abuse and neglect proceedings instituted pursuant to W. If these rules conflict with other rules or statutes, these rules shall apply.

These rules are not to be applied or enforced in any manner which will endanger or harm a child. These rules are designed to accomplish the following purposes: To provide fair, timely and efficient disposition of cases involving suspected child abuse or neglect; To provide for judicial oversight of case planning; To ensure a coordinated decision-making process; To reduce unnecessary delays in court proceedings through strengthened court case management; and To encourage the involvement of all parties, including children, in the litigation as well as the involvement of all community agencies and resource personnel providing services to any party.

Definitions As used in these rules, these terms are defined as follows: The hearing is held for the purpose of determining 1 whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is in imminent danger; 2 whether continuation in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child, setting forth the reasons; 3 whether the Department made reasonable efforts to preserve the family and to prevent the child's removal from his or her home or whether an emergency situation made such efforts unreasonable or impossible; 4 whether efforts should be made by the Department to facilitate the child's return, and if so, what efforts should be made; and 5 whether the child's school placement is in his or her school of origin, and if not, whether the change of school placement is in the child's best interests.

The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with Rule 36a; "Disposition hearing" shall mean the hearing contemplated by W.

Working with victims and witnesses

The petition has been dismissed and the child has been returned to the home or to a relative with no custodial supervision by the Department; The child has been placed in the permanent custody of a non-abusive parent; or A permanent out-of-home placement of the child has been achieved following entry of a final disposition order.

A permanent out-of-home placement has been achieved only when the child has been adopted, placed in a legal guardianship, placed in another planned permanent living arrangement APPLAor emancipated; and "Persons entitled to notice and the right to be heard" are persons other than parties who include the CASA when appointed, foster parents, preadoptive parents, or custodial relatives providing care for the child.

If a circuit court, based upon a review of the written referral from family court, determines that the allegations or other information present reason to believe a child may be in imminent danger, the circuit court may shorten the time for the Department to act upon the referral and appear before the circuit court.

The scheduled hearing may be mooted by the Department's earlier submission of the investigation report or, in the alternative, the filing of an abuse and neglect petition under Chapter 49 of the West Virginia Code relating to the matters which were the subject of the family court referral and circuit court administrative order.

The duties of the Department under this rule shall be in addition to the Department's obligations pursuant to W. A show-cause order shall issue by the court setting a prompt hearing to determine whether the respondent Department has a duty to file a civil petition under the particular circumstances set forth in the written referral and investigation report.

If it is determined by the court that the Department has a nondiscretionary duty pursuant to W. If it is determined that the circumstances bring the filing decision within the Department's discretionary authority, no such writ shall issue unless the court specifically finds aggravated circumstances, consistent with the meaning and usage of that term in W.

Copies of such orders shall also be delivered to the prosecuting attorney. If the case in family court that gave rise to the referral to the Department was a domestic violence proceeding, staff from any involved licensed family protection program is entitled access to circuit court proceedings under this rule to the same extent such access is afforded under statutes and rules pertaining to domestic violence proceedings.

Transfer of Administrative Proceedings. Unless the court finds the basis for the motion to be clearly unreasonable under the particular circumstances presented, the administrative proceedings shall be transferred as requested. If the administrative proceedings are transferred, the Department's obligations pursuant to W.

The circuit clerk shall send certified copies of the order granting or denying the transfer motion to the referring family court and the prosecuting attorney. If the order grants the motion, certified copies shall also be sent to the circuit court and prosecuting attorney in the county where the administrative proceeding is transferred.

Transfer and consolidation A circuit court before which a civil petition is filed pursuant to W. Venue Pursuant to W.

Under no circumstances may a party file a petition in more than one county based on the same set of facts. Contemporaneous civil, criminal, and other proceedings Under no circumstances shall a civil child abuse and neglect be delayed pending the initiation, investigation, prosecution, or resolution of any other proceeding, including, but not limited to, criminal proceedings.

Maintaining case on court docket Each child abuse and neglect proceeding shall be maintained on the circuit court's docket until permanent placement of the child has been achieved. The court retains exclusive jurisdiction over placement of the child while the case is pending, as well as over any subsequent requests for modification, including, but not limited to, changes in permanent placement or visitation, except that 1 if the petition is dismissed for failure to state a claim under Chapter 49 of the W.

Attendance at all proceedings brought pursuant to W.Children in the JII setting with additional support needs arising from disabilities, sensory impairments or illnesses, should be identified through preliminary checks at the referral stage with parents, carers, health professionals or educational professionals.

Where appropriate, further.

A legal assessment of the problems arising from interviewing children witnesses in court

The Child as Witness to Homicide. We review the issues arising from police questioning, qualification procedures, testimony in open court, and defendant sentencing.

Interviewing children. Interviewing Children with Parental Alienation Syndrome Children suffering with a parental alienation syndrome may present the judge with a convincing picture. By the time the child reaches the judge, he or she has developed a well-rehearsed litany of complaints against the presumably hated parent.

Child Witness Examination.

A legal assessment of the problems arising from interviewing children witnesses in court

and courtroom clerk. There, you can explain the roles of the court staff as well as the witnesses, attorneys, and judge. When questioning a child witness at trial, the same rules that govern interviewing apply.

Ask open-ended, non-leading, simple questions.

Rules of evidence

The problems of abused and neglected children are epidemic in our society (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau, ) and create issues that psychologists may be . Competency rules, judicial warnings regarding children's evidence, rules against hearsay and prohibitions on expert testimony and on tendency and coincidence evidence are significant ways in which children can be effectively silenced as witnesses.

Child Witnesses In Court | Innocence Lost | FRONTLINE | PBS