West Virginia Code


Chapter 49     Entire Code



§49-5A-1. Juvenile referee; qualifications; compensation; authority;"child," etc., defined.

In each county, the judge or judges of the circuit court may appoint one person who is qualified by education and experience to serve as juvenile referee on a full-time or part- time basis who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the appointing court. The salary of such referee shall be fixed by the court in accordance with the rules of the Supreme Court of Appeals, and shall be paid out of the State Treasury. It shall be the duty of the referee to hold any detention hearing determined necessary pursuant to the provisions of section two of this article. Each referee shall also perform such other duties as are assigned to him by the court to carry out the purposes of this article. Referees shall not be permitted to conduct hearings on the merits of any case.

As used in this article, the terms "child" or "children" shall have the meaning ascribed to those terms elsewhere in this chapter.

§49-5A-2. Investigation and release of child taken into custody; detention hearings.

A child who has been arrested or who under color of law is taken into the custody of any officer or employee of the state or any political subdivision thereof shall be forthwith afforded a hearing to ascertain if such child shall be further detained. In connection with any such hearing, the provisions of article five of this chapter shall apply. It shall be the duty of the judge or referee to avoid incarceration of such child in any jail. Unless the circumstances of the case otherwise require, taking into account the welfare of the child as well as the interest of society, such child shall be released forthwith into the custody of his parent or parents, relative, custodian or other responsible adult or agency.

§49-5A-3. Orders of juvenile referee or judge following detention hearing; force and effect and finality of such orders.

After a detention hearing conducted by a judge, magistrate or referee an order shall be forthwith entered setting forth the findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to further detention pending hearing and disposition of the child proceedings involving such juvenile. A copy of such order shall be furnished to the court, if entered by a referee, and to the child and his attorney, if any, and to the parent or parents or guardian of the child. A detention order of a judge or referee shall become effective immediately, subject to the right of review provided for in section four of this article, and shall continue in effect until modified or vacated by the judge.

§49-5A-4. Review of order following detention hearing.

Upon the application of any person in interest or on his own motion, a judge may modify or vacate any order entered in his court after a detention hearing and enter such order as to detention or release from detention as he deems just and proper.

§49-5A-5. Detention in other counties.

If further detention is ordered, the court may order or referee direct such child to be detained in a facility other than a jail in a county other than the county in which such court sits if no facility other than a jail exists in the county wherein the court sits.

§49-5A-6. Assistance of Division of Juvenile Services of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

The Division of Juvenile Services of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is authorized to assign the necessary personnel and provide adequate space for the support and operation of any facility operated by the Division of Juvenile Services of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety providing for the detention of children as provided in this article, subject to and not inconsistent with the appropriation and availability of funds.

§49-5A-6a. State plan for predispositional detention centers for juveniles.

(a) The Division of Juvenile Services of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety shall develop a comprehensive plan to maintain and improve a unified state system of regional predispositional detention centers for juveniles. The plan shall be predicated upon the maximum utilization of existing resources, facilities and procedures and shall take into consideration recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Resources, the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority, the Division of Corrections, the Governor's committee on crime, delinquency and correction, the Supreme Court of Appeals, the state Board of Education, detention center personnel, juvenile probation officers and judicial and law-enforcement officials from throughout the state.

The principal purpose of the plan shall be, through statements of policy and program goals, to provide first for the effective and efficient use of existing regional juvenile detention facilities and the prudent allocation of resources for any future expansion or addition.

(b) The plan shall identify operational problems of secure detention centers, including, but not limited to, overcrowding, security and violence within centers, difficulties in moving juveniles through the centers within required time periods, health needs, educational needs, transportation problems, staff turnover and morale and other perceived problem areas. The plan shall further provide recommendations directed to alleviate the problems.

(c) The plan shall include, but not be limited to, statements of policies and goals in the following areas:

(1) Licensing of secure detention centers;

(2) Criteria for placing juveniles in detention;

(3) Alternatives to secure detention;

(4) Allocation of fiscal resources to the costs of secure detention facilities;

(5) Information and referral services; and

(6) Educational regulations developed and approved by the West Virginia Board of Education.

(d) The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates shall designate a committee or task force thereof, to act in a continuing capacity as an oversight committee, which shall assist the director of the Division of Juvenile Services in the development, periodic review and update of the state plan for the predispositional detention centers for juveniles. To this end, the director shall make regular reports to the designated Legislative Oversight body during the interim period and immediately before any regular session of the Legislature, which reports shall include any recommendations for legislative enactment, together with drafts of any proposed legislation necessary to effectuate those recommendations.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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