CHAPTER 388

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 507

AN ACT TO AMEND SUBCHAPTER I, CHAPTER 9, TITLE 10, DELAWARE CODE, TO AUTHORIZE APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS OF FAMILY COURT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Subchapter I, Chapter 9, Title 10, Delaware Code, by adding thereto a new §915 to read as follows:

"§915. Commissioners; appointment; duties; review.

(a) The Governor may appoint, with the advice and consent of a majority of all members elected to the Senate, suitable persons to act as Commissioners of the Court, all of whom shall hold office at the pleasure of the Governor and shall be residents of the State for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment. The salaries shall be part of the annual budget of the Family Court. The salaries shall reflect the educational background and experience of the appointees. Each Family Court Commissioner shall be considered a full time position.

(b) On the effective date of this Act, the Governor shall appoint, with the consent of a majority of all members elected to the Senate, one Family Court Master from each County to serve as Interim Commissioners for a period of one year. Thereafter, the Governor may appoint, with the consent of the Senate, such Commissioners as are necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Court. The terms of such initial Commissioners shall be staggered in order to avoid all terms expiring on the same date. At the expiration of said initial terms, all subsequent appointments shall be for four-year terms.

(c) When requested by the Chief Judge or any Associate Judge of the Family Court, a Commissioner may hear only matters properly before him involving juvenile detention pending adjudication. A Commissioner shall have authority to make an assessment of the seriousness of the charge or charges against a child, the record of the juvenile, and whether such charge or charges, record, and the best interests of the child deem the juvenile inappropriate for a nonsecure alternative to detention developed by the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families and approved by the Court, such as home detention, daily monitoring, intensive home-based services with supervision, foster placement, or a nonsecure residential setting. If a Commissioner places a juvenile in secure detention, the Commissioner shall state on the record the reasons for said detention. Upon appeal by the juvenile, the Chief Judge may disapprove in writing any detention decision made by a Commissioner. Said disapproval Shall recite the reasons therefore

(d) Upon appeal, a Commissioner shall transmit to the Chief Judge or such Associate Judge as the Chief Judge designates, all papers and records relating to the case, together with his findings in writing. Unless disapproved by the Chief Judge or such Associate Judge as the Chief Judge designates within 72 hours, the decision of the Commissioner shall be final and shall become the judgement of the Court."

Section 2. This Act shall become effective on January 15, 1991.

Approved July 18, 1990.