Determining the Best Interests of the Child - West Virginia


Citation: Ann. Code § 49-1-105

It is the purpose of this chapter to provide a system of coordinated child welfare and juvenile justice services for the children of this State. The State has a duty to ensure that proper and appropriate care is given and maintained.

The child welfare and juvenile justice system shall do the following:

  • Ensure each child care, safety, and guidance
  • Serve the mental and physical welfare of the child
  • Preserve and strengthen the child's family ties 
  • Recognize the fundamental rights of children and parents
  • Develop and establish procedures and programs that are family-focused rather than focused on specific family members, except where the best interests of the child or the safety of the community are at risk
  • Involve the child and the child's family or the child's caregiver in the planning and delivery of programs and services
  • Provide community-based services in the least restrictive settings that are consistent with the needs and potentials of the child and his or her family
  • Provide for early identification of the problems of children and their families, and respond appropriately to prevent abuse and neglect or delinquency
  • Provide for the rehabilitation of status offenders and juvenile delinquents
  • As necessary, provide for the secure detention of juveniles alleged or adjudicated delinquent
  • Provide for secure incarceration of children or juveniles adjudicated delinquent and committed to the custody of the director of the Division of Juvenile Services
  • Protect the welfare of the general public