Present Judge Sonja Clapp, Chair via phone Scott Davis Shari Doe Karen Kringlie via phone Connie Portscheller via phone Dale Rivard via phone Bob Rutten Donna Wunderlich
Absent Judge Todd Cresap Robin Huseby Judge David Reich Judge Jay Schmitz
Guests Steve Sittingbear, ND Indian Affairs Commission Brad Hawk, ND Indian Affairs Commission Sally Holewa, ND State Court Administrator
Staff Catherine Palsgraaf Lee Ann Barnhardt Lana Zimmerman (scribe)
Judge Clapp called the meeting to order. She asked if there were any comments or changes to
the March 8, 2013, meeting minutes. It was noted that under the GAL Sub-Committee section of
the sub-committee reports on page 2, to add at the end of the third paragraph “should e-file”.
With the noted change, a motion was made by Donna Wunderlich to approve the March 8,
2013, minutes. The motion was seconded by Shari Doe, motion carried.
Report on 2013 Annual CIP meeting - Washington D.C. - The 2013 CIP annual meeting was
attended by Louis Hentzen, Shari Doe, and Catie Palsgraaf May 1-3, 2013, in Bethesda,
Ms. Palsgraaf reported on the CIP annual meeting. Grant reporting is due August 30, 2013,
which will consist of an updated strategic plan, updated budgets, and letters of assurance between
the Department of Human Services and the Chief Justice, which will include that the Department
of Human Services agrees to share administrative data. The reporting, which is due December,
2013, will consist of the year end reporting requirement, which is the self evaluation format of
2012; the year end financial report, due 90 days after the end of the federal fiscal year; and the
data report, which is the baseline data the state collected and how resources are used to collect
and gather data, and the purpose of data collection.
There will be delays in funding next year, due to the sequestration. States will have 2 years from
October 2012 to spend the money, which is September 30, 2014.
Training and Technical Assistance Network (NRCLJI) The training portion of the grant monies was to provide funding for speakers to train, and has
been eliminated. The Federal Government is using CQI to measure the outcome of the money
they are spending. They will continue Technical Assistance and can involve capacity building of
systems between agencies and figure out how to implement CQI in certain areas. In past
training, defense attorneys were sent to juvenile court specific type training, and can be
reimbursed through IV-E funding. There are a few states that are utilizing this and are willing to
share information on the procedure. The agency will pay out of the general fund, and a
percentage is reimbursed. IV-E could be a way to send court personnel to training.
Building/Retrofitting CIP Activities for Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Some states provided examples on how to retrofit some activities to incorporate CQI. Questions
are: What is the overall goal/outcome? Who is involved? What is the process? What resources
are available? How will data be gathered? and How will success be measured/tracked? There is
a way to measure it.
Nevada is using mediation in the child welfare cases. They have named the contracts they award
from the CIP grants, the CIP Sub-Grantees. In the contracts, it is required that applicants
implement some sort of a CQI process, and detail what it will look like. The Sub-Grantees make
sure to conduct CQI. When it comes to reporting time for the CIP, it is built into the Sub-Grantee
contracts. They have become self sustaining to match with CIP grant funds, so they can dial back
and use the funds for something else or become completely self sustaining and present the grants
to conduct other pilot projects.
Well Being Measures Priority is to integrate well-being with safety and permanency to achieve better outcomes.
Activities should be reviewed as necessary to ensure well-being is integrated.
Science/Evidence Based Practices to Improve Outcomes California has an Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for child welfare. This has rated different
programs based on if there is evidence out there to support the program. This is rated on six
different levels. The top three are: Well Supported Research Evidence, Supported by Research
Evidence, and Promising Research Evidence.
Mr. Rutten shared this is also coming from the education sector and dealing with a large amount
of federal funding and granting requirements which is parallel to another federal agency in terms
of process and expectations, specifically the Science/Evidence Based Practices. School
improvement plans can’t be approved unless schools are demonstrating research based practices
that are truly effective in helping children.
Mr. Davis who is a member of the Tribal and State Court Affairs Committee, expressed a
concern with the Spirit Lake Tribe who failed pursuant to Rule 3.5, where documents are to be
filed electronically. Mr. Davis asked if this committee could look into what transpires between
Spirit Lake and Cass County, and if the Tribe is able to do something different. He is not sure if
the Tribe has electronic filing.
Ms. Holewa shared that Spirit Lake was directed to e-file documents to be in compliance with
Rule 3.5. If they are able to create it on the computer and they have internet access, they should
be able to e-file. The administrator at Spirit Lake stated most tribes that have filed with the
district court since April 1, 2013, have been in compliance. This is a one time isolated incident. Spirit Lake will need to make a motion to the presiding judge if they don’t e-file. They will need
to log into the courts system through the internet and take a ½ an hour training to teach them how
to access it. Kari Landsem the Clerk of Court in Ramsey County has offered to physically show
Spirit Lake how to access it.
Review 2012-2016 CIP Strategic Plan Please refer to handouts. After discussion of the changes specifically in red and needed
recommendations, a motion was made by Bob Rutten to approve the 2012-2016 CIP
Strategic Plan. The motion was seconded by Dale Rivard. Motion carried.
GAL Sub-Committee - Robin Huseby, chair. Ms. Palsgraaf briefed the committee in place of
Ms. Huseby’s absence. The GAL sub-committee met on April 23, 2013. Robin has asked for
assistance in the direction the sub-committee was to go in the future. Discussed was whether
there has been recent surveys of persons involved with the system as to quality of the
guardianship work. Brad Swenson indicated that there had been a survey done in 2011.
A discussion ensued about having a uniform directive from the judge or referee on what was
expected in the report. It was suggested that everyone review Rule 17 and see if they thought any
rule change should take place or be discretionary with the particular judicial officer.
There was a brief discussion on what the CIP committee was looking for from the GAL sub-committee. Ms. Palsgraaf will put together the purpose of the GAL sub-committee and present
the recommendations at the next meeting.
ICWA Sub-Committee - Connie Portscheller, chair. Mr. Sittingbear handed out a list of the
Qualified Expert Witnesses from all of the Tribes except for Spirit Lake.
Ms. Portscheller shared due to the new list of QEW’s could the lists be combined and generated
to the appropriate entities. After discussion, the list will be circulated through the Department of
Human Services to the county directors, as well as the state’s attorneys throughout the state. It
will also be posted on the ND IndianWelfare Commissions state website.
Ms. Portscheller stated a contract was signed with the committee conducting the audit. Ms.
Palsgraaf briefed the committee that as far as the contract goes, the nondisclosure agreement is
signed and they are in the process of reviewing cases. The target end date of the committee is
September 30th,2013, but if the committee needs longer, they will let Ms. Palsgraaf know.
Ms. Holewa shared that when reports are completed, they are open record and are subject to
examination to anyone that wants them. They are also to be filed with the state library.
Ms. Doe commented on the type of arrangements the petitioners need to make with the QEW in
regards to reimbursement. Mr. Davis shared the QEW could make or break the future of a child.
How do we improve that? Ms. Barnhardt answered a few years ago there was a proposal to
conduct training for the QEW’s, but because they are a witness, and the court is training a
witness, there are biases. Our recommendation was that training needs to take place, but needs to
happen through a contract entity. Ms. Barnhardt will get Mr. Davis the name of the CIP
Education Director for Utah who can help Mr. Davis with the direction on training for QEW.
Education Sub-Committee - Judge David Reich, chair. Ms. Barnhardt briefed the committee
in place of Judge Reich’s absence. Ms. Barnhardt shared she is on a national team that is
developing a curriculum for judges for ICWA, which will be out by September. There will be
nation wide concrete materials that can be taught to judges.
The dates for the next ICWA conference is February 19-21, 2013, at the Seven Seas in Mandan.
Ms. Barnhardt is the courts representative on the planning committee for the conference.
The Children and Family Services conference is held July 23-25, 2013. The courts role is try to
encourage participation from court personnel, and GAL’s. We will be supplementing a few
All of the GAL training will be tied into the area’s that are being measured. The ICWA
conference will measure through the ICWA audits.
Data Collection Sub-Committee - Karen Kringlie, chair. Ms. Kringlie reported sub-
committee meetings were held May, June, and July, 2013. They have been working on creating a
continuance report to reduce the number of continuances in child welfare cases. Most studies
have shown that each continuance can add an additional 28 days to the length of time a child
spends in foster care. Currently, they are right on track. Initially, they had planned to conduct a
pilot county, but it turned out it was not necessary and they were able to get the report up and
running. It is currently not available to Odyssey users due to it being in test mode. A test report
was run for the months of April and May. After having worked on some of the definitions and
what concerns there were, so many choices of “other”, which are available in both the drop
downs in reset and continuance show us that there needs to be training with the schedulers on
what those definitions actually mean. It was also noted that many times schedulers will cancel a
hearing, which takes it out of the report completely. When a hearing date is modified in
Odyssey, there must be a future date to reset.
The Odyssey User Group approved adding a choice to the cancelled hearing drop down with
wording “awaiting a new hearing date”. IT reassured that the cancelled hearings can be added
into the report capturing all of the data needed. Future activity is to have IT add the cancelled
hearings into the continuance report and to send out an instructional sheet to all of the Odyssey
users who schedule hearings, which shows the agreed upon definitions. Ultimately, the goal is to
review and discuss any causes of unnecessary continuances, and if there is a need to recommend
policy and procedure changes. The sub-committee has a short list of ideas for future reports such
as timeliness, achieving permanency, and if the CIP committee would direct them for the next
report, it would be greatly appreciated.
Grand Forks TPR Report Mr. Rivard briefed the committee on the TPR plan for Grand Forks county. Mr. Rivard shared
the main issue was to make the TPR move along faster through Grand Forks county. They were
delayed for a period of time. Grand Forks county is looking at area’s throughout the state to
expedite the process. In this case, there is more dedication of personnel to the termination
process, but also monthly meetings with Grand Forks County Social Services and looking at
what cases will be going through TPR, and taking a look at current goals, as well. Grand Forks
County came up with a timeline on how long before they have the petition filed after getting the
outlines from social services, and taking into consideration the courts scheduling to make sure
when a TPR is filed. They are then prioritized. This is a brief overview of how they can
expedite some of the TPR process in Grand Forks county.
A motion was made by Dale Rivard to adjourn the meeting, motion seconded by Scott
Davis, meeting adjourned.