The Office of Legal Counsel provides guidance to the Department of Human Services’ executive and management staff on a wide range of issues, with special emphasis on the areas of child welfare, juvenile delinquency, disabled adults and elderly protection. The Office of Legal Counsel supports the development and implementation of the Department’s programs by furnishing legal advice to the Commissioner on the interpretation of federal and territorial laws and regulations that affect the Department. In conjunction with the office of the Attorney General, the Office of Legal Counsel determines the action to be taken to originate and/or respond to legal proceedings involving the Department. It is also the function of the Office of Legal Counsel to draft, review and analyze all proposed legislation, national and local, that affects the Department and its programs.
The Office of Legal Counsel is the Department’s liaison to the Department of Justice and other agencies with respect to legal matters involving the Department of Human Services. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) , The Office of Fraud, and Appeals, and Criminal Victims Compensation Commission (CVCC) are all supervised under the supervision of the Office of Legal Counsel.
Children placed in and out of the Territory need to be assured of the same protections and services that would be provided if they remained in their home states. They must also be assured of a return to their original jurisdictions should placements prove not to be in their best interests or should the need for out-of-state services cease. The variety of circumstances which makes interstate placement of children necessary and the types of protections needed offer compelling reasons for a mechanism which regulates those placements of children. Hence, the enactment of the uniform ICPC that is codified locally at 34 V.I.C. §121 to 127.
Under the terms of the law, the Department of Human Services agrees to follow certain procedures when it makes or accepts interstate placements of children. The ICPC Compact Administrator oversees or performs the day-to-day tasks associated with the administration of the compact. In every state and territory that is a party to the Compact, the Compact office and personnel are located in an office that is part of the department of public welfare or the state’s equivalent agency.
The Compact Administrator is designated to serve as the central clearing point for all referrals for interstate placements, including conducting the necessary investigation of the proposed placement and to determine whether or not the placement is contrary to the child’s interests. After the placement is approved and the child is moved into the state or territory, the Compact Administrator is responsible for overseeing the placement as long as it continues.
When program offices notify the applicant, recipient, or provider that benefits or payments have been denied or will be reduced, suspended, or terminated, he or she has the right to request a fair hearing to dispute the adverse action. Appeals must be filed in writing. An oral appeal can be filed to dispute and adverse action regarding food stamp benefits.
A Hearing Officer, employed by the Department of Human Services, presides over all fair hearings for households and individuals aggrieved by any action of the Department. The programs for which hearings are routinely conducted includes, but are not limited to Food Stamp, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Energy Assistance, Income Maintenance (Old Age Assistance, Aid to the Disabled & Aid to Blind), Emergency Welfare Services, Burial Assistance, disputes involving residents at the Youth Rehabilitation Center (YRC), and Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged.
A party may seek reconsideration by the Commissioner of Human Services of the final decision of the Office of Fraud, Administration and Appeals.
The Virgin Islands Criminal Victims Compensation Commission (“CVCC”) was established by Title 3 V. I. Code Section 434 and 34 V. I. C. §§151-179 to compensate eligible innocent victims of certain criminal offenses within the USVI. Criminal offenses are the result of social and economic diseases of the community, as well as the result of temporary and permanent mental and emotional aberrations of the offender. This program compensates eligible innocent victims of crime for personal and emotional injuries or the loss of life. Compensation payments are made to eligible victims for the following:
Support for crime victims and the development of a compensation program was initiated by Senator Ralph Yarborough and the Unites States Federal Government in 1965. The Virgin Islands Criminal Victims Compensation Commission was established in 1968 by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands, and operates under the auspices of the Office of the Commissioner in order to provide support for crime victims. Members of the Commission Board include the Department of Human Services Commissioner (as the Executive Secretary), the Attorney General, and the Commissioner of Health and Public Safety.
Since the Virgin Islands compensation fund began its overall goals have been to provide monetary funding to individuals who have suffered financial hardships, emotional distress, and physical injuries as a result of crime. The Virgin Islands CVCC recognizes that there are many individuals who suffer from a variety of crimes, and its complete aim is to help with losses that result from the following offenses:
If you, or anyone that you know, have been a victim of crime, the CVCC would like to acknowledge your hardship and would like to extend its aid. To have your case heard we simply ask that you submit an application to our office, providing all necessary documentation. If you follow the link below, a copy of our application will be provided for you along with a brochure. Both can be printed and returned to our offices which are located in the following areas:
ST. Thomas /St. John
Office Legal Counsel
Knud Hansen Complex
1303 Hospital Ground
St. Thomas, USVI 00802
Telephone: (340) 774-1166
Office of Legal Counsel
3012 Golden Rock
St. Croix, USVI 00820-4355
Telephone (Main): (340) 718-2980
Telephone: (340) 713-1612
Fax: (340) 718-4159
For further information on our services and application process contact our office,
via phone: (340) 713-1612
Or fax: (340) 718-4159