Present: Judge Sonja Clapp via conference call Dennis Herbeck Dave McGeary Connie Portscheller Dale Rivard Tara Muhlhauser Chad Kramer for Scott Davis
Absent: Judge Todd Cresap Judge Richard Grosz Judge David Reich Robin Huseby
Staff: Louie Hentzen Lee Ann Barnhardt Lana Zimmerman, scribe
At the request of Judge Clapp, Louie Hentzen called the meeting to order. He asked for
comments on the minutes from November 5, 2009 meeting. Connie Portscheller moved to
approve the minutes; Dale Rivard seconded. Minutes approved.
GAL Sub-Committee - Dave McGeary, Chair. Dave reported the sub-committee met on November 30, 2009 to discuss the status of the current UND contract for the GAL program and the RFP for a new GAL contract; funding for the administrative costs of the GAL program and possible hourly increases to pay for GAL's. The GAL sub-committee recommended to the Court Improvement Project Committee to consider taking action on the following three items:
1. That the new RFP to be released in early 2010 include language that makes it clear legal representation for all GAL's who are actively and officially in the GAL program be the responsibility of the bidder.
2. That administrative costs of the GAL program be paid out of general funds rather than Court Improvement Project Basic Grant funds.
3. That a "cost of doing business" increase be given to each GAL in the program to help offset their daily expenses to perform their duties for the Court in case assignments.
After extensive discussion by the Court Improvement Committee, Dennis Herbeck moved to proceed with item #2 to be presented to the Administrative Office of the Courts to recommend a transfer of Basic Grant Funds to the General Funds and to add this to the budget application in the next biennium. Seconded by Tara Muhlhauser. Motion carried.
By consensus, items #1, and #3 will be reviewed at the next Court Improvement Project Committee meeting on June 15, 2010 due to the RFP deadline on Friday, February 12, 2010.
ICWA Sub-Committee - Dennis Herbeck, Chair. Dennis reported this sub-committee met in November and produced a questionnaire for the ICWA audit teams to use during the ICWA audits in each unit. Audits will take place April 1, 2010 through October 31, 2010. The information compiled in these audits will be distributed at the Court Improvement Project Committee meeting in the fall. Lee Ann Barnhardt suggested the results be presented at the Judicial Conference as well. Tara Muhlhauser offered to produce a roster for case draw to help during the audits. Lee Ann Barnhardt offered to compile all of the findings from the audits. The
purpose of the audits are to determine the enforcement of the ICWA Act.
Education and Training Sub-Committee - Robin Huseby, Chair. Lee Ann Barnhardt reported
the Regional Child Welfare Workshops in December were very successful. The workshops were offered in Minot, Fargo and Bismarck with participants ranging from social workers, referee's, district judges and GAL's.
Lee Ann reported there has been some out-of state training in Washington D.C. for public defenders, and Las Vegas for judges and referees.
The Children's Justice Symposium is scheduled July 27-29, 2010. Lee Ann and Pete Tunseth from UND have met and discussed themes. This year's theme will be cultural competency. There will be sessions offered on evidence, children testifying in the courtroom, Native
American's in our state, TPR's and caselaw in North Dakota.
Data Collection and Analysis Sub-Committee - Louie Hentzen reported that Kate Harrison Consulting is currently in Bismarck meeting with the I.T. programmers collecting data. There will be a report distributed at the next Court Improvement Meeting from Kate Harrison.
New Business - Louie reported the annual Court Improvement conference is scheduled July 22-23rd, 2010 in Bethesda, Maryland. If anyone from this committee is interested in attending, please let Louie know as soon as possible.
Next meeting is scheduled Tuesday, June 15, 2010.
By, consensus, meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Respectively Submitted, Lana Zimmerman, scribe ND Supreme Court