Task Forces, Committee & Councils
Children’s Justice Act (CJA) Task Force
The mission of the Children’s Justice Act Task Force is to promote activities that improve:
- the handling of child abuse and neglect cases, particularly cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation, in a manner which limits additional trauma to the child victim;
- the handling of cases of suspected child abuse or neglect-related fatalities;
the investigation and prosecution of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation; and
- the handling of cases involving children with disabilities or serious health-related problems who are the victims of abuse or neglect.
Task Force Members
|Criminal Court Judge
Maria D. Hernandez
Orange County/Superior Court Judge
|ICWA Court Advocate
Elizabeth Elgin DeRouen
Indian Child and Family Preservation Program/ ICWA Court Advocate
|Former Victim of Child Abuse/Neglect
Annie Renee Lynn
Former Foster Child
|Homeless Youth and Children
Edwin Weaver (Chair)
Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley/Executive Director
|Child Advocacy Center
Darby Geller, MSW (Co-Chair)
Sacramento County Children’s Protective Services/SAFE Center/Human Services Supervisor/Director
|Child Advocate (Attorney for Children)
County of San Diego Office of County Counsel, Juvenile Dependency Division/Senior Deputy County Counsel
|Mental Health Professional
CAARE Diagnostic and Treatment Center Department of Pediatrics, UC Davis Children’s Hospital
|Court Appointed Special Advocate
Candice Jo Pierce
CASA of Solano County/Executive Director
Yolo County/Chief Deputy Public Defender
|Law Enforcement Community
Novato Police Department/Lieutenant
|Law Enforcement Community
Lieutenant Richard Ruiz
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department/Special Victims Bureau
Orange County District Attorney’s Office/Deputy District Attorney
|Parent and Representative of Parent Group
The Joyful Child Foundation/Founding Director
|Civil Court Judge
Calaveras County/Superior Court Judge
|Children with Disabilities
Deborah Davis, R.N.
Special Care Supported Living Services, LLC/Founder/Director
|Child Protective Services Agencies
CDSS Child Welfare Policy & Program/Development Bureau Chief
CJA Grants to State Program
Grants must be used to develop, establish, and operate programs designed to improve:
- The assessment and investigation of suspected child abuse and neglect cases, including cases of suspected child sexual abuse and exploitation, in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child and the child’s family.
- The assessment and investigation of cases of suspected child abuse-related fatalities and suspected child neglect-related fatalities.
- The investigation and prosecution of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation.
- The assessment and investigation of cases involving children with disabilities or serious health-related.
In particular grant funds should be used to implement State Task Force recommendations in the following three categories:
- Investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect in a manner which reduces the additional trauma to the child victim and the victim’s family
- Experimental, model, and demonstrative programs for testing innovative approaches and techniques which may improve the prompt and successful resolution of civil or criminal court proceedings or enhance effectiveness of judicial and administrative action in child abuse and neglect cases
- Reform state laws, ordinances, regulations, protocols, and procedures to provide comprehensive protection for children from abuse
- Ensure fairness to the accused and all other affected persons
- Focus on front-end, intake, assessment, investigative, and prosecutorial phases of child welfare
- Reform state systems and improve the process by which States respond to cases of child abuse and neglect to enable States to more effectively address both the victim and the offender and to limit additional trauma to the child victim
CJA Task Force Responsibilities:
- Comprehensive review and evaluation of the investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect
- Make training and policy recommendations for the investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect
- Should build on prior assessments and note system improvements related to prior work
CJA Funded Programs
Child Abduction Training (AC) Program
The AC Program works with the Child Abduction Task Force to provide multi-disciplinary education and resources to professionals and volunteers involved in the recovery, investigation, and prosecution of abducted children cases.
California Children’s Justice Act Evaluator (CJ) Program
The CJ Program was created to evaluate programs funded by the CJA Grants to States Program. The CJ Program develops assessments and tools, makes recommendations, and identifies gaps that may be addressed by other CJA-funded programs.
Drug Endangered Children Training (DK) Program
The DK Program provides county and regional-wide multi-disciplinary trainings to first responders and social services providers throughout California to ensure consistent response to children that live in neglectful homes and are exposed to drugs, drug paraphernalia, grow houses, methamphetamine laboratories, gang activity, and firearms.
Electronic Suspected Child Abuse Reporting System (ES) Program
The purpose of the ES Program is to establish a database which allows for the sharing of electronic suspected child abuse reports in a county among the district attorney, local law enforcement, and the welfare department.
Minor’s Counsel (MC) Program
The purpose of the MC Program is to support courts in their appointment of a minor’s counsel in child custody cases involving child abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and to determine if the appointment of minor’s counsel improves the criminal justice system’s response to these cases.
School Resource Officer Training (SO) Program
The SO Program trains TK-12th grade school-based law enforcement officers on how to foster positive relationship with youth, identify the maltreatment of children, provide a trauma-informed response to child abuse and neglect victims, and to identify potential resources within the community.
Special Needs School Transportation Camera (SN) Program
The SN Program provides cameras on school transportation used by pre-K through high school students with disabilities/special needs to identify abusive behavior that may occur between students and/or between students and bus drivers/school personnel.
Domestic Violence Advisory Council (DVAC)
The mission of the Domestic Violence Advisory Council (DVAC) is to collaborate with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to ensure the safety and security of all Domestic Violence victims through the development of policies, procedures and priorities which promote effective and accessible services for victims.
State Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault Victim Services (SAC)
The SAC, established by Penal Code Section 13836 in l980, provides oversight to the Rape Crisis, Child Sexual Abuse, and Child Sexual Exploitation and Intervention Programs at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).
Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Steering Committee
The VOCA Steering Committee was established to identify additional victim service needs, including training needs for those who work with crime victims, and to assist Cal OES in developing a strategic plan for victim assistance in California.
Cal OES has established the following email address in order to receive input on where the gaps are in victim assistance and on how to best serve victims of crime. VSB@pfwt.caloes.ca.gov