West Virginia - Wild and Wonderful

About West Virginia

West Virginia is noted for its mountains and diverse topography, its historically significant logging and coal mining industries, and its political and labor history. It is one of the most densely karstic areas in the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving and scientific research.

Business

West Virginia is full of opportunity for any business with a growing economy and a highly dedicated workforce. Whether you are running an existing business or thinking of starting a new business you can find all of the information you need throughout this business section.

Education

West Virginia is fortunate to have a tremendous education system with a high standard of excellence. Please use the information provided here to learn more about the wealth of educational opportunities in our great state.

Employment

West Virginia is home to one of the finest workforces in the country based on our hard work and commitment to quality. Whether you are looking for new job opportunities, enhancing your job skills or researching future employment trends you can find all of the information you need throughout this employment section.

Family

West Virginia offers the perfect balance of a rural and urban setting that suits a variety of lifestyles. This is a state where you can go whitewater rafting in the morning, go to an art exhibit in the afternoon and attend a concert in the evening. Whether you just moved to the Mountain State or your family has been here since it was founded, you are part of our community.

Health

Maintaining proper health is vital to ensuring the highest quality of life possible. West Virginia strives to provide one of the best health care systems in the country that is affordable and available to all residents of the state. This section contains numerous resources to assist you in accessing the health care services provided in the state.

Tourism

Exhilarate in the lasting beauty and natural wonder scattered throughout West Virginia. From unmatched outdoor recreation to world-class resorts, breathtaking scenery and a variety of cultural and historic attractions, West Virginia is an ideal spot to plan your next adventure. Discover for yourself what makes West Virginia wild and wonderful.

 West Virginia Gets "A" In National Report

10/20/2009 CHARLESTON, W.Va.   West Virginia received one of the top grades in a national review of the way states appoint attorneys to represent the interests of children in abuse and neglect juvenile court proceedings.

The peer-reviewed study, "A Child's Right to Counsel: A National Report Card on Legal Representation for Abused and Neglected Children," was conducted by First Star and the Children's Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law.  West Virginia also received an  A  grade the first time states were ranked in 2007.

West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Robin Jean Davis said,  West Virginia has made effective representation of children in child abuse and neglect cases a priority.  Through the Court Improvement Program, the Court offers free multidisciplinary training each year to attorneys, social workers, and others.

The child abuse and neglect benchbook is available to the public on the Court s and Court Improvement Program Web sites.  While receiving a high mark in this area is quite a compliment, we are driven by improving the lives of the children and families who come to court under dire circumstances. 

Chief Justice Brent D. Benjamin said,  This recognition comes as welcome news and confirms West Virginia s position as a national leader in protecting children.  This grade reflects the hard work of many individuals who work daily with little or no recognition.

Ensuring a safe, secure, and permanent home for every West Virginia child is our goal   and it begins with having a trained counsel to represent the rights and interests of children in abuse and neglect proceedings,  Chief Justice Benjamin said.   We won t stop here, though.  We will continue to do those things necessary to improve this system for our children.   

Nicholas County Circuit Judge Gary L. Johnson, Chairman of the Court Improvement Program, said,  West Virginia has always been at the forefront of representing children in abuse and neglect.  We have we always provided attorneys, and we have always required those attorneys to be appropriately trained to represent children in those cases.  We are happy to be recognized for the work of the lawyers of this state. 

Supreme Court Administrative Director Steve Canterbury said,  The Court s attention to child abuse and neglect has been second to none.  This is good news that our hard work is being recognized nationally and being graded appropriately. 

This year the report, released October 15, gave only two states a grade of  A+:  Connecticut and Massachusetts. West Virginia was one of nine states to earn an  A.  Eleven states earned a  B,  fourteen states earned a  C,  eight states earned a  D,  and seven states earned an  F. 

The full report is available online at

http://www.caichildlaw.org/Misc/Final_RTC_2nd_Edition_lr.pdf

According to the report, the criteria and West Virginia grades were as follows:

 Does state law mandate that attorneys be appointed for children in dependency proceedings? (Points: 40 out of 40)

When an attorney is appointed for a child in dependency proceedings, does state law define the duration of the appointment? (Points: 5 out of 10)

Basis for deduction: West Virginia law expressly requires the appointment of counsel for children during all proceedings under article 6 of Chapter 49 of the West Virginia Code (W. Va. Code Ann.   49-6-2(a)), but does not expressly require appointed counsel to represent children on appeal.

When an attorney is appointed for a child in dependency proceedings, does state law require the attorney to advocate for the expressed wishes of the child in a client-directed manner? (Points: 20 out of 20)

To what extent are specialized education and/or training requirements for the child s counsel required by state law? Is such education and/or training required to include multidisciplinary elements? (Points: 8 out of 10)

Basis for deduction: Although requiring attorneys to receive training on the representation of children, child abuse and neglect, West Virginia law does not expressly require that this training be multidisciplinary in scope.

Does state law expressly give the child the legal status of a party with all rights appurtenant thereto? If not, does state law expressly give the child some of the rights of a party? (Points: 10 out of 10)

Do the Rules of Professional Conduct (or the state s equivalent thereto) pertaining to liability and confidentiality apply to attorneys representing children in dependency proceedings? (Points: 10 out of 10)

Extra Credit: Does state law address caseload standards for children s counsel in dependency proceedings? (Points: 0 extra credit points)

West Virginia law does not address caseload standards for attorneys representing children in dependency proceedings.

 

Contact Information