HB 54: "An Act relating to the identification, location, and notification of specified family members of a child who is in state custody."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 54 01 "An Act relating to the identification, location, and notification of specified family 02 members of a child who is in state custody." 03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 * Section 1. AS 47.10.030(b) is amended to read: 05 (b) In all cases under this chapter, the child, each parent, the tribe, foster 06 parent or other out-of-home care provider, guardian, and guardian ad litem of the child 07 and, subject to (d) and (e) of this section, each adult family member 08 [GRANDPARENT] of the child shall be given notice as provided under (f) of this 09 section [ADEQUATE TO GIVE ACTUAL NOTICE OF THE PROCEEDINGS AND 10 THE POSSIBILITY OF TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS AND 11 RESPONSIBILITIES, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT EDUCATION AND 12 LANGUAGE DIFFERENCES THAT ARE KNOWN OR REASONABLY 13 ASCERTAINABLE BY THE PETITIONER OR THE DEPARTMENT. THE 14 NOTICE OF THE HEARING MUST CONTAIN ALL NAMES BY WHICH THE
01 CHILD HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED]. Notice shall be given in the manner appropriate 02 under rules of civil procedure for the service of process in a civil action under Alaska 03 law or in any manner the court by order directs. Proof of the giving of the notice shall 04 be filed with the court before the petition is heard. The court may also subpoena the 05 parent of the child, or any other person whose testimony may be necessary at the 06 hearing. A subpoena or other process may be served by a person authorized by law to 07 make the service, and, where personal service cannot be made, the court may direct 08 that service of process be in a manner appropriate under rules of civil procedure for 09 the service of process in a civil action under Alaska law or in any manner the court 10 directs. 11 * Sec. 2. AS 47.10.030(d) is amended to read: 12 (d) Except as provided in (e) of this section, the department shall give advance 13 written notice of all court hearings in a child's case to each adult family member [A 14 GRANDPARENT] of the child [IF] 15 (1) identified through due diligence exercised under AS 47.10.035; 16 (2) who [THE GRANDPARENT] has contacted the department, 17 provided evidence acceptable to the department of being the child's adult family 18 member [GRANDPARENT], requested notice about the hearings in the child's case, 19 and provided the department with a current mailing address; or 20 (3) whom [(2)] the department otherwise knows to be an adult 21 family member of the child and whose [IS AWARE THAT THE CHILD HAS A 22 GRANDPARENT AND THE GRANDPARENT'S] mailing address is on file with the 23 department. 24 * Sec. 3. AS 47.10.030(e) is amended to read: 25 (e) Notwithstanding (d) of this section, the department is not required to give 26 advance notice to an adult family member [A GRANDPARENT] about hearings in a 27 child's case if the adult family member [GRANDPARENT] 28 (1) has been convicted of a crime in which the child was the victim; 29 [OR] 30 (2) is prohibited by a court order from having contact with the child; 31 or
01 (3) has requested that the department refrain from providing the 02 notice. 03 * Sec. 4. AS 47.10.030 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 04 (f) Notice provided under (d) of this section must 05 (1) be adequate to give actual notice of the proceedings and the 06 possibility of termination of parental rights and responsibilities, taking into account 07 education and language differences that are known or reasonably ascertainable by the 08 petitioner or the department; 09 (2) contain all names by which the child has been identified; 10 (3) specify that the child has been or is being removed from the 11 custody of the parent or parents of the child; 12 (4) explain the options the adult family member has under federal, 13 state, and local law to participate in the care and placement of the child, including any 14 options that may be lost by failing to respond to the notice; 15 (5) describe the requirements under state law to become a foster home 16 for the child and the additional services and support that are available for children 17 placed in foster care; 18 (6) if available, describe financial assistance available to support the 19 child in the adult family member's home. 20 * Sec. 5. AS 47.10 is amended by adding a new section to read: 21 Sec. 47.10.035. Placement of a child with noncustodial parent or adult 22 family member; due diligence. (a) Within 30 days after removal of a child from the 23 child's home and placement of the child in out-of-home care under this chapter, and as 24 necessary, the department shall exercise due diligence to identify and locate 25 noncustodial parents and all adult family members who might provide an appropriate 26 home for the child. Due diligence must include use of available electronic search 27 technology, including interstate and intrastate communications networks. 28 (b) The department shall include the names of noncustodial parents and adult 29 family members who are identified under (a) of this section in the department's report 30 to the court at all hearings concerning placement in or transfer of a child to out-of- 31 home care for any reason, including an emergency, temporary, permanent, or adoptive
01 placement under this chapter. 02 (c) A supervisor of the division of the department with jurisdiction over 03 children in need of aid shall certify in writing the due diligence of the department 04 exercised under (a) of this section. The information provided under this subsection 05 shall be submitted to the court for consideration before a hearing concerning the 06 placement of a child. 07 * Sec. 6. AS 47.10.070(e) is amended to read: 08 (e) An adult family member [THE GRANDPARENTS] of the child and an 09 out-of-home care provider may attend hearings that are otherwise closed to the public 10 under (c) of this section if the family member is not excluded for reasons provided 11 in AS 47.10.030(e). However, the court shall limit the presence of these persons in a 12 hearing closed to the public to the time during which the person's testimony is being 13 given if the court determines that the limitation is necessary under (c)(3) of this 14 section. 15 * Sec. 7. AS 47.10.080(c) is amended to read: 16 (c) If the court finds that the child is a child in need of aid, the court shall 17 (1) order the child committed to the department for placement in an 18 appropriate setting, after consideration of due diligence exercised by the 19 department to identify and locate noncustodial parents and adult family 20 members under AS 47.10.035, for a period of time not to exceed two years or in any 21 event not to extend past the date the child becomes 19 years of age, except that the 22 department, the child, or the child's guardian ad litem may petition for and the court 23 may grant in a hearing 24 (A) one-year extensions of commitment that do not extend 25 beyond the child's 19th birthday if the extension is in the best interests of the 26 child; and 27 (B) additional one-year extensions of commitment past 19 28 years of age that do not extend beyond the person's 21st birthday if the 29 continued state custody is in the best interests of the person and the person 30 consents to it; 31 (2) order the child released to a parent, adult family member, or, after
01 consideration of due diligence exercised by the department to identify and locate 02 noncustodial parents and adult family members under AS 47.10.035, guardian of 03 the child or to another suitable person, and, in appropriate cases, order the parent, 04 adult family member, guardian, or other person to provide medical or other care and 05 treatment; if the court releases the child, it shall direct the department to supervise the 06 care and treatment given to the child, but the court may dispense with the department's 07 supervision if the court finds that the adult to whom the child is released will 08 adequately care for the child without supervision; the department's supervision may 09 not exceed two years or in any event extend past the date the child reaches 19 years of 10 age, except that the department or the child's guardian ad litem may petition for and 11 the court may grant in a hearing 12 (A) one-year extensions of supervision that do not extend 13 beyond the child's 19th birthday if the extensions are in the best interests of the 14 child; and 15 (B) an additional one-year period of supervision past 19 years 16 of age if the continued supervision is in the best interests of the person and the 17 person consents to it; or 18 (3) order, under the grounds specified in (o) of this section or 19 AS 47.10.088, the termination of parental rights and responsibilities of one or both 20 parents and commit the child to the custody of the department, and the department 21 shall report quarterly to the court on efforts being made to find a permanent placement 22 for the child. 23 * Sec. 8. AS 47.10.080(l) is amended to read: 24 (l) Within 12 months after the date a child enters foster care as calculated 25 under AS 47.10.088(f), the court shall hold a permanency hearing. The hearing and 26 permanent plan developed in the hearing are governed by the following provisions: 27 (1) the persons entitled to be heard under AS 47.10.070 or under (f) of 28 this section are also entitled to be heard at the hearing held under this subsection; 29 (2) when establishing the permanent plan for the child, the court shall 30 make appropriate written findings, including findings related to whether 31 (A) and when the child should be returned to the parent or
01 guardian; 02 (B) the child should be placed for adoption or legal 03 guardianship and whether a petition for termination of parental rights should be 04 filed by the department; and 05 (C) there is a compelling reason that the most appropriate 06 placement for the child is in another planned, permanent living arrangement 07 and the department has recommended the arrangement under AS 47.14.100(p); 08 the findings under this paragraph must include the steps that are necessary to 09 achieve the new arrangement; 10 (3) if the court is unable to make a finding required under (2) of this 11 subsection, the court shall hold another hearing within a reasonable period of time; 12 (4) in addition to the findings required by (2) of this subsection, the 13 court shall also make appropriate written findings related to 14 (A) whether the department has made the reasonable efforts 15 required under AS 47.10.086 to offer appropriate family support services to 16 remedy the parent's or guardian's conduct or conditions in the home that made 17 the child a child in need of aid under this chapter; 18 (B) whether the parent or guardian has made substantial 19 progress to remedy the parent's or guardian's conduct or conditions in the home 20 that made the child a child in need of aid under this chapter; 21 (C) if the permanent plan is for the child to remain in out-of- 22 home-care, whether the child's out-of-home placement continues to be 23 appropriate and in the best interests of the child; [AND] 24 (D) whether the department has made reasonable efforts to 25 finalize the permanent plan for the child; and 26 (E) whether the department has exercised due diligence to 27 identify and locate noncustodial parents and adult family members for 28 permanent placement under AS 47.10.035; 29 (5) the court shall hold a hearing to review the permanent plan at least 30 annually until successful implementation of the plan; if the plan approved by the court 31 changes after the hearing, the department shall promptly apply to the court for another
01 permanency hearing, and the court shall conduct the hearing within 30 days after 02 application by the department. 03 * Sec. 9. AS 47.10.080 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 04 (x) The court shall recognize a presumption that placement of a child with an 05 adult relative is in a child's best interest when the court orders placement in or transfer 06 of the child to out-of-home care. 07 * Sec. 10. AS 47.10.088(i) is amended to read: 08 (i) The department shall concurrently identify, recruit, process, and approve a 09 qualified person or family for an adoption whenever a petition to terminate a parent's 10 rights to a child is filed. Before identifying a placement of the child in an adoptive 11 home, the department shall exercise due diligence under AS 47.10.035 to identify 12 and locate [ATTEMPT TO LOCATE] all living adult family members of the child 13 and, if an adult family member expresses an interest in adopting the child, investigate 14 the adult family member's ability to care for the child. The department shall provide to 15 all adult family members of the child located by the department written notice of the 16 adult family members' rights under this chapter and of the procedures necessary to 17 gain custody of the child, but the department's obligation to provide written notice 18 under this subsection does not apply to a parent of the child whose parental rights are 19 being or have been terminated or to an adult family member who is known by the 20 department to be ineligible for a foster care license under AS 47.32 and regulations 21 adopted under AS 47.32. If an adult family member of the child requests that the 22 department approve the adult family member for an adoption, the department shall 23 approve the request unless there is good cause not to approve the adoption. If the court 24 issues an order to terminate under (j) of this section, the department shall report within 25 30 days on the efforts being made to recruit a permanent placement for the child if a 26 permanent placement was not approved at the time of the trial under (j) of this section. 27 The report must document recruitment efforts made for the child. 28 * Sec. 11. AS 47.10.142(f) is amended to read: 29 (f) When a child [MINOR] is committed to the department for temporary 30 placement under (e) of this section, the court order shall, after taking into 31 consideration the due diligence exercised to identify and locate adult family
01 members and noncustodial parents under AS 47.10.035, specify the terms, 02 conditions, and duration of placement. If the court orders the child [MINOR] returned 03 to the custody of the child's [MINOR'S] parents or guardian under (e) of this section 04 after a hearing held on a petition filed under AS 47.10.141(f), the court shall specify 05 the terms and conditions that must be followed by the child and the child's [MINOR 06 AND THE MINOR'S] parents or guardian. The court shall require the child [MINOR] 07 to remain in the placement provided by the department and shall clearly state in the 08 order the consequences of violating the order, including detention under 09 AS 47.10.141(c).