E.H. v. Matin

In E.H. v. Matin, 201 W. Va. 463, 498 S.E.2d 35 (1997), a juvenile was found delinquent, placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Resources (hereinafter referred to as "DHHR"), and sentenced to an out-of-state facility. The case came to the Court on certified questions, one of which asked whether, the use of a multidisciplinary team was statutorily mandated under the facts of the case. The Matin Court answered the question in the affirmative, and in so doing set out the following in Syllabus point 3: "The language of W. Va. Code 49-5D-3 is mandatory and requires the Department of Health and Human Resources to convene and direct treatment teams not only for juveniles involved in delinquency proceedings, but also for victims of abuse and neglect." Viewed under the facts presented in Matin, Syllabus point 3 of that opinion is sound. However, that syllabus point was not intended to be as broad as its language implies because W. Va. Code 49-5D-3 imposes limitations, on the use of multidisciplinary teams in juvenile delinquency proceedings. The relevant language of the statute is found in W. Va. Code 49-5D-3(a)(2) (2004) (Repl. Vol. 2004), which reads as follows: Treatment teams shall assess, plan and implement a comprehensive, individualized service plan . . . for juveniles and their families involved in ... delinquency proceedings when ... the court is considering placing the juvenile in the department's custody or placing the juvenile out-of-home at the department's expense pursuant to the provisions of section thirteen of said article. In any such ... delinquency case, the juvenile probation officer shall notify the local office of the department of health and human resources and the division of juvenile services at least five working days before the court proceeding in order to allow the multidisciplinary treatment team to convene and develop a comprehensive individualized service plan for the child.