Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

03/16/2017 03:00 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
Download Video part 1. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
04:23:39 PM Start
04:24:45 PM Presentation: Facing Foster Care in Alaska
04:41:39 PM HB151
05:12:58 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 10 min. After Recess --
+ Presentation by Facing Foster Care in AK TELECONFERENCED
*+ HB 151 DHSS;CINA; FOSTER CARE; CHILD PROTECTION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+= HB 103 OPTOMETRY & OPTOMETRISTS TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled but Not Heard
-- Public Testimony --
+= HB 174 EXTEND DISASTER EMERGENCY:OPIOID EPIDEMIC TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Testimony <Public/Invited> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 151-DHSS; CINA; FOSTER CARE; CHILD PROTECTION                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:41:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO.  151, "An  Act relating to  the duties  of the                                                               
Department of  Health and Social  Services; relating  to training                                                               
and workload standards for employees  of the Department of Health                                                               
and Social Services; relating to  foster care licensing; relating                                                               
to placement  of a child in  need of aid; relating  to the rights                                                               
and  responsibilities of  foster parents;  relating to  subsidies                                                               
for  adoption  or  guardianship  of  a  child  in  need  of  aid;                                                               
requiring  the  Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services  to                                                               
provide  information  to a  child  or  person released  from  the                                                               
department's custody; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:42:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EDGMON  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HB 151,  labeled 30-LS0451\R, Glover, 3/7/17,                                                               
as the working document.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ objected for discussion.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:42:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA, Alaska State Legislature, paraphrased                                                                  
from the Sponsor Statement [included in members' packets], which                                                                
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Foster  youth in  Alaska are  not  getting the  chances                                                                    
     they deserve.  The Children Deserve  a Loving  Home Act                                                                    
     aims to increase the likelihood  that foster youth will                                                                    
     have the  same opportunities  in life, and  same health                                                                    
     and  well-being, as  their peers.  When roughly  40% of                                                                    
     our  foster youth  end  up homeless  at  some point  in                                                                    
     their lives after leaving care,  and roughly 20% end up                                                                    
     in jail, it's  a call for reform.  The nation's leading                                                                    
     foster care non-profit, Casey  Family Programs, has the                                                                    
     correct goal to reduce  the number of youth languishing                                                                    
     in foster care by 50%  by 2020. Alaska should join that                                                                    
     effort. We  should achieve it  not by leaving  youth in                                                                    
     neglect  and  abuse to  keep  our  foster care  numbers                                                                    
     down, but by getting neglected  and abused youth out of                                                                    
     the foster care system,  into a permanent, loving home,                                                                    
     much  more  quickly  than  we  do  now.  Many  Alaskans                                                                    
     recognize  that our  child welfare  system has  room to                                                                    
     improve; this bill seeks to  make real positive changes                                                                    
     that  support  youth  and  families,  as  well  as  the                                                                    
     caseworkers who  serve them. It's been  well documented                                                                    
     by many sources that  when case workers are overworked,                                                                    
     outcomes for  children and families suffer.  The Office                                                                    
     of  Children's Services  (OCS) recommends  standards of                                                                    
     approximately  12 cases  or families  per worker    but                                                                    
     today,  most caseworkers  are  carrying caseloads  that                                                                    
     vastly exceed  that amount (as  high as 43  families in                                                                    
     Wasilla, 36  in Homer,  and 30  or more  in six  of the                                                                    
     state's main OCS offices).  Conditions in rural Alaska,                                                                    
     especially the  challenges of remote travel,  make even                                                                    
     a 12  family caseload overwhelming for  workers in such                                                                    
     regions.  Beyond  the  risk of  poorer  outcomes,  high                                                                    
     caseloads contribute to high  worker turnover, a costly                                                                    
     problem that  slows timelines to permanency.  This bill                                                                    
     seeks  to  improve  both  caseload  levels  and  worker                                                                    
     retention by implementing  significant new training and                                                                    
     workforce  standards.  New   workers  would  receive  a                                                                    
     minimum of  six weeks  of training  and would  carry no                                                                    
     more  than  six  cases/families   in  the  first  three                                                                    
     months, and  12 families  in the  first 12  months. The                                                                    
     bill  also provides  for the  employment of  mentors to                                                                    
     help  caseworkers become  more effective  and make  the                                                                    
     transition  from training  to  a  full caseload.  These                                                                    
     standards  are recognized  to improve  outcomes, enable                                                                    
     faster timelines to permanency,  and allow case workers                                                                    
     to perform their duties as  intended. In addition, this                                                                    
     bill provides for a number  of other changes to support                                                                    
     the  well-being  of  youth  in  care,  and  to  promote                                                                    
     quicker  timelines   for  children  returning   to,  or                                                                    
     finding   new,  permanent   homes.  The   bill  extends                                                                    
     subsidies for  adoptions and  guardianships to  age 21,                                                                    
     to  incentivize permanency  and the  closing of  cases,                                                                    
     and promotes  contact with  siblings and  with previous                                                                    
     out  of-home caregivers  to promote  the well-being  of                                                                    
     children and  maintain a network  of support  for them.                                                                    
     Another  important  tenet  of  this  bill  is  enacting                                                                    
     timelines  for  waivers  and  exemptions  to  licensing                                                                    
     requirements for relatives  who may want to  care for a                                                                    
     child, but are not licensed foster parents.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     The  bill also  makes it  easier for  youth and  foster                                                                    
     parents  to engage  in normal  day  to day  activities,                                                                    
     such  as going  on  vacation  without prior  caseworker                                                                    
     approval, with  fewer requirements. In  addition, youth                                                                    
     at age  14 are empowered  to participate in  their case                                                                    
     plan  with a  larger role.  This bill  also strengthens                                                                    
     the requirement to search  for relatives before placing                                                                    
     a   child  with   foster   parents,  recognizing   that                                                                    
     placements  with family  are  often the  best and  most                                                                    
     loving  option  for  youth. Providing  support,  and  a                                                                    
     voice,  for youth  and families  who need  our help  is                                                                    
     perhaps  one of  our  most important  duties in  public                                                                    
     service. This bill seeks to  give caseworkers the tools                                                                    
     they  need to  carry out  their duties  to the  best of                                                                    
     their  abilities, and  it seeks  to  support youth  and                                                                    
     families with provisions  that support well-being, make                                                                    
     it easier  for children to  move out of the  system and                                                                    
     into  a permanent  home more  quickly, and  provide the                                                                    
     necessary  resources for  a  system  that can  function                                                                    
     well. This  bill is intended  to create  an environment                                                                    
     where loving homes are the priority for all youth.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
5:01:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA  METIVIER, Statewide  Coordinator, Facing  Foster Care  in                                                               
Alaska, stated  that a major  provision of the proposed  bill was                                                               
for setting standards  to workloads for case workers,  as many of                                                               
the issues would be "wiped away"  if case workers had the time to                                                               
do what was necessary.  She  reported that, although there was an                                                               
initial cost, there  would be a long term savings  of millions of                                                               
dollars when not having to pay a  daily rate for the cost of care                                                               
for a  young person  in the  foster care system,  as well  as for                                                               
attorneys, the court  system, and the long  term social services.                                                               
She declared that  an earlier move into permanency  was much more                                                               
cost effective  versus staying  in the system.   She  pointed out                                                               
that so many  of the young people leaving the  foster care system                                                               
had not been  prepared, and now, these young  people had children                                                               
who were moving into the foster  care system.  She explained that                                                               
there  were  five  protective factors  that  young  parents  were                                                               
supposed  to have,  which included:  concrete  social support  in                                                               
times of  need and someone  to call when  you are stressed.   She                                                               
shared stories  of her interactions  with case workers  coming to                                                               
her home,  as she was  now a foster  parent, and she  spoke about                                                               
her earlier  dream for becoming a  case worker at OCS,  until she                                                               
saw the  high numbers of case  worker turnover.  She  opined that                                                               
this setting  allowed for the  loss of many good  social workers.                                                               
She declared  that improving the  caseload levels would  make all                                                               
the other problems solvable.  She  offered her belief that it was                                                               
important to engage  youth in planning, at 14 years  of age.  She                                                               
offered a quote: "it's better to  plan for the battle than battle                                                               
the  plan," and  opined  that  having the  youth  engaged in  the                                                               
process would make  it more successful.  She  reiterated that the                                                               
most  important pieces  of the  proposed bill  were to  lower the                                                               
workload and increase the training for workers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:07:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NAVEAH  INGAM offered  her belief  that the  proposed bill  would                                                               
help both  the youth in  care, as well  as those youth  that were                                                               
going  to   be  in  care.     She  shared  her   experience  when                                                               
communication was  lost with her  younger sibling when  they were                                                               
placed separately, and the current  feelings of abandonment.  She                                                               
opined  that the  opportunity  for  communication among  siblings                                                               
would have positive mental health ramifications.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:08:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RACHAEL  BESSLER  shared  that  Amanda Metivier  was  her  foster                                                               
parent and  how positive it was  to have permanency.   She shared                                                               
her  story of  how  difficult life  had been,  and  that she  was                                                               
"going  down a  wrong road."   She  did not  want anybody  in her                                                               
life, and she did not want  any connections.  She went through 47                                                               
foster  homes because  she felt  abandoned and  alone.   She said                                                               
that Amanda helped  her see a future, and  that Amanda's daughter                                                               
was  like her  little sister.   She  relayed that  permanency and                                                               
connection can bring a much easier  life, and allowed youth to do                                                               
something earlier  in life.   She declared that  permanency could                                                               
change the  lives of  so many  people, and that  she was  here to                                                               
advocate  for   those  who  still   did  not  have   a  permanent                                                               
connection.   She said that  having a person  you can talk  to at                                                               
the end of the day was so  important.  She emphasized that HB 151                                                               
could  dramatically change  the  lives of  many children,  noting                                                               
that without a  permanent connection, she would either  be on the                                                               
street or incarcerated.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
5:12:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced that HB 151 would be held over.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
[The objection to the proposed CS, Version R, was maintained.]                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 151 vers. U Sponsor Statement 3.1.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Draft Proposed Blank CS ver R 3.7.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Sectional Analysis ver R 3.15.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Explanation of Changes ver R 3.15.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-CSM 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-CST 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-FCBR 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-FLSW 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-SAG 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 1. OCS Office by Office Caseloads 3.1.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 2. High Caseloads How Do They Impact Health and Human Services 3.1.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 3. Children Waiting to be Adopted 2014.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 4. Applying the Science of Child Development in Child Welfare Systems (Excerpt).pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 5. NJ DCF Workforce Report (Excerpt).pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 6. Why the Workforce Matters.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 7. Creating a Permanence Driven Organization - Anu (Excerpt).pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 8. DHSS Memo OOH Growth.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 9. DHSS Memo NJ Standard and Workforce.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 10. Relevant Statistics.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 11. Supporting Article.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document - Casey Family Programs Letter 3.15.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document-Letters of Support 3.15.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 103 Draft Proposed Blank CS ver D 3.13.2017.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Explanation of Changes (CS) 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
SB 36 Opposition Letter Coulter MD vs. SB36 HB103.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
SFIN 3/14/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 103
SB 36
HB 103 Letters of Support 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Fiscal Note DCCED--DCBPL 3.13.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Sectional Analysis (CS) 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Sponsor Statement 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Supporting Document Ohio State Optometry Curriculum 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Supporting Document Medical Liability Premiums Fact Sheet 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Supporting Document Regulation Flow Chart 3-10-17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Supporting Document-Board of the Examiners in Optometry.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Supporting Document-Optometrists Practicing in AK 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Supporting Documents Optometry Education Flyer 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB103 Career Guide Optometry 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB103 Letters of Opposition-Support.pdf HHSS 3/14/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103
HB 103 Opposing Document--Letters 3.15.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/18/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 103