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Juvenile Law in 30 Minutes or Less Otherwise known as “Tom’s Chance to Vent to the Court” Tom C. Rawlings Judge, Juvenile Courts, Middle Circuit Sandersville,

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Presentation on theme: "Juvenile Law in 30 Minutes or Less Otherwise known as “Tom’s Chance to Vent to the Court” Tom C. Rawlings Judge, Juvenile Courts, Middle Circuit Sandersville,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Juvenile Law in 30 Minutes or Less Otherwise known as “Tom’s Chance to Vent to the Court” Tom C. Rawlings Judge, Juvenile Courts, Middle Circuit Sandersville, GA

2 DEPRIVED Juvenile Court has jurisdiction over any child alleged to be deprived. OCGA Deprived means “without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for the child's physical, mental, or emotional health or morals.” OCGA (8). “The definition of a deprived child focuses upon the needs of the child regardless of parental fault. The petition is brought on behalf of the child and it is the child's welfare and not who is responsible for the conditions which amount to deprivation that is the issue.” – In the Interest of J.P., 280 Ga. App. 100, (2006) SO HOW CAN A CHILD BE DEPRIVED “AS TO ONE PARENT ONLY?” In re: Tidwell, 279 Ga. App. 734 (2006)

3 OCGA § Reasonable efforts regarding reunification of family; reports and plans; custody orders when reunification found not to be in child's best interest; duration of orders; review of determinations; hearings; supplemental orders (a) A court's order removing a child from the child's home shall be based upon a finding by that court that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child. If the court places custody of the child in the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Resources, the court shall also determine as a finding of fact whether reasonable efforts were made by the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human Resources and any other appropriate agencies to preserve and reunify families prior to the placement of a child in the custody of the Department of Human Resources, to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from that child's home, and to make it possible for the child to return safely to the child's home. Such findings shall also be made at every subsequent review of the court's order under this chapter. (1) In determining reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a child, as described in this subsection, and in making such reasonable efforts, the child's health and safety shall be the paramount concern; (2) Except as provided in paragraph (4) of this subsection, reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve and reunify families: (A) Prior to the placement of a child in the custody of the Department of Human Resources, to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from the child's home; and (B) To make it possible for a child to return safely to the child's home;

4 Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA) Made grants available to states that comply with CAPTA requirements Requirements include: –Coordination of investigation –Provision of GAL in court proceeding –Confidentiality of records –Mandated reporting of abuse by specified professionals –Reporting of data

5 Adoption Assistance & Child Welfare Act of 1980 Strengthened the role of the state judiciary – all children in the child welfare system must have judicial oversight Set up a federal dollar system that was triggered by a judge’s order –Reasonable efforts findings –Approved foster home Plan was to get significant federal dollars into the foster care system Established adoption assistance program s/cblaws/public_law/pl105_89/pl105_89.htm

6 Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 Focus of law is on health and safety of the child Goal = end “foster care drift” and move children into permanent homes more quickly Limits number of months child can be in foster care before TPR is filed Provides financial incentives to states to increase number of adoptions

7 “In all interpretations of statutes, the courts shall look diligently for the intention of the General Assembly, keeping in view at all times the old law, the evil, and the remedy.”O.C.G.A. § “The disposition portion of the juvenile court's order giving temporary legal custody of the child to the petitioners failed to comply with the requirements of O.C.G.A. § because it did not contain necessary findings about reasonable efforts by DFACS or any other appropriate agencies to reunify the mother with the child and foreclosed any consideration of a DFACS plan to provide reunification services” –In the Interest of J.W.K., 254 Ga. App. 661 (2002) What’s the Poipose?

8 Termination of Parental Rights: Must prove that continued deprivation “will cause or is likely to cause serious physical, mental, emotional, or moral harm to the child.” OCGA § (b)(4)(A)(IV). “We find that the state failed to present any evidence as to the effect that such continued deprivation would have on the child... [T]here was no testimony from any professional, or from any lay witness, that the child would suffer physical, mental, emotional or moral harm from the current situation.... It is not automatically true that finding deprivation likely to continue will support a finding of harm.” –In the Interest of T.P., 270 Ga. App. 700 (2004) In the Int. of J.K., 278 Ga. App. 564 (629 SE2d 529) (2006) –Whole Court, not one mention of ASFA What’s the Poipose?

9 Other Federal Law Worth Noting Foster Care Independence Act (a.k.a. Chafee Act; ILP) Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (I.C.P.C.)

10 New Rights? In the Int. of J.L.B., 280 Ga. App. 556 (___ SE2d ___) (7/14/2006). In a delinquency case involving their child, PARENTS have the right to: –Their own attorney, and their own free attorney if they can’t afford one; –If they want to proceed pro se, to call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, argue, make objections, etc.; and –To file an independent appeal

11 Links –Emory’s Barton Child Policy Clinic –U.S. Government child welfare information gateway –U.S. Administration for Children and Families –The World’s Greatest Website, a True Fount of Wisdom and the Closest Thing to A Modern Recreation of the Oracle at Delphi.


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