Present Judge Lee Christofferson Krista Andrews Larry Bernhardt Rita Hannesson Julie Hoffman Marilyn Kary Pat Podoll Paul Ronningen Michon Sax Lanny Serrano Susan Sisk Theresa Snyder Greg Wallace
Vince Ament Karen Antelope Connie Cleveland Jean Doll Robert Freed Sharon Hauschulz Kate Kenna Sandra Kuntz Jim Larson Judge William McLees Tara Muhlhauser Frank Myrick Marilyn Poitra
Sheryl Long Feather
Judge Lee Christofferson called the meeting to order. The minutes of the January 8, 2003, meeting were corrected to indicate that Krista Andrews was not in attendance and Julie Hoffman was in attendance. It was also corrected to indicate that case monitoring procedures for juvenile court cases will be sent out to the Committee.
Greg Wallace reported on the concept of a tiered payment system for guardians ad litem(GALs). He estimated that if the per hour rate for lay GAL with three or more years of experience was increased to $20 per hour, the expenditures for lay GALs in the project site would increase by 10%. He did not have an estimate for the Northeast and Southeast districts, which are not part of the project. He reported that the budget picture would be clear in 2-3 weeks, but the budget that had gone forward included a 5% increase for indigent defense and nothing had specifically been identified for lay GALs.
Judge Christofferson questioned whether that would be sufficient. He felt strongly that the
per hour rate would need to be $25 in order to retain experienced personnel.
Greg Wallace responded that any increase in per hour rates would compete with the need for
more hours per case and the desire to appoint in post-termination cases.
Pat Podoll questioned how increasing the per hour rate would compete with other program
needs, expressing the belief that there was more of a need in the front-end rather than
post-termination. She questioned what benefit GALs would have until more resources were put into
Susan Sisk reported to the Committee that she projects the full $225,000 from the
Department of Human Services would be expended this year. Any increase will have to come from
After considerable discussion, LANNY SERRANO MOVED THAT THE COMMITTEE
SUPPORT THE CONCEPT OF A TIERED PAY SYSTEM WHERE THE GALS WOULD BE
PAID $20 AFTER THREE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WITH A MINIMUM OF 15 CASES OVER
THAT TIME PERIOD AND THAT THE CONCEPT BE PROPOSED FOR THE NEXT
PRESIDING JUDGES' MEETING. It was clarified that the concept be worded so that it be
implemented next biennium. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED AND PASSED.
Theresa Snyder reported on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Conference, the second
annual conference. She reported there were 250 persons at the first conference. This year there were
150 persons at the conference, including several from out-of-state. The Native American Training
Institute (NATI) has served as the lead agency. The registration fee in the first year was $25 and $45
the second year. She stated the NATI showed a slight profit, but did not include the center's time.
Very few county workers or judicial personnel were there.
Sheryl Long Feather stated that they had targeted social workers last year, but would target
court personnel next year. They have the dates selected and will get a tentative agenda soon for the
next conference, scheduled for January 2004.
Theresa reported that the last two conferences have been global and statewide in perspective.
The planning committee was looking are more of an implementation focus next January,
concentrating on such items as enrollment, jurisdiction, etc.
Sheryl Long Feather stated that the goal will be to give the workers the tools to carry out their
duties in respect to the ICWA. She stated that it becomes a tightrope in terms of the technical issues
versus the spirit of the law.
The conference will try to get the regions together to identify specific issues with action
plans. The general session will present a global view with breakout groups working on specific
regional issues. For example, one might have a presentation on jurisdiction followed by break-out
Krista Andrews added that a goal would be to develop a working plan for the region to be
followed up by some regional meeting to see how the regions are doing.
Marilyn Kary stated that there are many parts to the Act. It is hard to know all parts of the
Act. For example, one group might want answers relating to adoption, which might not apply to
others at the conference. She feels there needs to be training for judicial personnel on tribal systems.
She feels that it is necessary to understand tribal systems, along with ICWA, in order to understand
how to apply the Act.
Judge Christofferson stated that one of the things he heard was needed at the conference was
the need for local understanding of protocols, jurisdiction, lists of expert witnesses, etc. He felt that
there need to be four local/regional meetings to build relationships and discuss issues prior to the
next conference. He suggested this would serve as a stepping stone to a state conference. Judge
Christofferson suggested the NATI coordinate the project.
Sheryl Long Feather stated they would like to coordinate the regional session, but would need
to find financial support. She stated she would need some solid leads on the money. She agreed to
put together a plan and budget estimate for the regional meetings.
Theresa Snyder reported that the training institute will also be offering a regional cultural
competency conference in May and June. She will send notice to Greg for distribution to the courts.
Paul Ronningen then presented a report on where the Department of Human Services is at
concerning their budget. He stated that, in addition to cuts he has already made, they will need to
cut and additional $2.8 million from the budget. He reviewed in some detail the cuts that need to
be made by the department.
Larry Berhnardt stated they will need to cut services and, as a result, more kids will end up
in foster care. For example, they may need to not investigate up to about 1/3 of the child abuse
reports or they might need to go to the court with a services needed order, but not have the ability
to provide the services.
Paul Ronningen stated that he is fully funded in foster care and subsidized adoption. Thus,
the deep end is funder, but not the preventive services.
Julie Hoffman reported that of six bills relating to licensing, uniform adoption act relating
to adoption openness, and definition of special needs were moving through the legislation.
Larry Bernhardt reported that a bill is moving through that would require mandatory reporting
of pregnant women who were abusing drugs or alcohol. He felt this could have significant affect on
the courts in the mental health area.
The Committee then took up discussion of the Goals and Tasks in the Standards and
Protocols between the judiciary and human service agencies. Greg Wallace reported that he believed
that the tasks were completed under this general topic area. He felt that though the standards and
protocols were in writing the underlying theme of the topic has been completed. For example,
Task 2 was put in place because of confusion as to the roles and responsibilities relating to court
orders. The state was receiving frequent phone calls about court order language and payment issues.
Those calls have all but stopped. Krista Andrews agreed, stating that the calls are very infrequent.
Greg was asked to redraft the standard to detail what had been completed rather than just
stating the status.
Judge Christofferson reviewed the compendium of cases and suggested that it be reduced to
an index and updated. The Committee members agreed.
Larry Bernhardt asked that the issue of enforcing required services for parents where the child
remains home be put on the next meeting agenda.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 23, 2003, in Jamestown. The agenda will
1. Report on the GAL pay proposal with projections. 2. Status report of lay GAL project. 3. Standard GAL procedures. 4. Attorney Standards of Practice. 5. Indian Child Welfare Act training. 6. Enforcement of Required Services. 7. A review of the Judicial Oversight component.