HB 3: "An Act relating to the right of a stepparent to have court-appointed counsel at public expense in a child-in-need-of-aid proceeding under certain circumstances; and amending Alaska Child In Need of Aid Rule 12."
00HOUSE BILL NO. 3 01 "An Act relating to the right of a stepparent to have court-appointed counsel at 02 public expense in a child-in-need-of-aid proceeding under certain circumstances; 03 and amending Alaska Child In Need of Aid Rule 12." 04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 * Section 1. AS 44.21.410(a) is amended to read: 06 (a) The office of public advocacy shall 07 (1) perform the duties of the public guardian under AS 13.26.360 - 08 13.26.410; 09 (2) provide visitors and experts in guardianship proceedings under 10 AS 13.26.131; 11 (3) provide guardian ad litem services to children in child protection 12 actions under AS 47.17.030(e) and to wards and respondents in guardianship 13 proceedings who will suffer financial hardship or become dependent upon a 14 government agency or a private person or agency if the services are not provided at
01 state expense under AS 13.26.112; 02 (4) provide legal representation in guardianship proceedings to 03 respondents who are financially unable to employ attorneys under AS 13.26.106(b), 04 to indigent parties in cases involving child custody in which the opposing party is 05 represented by counsel provided by a public agency, to indigent parents or guardians 06 of a minor respondent in a commitment proceeding concerning the minor under 07 AS 47.30.775; 08 (5) provide legal representation and guardian ad litem services under 09 AS 25.24.310; in cases arising under AS 47.15 (Uniform Interstate Compact on 10 Juveniles); in cases involving petitions to adopt a minor under AS 25.23.125(b) or 11 petitions for the termination of parental rights on grounds set out in 12 AS 25.23.180(c)(3); in cases involving petitions to remove the disabilities of a minor 13 under AS 09.55.590; in children's proceedings under AS 47.10.010(e) or 47.10.050(a) 14 [AS 47.10.050(a)]; and in cases involving indigent persons who are entitled to 15 representation under AS 18.85.100 and who cannot be represented by the public 16 defender agency because of a conflict of interests; 17 (6) develop and coordinate a program to recruit, select, train, assign, 18 and supervise volunteer guardians ad litem from local communities to aid in delivering 19 services in cases in which the office of public advocacy is appointed as guardian ad 20 litem; 21 (7) provide guardian ad litem services in proceedings under 22 AS 12.45.046; 23 (8) establish a fee schedule and collect fees for services provided by 24 the office, except as provided in AS 18.85.120 or when imposition or collection of a 25 fee is not in the public interest as defined under regulations adopted by the 26 commissioner of administration; 27 (9) provide visitors and guardians ad litem in proceedings under 28 AS 47.30.839; 29 (10) provide legal representation to indigent parents under 30 AS 14.30.195(e). 31 * Sec. 2. AS 47.10.010 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
01 (f) In a proceeding under (a)(2) of this section, a stepparent of the child who 02 is the subject of the proceeding has a right to be represented by a court-appointed 03 attorney at public expense if the stepparent is financially unable to employ counsel and 04 it is alleged in the proceeding that the child is in need of aid, in whole or in part, as 05 a result of acts or omissions of the stepparent. Appointment of counsel under this 06 subsection, including notice and waiver procedures and the determination of the 07 stepparent's financial ability to employ counsel, shall be carried out by the court in the 08 same manner as is used for appointment of counsel for a parent who is financially 09 unable to employ counsel in a proceeding under (a)(2) of this section. 10 * Sec. 3. Rule 12(a) of the Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules is amended to read: 11 (a) Notice of Right to Counsel. The court shall inform the parties and the 12 child's stepparent, if applicable, at the first hearing at which they are present of their 13 respective rights to be represented by counsel at all stages of the proceedings. 14 * Sec. 4. Rule 12(b) of the Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules is amended to read: 15 (b) Appointed Counsel. The court shall appoint counsel pursuant to 16 Administrative Rule 12: 17 (1) for a parent or guardian who is financially unable to employ 18 counsel; 19 (2) for a parent on active military duty who has not appeared prior to 20 entry of an adjudication; 21 (3) for a child when the court determines that the interests of justice 22 require the appointment of an attorney to represent the child's expressed interests; 23 [AND] 24 (4) for a non-attorney guardian ad litem when legal representation of 25 the guardian ad litem is necessary; and 26 (5) for a stepparent who is entitled to counsel under AS 47.10.010(e) 27 and is financially unable to employ counsel. 28 * Sec. 5. Rule 12(c) of the Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules is amended to read: 29 (c) Waiver of Right to Counsel. The court shall accept a valid waiver of the 30 right to counsel by any person [PARTY] if the court determines that the person 31 [PARTY] understands the benefits of counsel and knowingly waives those benefits.