Legislature(2013 - 2014)CAPITOL 106

04/02/2013 03:00 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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03:05:13 PM Start
03:06:13 PM HJR14
03:46:16 PM HB54
04:04:27 PM Alaska Children's Services
04:37:55 PM HB134
05:06:09 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: Alaska's Children's Services TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHJR 14(HSS) Out of Committee
Moved CSSSHB 54(HSS) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
           HB 54-PLACEMENT OF A CHILD IN NEED OF AID                                                                        
3:46:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HIGGINS announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE  FOR HOUSE  BILL NO. 54,  "An Act  relating to                                                               
the  identification,  location,  and  notification  of  specified                                                               
family members  and family  friends of  a child  who is  in state                                                               
custody."   [In front of  the committee was  Version 28-LS0202\R,                                                               
adopted as the working document on February 26, 2013.]                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   134,  labeled  28-LS0303\R,  Mischel,                                                               
4/1/13, as the working document.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT objected for discussion.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked to  clarify  which  bill was  being                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  clarified  that  he had  meant  to  adopt                                                               
[SS]HB 54, Version R.                                                                                                           
CHAIR HIGGINS rescinded the previous motion.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS) for  [SS]HB  54,  labeled 28-LS0202\R,  Mischel,                                                               
2/7/13, as the working document.                                                                                                
3:47:15 PM                                                                                                                    
TOBY SMITH, Staff, Representative Les Gara, Alaska State                                                                        
Legislature, explained that there were three sections in Version                                                                
R.  He read from the House Bill 54 Sectional Analysis:                                                                          
[Included in members' packets]                                                                                                  
     This section adds a new section to AS 47.10, requiring                                                                     
     that a supervisor in the Office of Children's Services                                                                     
     (OCS) certify in writing that a search for                                                                                 
     noncustodial parents, adult family members, and                                                                            
     appropriate adult family friends of the child has been                                                                     
     conducted. OCS must notify these adults of the child's                                                                     
     removal within 30 days, unless there are extenuating                                                                       
     circumstances. This section codifies existing OCS                                                                          
     policy related to extended family searches, and adds                                                                       
     the requirement of supervisor certification.                                                                               
     This section adds a reference to the new section of                                                                        
     statute established in Section 1. It requires that due                                                                     
     diligence be conducted to locate extended family                                                                           
     members before the child is placed in a foster home.                                                                       
     This section allows the department to provide for                                                                          
     emergency placement of a child while conducting due                                                                        
MR. SMITH stated that the proposed  bill would not cost the state                                                               
any money, and  would address an accountability  issue, to ensure                                                               
that "front  line case workers are  doing the work that  they are                                                               
supposed to be doing, and that's  in the best interests of foster                                                               
youth by requiring that a supervisor  sign off when a case worker                                                               
has done a due diligence search."                                                                                               
3:49:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  asked if  the  Department  of Health  and                                                               
Social  Services (DHSS)  had indicated  a  possibility that  this                                                               
would  remove   an  option  for  not   contacting  an  individual                                                               
considered to be a danger to the child.                                                                                         
MR. SMITH deferred to DHSS.                                                                                                     
3:50:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HIGGINS opened public testimony.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT removed his objection.                                                                                    
3:51:05 PM                                                                                                                    
AMANDA  METIVIER, Statewide  Coordinator, Facing  Foster Care  in                                                               
Alaska,  stated that  the proposed  bill ensured  compliance with                                                               
regulations that  were already an  Office of  Children's Service'                                                               
(OCS) policy.   She noted that that  there was not a  cost to the                                                               
state,  and it  could potentially  save money  in the  search for                                                               
foster homes, and for the cost of long term foster care.                                                                        
3:52:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER, noting  that the  proposed bill  required                                                               
OCS to notify a list of people,  asked if this would force OCS to                                                               
make contact  with a non-custodial  parent who they  would prefer                                                               
not to contact.                                                                                                                 
3:53:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTY LAWTON,  Director, Central  Office, Office  of Children's                                                               
Services,  Department of  Health and  Social Services,  said that                                                               
this proposed  bill did not  change the current  requirements for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked if a  non-custodial parent included a                                                               
parent who had lost their parental rights through the courts.                                                                   
MS. LAWTON opined that it would not.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER   asked   to  confirm   this,   as   this                                                               
notification may not serve the best interest of the child.                                                                      
3:54:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON asked  about earlier  testimony that  this                                                               
was required  in federal law  and was a policy  of the DHSS.   He                                                               
opined  that  the  concerns presented  by  Representative  Keller                                                               
would have already been addressed.                                                                                              
MS.  LAWTON  replied that  the  proposed  bill included  elements                                                               
already addressed in federal law,  with some small additions that                                                               
were not yet included in policy or law.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked if  those additions  were reasonable                                                               
and beneficial.                                                                                                                 
MS.  LAWTON said  that the  additions were  reasonable and  could                                                               
provide some enhancements.                                                                                                      
3:56:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HIGGINS  asked  for  the reasons  that  OCS  wanted  these                                                               
changes in statute.                                                                                                             
MS.  LAWTON   replied  that  she   preferred  a  change   to  the                                                               
regulations, instead  of policy.   She noted that there  had been                                                               
concern for  whether changes in  regulation were the  best forum,                                                               
as policy  changes could have  the same  effect.  She  noted that                                                               
the majority of  OCS policy, procedures, and day  to day practice                                                               
were  not covered  in regulation.   She  offered her  belief that                                                               
these proposed changes were a  better fit in regulation; although                                                               
they would  be allowable in  procedure, the preferred  avenue was                                                               
in regulations, per the Department of Law.                                                                                      
3:57:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HIGGINS  opined  that  there   were  too  many  layers  of                                                               
bureaucracy,  and he  asked  if  this proposed  bill  would be  a                                                               
MS.  LAWTON  replied  that  the  proposed  bill  did  not  create                                                               
bureaucracy,   but  added   components  of   good  practice   for                                                               
improvement.  She said that, although  the amount of work for the                                                               
staff would be less with a  change in policy, the meaning and the                                                               
intent of the proposed bill was not bureaucratic.                                                                               
CHAIR  HIGGINS asked,  if this  became statute,  would it  invite                                                               
more litigation compared to current experience.                                                                                 
MS. LAWTON  replied that she  did not anticipate any  increase in                                                               
litigation as  the majority of  the aspects of the  proposed bill                                                               
were already in practice.                                                                                                       
3:59:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked to clarify  that there was nothing in                                                               
the proposed bill that implied  any preference for placement of a                                                               
MS. LAWTON, in response, said  that the proposed bill did outline                                                               
a preference  standard, but  that this was  a standard  which OCS                                                               
already used.   She  explained that the  priority ranking  was to                                                               
relatives, then family friends with  a relationship to the child,                                                               
and  then to  the unrelated  licensed  foster care  family.   She                                                               
declared  these to  be  the same  preferences  as were  currently                                                               
4:01:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  asked to  ensure that his  earlier request                                                               
for  information be  delivered  to the  House Judiciary  Standing                                                               
4:01:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HIGGINS closed public testimony.                                                                                          
4:01:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER moved  to  report CSSSHB  54, Version  28-                                                               
LS0202\R,  Mischel,  2/7/13,  out of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying  zero fiscal notes.   There                                                               
being  no objection,  CSSSHB  54(HSS) was  moved  from the  House                                                               
Health and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HJR14 Sponsor Statement.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR 14 Proposed Amendment Ver U.1.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Summary.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Resolution Sources.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Supporting Documents - ADN Article.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR14 Supporting Documents - Alaska Dispatch Article.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HJR 14
HJR Supporting Documents - NFIB.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HJR 14
ACS Capsis.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
ACS Presentation
ACS distance based delivery system.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
ACS Presentation
Overview -20130402.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
ACS Presentation
ANTHC ACS Letter 1.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
ACS Presentation
HB054 Research - House HSS information from 4-2-13.pdf HHSS 4/2/2013 3:00:00 PM
HB 54