May 4, 2007
The Children's Law Committee met on Friday, May 4, 2007, at 12:00 noon.
Members Present (20):
Taron Davis, Chair
Bar Staff Present:
Joan S. Brown
Call to Order: Ms. Davis welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Ms. Way to the Committee.
Minutes: Ms. Davis asked for approval of the March 22, 2007, minutes. It was noted that Ms. Hill had been present at the March meeting but not listed. Motion was made that Ms. Hill's name be added and that the minutes be approved as amended. The motion was made, seconded, and were unanimously approved.
Status of 2006-07 Goals:
1. Continue to distribute the Child Protective Service cards. Ms. Robinson reported a large number of the cards had been distributed. The distribution included statewide county sheriff departments accompanied by a cover letter. Some of the cards were personalized with county-specific information along with telephone numbers for the South Carolina Bar and Ms. Robinson. Ms. Robinson said that at least 15 counties had responded with appreciation and that approximately 5,000 cards (English) and 3,500 (Spanish) had been distributed. The Committee agreed that, after the remaining supply of cards was depleted, the Committee would review the text for changes.
2. Support and assist in the reintroduction of the Juvenile Waiver of Counsel bill. No report.
3. Post to the Bar's Web site the updated versions of the Children and the Court and the Guardian ad Litem brochures. Prior to the meeting, â€œThe Family Court Process for Children Charged with Criminal and Status Offenses in SCâ€ and the revised version of â€œGuidelines for Guardians ad litem for Children in Family Courtâ€ were distributed by Ms. Way to the Committee for review. The overview of the Family Court System was written by Ms. Richey and the revised version of the GAL brochure was provided by Ms. Robinson and Ms. Vanderbilt.
Ms. Davis reported that there was approximately $15,000 in the Bar budget earmarked for the Children's Committee to be used by July 2007. Ms. Way asked if the Committee still had any plans to distribute a video, and Ms. Davis reported the Committee had decided against it. Upon further research following the meeting, the amount was determined to be $12,500.
Ms. Davis asked if the Committee was in agreement to remove from the Bar Web Site â€œChildren and the Courtsâ€ and the current GAL brochure and to replace them with the two brochures discussed that day. Ms. Way offered the Bar's design staff's assistance. Ms. Way would ask the Bar design team to provide some suggestions for the revised GAL brochure and present them to Ms. Robinson/Ms. Vanderbilt for consideration prior to being published. 5,000 copies would be ordered with permission for Ms. Way to order more if it was determined they would be less expensive if purchased in a larger increment. The Committee decided the brochures would go on the Web Site â€œas isâ€ at present. Distribution of the brochures was discussed to include clerks of court and Family Court judges.
A Committee member brought to the attention of the Committee that Ms. Robinson had recently received the Richland County CASA Award.
4. Support efforts to reintroduce the Disturbing School Statute bill. Mr. Vanderbilt said the Bar had endorsed this bill and he assumed the endorsement was still valid. He reported the bill had been reintroduced, was still before the Senate Committee, but wasn't really going anywhere. He reported Ms. Rose with the Appleseed Legal Justice Center was actively pursuing the bill. He stated the bill criminalizes those for â€œobnoxiousâ€ behavior but discussion had been brought about that â€œobnoxiousâ€ behavior was not as serious as knowingly intending to do something.
5. Offer support for any efforts of acceptable revisions made to the Sex Offender Registry. Ms. Richey reported this was on the Judiciary calendar for next week and she would update the Committee at a later date.
6. Develop strategies (handouts) for schools, law enforcements, parents and daycare explaining the rights of non-custodial parents. Ms. Adler was not present. Ms. Vanderbilt reported that Ms. Adler was working on drafting revisions as suggested at the last meeting. These revisions would make the handouts more user friendly and would be in question and answer format.
7. Draft amendments to the Illegitimate Child Custody statute and present to the House of Delegates in May 2007. The Committee has tabled this item.
8. Conduct a seminar at the 2007 Bar Convention. Ms. Davis reports that this goal was met and well-received.
9. Support the Bar's efforts to provide FAQ's to the public regarding children's issues. Ms. Davis reported Ms. Way had put her in contact with Ms. McClure, Public Resource Director at the Bar. Ms. Davis offered the Committee's assistance to Ms. McClure who is putting together a list of FAQs. Ms. Davis requested that Ms. Way have Ms. McClure provide the list of FAQs for distribution to the Committee for review and comment prior to the next meeting. Ms. Davis said Ms. McClure would be on the agenda for the next meeting.
10. Explore other states to determine how foster children may be exempted from the requirement for parental consent to take driver's education and to obtain a learner's permit and driver's license. Ms. Robinson reported that 4 law students, along with help from DSS, had researched and drafted legislation. It was determined that South Carolina's statute was closest to that of Colorado. The focus areas were 1) who could sign a DMV application for a foster child and 2) assumption of liability. At present, a designee of the county signs the DMV application for foster children between the ages of 17 Â½ - 18 but only to allow them to take driver's education. DSS General Counsel's office is reviewing draft legislation at present, and once DSS approves it, a copy will be shared with the Committee.
Old Business: Other than goal status, none to report.
A. Discuss/Adopt 2007-2008 Goals The Committee discussed and voted to accept the following goals for 2007-2008 with the understanding Ms. Way would email the goals to the entire Committee giving ten (10) days for review and comment.
1. Continue to distribute the Child Protective Service cards.
2. Continue to support efforts to reintroduce and for the passage of the Disturbing School Statute bill.
3. Develop strategies (handouts) for schools, law enforcements, parents and daycare explaining the rights of non-custodial parents.
4. Conduct a seminar at the 2008 Bar Convention.
5. Support the Bar's efforts to provide FAQs to the public regarding children's issues.
6. Explore other states to determine how foster children may be exempted from the requirement for parental consent to take driver's education and to obtain a learner's permit and driver's license.
7. Monitor legislation dealing with children's issues.
B. Discuss 2008 Convention Agenda: Ms. Davis reported she would be completing and submitting the necessary reservation form by May 18, 2007. It was discussed that the 30-45 minute segments totaling 3 hours had worked well last year and would be repeated this year. Ms. Way informed the Committee that the CLE Coordinator had been asked not to schedule Family Law at the same time as the children's at the convention. Mr. Riley indicated that the CLE Division would try to accommodate this request, especially if the Children's Law Committee was in favor of having their portion on Thursday afternoon again this year. he Committee agreed to this. Ms. Way would notify CLE of the Children's Committee's agreement.
Potential Convention CLE Topics are:
1) Role of the Guardian ad litem â€" abuse/neglect cases/advocacy for children 12 years and older.
2) Juvenile process/incompetent to stand trial
4) Panel discussion/question and answer session with talking points provided in advance (to include Judges/Public Defender/Solicitor)
5) Revisit Special Education Regulations
6) Treatment services available to youth
7) Role of the private Guardian ad litem â€" parental alienation/non custodial parent/ sexual abuse/child's preference
8) Rights of undocumented children in the United States
9) Coordinate Child Protective Service and criminal cases
10) Treatment services available to mentally disabled children who are committed to DJJ
Ms. Robinson stated she would send out the topic ideas discussed to the entire Committee for review and comment.
Next Meeting: The next meeting would be scheduled for a Friday in July.
Adjournment: There being no further business, Ms. Davis adjourned the meeting.