Greg Wallace called the meeting to order. The January minutes were approved as distributed. Greg thanked Vince Ament for preparing the minutes in the past and informed the directors that Vince wished to be relieved of taking the minutes. The directors agreed to rotate the responsibility for taking the minutes.
Greg brought the directors' attention to the Federal Register which sets out who is to be notified under the Indian Child Welfare Act. He stated that he had received a call from a tribal office who stated the tribe was not being properly notified. Gloria mentioned that they sometimes received conflicting information on who to notify. After discussion, the directors agreed that they would continue to notify those listed in the federal register. The directors discussed several issues relating to proper notification of tribes, the right of parents to keep tribes from intervening, etc. They asked if Jim Ganje had a checklist or synopsis outlining court responsibilities under the Act.
The directors then took up discussion of potential legislation. A bill draft prepared for the Juvenile Policy Board was reviewed. The draft is designed to open proceedings and release information on the filing of a petition. Mary Hall reminded the directors that the directors had supported eliminating confidentiality for a number of reasons. Confidentiality serves to shield the juvenile from the consequences of their actions, it complicates working with other entities, it is in reality a farce as confidentiality cannot be guaranteed by the court and it undermines public confidence in the work of the court. The public sees the juvenile courts as hiding behind confidentiality. The directors discussed several options varying from not doing anything to eliminating all confidentiality.
There was discussion on whether open hearings should be tied to arrest, filing of petition, adjudication, and whether informal proceedings should be included. After a thorough discussion, it was the consensus of the directors that opening the proceeding should be based on filing of a petition for delinquent offenders over 14 years of age. The group emphasized that in order to assure consistency there should be no discretion on the part of the court.
Lanny Serrano reported that he had discussed simplifying service of process on absentee parents for non-deprivation cases with the referees in his district. They, however, had made no progress. Greg Wallace stated he had discussed the problem with Gary Raedeke, staff attorney for the Joint Procedure Committee. He will check to see if Mr. Raedeke will assist the directors on this issue.
There was a discussion of harassment/stalking restraining orders against minors. There is a difference of opinion as to whether the order can be issued against a juvenile. It was the consensus of the group that the matter is not within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. These cases are heard in the district court in most areas of the state. No further action by the directors is necessary.
The directors were then informed that the Juvenile Policy Board had asked for a redraft of the policy relating to reporting offenses (proposed policy 406) to the Attorney General's offender database. The Board had reduced the reporting form to what was required by law and had changed the policy to have the form developed by the State Court Administrator's Office. The Board had agreed to leave the signature of the parent and child on the from to eliminate question of service. After discussion, the group had no further recommendations for changes.
Greg Wallace then asked for comments on the February 2, 1998, memorandum entitled "Implementation of the Balanced Approach - Update" (attached). The memorandum outlines the principles the directors had agreed to at their January meeting. He had received no comments and assumed that the document accurately reflects the agreed upon principles. The principles would be used as a basis for establishing electronic monitoring/intensive supervision programs. It was the consensus of the committee that the document reflected their work.
The directors next reviewed the proposed juvenile court education plan. Greg reminded the directors that the plan was also a result of the directors' recommendations and informed them that the plan would be presented to the Juvenile Policy Board at their May 1 meeting.
After discussion, it was the consensus of the group that the plan should also allow for on-site visitation to certain "model" juvenile courts as part of the efforts to implement the balanced approach. Such visits should be part of an identified state effort. Greg agreed to suggest the addition to the Juvenile Policy Board.
IT WAS MOVED AND SECONDED TO ENDORSE THE PLAN. THE MOTION WAS CARRIED.
A memo from Keithe Nelson relating to appointing interpreters for the hearing impaired was discussed. The directors understand the need, however, availability is severely limited. It was agreed that the juvenile courts will get in touch with their district court administrative staff for assistance in acquiring interpreters for the hearing impaired.
Greg then asked the directors to send him a description of programs used by the juvenile courts to prevent out-of-home placement. The information will be used for testimony to the legislature's interim Criminal Justice Committee. Responses are needed by May 1, 1998.
Greg Wallace then briefly reviewed federal regulations which would limit court orders to 12 months where a child may be placed in foster care. The Department of Human Services will need to propose legislation to bring the state into compliance. The directors will be kept informed.
Greg then reported on administrative restructuring which was being considered by the Council of Presiding Judges. He reminded the group that he and Ted Gladden had prepared the document at the request of the Council of Presiding Judges. A number of juvenile court directors had expressed concern with the proposed structure and the probability of increased paper work and bureaucracy. Greg reported that he did not know if the policy would pass. He felt that the more important issue was the ability of the directors to come to agreement on issues and commit to carrying out those policies and directives which are agreed to or passed by the Juvenile Policy Board. He stated that he did not believe the directive of implementing the balanced approach was dependent on policy or administrative structure, but on the commitment of the juvenile court staff and that he really did relish the idea of "supervising" directors. He sees them as a team. However, if the policy directives of the state are not being carried out whether it is because of a court officer or judge, the issue had to be identified and addressed. He reminded the directors that implementing the balanced approach must be a continuing process which will have to allow variations in each community, but must be consistent in goals. As a team, the directors had to be looking five ore more years down the road.
The group then reviewed minutes of the last Juvenile Policy Board meeting, a transfer of venue form developed by Chuck Sheeley, the latest evaluation of "Key Facilitator Training" and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Having no further business, the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of the Directors of Juvenile Court was set for June 18, 1998, in Grand Forks.