February 2009 Minutes

Children’s Law Committee Meeting
February 12, 2009 ??" 12:00 noon
Community Connection Center
SC Department of Juvenile Justice
4900 Broad River Road
Columbia, SC

Members Present:                        Bar Staff:
Michelle Dhunjishah, Chair        Dana Kurtz, Bar Liaison
Kelley Brown
Mitzi Campbell-Williams
Gale DuBose
Bea Hightower
Elizabeth Hill
Michelle Hurley
Brett Lamb
Serena McDaniel
Ivory Narcisse
Virginia Ravenel
Susan Rose
Larry Vanderbilt
Tana Vanderbilt
Shannon Wiley

I. Call to Order and Introduction
Michelle Dhunjishah called the meeting to order asking all to introduce themselves.

II. Approval of January 15, 2009 Minutes
A motion was made to adopt the minutes from the January 15, 2009 meeting, the motion was seconded and the minutes were passed by acclamation.

III. Old Business
A. Legislative Initiatives
1. Report from the House of Delegates Meeting
a. Disturbing Schools
b. Appointment of attorneys for attorney GALs
c. Incorrigibility
Michelle Dhunjishah reported that she along with Elizabeth Hill and Virginia Ravenel went to the House of Delegates meeting on January 22, 2009 to present proposed amendments for Disturbing Schools (16-17-420), Incorrigibility (63-19-1020) and Appointment of attorneys for attorney GALs (20-7-110/62-7-1620). It was reported that the House of Delegates was very supportive and both Disturbing Schools and Appointment of attorneys for attorney GALs were passed. The House of Delegates requested the amendment for Incorrigibility be sent back to the Committee to be re-worked. Michelle Dhunjishah stated that this has been done and the proposed amendment will be presented to the Board of Governors at their March 2009 meeting.

2. Committee Discussion
a. Driver’s licenses for children in foster care
Michelle Dhunjishah reported on her research in regard to the reason there is an age limitation of 17 ½ - 18 years in the draft legislation that will facilitate children in foster care obtaining driver’s licenses. This potential legislation is aimed at those children who are within six months of aging out of foster care to enable them to have had a beginner’s permit for the required amount of time and learn to drive through driver’s education in order for them to be ready to apply for a driver’s license at the age of 18 when no longer in foster care. DSS will not have the ability to provide liability insurance for children younger than 17 ½.

A motion was made to approve the legislation, was seconded and passed. Michelle Dhunjishah will draft a memo and forward to Dana Kurtz so that it can be presented to the Board of Governors at their April meeting.

b. Registration of juveniles on the sex offender registry
Brett Lamb reported that she has gone through a lot of research and would welcome some help particularly in pulling statutes from other states. Michelle Dhunjishah suggested we ask Pam Robinson to involve her law students. Mitzi Campbell-Williams volunteered her assistance.

3. General Legislative update
Michelle Dhunjishah expressed her appreciation for the Legislative Update sent to the entire Committee by email from Katie Staden, Government Affairs Coordinator at the Bar.

B. Link to Children’s Law Center from Bar Website
Dana Kurtz reported that the link from the Bar’s website to the Children’s Law Center’s Kid’s Law is now in place. The link can be found under “Free Publications” in the “For the Public” section on the website.

C. Information regarding rights of non-custodial parents
The Committee discussed a project started a year ago in regard to a draft of Q & A for non-custodial parents’ outlining their rights. It was suggested that this information be made available on Bar’s website and as a publication possibly to be given to schools and law enforcement. Dana Kurtz will locate the draft from last year and forward it to Committee members and look into funding for the project.

D. Video for parents when child is removed from the home
The Committee discussed the possibility of a video project detailing for parents the steps to take when a child is removed from the home and placed with DSS. It was suggested that the video could be played in the waiting rooms at DSS and available on the Bar’s website. Tana Vanderbilt provided a draft in Power Point as a possible starting point. Dana Kurtz will forward the draft to Committee members and check into the availability of funding the project.

New Business
Larry Vanderbilt welcomed everyone to DJJ’s Community Connection Center a 10,000 square foot facility featuring visitation rooms for juveniles and their families. The conference center has videoconferencing capabilities, offices and a large assembly area with multimedia capabilities. The Committee welcomed the idea of meeting again at the Community Connection Center which could include a tour of DJJ.

IV. Next meeting ??" Thursday, March 12, 2009 at noon ??" back at DDSN
The Committee will meet as scheduled on Thursday, March 12, 2009 at noon at DDSN. It was decided to change the April 30th meeting to Friday, May 8th at noon at DJJ for a meeting and a tour.

V. Adjournment
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.