HB 17: "An Act relating to children in need of aid; authorizing additional family members to consent to disclosure of confidential or privileged information about children and families involved with children's services within the Department of Health and Social Services to officials for review or use in official capacities; relating to reports of harm; and relating to adoptions and foster care."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 17 01 "An Act relating to children in need of aid; authorizing additional family members to 02 consent to disclosure of confidential or privileged information about children and 03 families involved with children's services within the Department of Health and Social 04 Services to officials for review or use in official capacities; relating to reports of harm; 05 and relating to adoptions and foster care." 06 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 07 * Section 1. AS 47.10.080(p) is amended to read: 08 (p) If a child is removed from the parental home, the department shall provide 09 reasonable visitation between the child and the child's parents, guardian, and family. 10 When determining what constitutes reasonable visitation with a family member, the 11 department shall consider the nature and quality of the relationship that existed 12 between the child and the family member before the child was committed to the 13 custody of the department. The court may require the department to file a visitation
01 plan with the court. The department may deny visitation to the parents, guardian, or 02 family members if there is clear and convincing evidence that visits are not in the 03 child's best interests. If the department denies visitation to a parent or family 04 member of a child, the department shall inform the parent or family member of a 05 reason for the denial and of the parent's or family member's right to request a 06 review hearing. A parent, family member, or guardian who is denied visitation may 07 request a review hearing. 08 * Sec. 2. AS 47.10.088(i) is amended to read: 09 (i) The department shall concurrently identify, recruit, process, and approve a 10 qualified person or family for an adoption whenever a petition to terminate a parent's 11 rights to a child is filed. The department may not approve an adoption by a 12 person or family who is not related to the child by blood if a relative of the child 13 requests that the department approve the relative for the adoption unless the 14 adoption by the child's relative is not in the child's best interest, is prohibited 15 under (l) of this section, or is otherwise contrary to federal or state law. If the 16 court issues an order to terminate under (j) of this section, the department shall report 17 within 30 days on the efforts being made to recruit a permanent placement for the 18 child if a permanent placement was not approved at the time of the trial under (j) of 19 this section. The report must document recruitment efforts made for the child. 20 * Sec. 3. AS 47.10.088 is amended by adding new subsections to read: 21 (l) The department may not approve an adoption by a person related to the 22 child by blood if the department 23 (1) makes a determination, supported by clear and convincing 24 evidence, that adoption of the child by the relative will result in physical or mental 25 injury to the child; in making that determination, poverty, including inadequate or 26 crowded housing, on the part of the person related to the child by blood is not 27 considered prima facie evidence that physical or mental injury to the child will occur; 28 (2) determines that a member of the relative's household who is 12 29 years of age or older was the perpetrator in a substantiated report of abuse under 30 AS 47.17; or 31 (3) determines that a member of the relative's household who is 12
01 years of age or older is under arrest for, is charged with, has been convicted of, or has 02 been found not guilty by reason of insanity of, a serious offense; notwithstanding this 03 paragraph, the department may approve an adoption by the relative if the relative 04 demonstrates to the satisfaction of the department that conduct described in this 05 paragraph occurred at least five years before the intended adoption and the conduct 06 (A) did not involve a victim who was under 18 years of age at 07 the time of the conduct; 08 (B) was not a crime of domestic violence as defined in 09 AS 18.66.990; and 10 (C) was not a violent crime under AS 11.41.100 - 11.41.455 or 11 a law or ordinance of another jurisdiction having similar elements. 12 (m) For the purpose of determining whether the home of a relative meets the 13 requirements for adoption of the child, the department shall conduct a criminal 14 background check from state and national criminal justice information available under 15 AS 12.62. The department may conduct a fingerprint background check on any 16 member of the relative's household who is 12 years of age or older when the relative 17 requests adoption of the child. For the purposes of obtaining criminal justice 18 information under this subsection, the department is a criminal justice agency 19 conducting a criminal justice activity under AS 12.62. 20 (n) A person related to a child by blood who is denied a request for an 21 adoption under (i) of this section may request a review hearing by the court. If the 22 department denies a request by a person related to a child by blood to adopt a child 23 under (i) of this section, the department shall inform the relative of the reason for the 24 denial and of the relative's right to request a review hearing. 25 * Sec. 4. AS 47.10.092(a) is amended to read: 26 (a) Notwithstanding AS 47.10.090 and 47.10.093, an adult family member 27 [A PARENT] or legal guardian of a child subject to a proceeding under AS 47.10.005 28 - 47.10.142 may disclose confidential or privileged information about the child or the 29 child's family, including information that has been lawfully obtained from agency or 30 court files, to the governor, the lieutenant governor, a legislator, the ombudsman 31 appointed under AS 24.55, the attorney general, and the commissioner
01 [COMMISSIONERS] of health and social services, administration, or public safety, or 02 an employee of these persons, for review or use in their official capacities. The 03 department shall disclose additional confidential or privileged information and make 04 copies of documents available for inspection about the child or the child's family to 05 these state officials or employees for review or use in their official capacities upon 06 request of the official or employee and submission of satisfactory evidence that an 07 adult family member [A PARENT] or legal guardian of the child has requested the 08 state official's assistance in the case as part of the official's duties. A person to whom 09 disclosure is made under this section may not disclose confidential or privileged 10 information about the child or the child's family to a person not authorized to receive 11 it. 12 * Sec. 5. AS 47.10.092 is amended by adding new subsections to read: 13 (d) If, in response to a requirement of federal law or a request made by an 14 official identified in (a) of this section, the department initiates an internal review or 15 evaluation of its activities under this chapter, notwithstanding AS 47.10.090 and 16 47.10.093, the department shall either provide a copy of a report resulting from that 17 internal review or evaluation to the official or prepare a report of that internal review 18 and evaluation when requested to do so by an official identified in (a) of this section. 19 The report must contain a summary of the complaint, the review or evaluation process 20 used, and the outcome of the review or evaluation, including any recommendations 21 made as a result of the review. Before being disclosed, the department shall modify a 22 report prepared or produced under this subsection to exclude all personal identifying 23 information of a child, the child's family, and witnesses. 24 (e) In this section, "adult family member" means a person who is 18 years of 25 age or older and who is related to the child as the child's biological or adoptive parent, 26 grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling. 27 * Sec. 6. AS 47.17.025 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 28 (c) Within 20 days after receiving a report of harm, whether or not the matter 29 is referred to a local government agency, the department shall notify the person who 30 made the report of the status of the investigation, without disclosing any confidential 31 information.
01 * Sec. 7. AS 47.35.015 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 02 (j) If a person operates a foster home to provide care only for a relative and the 03 department requires licensure under an agreement for services, the department shall 04 issue a temporary license to an eligible person while an application for a license under 05 this section is pending. The department shall issue the temporary license to the 06 applicant within five days after receiving a complete application for a foster care 07 license under AS 47.35.017. A temporary license is valid for 90 days or until a license 08 is either issued under AS 47.35.017 or denied under AS 47.35.019, whichever is 09 sooner.