Court Improvement Program
The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia established the West Virginia Court Improvement Program Oversight Board in 1995, which took over the Broadwater Committee’s work to improve outcomes for children and families in child abuse and neglect cases. The Court established the Broadwater Committee in the mid-1990s during Chief Justice Margaret Workman’s previous tenure on the Supreme Court, which was from 1988 to 1999.
The Court Improvement Program Board was created as a result of the federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. That act designated federal funding beginning in fiscal year 1995 for grants to state court systems to conduct assessments of their foster case laws and judicial processes and to develop and implement a plan for system improvement. The Oversight Board is the advisory group and task force to implement the program in West Virginia, and it continues to obtain federal grant funding every year. Judge Gary Johnson of the Twenty-Eight Judicial Circuit (Nicholas County) chairs the board.
Court Improvement Program Oversight Board member list
Seven subcommittees assist the Oversight Board:
- Behavioral Health, chaired by Judge Louis “Duke” Bloom of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Kanawha County)
- Child Protection Across Court Systems, chaired by Family Court Judge Mary Ellen Griffith of the Twelfth family Court Circuit (McDowell and Mercer Counties)
- Data, Statutes, and Rules, chaired by Judge Derek Swope of the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County)
- Federal Review, chaired by Judge Derek Swope of the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County)
- Multidisciplinary Treatment Team Study, chaired by Sue Hage of the Bureau for Children and Families
- Training, co-chaired by Judge Gary Johnson of the Twenty-Eight Judicial Circuit (Nicholas County) and Senior Status Judge Robert Stone of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit (Monongalia County)
- Youth Services, chaired by attorney Jane Moran of Mingo County, co-chaired by Judge Christopher C. Wilkes of the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit.
The Court Improvement Program in West Virginia currently receives three federal grants, which are matched with state funds, known as the “Basic," “Training," and “Data Collection” grants.
Past and present projects funded by the three Court Improvement Program (CIP) grants include
- Assessment of interstate placements of children
- Development of drug-screening protocol
- Annual updates to the Judicial Benchbook for Abuse and Neglect Proceedings
- Strategies to achieve timely and complete court orders
- Amendment and creation of court rules and proposed state legislation
- Judge-led stakeholder meeting protocol
- Monitoring of child protection across court systems
- Judicial leadership roundtables
- Re-evaluation and updating of multidisciplinary treatment team (MDT) training
- Financial support of the annual state CASA training conference
- Annual cross-training on basic and advanced child abuse/neglect and juvenile law topics
- Biannual judicial education on child abuse/neglect topics
- Training for guardians ad litem in child abuse/neglect cases, and
- Training for court and legal professionals on form-generating software
- Creation of a uniform child and family case plan and progress report in electronic format
- Electronic case tracking
- New View Project to help children who are lingering in out-of-home care
- Catalogue of services for children in state residential placements.
For more information about the Court Improvement Program, contact
Director, Division of Children's Services
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
Capitol Building 1, Room E-100
1900 Kanawha Blvd. E.
Charleston, WV 25305
(304) 558-0145 (main) or 340-2304 (direct)
Fax: (304) 558-0775