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 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 gene  

Constitution 

 AMENDMENT

 

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.”;

                             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:

                     

                   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 aduly 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.

                             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:

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                                  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                                                                               guardianship 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