CASCI

Subtitle

Constitution

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1.  The CASCI Constitution,

 

2.  The original CASCI Minimum Standards of Practice Guideline , and

 

3.  Minimum Mandatory Education and Training Requirements pursuant to California Probate Code Section 1456.

CASCI Constitution

   

                                                             CASCI CONSTITUTION

 

As amended May 3, 2006 and April 30, 2013 by vote of membership.

 

ARTICLE I:  Name

                                   CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF SUPERIOR COURT INVESTIGATORS

 

ARTICLE II:  Objectives: 

 

Section 1.      Sponsor training programs relating to the “trained in law” provisions contained in existing statute for the professional development of court investigators.

 

Section 2.      Review, disseminate information, and provide input on proposed legislation pertaining to court investigators.

 

Section 3.      Act as liaison with other agencies and associations.

 

Section 4.      Furnish a forum for interchange of practical information relating to court investigators.

 

ARTICLE III - Restrictions:

Section 1.      The authority of the members and officers of the Association to influence legislation pending before the California State Legislature shall never compose a substantial activity of this organization.  The Association is expressly forbidden to participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

 

Section 2.      The primary objective of this organization shall be for educational purposes as indicated in Article II above.

 

Article IV - Membership:

Section 1. Membership in CASCI is open to all persons who meet the definition in Probate Code §1454 and who are performing the functions of a court investigator. Persons who meet the definition may be trial court employees, county employees, independent contractors, or employees of agencies contracted by the court to perform the functions. Persons directly supervising court investigators are also eligible for membership whether or not he/she is performing the functions of a court investigator.

 

Section 2.  Membership benefits, including access to the “List Serve” and the “Members Only” section of the CASCI website, may be revoked by a majority vote of the Board of Directors for cause. Cause includes disclosing confidential information to persons not entitled to it, posting comments deemed unprofessional or unethical, or abusing the purpose of membership. Prior to revoking a member’s benefits, a written complaint must be provided to the board and the member given an opportunity to respond.

Section 3.    Persons who do not meet the definition in Section 1 may apply for membership on a form to be provided on the website.  A member in good standing must nominate the person and a majority of the Board of Directors must approve membership.

 

            Section 4.      Yearly membership will be effective January 1 through December 31.

           Section 5.  Any CASCI member, or prospective member, who owes money and/or services to CASCI will not be deemed “in good standing,” and will not be permitted to join / renew his/her membership, and/or attend the annual statewide conference, and/or attend regional trainings, and/or attend any other CASCI-sponsored conferences / trainings, and/or access the Listserve, and/or access the members-only section(s) of the CASCI website.   Upon full payment of money and/or services owed, the individual shall be deemed “in good standing,” and shall be permitted full access to all CASCI member amenities as listed herein. 

 

Article V - Dues:

Section 1.      The annual dues for members shall be fixed by vote of the members present at a duly noticed meeting of the Association.

 

Article VI - Board of Directors:

Section 1.      The Board of Directors of the Association shall be comprised of seven elected members.  At least one Director shall be employed in a county which has only one investigator.  One investigator may include counties where one position is shared by two investigators.  A quorum shall consist of four members of the Board.

 

Section 2.      Directors shall be elected by a majority vote of the members of the Association in attendance at a duly noticed meeting for the purpose of the election of Directors.  Directors will serve two year terms of office, with the following exception: an outgoing Board President shall stay on the Board (in a position other than President) for a third year if he or she served as President during the second year of his or her elected term.  These terms shall be staggered so that four directors shall be elected one year and three directors the following year.

 

Section 3.      The Board of Directors shall elect from their membership each year a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer who will hold these executive positions for one year.

 

Section 4.      Terms of office of those elected to the Board of Directors shall be effective on the date of the annual election.

 

Section 5.      The Board of Directors shall meet on call of the president or on call of a majority of the members of the Board of Directors for the consideration of special matters.

 

Section 6.      Members of the Board may participate in a meeting through use of conference telephone or similar communications equipment, so long as all members participating in such meeting can hear one another.

 

Section 7.      Any action required or permitted to be taken by the Board may be taken without a meeting if all members of the Board shall individually or collectively consent in writing to such action.  Such consent or consents shall have the same effect as a unanimous vote of the Board and shall be filed with the minutes of the proceedings of the Board.

 

Section 8.      The Board of Directors shall fill vacancies which occur on the Board during an unexpired term by appointment.

 

 

Article VII - Duties of Officers:

Section 1.      It shall be the duty of the president to preside at meetings of the Association and the Board of Directors.

 

Section 2.      It shall be the duty of the vice-president to assist the president in the discharge of his/her duties and, in the president's absence, to assume the full responsibilities of that office.

 

Section 3.      It shall be the duty of the secretary to maintain an attendance roster at the annual meeting, record the minutes of all meetings and distribute copies of the minutes to the Board of Directors.

 

Section 4.      It shall be the duty of the treasurer to keep an accurate record of the membership, maintain all financial records of the Association and report revenue, expenditures, and fund balances at the annual meeting.

 

Section 5.      It shall be the duty of the Board of Directors to act upon all emergency matters not covered in the By-Laws of the Association between meetings and to function as body representative of the Association in any matter when so requested by the president or by a called meeting resulting from a majority vote of the Board of Directors.  Minutes of such meetings are to be taken and become a part of the business of the next meeting of the Association.

 

Section 6.      The Board of Directors has the authority on behalf of the Association to provide information and to influence legislation pending by the California State Legislature and may do so without consulting the general membership when in its discretion there is no reasonable time to consult the general membership.

 

Section 7.      An office vacancy existing between annual meetings of the Association may be filled by majority vote of the Board of Directors.

 

Article VIII - Committees:

Section 1.      There may be two standing committees for this Association, the Education Committee and the Legislative Committee. The Board has the authority to create ad hoc committees as deemed necessary.

 

Section 2.      The Education Committee may be composed of four members who represent conglomerate counties and are deemed regional representatives.  The chairperson of the committee may or may not be on the Board of Directors.

 

Section 3.      It shall be the duty of the Education Committee to initiate and coordinate informative workshops and seminars for the purpose of training court investigators.  Regular reports of these training sessions shall be provided to the Board.

 

Section 4.      The Legislative Committee shall be composed of members whose chairperson may or may not be on the Board of Directors.

           

Section 5.      It shall be the duty of the Legislative Committee to review, disseminate information, and to provide input on proposed legislation pertaining to court investigators.  Regular reports shall be provided to the Board.

 

Article IX - General Membership Meetings:

Section 1.      The Association shall meet annually at a place and date designated by the Board of Directors.

 

Section 2.      A general membership meeting may be called by the president or upon a majority vote of the executive Board.  All members must be notified in writing at least thirty (30) days in advance of the time, place, and purpose of such a general meeting.

 

Section 3.      Members in attendance shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the Association.

 

Section 4.      At all meetings of the Association, each member, or a representative designated in writing, shall have one vote.

 

Section 5.      Every act or decision done or made by a majority of voting members present in person or by proxy at a duly held meeting is the act of the members.

 

Section 6.      Any action which may be taken at any regular or special meeting of members may be taken without a meeting if the Association distributes a written ballot to every member entitled to vote on the matter.

 


 

The ballot shall set forth the proposed action, provide an opportunity to specify approval or disapproval of each proposal, provide that where the person solicited specifies a choice with respect to any such proposal the vote shall be mailed or delivered in the manner required for giving notice of meetings specified in Section 2 of this article.

 

A majority of approvals of the returned ballots is necessary to pass the measure submitted.  All ballots must so indicate.

 

Article X - Amendments:

This constitution and By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present at any general meeting of the Association, or by two-thirds vote of all returned ballots by mail ballot or by e-mail ballot.

 

 

 AMENDMENTS

TO THE DECEMBER 15, 1993 REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF SUPERIOR COURT INVESTIGATORS

May 13, 2005

 

THE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF SUPERIOR COURT INVESTIGATORS, by unanimous vote on May 13, 2005, amended its Constitution (last revised December 15, 1993) as follows:

1.  ARTICLE IV, Section 4, is hereby amended to change the membership date from “August 1 through July 31” to a calendar year, January 1 to December 31.  Section 4 now will read in full: “Yearly membership will be effective January 1 through December 31.”;

2.  ARTICLE X - Amendments, is hereby amended to add the phrase “or by e-mail ballot” and will now read in full: “This constitution and By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present at any general meeting of the Association, or by two-thirds vote of all returned ballots by mail ballot or by e-mail ballot.”;

3.  In all other respects, the California Association of Superior Court Investigators confirms the provisions of said Constitution as amended.

AMENDMENT

TO THE MAY 13, 2005 REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF SUPERIOR COURT INVESTIGATORS

May 3, 2006

 

                      THE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF SUPERIOR COURT INVESTIGATORS, by unanimous vote on May 3, 2006, amended its Constitution (last revised May 13, 2005) as follows:

                     

1.       ARTICLE VI, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section 2 is hereby

deleted in its entirety, and the following substituted therefore:

 

Section 2.    Directors shall be elected by a majority vote of the members of the Association in attendance at a duly noticed meeting for the purpose of the election of Directors.  Directors will serve two year terms of office, with the following exception: an outgoing Board President shall stay on the Board (in a position other than President) for a third year if he or she served as President during the second year of his or her elected term.  These terms shall be staggered so that four directors shall be elected one year and three directors the following year.

 

                        2.  In all other respects, the California Association of Superior Court Investigators confirms the provisions of said Constitution as amended.

 

 

 

 AMENDMENT

TO THE MAY 3, 2006  REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF SUPERIOR COURT INVESTIGATORS

April 30, 2013

 

 THE CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF SUPERIOR COURT INVESTIGATORS, by unanimous vote on April 30, 2013  amended its Constitution (last revised May 3, 2006) as follows:

                     

1.       ARTICLE IV Membership  is hereby deleted as to Sections 1, 2, & 3, and the following substituted therefore

Section 1. Membership in CASCI is open to all persons who meet the definition in Probate Code §1454 and who are performing the functions of a court investigator. Persons who meet the definition may be trial court employees, county employees, independent contractors, or employees of agencies contracted by the court to perform the functions. Persons directly supervising court investigators are also eligible for membership whether or not he/she is performing the functions of a court investigator.

 

Section 2.  Membership benefits, including access to the “List Serve” and the “Members Only” section of the CASCI website, may be revoked by a majority vote of the Board of Directors for cause. Cause includes disclosing confidential information to persons not entitled to it, posting comments deemed unprofessional or unethical, or abusing the purpose of membership. Prior to revoking a member’s benefits, a written complaint must be provided to the board and the member given an opportunity to respond.

 

Section 3.    Persons who do not meet the definition in Section 1 may apply for membership on a form to be provided on the website.  A member in good standing must nominate the person and a majority of the Board of Directors must approve membership.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                          

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

[Revised] Minimum Uniform Standards of Practice
For Probate Court Investigators

 

These standards were adopted by the membership of the California Association of Superior Court Investigators (CASCI) at its annual meeting on May 3, 2002.  On January 17, 2003 a working group of the Judicial Council’s Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee met and recommended modifications to the adopted standards.  The modifications are included in this document. (Note: Effective January 1, 2008, new Min. Standards of Practice for all persons employed as a Probate Court Investigator and other mandatory continued training requirements are listed in the California Rule of Court.  This CASCI standard was used as a building block for the new state requirements.) 

I.             Responsibility

Each court must ensure that:

A. Court investigators are impartial, competent and uphold the standards of practice contained in this rule of court;

B. Court investigation procedures implement state law and allow sufficient time for an investigation to be completed without unduly compromising each party’s right to due process and a timely resolution of issues;

C. There is a policy for acceptance of and response to complaints about an investigator’s performance;

D. Whenever possible services are available from bilingual investigators or that interpreter services meet the requirements of Evidence Code §745(f) and 755 (a) and §18 of the California Standards of Judicial Administration.

II.          Education/Experience/Qualifications

A. A person employed as a court investigator must have all of the following minimum qualifications:

1.       A bachelor’s degree in social, behavioral, liberal arts or a closely related subject;

2.       At least two years of relevant experience performing casework or investigation in a legal, medical or social services setting;

3.  Persons appointed as a court investigator must meet the requirements of Probate Code §1454 (b) (1) (2).

B.  Persons hired as a court investigator after the implementation of these standards must meet these requirements.

 

     III.      Training

A. Initial Training

A court investigator must receive a minimum of 40 hours of training within the first 1 year of employment.  Eligible training and education providers may include educational institutions, professional associations, professional continuing education groups, public or private for-profit or not-for-profit groups, court-connected groups, and the Administrative Office of the Courts.  Training must provide competence in the following areas:

 

1.   Probate Code §§ 810–813, 1060–1064, Division 4 of the Probate Code (§ 1400 et seq.);

2.    Family Code §3011, §3040- §3046, if performing guardianship investigations;

3.   Interviewing persons with communication deficits;

4.   Interviewing children, if performing guardianship investigations;

5.   Domestic violence (including elder abuse and child abuse) - identification, reporting requirements, intervention strategies;

6.    Medical issues - reviewing medical records, medical terminology, medications, drug interactions, functional deficits associated with certain diagnoses (stroke, dementia, brain injury, etc.);

7.   Confidentiality;

8.   Ethics and conflict of interest;

9.    Alternatives to conservatorship;

10. Court process and legal proceedings;

11. Reviewing fiduciary accountings;

12. Community resources;

13.  Access and use of criminal record information;

14.  Determination of best interests of the person, best interests of the estate, least restrictive appropriate setting that is available and necessary to meet the needs of the conservatee;

15. Undue influence;

16. Collateral issues - ex-parte communication, quasi-judicial officer status;

17. Effective report writing

B.                Continuing education and training

All court investigators must receive at least 24 hours per year of additional training in order to maintain a level of competence.  Topics may include, but not limited to:

1. Changes in the law;

2. Substituted judgment;

3. Testifying in court;

4. Ethical issues;

5. Best interests issues in conservatorship and guardianship;

6. Mediation techniques;

7. Detriment to the child in contested guardianships

8. Effects of domestic violence on children and families;

9. Substance abuse—detection, screening, effects, intervention;

10. Diversity and cultural issues;

11. Child development;

12. Developmental disabilities in children and adults;

13. Mental health issues in children and adults;

14. Special education services (IEP for educational needs related to behavioral, mental health or learning disability etiologies);

15. Accessing appropriate community resources for adults, children and families

 

IV.            Ethics

Investigations must be conducted in a manner that instills trust in the process and upholds the highest ethical duty.  Court Investigators must:

 

A.  Meet the practice and ethical standards of the Code of Ethics for the Court Employees of California;

B.  Meet the practice and ethical standards of the statewide professional association;

C.  Operate within the limits of his or her training and experience and disclosure to the appropriate parties or the court, any limitations, bias, or conflicts of interest that would affect his or her ability to conduct an investigation;

D.  Be sensitive to the parties’ socioeconomic, gender, race, ethnicity, cultural values, religious, family structures, and developmental characteristics.

V.               Confidentiality

Investigation Services must protect, in accordance with existing law, party confidentiality, in:

A. Storage and disposal of records and any personal information accumulated during the investigation process;

B. Interagency coordination or cooperation regarding a case and the parties;

C. Management of child or elder abuse reports and related documents.

VI.            Community Education

A.  Court investigators must participate in activities in the community that further the community knowledge about conservatorship, guardianships and court process.

B.  Court investigators must participate in activities in the community that further the investigator’s knowledge about community resources for persons subject to conservatorship or guardianship proceedings and their families.

 

VII.        Conservatorship Investigations

A.  All investigations and reports must comply with the requirements of the Probate Code.

B. Court investigators must prepare narrative reports that provide the basis for reaching the required findings and determinations and support any recommendations

C.  All investigations, at whatever stage, must include a review of the petitions filed with the court. In conducting an investigation and preparing review reports, the most recent accounting must be reviewed prior to a finding regarding the best interests of the estate.

 

 

VIII.     Guardianship Investigations

A. In addition to the requirements of Probate Code § 1513 et seq., an investigation must include:

1.  A visit to the home of the proposed guardian if the petition is to appoint a guardian of the person;

2.  An age-appropriate explanation of the guardianship proceedings to each child, including limitations on the confidentiality of the process;

3.  Observations of the proposed guardian-child interaction;

4.  An interview with the proposed guardian(s), conjointly, individually or both, in order to assess:

a. The history of involvement with the child;

b. Capacity for setting age-appropriate limits;

c. Understanding and responding to the child’s needs;

d. History of child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, psychiatrist illness;

e. Psychological and social functioning.

          5. Criminal background check (local and statewide) on the proposed guardian, and in the case of a guardianship of the person, every adult in the home, and the parents of the proposed ward;

          6.  A check of court records to determine the existence of any custody or domestic violence order;

          7.  A check of local and statewide (State Department of Social Services) CPS records;

          8. Collateral contacts with persons familiar with the proposed ward’s needs and the proposed guardian’s ability to meet the child’s needs;

          9.  A narrative report that:

a.  Provides the basis for any findings and that supports any recommendations;

b.  Describes any limitations in the evaluation due to unobtainable information, failure of a party to cooperate, or the circumstances of a particular investigation;

c. Provides recommendations that are consistent with the health, safety, welfare and best interests of the child.

B. Court investigators must conduct an investigation and prepare a report on all petitions to terminate a guardianship in order to provide the court with the information needed for the judicial officer to determine whether the termination of the guardianship is in the best interests of the child (taking into account the child’s bond with the guardian, relationship with the parent, and other factors delineated in statute and case law).

IX.            Collection of data/statistics

A. Each court must work with the Judicial Council, AOC and other interested parties to develop:

          1. Uniform methods of collecting and reporting data;

          2. A method for collecting data that identifies needs and trends in guardianships and conservatorships;

          3. An annual report, based on the data and statistics that include an analysis of trends and recommendations.

B. The development of methods of collecting and reporting data must take into account the size, diversity, and demographics of each county, as well as the policies and procedures adopted by the various probate departments in their implementation of the requirements under the Probate Code.

X.                Caseload Standards

Each court must work with the Judicial Council, AOC and other interested parties to develop caseload standards for court investigations to ensure the quality of the investigations and reports.

 

 

 

 

Additional Mandatory Training Information:

Probate Code Section 1456 

 

For a full summary of Probate Court Investigator education requirements and training pursuant to Probate Code §1456 go to the following link.  This link also details how the 2008 CASCI Conference satisfied the mandatory requirements.  All regional and statewide trainings will ensure satisfaction of required courses.  http://www.casci-court.com/Education%20Requirements%20as%20of%2001-01-082%20-%20FINAL%20Feb%208%202008.doc

 

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