Oklahoma Children's Justice Act Task Force
on Child Abuse and Neglect
The Children's Justice Act (CJA) provides grants to States to improve the investigation, prosecution and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation, in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child victim. This also includes the handling of child fatality cases in which child abuse or neglect is suspected and some cases of children with disabilities and serious health problems who also are victims of abuse and neglect.
To be eligible for CJA funds, States must be eligible for the CAPTA Basic State Grant and are required to establish and maintain a multidisciplinary Task Force on children's justice, comprised of professionals with knowledge of and experience with the criminal justice system and the system of handling child physical abuse, child neglect, child sexual abuse and exploitation, and child maltreatment related fatalities.
The Role of the State Task Force, Section 107(d) of CAPTA requires the State Task Force to undertake a comprehensive review of law, policy and the investigative, administrative and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect and to make training recommendations in each of the three categories in Section 107(e)(1)
- Improving the investigative, administrative, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as cases involving suspected child maltreatment related fatalities and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as interstate, Federal-state, and state-tribal, in a manner which reduces the additional trauma to the child victim and the victim's family and which also ensures procedural fairness to the accused;
- Experimental, model, and demonstration programs for testing innovative approaches and techniques which may improve the prompt and successful resolution of civil and criminal court proceedings or enhance the effectiveness of judicial and administrative action in child abuse and neglect cases, particularly child abuse and exploitation cases, including the enhancement of performance of court-appointed attorneys and guardians ad litem for children, and which also insure procedural fairness to the accused; and
- Reform of state laws, ordinances, regulations, protocols and procedures to provide comprehensive protection for children from abuse, particularly sexual abuse and exploitation, while ensuring fairness to all affected persons.
The State Task Force Mandated Membership must include representation from the following disciplines:
- Law Enforcement Community
- Criminal Court Judge
- Civil Court Judge
- Prosecuting Attorney
- Defense Attorney
- Child Advocate (Attorney for Children)
- CASA Representative
- Health Professional
- Mental Health Professional
- Child Protective Service Agency
- Individual experienced in working with children with disabilities
- Parent Group Representative
- Adult former victim of child abuse or neglect
- Individuals experienced in working with homeless children and youth (as defined in section 725 of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a).
Duties of the CJA Task Force Board:
1) Monitor the CJA funds awarded to programs to ensure they are following recommended guidelines;
2) Provide an annual report on the progress of the board and the programs awarded;
3) Every three years, the Task Force is required by legislation to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the State's systems related to the investigative, administrative and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect , exploitation cases, and child maltreatment-related fatalities and make recommendations for improvements to those systems.
Report Child Abuse or Neglect
Reports of child abuse or neglect in Oklahoma should be made to the 24 hour hotline 1-800-522-3511.
For additional information on the Children's Justice Act Program in Oklahoma, e-mail Brenda Gentry Coordinator, Children's Justice Act Program or call (405) 271.8858.