00 HOUSE BILL NO. 53
01 "An Act relating to child-in-need-of-aid proceedings; amending the construction of
02 statutes pertaining to children in need of aid; relating to a duty and standard of care for
03 services to children and families; amending court hearing procedures to allow public
04 attendance at child-in-need-of-aid proceedings; establishing a right to a trial by jury in
05 termination of parental rights proceedings; reestablishing and relating to state and local
06 citizens' review panels for certain child custody matters; amending the duty to disclose
07 information pertaining to a child in need of aid; establishing a distribution age for
08 permanent fund dividends held in trust for a child committed to the custody of the
09 Department of Health and Social Services; mandating reporting of the medication of
10 children in state custody; prescribing the rights of grandparents related to child-in-
11 need-of-aid cases and establishing a grandparent priority for adoption in certain child-
12 in-need-of-aid cases; modifying adoption and placement procedures in certain child-in-
01 need-of-aid cases; amending treatment service requirements for parents involved in
02 child-in-need-of-aid proceedings; amending Rules 3 and 18, Alaska Child in Need of Aid
03 Rules of Procedure; and providing for an effective date."
04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:
05 * Section 1. AS 25.23 is amended by adding a new section to read:
06 Sec. 25.23.127. Grandparent's preference to adopt. Notwithstanding a
07 child's stated preference under AS 25.23.125 and 25.23.040(a)(5), a grandparent who
08 has had physical custody of a child for at least two consecutive years when the
09 parental rights to the child have been terminated under AS 47.10.080(c)(3), shall be
10 permitted to adopt the child before any other person upon the filing of a petition by the
11 grandparent under AS 25.23.080 unless the court finds that the grandparent is not fit to
12 raise the child.
13 * Sec. 2. AS 47.10.005 is amended to read:
14 Sec. 47.10.005. Construction. The provisions of this chapter shall be
15 liberally construed to
16 (1) achieve the end that a child coming within the jurisdiction of the
17 court under this chapter may receive the care, guidance, treatment, and control that
18 will promote the child's welfare;
19 (2) recognize that a parent possesses inherent individual rights to
20 direct and control the education and upbringing of the parent's child;
21 (3) promote and protect the safety, welfare, health, and good of
22 children, grandparents, and relatives living in the state;
23 (4) benefit future generations;
24 (5) bring fairness and equality to biological family members and
25 children in the state; and
26 (6) recognize that a parent is held to a standard of care and that
27 the state must be held to the same standard.
28 * Sec. 3. AS 47.10 is amended by adding a new section to read:
29 Sec. 47.10.025. Biological grandparent's rights. (a) A biological
30 grandparent of a child who has been adjudicated a child in need of aid under this
01 chapter may initiate special proceedings by filing a petition to obtain custody of the
02 child if
03 (1) one or both of the child's parents are dead; and
04 (2) the child has been abandoned by a remaining parent.
05 (b) In a proceeding initiated under (a) of this section, the court shall presume
06 that awarding custody to a biological grandparent is in the best interest of the child. A
07 presumption under this subsection may be overcome by evidence of abuse, neglect, or
08 other harm to the child attributable to the biological grandparent.
09 (c) The department shall attempt to locate all living biological grandparents of
10 a child and to investigate the biological grandparent's ability to care for the child
11 before placing the child or approving an adoption of the child under this chapter. The
12 department shall provide written notice to all identified biological grandparents of
13 their rights under this chapter and of the procedures necessary to gain custody of the
14 child. The biological grandparents shall sign a receipt of the notice and, if the
15 biological grandparent is competent, state that the biological grandparent understands
16 the biological grandparent's right to initiate proceedings to gain custody of the child
17 and either intends or declines to proceed.
18 * Sec. 4. AS 47.10 is amended by adding a new section to read:
19 Sec. 47.10.065. Right to demand jury trial in certain cases. A party has the
20 right to demand a jury trial for a hearing under this chapter on a petition to terminate
21 parental rights. If a hearing to adjudicate whether a child is a child in need of aid
22 under AS 47.10.011 is consolidated with a hearing on a petition to terminate parental
23 rights, the right to a jury trial under this section applies only to the issue of whether
24 parental rights should be terminated after the court enters a finding under
25 AS 47.10.080(a). In this section, "party" has the meaning given in Rule 2, Alaska
26 Child in Need of Aid Rules of Procedure.
27 * Sec. 5. AS 47.10.070(a) is amended to read:
28 (a) The court may conduct the hearing on the petition in an informal manner.
29 The court shall give notice of the hearing to the department, and it may send a
30 representative to the hearing. The court shall also transmit a copy of the petition to the
31 department. The department shall send notice of the hearing to the persons for whom
01 notice is required under AS 47.10.030(b) and to each grandparent of the child entitled
02 to notice under AS 47.10.030(d). The department and the persons to whom the
03 department must send notice of the hearing are entitled to be heard at the hearing.
04 However, the court may limit the presence of the foster parent or other out-of-home
05 care provider and of any grandparent of the child to the time during which the person's
06 testimony is being given if it is (1) in the best interest of the child; or (2) necessary to
07 protect the privacy interests of the parties and will not be detrimental to the child. The
08 [PUBLIC SHALL BE EXCLUDED FROM THE HEARING, BUT THE] court, in its
09 discretion, may exclude other [PERMIT] individuals from [TO ATTEND] a hearing
10 if their attendance is not compatible with the best interests of the child.
11 * Sec. 6. AS 47.10.070 is amended by adding new subsections to read:
12 (c) The right of a grandparent to attend hearings under (a) of this section does
13 not affect the right of a grandparent to intervene in a proceeding under this chapter.
14 (d) Nothing contained in this section limits the rights of grandparents under
15 this title.
16 * Sec. 7. AS 47.10.080(c) is amended to read:
17 (c) If the court finds that the child is a child in need of aid, the court shall
18 (1) order the child committed to the department for placement in an
19 appropriate setting for a period of time not to exceed two years or in any event not to
20 extend past the date the child becomes 19 years of age, except that the department or
21 the child's guardian ad litem may petition for and the court may grant in a hearing
22 (A) one-year extensions of commitment that do not extend
23 beyond the child's 19th birthday if the extension is in the best interests of the
24 child; and
25 (B) an additional one-year period of state custody past [AGE]
26 19 years of age if the continued state custody is in the best interests of the
27 person and the person consents to it;
28 (2) order the child released to a parent, relative, or guardian of the
29 child or to another suitable person, and, in appropriate cases, order the parent, relative,
30 guardian, or other person to provide medical or other care and treatment; if the court
31 releases the child, it shall direct the department to supervise the care and treatment
01 given to the child, but the court may dispense with the department's supervision if the
02 court finds that the adult to whom the child is released will adequately care for the
03 child without supervision; the department's supervision may not exceed two years or
04 in any event extend past the date the child reaches [AGE] 19 years of age, except that
05 the department or the child's guardian ad litem may petition for and the court may
06 grant in a hearing
07 (A) one-year extensions of supervision that do not extend
08 beyond the child's 19th birthday if the extensions are in the best interests of the
09 child; and
10 (B) an additional one-year period of supervision past age 19 if
11 the continued supervision is in the best interests of the person and the person
12 consents to it; or
13 (3) unless a jury trial has been requested by a party, order, under
14 the grounds specified in (o) of this section or AS 47.10.088, the termination of
15 parental rights and responsibilities of one or both parents and commit the child to the
16 custody of the department, and the department shall report quarterly to the court on
17 efforts being made to find a permanent placement for the child; if a jury trial has
18 been requested by a party, the court shall conduct a jury trial on the termination
19 of parental rights under this section.
20 * Sec. 8. AS 47.10.080 is amended by adding new subsections to read:
21 (t) The court may not terminate parental rights solely on the basis that the
22 parent did not complete treatment required of the parent by the department for
23 reunification with the child if the parent can show, by a preponderance of the
24 evidence, that the treatment required was unavailable to the parent and the department
25 did not provide the treatment.
26 (u) A child may not be placed in a foster home known to the department as a
27 home requesting adoption of a child before
28 (1) 30 days after the date of the first permanency hearing;
29 (2) the decision of the department is made to seek termination of
30 parental rights; and
31 (3) the court approves of the placement after a hearing.
01 (v) Within 60 days after the date a child is removed from the child's home by
02 the department, the department shall notify the appropriate local citizen out-of-home
03 care review panel established under AS 47.14.225.
04 (w) Within 60 days after a court orders a child committed to the department
05 under (c) of this section and at a review under (f) or (l) of this section, the department
06 shall inform the parties about the local citizen out-of-home care review panel
07 established under AS 47.14.225.
08 (x) If the department applies for a permanent fund dividend for a child
09 committed to the department under (c) of this section, the dividend shall be held in
10 trust for the child until the child is 18 years of age, regardless of whether the child is
12 * Sec. 9. AS 47.10 is amended by adding a new section to read:
13 Sec. 47.10.089. Report of prescription drugs. (a) When a child is in the
14 custody of the department under AS 47.10.084 and the child is prescribed a
15 psychotropic or other mental health medication, the department shall prepare a report.
16 The report must include the
17 (1) child's name and date of birth;
18 (2) name and dosage of the medication;
19 (3) condition or diagnosis for which the medication is prescribed;
20 (4) name of the prescribing physician;
21 (5) assessment of the child's caseworker pertaining to the child's
22 response to the medication; and
23 (6) assessment of the child's caregiver pertaining to the child's
24 response to the medication, if available.
25 (b) A report prepared under (a) of this section shall be distributed to the
26 statewide supervisor of the caseworker of the child, the parent or guardian of the child,
27 and, to the extent allowed under applicable federal and state law, the intervening tribal
28 or tribal custodian for the child.
29 (c) A summary of the reports prepared under (a) of this section, excluding
30 identifying information of a child, shall be distributed to members of the Senate and
31 House Health and Social Service Committees by March 1 of each year.
01 (d) In this section, "caregiver" includes a parent, grandparent, foster parent,
02 relative, teacher, or child care provider.
03 * Sec. 10. AS 47.10.092 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
04 (d) The duty imposed on the department under (a) of this section to disclose
05 information to and make copies of documents available for inspection by state
06 officials and employees upon proof that a parent has requested the assistance of the
07 state official or employee with respect to a child's case does not lapse when the
08 parent's parental rights have been terminated with respect to the child. However, the
09 duty does lapse after termination of the parent's parental rights if another parent or
10 legal guardian of the child subsequently files a notice with the department that the
11 assistance of the state official or employee is no longer requested.
12 * Sec. 11. AS 47.10.142 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
13 (i) Within 60 days after a court orders a child committed to the department
14 under this section, the department shall inform the parties about the local citizen out-
15 of-home care review panel established under AS 47.14.225.
16 * Sec. 12. AS 47.10.960 is amended to read:
17 Sec. 47.10.960. Duty and standard of care [NOT] created. The
18 department shall adopt regulations establishing [NOTHING IN THIS TITLE
19 CREATES] a duty and [OR] standard of care for services to children and their
20 families being served under this chapter [AS 47.10]. The regulations must be
21 consistent in all relevant respects with the code of professional ethics and the
22 standards of practice for social workers adopted by the Board of Social Work
23 Examiners under AS 08.95.
24 * Sec. 13. AS 47.14.100(e) is amended to read:
25 (e) A child may not be placed in a foster home or in the care of an agency or
26 institution providing care for children if a relative by blood or marriage, family
27 friend, or neighbor requests placement of the child in the [RELATIVE'S] home of
28 the relative, family friend, or neighbor and the parent or guardian of the child
29 agrees to the placement. However, the department may retain custody of the child
30 and provide for its placement in the same manner as for other children if the
01 (1) makes a determination, supported by clear and convincing
02 evidence, that placement of the child with the relative, family friend, or neighbor
03 will result in physical or mental injury; in making that determination, poverty,
04 including inadequate or crowded housing, on the part of the [BLOOD] relative, family
05 friend, or neighbor is not considered prima facie evidence that physical or emotional
06 damage to the child will occur; this determination may be appealed to the superior
07 court to hear the matter de novo;
08 (2) determines that a member of the relative's, family friend's, or
09 neighbor's household who is 12 years of age or older was the perpetrator in a
10 substantiated report of abuse under AS 47.17; or
11 (3) determines that a member of the relative's, family friend's, or
12 neighbor's household who is 12 years of age or older is under arrest for, charged with,
13 has been convicted of, or has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of, a serious
14 offense; notwithstanding this paragraph, the department may place or continue the
15 placement of a child at the relative's, family friend's, or neighbor's home if the
16 relative, family friend, or neighbor demonstrates to the satisfaction of the department
17 that conduct described in this paragraph occurred at least five years before the
18 intended placement and the conduct
19 (A) did not involve a victim who was under 18 years of age at
20 the time of the conduct;
21 (B) was not a crime of domestic violence as defined in
22 AS 18.66.990; and
23 (C) was not a violent crime under AS 11.41.100 - 11.41.455 or
24 a law or ordinance of another jurisdiction having similar elements.
25 * Sec. 14. AS 47.14.100(f) is amended to read:
26 (f) If a blood relative of the child specified under (e) of this section exists and
27 agrees that the child should be placed elsewhere, before placement elsewhere, the
28 department shall fully communicate the nature of the placement proceedings to the
29 relative. Communication under this subsection shall be made in the relative's native
30 language, if necessary. [NOTHING IN THIS SUBSECTION OR IN (e) OF THIS
31 SECTION APPLIES TO CHILD PLACEMENT FOR ADOPTIVE PURPOSES.]
01 * Sec. 15. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
02 Sec. 47.14.205. Citizens' Review Panel for Permanency Planning. (a)
03 There is created in the Department of Administration the Citizens' Review Panel for
04 Permanency Planning. The state panel consists of five members appointed by the
05 governor from among present members of local citizen out-of-home care review
06 panels established under AS 47.14.225. The governor shall appoint at least one state
07 panel member from each judicial district. The governor may not appoint a person who
08 has committed a felony or violated AS 11.51.130 or a law with substantially similar
10 (b) Members of the state panel serve at the pleasure of the governor for
11 staggered terms of three years or until their successors are appointed.
12 (c) The members of the state panel shall elect from among the members a
13 chair who shall serve for one year. Three members of the state panel constitute a
14 quorum for the transaction of business. The panel may not take official action without
15 the affirmative vote of at least three of its members.
16 (d) Members of the state panel are entitled to reimbursement for actual
17 expenses necessary to perform their duties as state panel members. The
18 reimbursement may not exceed the amount of per diem and expenses authorized for
19 boards and commissions under AS 39.20.180.
20 (e) The state panel shall meet twice annually. Meetings may take place
22 (f) The state panel may employ a program manager and two assistant
23 managers who shall serve at the pleasure of the state panel. The program manager
24 shall employ staff as necessary to carry out the program manager's duties under state
25 panel directives and to provide clerical assistance to local panels.
26 * Sec. 16. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
27 Sec. 47.14.215. Duties of the state panel. The state panel shall
28 (1) by regulation adopt policies and procedures to carry out its duties
29 and to govern the performance of the duties of the local panels established under
30 AS 47.14.225;
31 (2) compile reports from the local panels;
01 (3) report annually to the governor by the 10th day of each regular
02 session, concerning the activities of the state and local panels during the previous
03 fiscal year; the report must include the number of cases reviewed by each local panel,
04 a description of the characteristics of the children whose cases were reviewed by the
05 panels, the number of children reunited with their families, the number of children
06 placed in other permanent homes, and the timeliness of each review conducted under
07 AS 47.14.245; the report may contain other information on the experience of the local
09 * Sec. 17. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
10 Sec. 47.14.225. Appointment of local panels. (a) The governor shall appoint
11 a local citizen out-of-home care review panel for each judicial district composed of
12 five members and two alternates who are residents of the judicial district. Members
13 shall serve three-year terms, except that, when a local panel is initially appointed, two
14 members shall be appointed for three-year terms, two members for two-year terms,
15 and one member for a one-year term. Alternates shall be appointed to three-year
17 (b) The governor shall appoint persons to a local panel who have experience,
18 special knowledge, or a demonstrated interest in the welfare of children. An out-of-
19 home care provider or a person employed by the court system, the department, the
20 office of public advocacy, the Public Defender Agency, or the Department of Law
21 may not serve as a member or alternate member of a local panel. The governor may
22 not appoint a person who has committed a felony or violated AS 11.51.130 or a law
23 with substantially similar elements.
24 (c) The composition of a local panel must be reasonably representative of the
25 various social, economic, racial, ethnic, and cultural groups of the district from which
26 the members are appointed.
27 (d) If the state panel determines that additional local panels are necessary in a
28 judicial district because of excessively large or complex caseloads for review or
29 because of the demographics of cases, or determines that a local panel is not necessary
30 because of a reduced caseload, the governor may create or dissolve a local panel. The
31 governor may not reduce the number of panels in a judicial district to fewer than one.
01 Appointments to a panel established under this subsection are governed by (a) - (c) of
02 this section.
03 (e) When a person is appointed to serve on a local panel, the person shall
04 swear or affirm to keep confidential all information that comes before the local panel
05 except for nonidentifying case information included in a report to the state panel,
06 information for reports required under AS 47.17, or as required by court order for
07 good cause shown. A local panel member may also share confidential information
08 with other members of the local panel and staff who serve the local panel.
09 * Sec. 18. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
10 Sec. 47.14.235. Meetings; expenses. (a) A local panel shall conduct its
11 meetings in the judicial district in which its members reside.
12 (b) The local panel shall elect one of its members to serve as chair for a term
13 of one year.
14 (c) A majority of the members of a local panel constitutes a quorum. A panel
15 may not take official action without the affirmative vote of at least three of its
17 (d) A local panel member is not eligible for travel expenses, per diem, or other
18 expenses for service on the local panel unless the state panel requires a local panel
19 member to travel to attend a meeting. If the state panel requires a local panel member
20 to travel to attend a meeting, the local panel member is entitled to reimbursement for
21 actual expenses incurred by the member in attending the meeting, except that the
22 reimbursement may not exceed the amount of per diem and expenses authorized for
23 boards and commissions under AS 39.20.180.
24 * Sec. 19. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
25 Sec. 47.14.245. Duties of local panel. (a) A local panel shall review the case
26 plan of each child in the custody of the department who is in a placement other than
27 the child's own home under AS 47.10.080(c)(1) or (3), 47.10.142, or AS 47.14.100(c)
28 if the case is under the jurisdiction of a court in the judicial district served by the
29 panel. A local panel may request a local panel in another judicial district to conduct a
30 review and make a report if that local panel is more convenient for the child and other
31 persons involved.
01 (b) The local panel shall review a case as required under 42 U.S.C. 671 - 675
02 (P.L. 96-272) within 180 days after the day the child is initially removed from the
03 child's home and every six months thereafter. A court review may be substituted for a
04 review required under this subsection if the court review meets the requirements of
05 this subsection.
06 (c) At least 30 days before it begins a review, the local panel shall provide
07 written notice to the following persons that a review will be conducted and that each
08 person notified may participate in the review:
09 (1) the department;
10 (2) the child or the child's legal representative;
11 (3) the child's parents;
12 (4) the child's guardian;
13 (5) the child's guardian ad litem;
14 (6) the child's out-of-home care provider; and
15 (7) if the case is governed by 25 U.S.C. 1901 - 1963 (Indian Child
16 Welfare Act of 1978),
17 (A) the child's Indian custodian; and
18 (B) the designated representative of the child's Indian tribe if
19 the tribe has intervened in the case.
20 (d) In reviewing a case, the local panel shall consider the case plan and any
21 progress report of the department or the child's guardian ad litem, court records, and
22 other relevant information about the child and the child's family. The local panel shall
23 also provide to the following persons an opportunity to be interviewed by the panel in
24 person or by telephone or to provide written material to the panel:
25 (1) the child whose case is being reviewed if the child is 10 years of
26 age or older;
27 (2) the parents, custodians, or other relatives of the child;
28 (3) the child's out-of-home care provider;
29 (4) the child's guardian;
30 (5) the child's guardian ad litem;
31 (6) the case worker or social worker assigned to the case;
01 (7) if the case is governed by 25 U.S.C. 1901 - 1963 (Indian Child
02 Welfare Act of 1978),
03 (A) the child's Indian custodian; and
04 (B) the designated representative of the child's Indian tribe if
05 the tribe has intervened in the case; and
06 (8) other persons with a close personal knowledge of the case.
07 (e) At the discretion of the child's guardian ad litem, if the child whose case is
08 being reviewed is under 10 years of age, the child may be present at interviews
09 conducted under (d) of this section and during review by the panel, or may be
10 interviewed. At the child's request, a child who is 10 years of age or older shall be
11 allowed to be present at interviews or a review of the local panel that concerns the
12 child's case unless the panel determines that, for good cause, the child's presence
13 would be contrary to the best interests of the child or there is other good cause for
14 denying the child's request.
15 (f) During a review under (a) of this section, a local panel shall
16 (1) determine whether the child has a case plan designed to achieve
17 placement in the least restrictive, most family-like setting available in close proximity
18 to the home of the child's parents that is consistent with the best interests of and
19 special needs and circumstances of the child;
20 (2) evaluate the continuing necessity and appropriateness of the child's
21 placement, the extent of the compliance with the child's case plan, and the extent of
22 progress that has been made toward mitigating the causes that necessitated placement
23 away from the child's parents;
24 (3) ascertain the date by which it is likely the child may be returned to
25 the home or placed for adoption or legal guardianship;
26 (4) determine whether there has been compliance with applicable
27 provisions of 25 U.S.C. 1901 - 1963 (Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978) and other
28 applicable state and federal laws; and
29 (5) determine whether there has been compliance with court review
30 requirements of AS 47.10.080(f) and (l) and 47.10.142(h).
31 (g) The local panel shall, within 30 days after reviewing the case, submit a
01 written report to the persons listed in (c) of this section.
02 (h) In drafting the report required under (g) of this section, the local panel
03 shall make advisory recommendations based on the best interests of the child in
04 accordance with AS 47.10.082 and include notification of the right to request court
05 review under AS 47.10.080(f). If the court has scheduled the case for review, the local
06 panel shall submit its report at least 20 days before the hearing.
07 (i) The local panel shall report to the state panel information needed by the
08 state panel to prepare the report required under AS 47.14.215.
09 * Sec. 20. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
10 Sec. 47.14.255. Cooperation with state and local panels. The department,
11 the Department of Law, the Public Defender Agency, the office of public advocacy,
12 and the court system shall cooperate with the state panel and the local panels to
13 facilitate timely review of plans for children whose cases are under the jurisdiction of
14 the panels and to facilitate access to records required under AS 47.14.265. If a timely
15 review is not made under this section, the local panel shall report to the state panel for
16 inclusion in the report made under AS 47.14.215(3).
17 * Sec. 21. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
18 Sec. 47.14.265. Records; communications. (a) Notwithstanding
19 AS 47.10.090, at the request of a local panel, the department, the child's guardian ad
20 litem, and the court shall furnish to the local panel relevant records concerning a child
21 and the child's family who are the subjects of a local panel review. At the conclusion
22 of a review, all copies of records provided to a local panel under this section shall be
23 returned to the staff that serves the local panel or to the agency from which the
24 original copy was obtained, unless the panel members need the copies to prepare the
25 reports required under AS 47.14.245(g) - (i). Copies retained for preparation of the
26 reports shall be returned to the staff that serves the local panel or to the originating
27 agency upon completion of the reports. Notwithstanding AS 44.62.310, records and
28 reports of the local panel, testimony before the local panel, and deliberations of the
29 local panel are confidential under AS 47.10.090.
30 (b) A local panel member may not reveal to another person, other than another
31 member of the local panel or the staff serving the local panel, a communication made
01 to the member while performing the member's duties under AS 47.14.205 - 47.14.295,
02 except as required under AS 47.17 or as required by court order for good cause shown.
03 A local panel member may share with the state panel communications made during the
04 local panel member's performance of official duties if the local panel member omits
05 identifying information.
06 (c) A local panel proceeding is not governed by AS 44.62.310.
07 * Sec. 22. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
08 Sec. 47.14.275. Court review of report. (a) When a report is admissible
09 under court rules, the court may consider the report of the local panel in its review
10 under AS 47.10.080(f) and at other disposition hearings other than hearings related to
11 delinquency proceedings.
12 (b) The court may refer to the local panel a case called for a special review
13 under AS 47.10.080(f).
14 * Sec. 23. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
15 Sec. 47.14.285. Indemnification of panel members. A state panel member
16 and a local panel member shall be indemnified by the state for civil liability for a
17 negligent act or omission of the panel member that occurs in the performance of the
18 member's duties under AS 47.14.205 - 47.14.295, unless the civil liability results from
19 the panel member's violation of
20 (1) AS 47.14.265(b); or
21 (2) the oath or affirmation required under AS 47.14.225(e).
22 * Sec. 24. AS 47.14 is amended by adding a new section to article 3 to read:
23 Sec. 47.14.295. Definitions. In AS 47.14.205 - 47.14.295,
24 (1) "local panel" means a local citizen out-of-home care review panel
25 appointed under AS 47.14.225;
26 (2) "out-of-home care provider" means an agency or a person, other
27 than the child's legal parents, with whom the child is currently placed and who is in
28 the custody of the state under AS 47.10.080(c)(1) or (3), 47.10.142, or
29 AS 47.14.100(c), including a foster parent, a relative other than a parent, a person who
30 has petitioned for adoption of the child, or a residential child care facility;
31 (3) "state panel" means the Citizens' Review Panel for Permanency
01 Planning established under AS 47.14.205.
02 * Sec. 25. AS 47.17.027(a) is amended to read:
03 (a) If the department or a law enforcement agency provides written
04 certification to the child's school officials that (1) there is reasonable cause to suspect
05 that the child has been abused or neglected by a person responsible for the child's
06 welfare or as a result of conditions created by a person responsible for the child's
07 welfare; (2) an interview at school is a necessary part of an investigation to determine
08 whether the child has been abused or neglected; and (3) the interview at school is in
09 the best interests of the child, school officials shall permit the child to be interviewed
10 at school by the department or a law enforcement agency before notification of, or
11 receiving permission from, the child's parent, guardian, or custodian. A school official
12 shall be present during an interview at the school unless the child objects or the
13 department or law enforcement agency determines that the presence of the school
14 official will interfere with the investigation. The interview shall be conducted as
15 required under AS 47.17.033. Immediately after conducting an interview authorized
16 under this section, and after informing the child of the intention to notify the child's
17 parent, guardian, or custodian, the department or agency shall make every reasonable
18 effort to notify the child's parent, guardian, or custodian that the interview occurred
19 unless it appears to the department or agency that notifying the child's parent,
20 guardian, or custodian would endanger the child.
21 * Sec. 26. AS 47.17.033 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
22 (c) An investigation by the department of child abuse or neglect
23 reported under this chapter shall be conducted by a person trained to conduct a child
24 abuse and neglect investigation and without subjecting a child to more than one
25 interview about the abuse or neglect except when new information is obtained that
26 requires further information from the child.
27 * Sec. 27. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
29 DIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. Rule 3(f), Alaska Child in Need of
30 Aid Rules of Procedure, is amended to read:
31 (f) General Public Included [EXCLUDED]. Hearings are [NOT] open to
01 the public. However, the court may, after due consideration for the welfare of the
02 child and the family, exclude [ADMIT] specific individuals from [TO] a hearing.
03 * Sec. 28. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
05 DIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. Rule 3, Alaska Child in Need of
06 Aid Rules of Procedure, is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
07 (j) Use of Child's Name and Identifying Information Prohibited.
08 References to a child shall be made using the child's first name only. All identifying
09 information of the child, including the child's last name, address, and the names of the
10 child's immediate family members, shall be protected during the hearing so that only
11 the confidential record contains that information. If a child appears at the hearing, the
12 child shall be located away from view of the public.
13 * Sec. 29. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
15 DIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. Rule 18(e), Alaska Child in Need
16 of Aid Rules of Procedure, is amended to read:
17 (e) Trial. A trial on the petition to terminate parental rights
18 (1) shall be held within six months after the date on which the petition
19 to terminate parental rights is filed, unless the court finds that good cause is shown for
20 a continuance; when [. WHEN] determining whether to grant a continuance for good
21 cause, the court shall take into consideration the age of the child and the potential
22 adverse effect that the delay may have on the child; the [. THE] court shall make
23 written findings when granting a continuance;
24 (2) shall be by jury when a jury trial has been demanded and not
25 waived by a party as provided in Rules 38 and 39, Alaska Rules of Civil
27 * Sec. 30. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
29 DIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. Rule 18(g), Alaska Child in Need
30 of Aid Rules of Procedure, is amended to read:
31 (g) Judgment. The court shall make findings of fact for matters tried to the
01 court and shall enter an order within 90 days after the last day of trial on the petition
02 to terminate parental rights. The court shall commit the child to the custody of the
03 Department if parental rights are terminated.
04 * Sec. 31. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
06 INDIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. AS 47.10.070(a), as amended by sec. 5
07 of this Act, has the effect of changing Rule 3, Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules of
08 Procedure, by allowing members of the public to attend court hearings except in certain
10 * Sec. 32. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
12 INDIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. AS 47.10.065, enacted by sec. 4 of this
13 Act, and AS 47.10.080(c), as amended by sec. 7 of this Act, have the effect of changing Rule
14 18, Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules of Procedure, by providing for a right to a jury trial on
15 a petition to terminate parental rights.
16 * Sec. 33. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
18 TWO-THIRDS VOTE NOT REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN AMENDMENTS.
19 Because the enactment of AS 47.10.065 and the amendments to AS 47.10.080(c) and Rules
20 18(e) and 18(g), Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules of Procedure, to the extent that the
21 enactment and amendments provide a right to a jury trial on a petition to terminate parental
22 rights, affect a substantive right, secs. 4, 7, 29, and 30 of this Act do not require a two-thirds
23 vote of the legislature to confer the right to a jury trial on a petition to terminate parental
25 * Sec. 34. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
27 INITIAL MEMBERS OF STATE PANEL. Notwithstanding AS 47.14.205, enacted
28 by sec. 15 of this Act, the governor shall appoint the initial public members of the Citizens'
29 Review Panel for Permanency Planning so that one serves a one-year term, two serve two-
30 year terms, and two serve three-year terms. The initial public members must be persons who
31 have experience, special knowledge, or a demonstrated interest in the welfare of children.
01 * Sec. 35. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
03 APPLICABILITY. (a) AS 47.10.065, enacted by sec. 4 of this Act, 47.10.080(c), as
04 amended by sec. 7 of this Act, and Rules 18(e) and 18(g), Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules
05 of Procedure, as amended by secs. 29 and 30 of this Act, apply to petitions to terminate
06 parental rights that are filed on or after the effective date of secs. 4, 7, 29, and 30 of this Act.
07 (b) AS 47.10.070(a), as amended by sec. 5 of this Act, and Rule 3, Alaska Child in
08 Need of Aid Rules of Procedure, as amended by secs. 27 and 28 of this Act, apply to hearings
09 that are conducted on or after the effective date of secs. 5, 27, and 28 of this Act.
10 * Sec. 36. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
12 TRANSITION: REGULATIONS. The Department of Health and Social Services
13 may proceed to adopt regulations necessary to implement AS 47.10.960 as amended by sec.
14 12 of this Act. The regulations take effect under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act),
15 but not before the effective date of sec. 12 of this Act.
16 * Sec. 37. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
18 CONDITIONAL EFFECT. (a) Rules 18(e) and 18(g), Alaska Child in Need of Aid
19 Rules of Procedure, as amended by secs. 29 and 30 of this Act, respectively, to the extent that
20 the amendments require adherence to the Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure or otherwise
21 modify procedure, take effect only if secs. 29 and 30 of this Act receive the two-thirds
22 majority vote of each house required by art. IV, sec. 15, Constitution of the State of Alaska.
23 (b) The amendment of AS 47.10.070(a) made by sec. 5 of this Act and Rule 3, Alaska
24 Child in Need of Aid Rules of Procedure, as amended by secs. 27 and 28 of this Act, take
25 effect only if secs. 27 and 28 of this Act receive the two-thirds majority vote of each house
26 required by art. IV, sec. 15, Constitution of the State of Alaska.
27 * Sec. 38. AS 47.10.960, as amended by sec. 12 of this Act, takes effect 180 days after the
28 effective date of secs. 1 - 11 of this Act.
29 * Sec. 39. Except as provided in sec. 38 of this Act, this Act takes effect immediately under
30 AS 01.10.070(c).