Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/02/1998 03:15 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
         HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL                                    
            SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                        
                   April 2, 1998                                               
                     3:15 p.m.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Con Bunde, Chairman                                             
Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman                                        
Representative Brian Porter                                                    
Representative Fred Dyson                                                      
Representative J. Allen Kemplen                                                
Representative Tom Brice                                                       
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
Representative Al Vezey                                                        
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 375                                                             
"An Act relating to children in need of aid matters and                        
proceedings; relating to murder of children, criminally negligent              
homicide, kidnapping, criminal nonsupport, the crime of indecent               
exposure, and the crime of endangering the welfare of a child;                 
relating to registration of certain sex offenders; relating to                 
sentencing for certain crimes involving child victims; relating to             
the state medical examiner and reviews of child fatalities;                    
relating to teacher certification and convictions of crimes                    
involving child victims; relating to access, confidentiality, and              
release of certain information concerning the care of children,                
child abuse and neglect, and child fatalities; authorizing the                 
Department of Health and Social Services to enter into an                      
interstate compact concerning adoption and medical assistance for              
certain children with special needs; authorizing the establishment             
of a multidisciplinary child protection team to review reports of              
child abuse or neglect; relating to immunity from liability for                
certain state actions concerning matters involving child protection            
and fatality reviews and children in need of aid; relating to                  
persons required to report suspected child abuse or neglect;                   
relating to foster care placement and to payment for children in               
foster and other care and the waiver of certain foster care                    
requirements; relating to the access to certain criminal justice               
information and licensure of certain child care facilities;                    
amending Rule 218, Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure; amending               
Rules 1, 3, 15, 18, and 19, Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules; and             
providing for an effective date."                                              
                                                                               
     - PASSED CSHB 375(HES) FROM COMMITTEE                                     
                                                                               
(* First public hearing)                                                       
                                                                               
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: HB 375                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN/FOSTER CARE                               
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                   
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
 2/02/98      2200     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
 2/02/98      2201     (H)  HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                            
 2/02/98      2201     (H)  INDETERMINATE FN (GOV/VARIOUS DEPTS)               
 2/02/98      2201     (H)  GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                      
 2/26/98               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                        
 2/26/98               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                        
 3/03/98               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                        
 3/03/98               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                        
 3/05/98               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                        
 3/05/98               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                        
 3/12/98               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                        
 3/12/98               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                        
 3/20/98               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                        
 3/20/98               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                        
 3/24/98               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                        
 3/24/98               (H)  MINUTE(HES)                                        
 4/02/98               (H)  HES AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                        
                                                                               
                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
                                                                               
SUSAN WIBKER, Assistant Attorney General                                       
Human Services Section                                                         
Civil Division                                                                 
Department of Law                                                              
1031 West 4th Avenue, Suite 200                                                
Anchorage, Alaska  99501-1994                                                  
Telephone:  (907) 269-5100                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
SUSAN COX, Chief, Assistant Attorney General                                   
Civil Division                                                                 
Department of Law                                                              
P.O. Box 110300                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                     
Telephone:  (907) 465-3600                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
LISA TORKELSON, Legislative Assistant                                          
   to Representative Fred Dyson                                                
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
State Capitol, Room 428                                                        
Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                     
Telephone:  (907) 465-3467                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
DR. MICHAEL PROPST, Medical Examiner                                           
Division of Public Health                                                      
Department of Health & Social Services                                         
5700 E. Tudor Road                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska  99508                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 269-5090                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on Amendment 3 of the proposed                  
                     committee substitute for HB 375.                          
                                                                               
RUSSELL WEBB, Deputy Commissioner                                              
Department of Health & Social Services                                         
P.O. Box 110601                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0601                                                     
Telephone:  (907) 465-3030                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on Amendment 3 of the proposed                  
                     committee substitute for HB 375.                          
                                                                               
DEAN GUANELI, Chief Assistant Attorney General                                 
Legal Services Section                                                         
Criminal Division                                                              
Department of Law                                                              
P.O. Box 110300                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                     
Telephone:  (907) 465-3428                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on Amendments 2 and 3 of the                    
                     proposed committee substitute for HB 375.                 
                                                                               
COLLEEN JAMES, Member                                                          
Homer Sexual Assault Response Team                                             
P.O. Box 915                                                                   
Homer, Alaska  99603                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 235-0207                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on Amendments 2 and 3 of the                    
                     proposed committee substitute for HB 375.                 
                                                                               
DR. MICHAEL DURFEE, Chairman                                                   
Child Death Review Team for the United States                                  
241 North Figueroa, Room 306                                                   
Los Angeles, CA  90012                                                         
Telephone:  (213) 240-8146                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on Amendments 2 and 3 of                        
                     proposed committee substitute for HB 375.                 
                                                                               
JAYNE ANDREEN, Executive Director                                              
Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault                                  
Department of Public Safety                                                    
P.O. Box 111200                                                                
Juneau, Alaska  99811-1200                                                     
Telephone:  (907) 465-4356                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on Amendment 7 of proposed                      
                     committee substitute for HB 375.                          
                                                                               
SUZETTE GRAHAM, Foster parent                                                  
P.O. Box 383                                                                   
Kenai, Alaska 99611                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 776-8658                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
MICHAEL BRANDNER, M.D.                                                         
1200 Airport Heights Drive                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska  99508                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 272-9991                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
HARRY NIEHAUS, Representative                                                  
Guardians of Family Rights                                                     
P.O. Box 55455                                                                 
North Pole, Alaska  99705                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 488-9328                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
WALTER GAUTHIER                                                                
P.O. Box 2246                                                                  
Homer, Alaska  99603                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 235-2809                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
SHIRLEY WARNER, Chief of Police                                                
Soldotna Police Department                                                     
44510 Sterling Highway                                                         
Soldotna, Alaska  99669                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 262-4455                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
DIANA BUFFINGTON, President and State Coordinator                              
  for the Children's Rights Council and Chairman,                              
  Alaska Task Force on Family Law Reform                                       
317 Maple                                                                      
Kodiak, Alaska  99615                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 486-2290                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
MARCI SCHMIDT                                                                  
2040 Wasilla Fishhook Road                                                     
Wasilla, Alaska  99654                                                         
Telephone:  (907) 357-3618                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
JENNIFER TAYLOR                                                                
Box 424                                                                        
Craig, Alaska 99921                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 826-3066                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
BLAIR MCCUNE, Deputy Director                                                  
Public Defender Agency                                                         
Department of Administration                                                   
900 West 5th Avenue, Suite 200                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska  99501-2090                                                  
Telephone:  (907) 264-4400                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
CURREY COOK, Attorney                                                          
Office of Public Advocacy                                                      
Department of Administration                                                   
900 West 5th Avenue, Number 525                                                
Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 269-3500                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
SCOTT CALDER                                                                   
P.O. Box 75011                                                                 
Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 474-0174                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
ARTHUR HANSEN                                                                  
1329 McGrath Road                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska  99712                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 457-4638                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
BOBBIE NIEHAUS                                                                 
P.O. Box 55455                                                                 
North Pole, Alaska  99705                                                      
Telephone:  (907) 488-9328                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
PAM KARALUNAS                                                                  
P.O. Box 73893                                                                 
Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 456-2866                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
JOHNNY GRAMES, Representative                                                  
DADS, Alaska                                                                   
P.O. Box 100827                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska  99510                                                       
Telephone:  (907) 274-3237                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on proposed committee substitute                
                     for HB 375.                                               
                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
                                                                               
TAPE 98-42, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0008                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN CON BUNDE called the House Health, Education and Social               
Services Standing Committee meeting to order at 3:15 p.m.  Members             
present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Green,                
Porter, Dyson, Kemplen and Brice.  Representative Vezey was absent.            
                                                                               
HB 375 - CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN/FOSTER CARE                                   
                                                                               
Number 0021                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE announced the committee would address HB 375, Crimes            
Against Children.  The order in which he planned to proceed was to             
adopt the new committee substitute, consider the amendments and                
then take public testimony.                                                    
                                                                               
Number 0113                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN made a motion to adopt proposed committee             
substitute 0-GH2009\F, Lauterbach, 4/1/98, as a work draft.  There             
being no objection, that version was before the committee.                     
                                                                               
Number 0149                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON said his office and the various people               
within the Administration working on this bill are very close in               
agreement on this committee substitute, as well as the forthcoming             
amendments.                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 0259                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 1.                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE objected for discussion purposes and asked                      
Representative Dyson to explain Amendment 1.                                   
                                                                               
Number 0298                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON explained that one of the things that came up             
in the Child Protection Task Force was the need for coordination               
and communication between all the agencies involved in the                     
investigation of crimes against children - children in need of aid             
- and this amendment sets up the multidisciplinary child protection            
teams, establishes the mechanism for the protocols and provides the            
authority for cross-communication of confidential information.                 
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE surmised that Section 61 of the proposed committee              
substitute had intentionally been left blank and Amendment 1                   
establishes the multidisciplinary child protection team.                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said that was correct.                                    
                                                                               
Number 0394                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE J. ALLEN KEMPLEN mentioned that the question of who             
would take the lead on the multidisciplinary child protection teams            
had been raised at the previous meeting.  He didn't see any                    
language in Amendment 1 to identify accountability for the team or             
in other words, "where the buck stops."                                        
                                                                               
Number 0433                                                                    
                                                                               
SUSAN WIBKER, Assistant Attorney General, Human Services Section,              
Civil Division, Department of Law, responded the buck doesn't stop             
with the team.  She explained the team is set up under the                     
Department of Health & Social Services because someone in that                 
department would have the statutory authority to pull a team                   
together, but it's set up so a team can virtually take a life of               
its own to meet a community need.  The team does not independently             
do any work; it reviews a compilation of data and advises the                  
department so the team is not responsible for anything,  the                   
department is the responsible agency.  She explained this                      
consulting and advisory team would gather information, share                   
information, decide what child protection problem existed in a                 
community and how to go about solving the problem.  For example, if            
the problem in a community is that people feel not enough cases are            
prosecuted, the team would work together toward that goal of                   
sharing more information between police, prosecutors and social                
workers.  Or if the problem in a community is the feeling that the             
Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS) is over-reaching and              
taking kids into custody who are just being disciplined and not                
abused, then the goal of the team might be to give advice and                  
consultation to the department.  She said the team is set up to be             
very flexible, with broad authority to meet a community need in the            
area of child protection.  In answer to Representative Kemplen's               
question, the department is responsible; it always has the                     
responsibility for the decisions it makes for placing children and             
for removing children.                                                         
                                                                               
Number 0557                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER surmised the language on page 2, line              
20 of Amendment 1 is not intended to protect an individual from                
gross negligence or an intentional bad act.                                    
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER pointed out the team doesn't do anything other than                 
gather and review information.  She added, "The department is the              
actor - under the department so they'd have the same level of                  
responsibility -- I think we rewrote that part of the statute so               
that immunity is not increased, liability is the same."                        
                                                                               
Number 0645                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE questioned why the team needs to be indemnified, if             
the team doesn't do anything.                                                  
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER explained that most of the people on the team will be               
state employees and will have the protection of a state employee,              
while a private person, such as a pediatrician, won't have the same            
protection without this language and the fear is that no one would             
want to be on a team.                                                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said he suspected this language will not                 
remain as it is and perhaps may even be strickened altogether                  
unless it's changed to become somewhat more palatable.  He thought             
that standard protection against liability from the state or most              
municipalities doesn't cover gross negligence and intentional bad              
acts.                                                                          
                                                                               
Number 0735                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if Representative Porter was suggesting the               
language "except for gross negligence and intentional bad acts" be             
added.                                                                         
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER advised that Susan Cox, Assistant Attorney General, was             
available to respond to that issue.                                            
                                                                               
Number  0750                                                                   
                                                                               
SUSAN COX, Chief, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division,                  
Department of Law, said the language in Amendment 1, subsection (h)            
regarding immunity, or lack of liability, stems from the Governor's            
original bill.  It was crafted to encourage people to serve on such            
teams and also to make clear that the functions of the team can't              
form the basis of a new tort or civil cause of action - that the               
team is consulting and providing advice to the department and it's             
the department's actions that will be subject to possible                      
liability.  She said it would be possible, if the committee                    
prefers, not to immunize team members for what they are doing in               
consulting with the department, but instead wants to leave an                  
exception available for bringing suits resulting from gross                    
negligence or intentional misconduct.  In fact, that is done many              
places in the state statutes; in other words, there's immunity                 
unless someone can prove gross negligence or intentional                       
misconduct.                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 0830                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER inquired if the team is going to get                     
together, go to an office, pour over documents, form an opinion,               
give the opinion and then leave, would there be no circumstance                
they would ever be in the field doing some follow up.                          
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER said they may in their individual duties if involved in             
a specific case.  For example, a police officer might gain                     
information from the team that would prompt the officer to                     
interview more witnesses.                                                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER interjected, ".... in order to form their                
opinion of recommendation for the team response."                              
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if Representative Porter's concern had been               
satisfied?                                                                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said it had been.                                        
                                                                               
Number 0935                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE observed this team is created to                      
investigate and evaluate, yet if the team suspects child abuse or              
neglect, the determinations, conclusions or recommendations of the             
team or its members are not admissible in a civil or criminal                  
proceeding.  He wondered what the purpose of the team is if it's               
not to take action and if it's not to take action, he didn't                   
understand why the indemnity was needed.  He asked if "child                   
advocacy center" was defined in statute?                                       
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER responded not that she was familiar with.                           
                                                                               
Number 0993                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE emphasized the importance of having child                 
advocates on the team and asked Representative Dyson to comment.               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said the "Alaska Cares" child advocacy center             
operating in Southcentral Alaska, has medical experts and the                  
equipment for interviewing and recording the evidence for crimes               
against children and children who are victims of neglect.                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE commented the Resource Center for Parents and             
Children in Fairbanks doesn't provide precisely those types of                 
services, but does provide parenting classes and family services.              
He wondered if in Representative Dyson's thinking that would fall              
within the purview of a child advocacy center.                                 
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said, "Certainly, Representative Brice,                   
advocacy for children is important.  What we're talking about here             
though is investigating children where there's either severe                   
neglect or abuse and it's largely a part of an investigative team;             
part of a decision making team."                                               
                                                                               
Number 1109                                                                    
                                                                               
LISA TORKELSON, Legislative Assistant to Representative Fred Dyson,            
said a staff person at "Alaska Care" had informed her of a child               
advocacy center that's near completion called "The Children's                  
Place" in the Mat-Su Valley.  It won't have the medical services on            
site like Alaska Care does but it will provide investigative                   
services.  She noted that Fairbanks is talking about starting a                
similar facility.  The language in the amendment would provide the             
means once there are more advocacy centers operating.                          
                                                                               
Number 1151                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE inquired if there was a need to include a                 
definition of child advocacy center.                                           
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE said he would feel more comfortable with it defined             
and it may be something that should be addressed later on.                     
                                                                               
Number 1167                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said one of the key purposes of the                       
multidisciplinary team is to minimize the impact on the child, and             
having the people involved in investigating crimes against children            
together for parts of the investigation minimizes the impact on the            
child by reducing the number of interviews.  Another part is to                
bring the public safety individuals, prosecutors, medical experts,             
and others together who can see and record the physical damage to              
the child, but bring in a child advocate to keep overzealous police            
and prosecutors from frightening the child.   He stated pulling all            
these individuals together will minimize the impact on the child               
and also will bring the needed expertise together because no one of            
these team members has it all.                                                 
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE stated he would like to see that put in definition              
and brought before the Judiciary Committee, the next committee of              
referral.                                                                      
                                                                               
Number 1246                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER requested clarification on the relationship              
between subsection (f) and (g) of Amendment 1.  Subsection (f) says            
the determinations, conclusions, and recommendations of a team or              
its members are not admissible in a civil or criminal proceeding               
but (g) says notwithstanding (f), an employee of the department may            
testify in a civil or criminal proceeding even though the testimony            
is based on those records.  He said, "I think I understand that                
relationship.  A person cannot be compelled, who was a member of               
the team, to present testimony in a case that isn't a criminal                 
prosecution or a civil hearing that came out as a result of that               
work but (g) allows them to do that.  But (f) says if it doesn't               
have anything to do with that, they're not compelled to release                
that information if they don't choose to."                                     
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER said the provisions of (f) are to keep every member of              
the team from being subpoenaed to depositions, et cetera.  She                 
added, "I mean if you had a criminal prosecution, you don't want a             
defense attorney to subpoena every person on the team - expose to              
the jury all the disagreements and discussion within the team - and            
then say there's reasonable doubt.  We want the agency with                    
responsibility to testify.  Their opinion may have been swayed by              
something they learned from the team, but making that opinion is               
part of their job and their responsibility and they're responsible             
for their opinion."                                                            
                                                                               
Number 1329                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said, "I guess the basis that I'm trying to              
get at is that a member of a team that discovers a crime, as a                 
result of this inquiry, can certainly pursue it."                              
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER agreed and said the team is also made a mandated                    
reporter of harm; in other words, if the team discovers child abuse            
or a crime, they have to report it.                                            
                                                                               
Number 1351                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE noted that previously a team had been established to            
investigate Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and a police                   
officer who was a member of that team, suspected homicide but                  
wasn't able to share that information.  Chairman Bunde sought                  
verification that (g) would prevent a similar situation from                   
happening; if there is evidence of a crime, members of the team                
would not be prevented from sharing information with law                       
enforcement.                                                                   
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER replied, "Not at all."                                              
                                                                               
Number 1380                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said his concern had been this team was being             
created to investigate child abuse and neglect and not allowing it             
the ability to testify or to disseminate any of the information                
that it had gathered.                                                          
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER maintained the people on the team would testify as part             
of their regular job duties, but they can't be subpoenaed to                   
testify as to what was learned on the team or what happened in the             
team meetings, et cetera.  For example, a police officer as a                  
member of the team who becomes aware of an investigative lead that             
is pursued as a police officer, can testify in a criminal or civil             
proceeding based on their work as a police officer, even though the            
lead was gained from the team.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 1436                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was further discussion on                        
Amendment 1.  He withdrew his objection. There being no further                
objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                            
                                                                               
Number 1457                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON requested he be allowed to bypass Amendment 2             
and address Amendment 3, because he isn't convinced which is the               
best path in terms of the child fatality review teams.                         
                                                                               
Number 1516                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested Amendments 2 and 3 be address                   
simultaneously.                                                                
                                                                               
Number 1528                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to adopt Amendments 2 and 3.                
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE objected for discussion purposes.                         
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Ms. Wibker to explain Amendment 3.                  
                                                                               
Number 1552                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER explained Amendment 3 is the same child fatality review             
team model, headed by the state medical examiner, as proposed in               
the original HB 375.  She stated Dr. Propst was available to                   
testify on the model proposed in Amendment 3 by Representative                 
Brice.  She noted Representative Dyson has proposed an alternative             
model of a child fatality review team and may have testimony to                
support a different model.                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Dr. Propst to come forward to the witness                 
table and address Amendment 3.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 1588                                                                    
                                                                               
DR. MICHAEL PROPST, Medical Examiner, Division of Public Health,               
Department of Health & Social Services, said Amendment 3 keeps the             
child fatality team and the local and regional teams under the                 
office of the state medical examiner.  The wording in Amendment 3              
is permissive and allows for the establishment of local and                    
regional teams, but does not mandate it.  He said the other                    
portions are in essence very similar in Amendment 2 and 3.                     
                                                                               
Number 1620                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE explained that Amendment 3 is permissive in allowing            
the state medical examiner to appoint local, regional and district             
child care fatality review teams whereas Amendment 2 says the                  
district attorney or a designee shall establish the child fatality             
review teams. His concern with the permissive is getting into a                
situation where the state medical examiner could be too busy or                
distracted to establish these teams.  He asked Dr. Propst to                   
comment.                                                                       
                                                                               
DR. PROPST said the thing that's keeping the local, regional and               
district fatality review teams from being established now is the               
establishment of a statewide team and the protocols for it, which              
is a work in progress.  Additionally, it's necessary to have the               
budget to support local and regional teams, even though people on              
those teams may not be getting paid directly by the state, monies              
would have to be expended in travel and per diem and there's no                
provision for that.  He commented perhaps May of 1998 is not the               
time for local and regional teams, but it may very well be an                  
accomplished fact by May 1999.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 1692                                                                    
                                                                               
RUSSELL WEBB, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Health & Social               
Services, testified that over year ago, the department discovered              
a number of deaths that had not been identified as potential                   
homicides or the result of child abuse and neglect, that should                
have been looked at, followed up on and prosecuted.  The department            
established a team in May through the state medical examiner's                 
office to ensure that child deaths were looked at, reviewed and                
that deaths resulting from crimes or from abuse and neglect that               
might not have risen to a crime, but left some surviving siblings              
at risk were identified.  He noted there were only about 150 child             
deaths per year in Alaska.  He said there are a limited number of              
forensic pathologists in the state, two are employed by the state              
medical examiner.  He explained the team was established through               
the medical examiner's office because all suspicious deaths get                
reviewed through the medical examiner's office, the medical                    
examiner works closely with prosecutors and with police agencies               
statewide in order to investigate those deaths, and has certain                
authorities to make and determine cause and manner of death.  It               
was set up so the medical examiner could gather all the                        
information, pull in additional expertise from a variety of other              
disciplines including prosecutors, police agencies, social workers             
and others who could help inform the medical examiner's decisions              
and opinions and make certain cases were identified that needed to             
be addressed.  He said the original HB 375 contained the potential             
to set up local teams.  One of the main differences between the two            
amendments is the permissiveness for the medical examiner, under               
his auspices, to establish local teams.  Amendment 3 has broad                 
authority to pull in critical information, review it and make it               
available to the team.  He said the medical examiner has that                  
authority because of his statutory responsibilities.  On the other             
hand, setting up a local team with the same authority, as Amendment            
2 does, sets up the team outside the medical examiner's office with            
the same access to the medical examiner's records and other                    
records, but not the same responsibilities and authorities that the            
medical examiner has.  Additionally, setting up local teams where              
there may not be a child death to review seems somewhat unnecessary            
and the expertise may not be available at the local level.  He                 
acknowledged there is a need for local agencies to coordinate                  
investigations and make information available which is what he                 
thought Representative Dyson was trying to attain.  However, given             
the number of child deaths that occur in the state and the limited             
availability of the kind of expertise needed for these cases, it               
appears to make more sense to operate a team through the medical               
examiner's auspices under his authority.                                       
                                                                               
Number 1865                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Mr. Guaneli if he had an opinion on the extent            
of the burden Amendment 2 would place on the district attorney or              
his designee, including the fiscal impact.                                     
                                                                               
Number 1878                                                                    
                                                                               
DEAN GUANELI, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Legal Services                 
Section, Criminal Division, Department of Law, said the duties                 
specifically set out in Amendment 2 are limited enough so there                
would probably be little or no fiscal impact on the Department of              
Law.  He did have additional concerns, however, that had not been              
addressed by either Dr. Propst or Mr. Webb.  He said, "It strikes              
me that the version in the original bill for the local teams set up            
by the medical examiner would be to aid the medical examiner in                
case something happened locally, information was more available                
locally than where the medical examiner is located and for the                 
needs of the medical examiner.  It's not totally clear to me                   
precisely the intent of the local team set out in Amendment 2.  The            
district attorney is supposed to set up a team - to set up a group             
to establish protocols and then the protocols will determine who is            
on the local team and the protocols will then -- then the local                
agencies will then determine under the first part of this, when an             
investigation is warranted by the local child fatality review team.            
But it's not clear to me what that local team is supposed to do.               
It's not clear that it's supposed to aid the medical examiner, it's            
not clear whether it is to aid a police investigation; it's sort of            
left unstated as to precisely what the local team is to do.  And               
that's why I think that the original version which was more                    
directly connected to the medical examiner's responsibilities to               
determine cause and manner and be a resource for a (indisc.), is               
probably the preferable approach unless it's more explicitly stated            
what this other idea of a local team is to do.  And so I think                 
that, again, as Mr. Webb said, the state medical examiner has                  
certain responsibilities - those responsibilities in some cases may            
be met better by having a local team in operation, but short of                
that, I'm honestly a little confused as to precisely what the team             
is supposed to do."                                                            
                                                                               
Number 1987                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON thought the duties of the local team under                
Amendment 2 were spelled out fairly well on pages 3-5.                         
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Representative Dyson to explain why he                    
preferred Amendment 2 over Amendment 3.                                        
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON requested he have an opportunity to ask a few             
questions of Dr. Propst before stating the reasons for his                     
preference.                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 2012                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked how long Dr. Propst had been in his                 
current position.                                                              
                                                                               
DR. PROPST replied since it was established by the legislature in              
1993.                                                                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON recalled that Commissioner Perdue had                     
requested a review of some child fatalities that had occurred and              
as a result of that review, a number of cases were identified as               
questionable and may have been homicides.                                      
                                                                               
MR. WEBB stated, "The review the commissioner asked for related to             
one child homicide.  What had been identified in a report done by              
another group that really is sort of a public health,                          
epidemiological review of child deaths - infant deaths actually -              
over a period of time that covered about a three year period prior             
to the establishment of the medical examiner, identified a number              
of deaths that potentially at least, were believed to be cases that            
should have been investigated by police agencies.  Dr. Propst                  
actually sits as a member of that group and helped to identify                 
those cases."                                                                  
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON confirmed that previous to three years ago,               
the state did not have a state medical examiner.                               
                                                                               
MR. WEBB confirmed that.                                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked if the state medical examiner does an               
autopsy on every child that dies in the state.                                 
                                                                               
DR. PROPST replied every child that dies in the state that's                   
reported to the medical examiner's office almost without exception,            
gets an autopsy.                                                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON inquired if that practice was new in the last             
three years.                                                                   
                                                                               
DR. PROPST said in part, yes.  He explained there were cases not               
referred to autopsies occasionally under the old coroner system.               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON confirmed that wouldn't happen now under the              
medical examiner's office.                                                     
                                                                               
DR. PROPST replied, "That won't happen now."                                   
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked if the practice of reviewing every child            
death was in law or regulation.                                                
                                                                               
DR. PROPST explained, "I must have all child deaths that basically             
fit the medical examiner criteria - suddenly, unexpectedly, from               
homicide, accidents, suicide -- there are a list of nine criteria              
in AS 12.65.005(a) which line out the cases that get referred to               
the medical examiner which basically have to do with suspicious and            
unusual deaths.  .... we will be doing autopsies on virtually every            
child that gets referred to us under that statute.  Children who               
die from natural causes - it's unfortunate, but we know that kids              
get leukemia and things like that - are not referred to the medical            
examiner.  They die under medical care and they're not unattended              
deaths.  Basically, it is the unattended deaths of children that               
are referred to the medical examiner - the unattended deaths of                
adults for that matter."                                                       
                                                                               
Number 2154                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said his interest in having this at the local             
level is that local people have more knowledge than the medical                
examiner of other dynamics that are happening and can "blow the                
whistle."  He referred to the case in Fairbanks in which the DFYS              
worker saw a child's funeral notice or obituary, suspected wrong               
doing and contacted the police to institute an investigation.                  
                                                                               
Number 2197                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if replacing "may" with "shall" in Amendment 3            
would accomplish what Representative Dyson was trying to establish.            
                                                                               
Number 2211                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON responded, "When we were working on the                   
multidisciplinary team - switching subjects - last summer in the               
Governor's task force, people said, 'Ten years ago, we used to do              
this; we used to have these people get together and have these                 
conversations and we were exchanging that kind of information' and             
Chief Porter was a part of that and probably had something to keep             
it going.  And so I asked the question 'What happened?'                        
Personalities changed, priorities changed and it drifted away and              
we're certainly not naive enough to think that putting mandatory               
language in the law is going to make it work well.  But if it's                
mandatory that the people gather to exchange this information and              
so on, at least there's more hope that it happens.  You need to be             
doing your job perfectly - or nearly - and so on, what happens when            
another administration puts somebody less competent or less caring             
in there as a political favor and they sit there and draw their                
check and don't zealously go after investigating all these crimes              
and are not doing as diligent a job as I think and hope you're                 
doing."                                                                        
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said he would think about Chairman Bunde's                
suggestion of replacing "may" with "shall".                                    
                                                                               
Number 2271                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE referred to page 3 of Amendment 3 and asked if            
the requirement that a death of a child be reviewed by the state               
child fatality review team within 48 hours of the report being                 
received by the medical examiner is realistic.                                 
                                                                               
DR. PROPST said his office responds when notification of the death             
is received and the investigation of that death is begun at the                
time his office is first notified of the death.  So, 48 hours is               
reasonable as long as someone doesn't wait to notify the medical               
examiner's office of the death.  He noted that by statute a body               
cannot be moved without permission of the medical examiner's                   
office, which is sort of a check to ensure the medical examiner's              
office is notified of these kinds of deaths.                                   
                                                                               
Number 2327                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER understood the motivation for the need to get            
this resolved, but he's generally found it's not a good idea to try            
to write law based on a single exception that may never happen                 
again.  He favored the composition of Amendment 3 because it has               
the likelihood of establishing a protocol that will be consistent              
throughout the state ....                                                      
                                                                               
TAPE 98-42, SIDE B                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER continued ....district attorney in Juneau                
looking at it one way and the district attorney in Fairbanks                   
looking at it another way.  He stated, "I think "shall" instead of             
"may" is fine.  I think that what it would probably allow would be             
Dr. Propst to coordinate with these agencies in establishing the               
beginning of the formation of the protocol or probably putting the             
final touches on one that's already been in progress for some time,            
getting a list of names of the folks from those departments that               
would want to participate if the call comes so that it can be                  
activated in the 48 hour period rather than just springing it on               
the first occasion that it comes up, but the reports we're                     
interested in come to the medical examiner.  That's why we created             
that law a few years ago.   That I think is a very appropriate                 
place for them to start and on the team - very important to team -             
is a member of the district attorney's office."                                
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE noted that Colleen James, member of the Homer Sexual            
Assault Response Team (SART), was available to comment on                      
Amendments 2 and 3 from Homer.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 0065                                                                    
                                                                               
COLLEEN JAMES, Member, Homer Sexual Assault Response Team,                     
testified via teleconference from Homer in support of a local child            
fatality review team that would be formed through the district                 
attorney's office.  She pointed out she has been a registered nurse            
in Alaska since 1987 and in the early 1990s she became concerned               
about the standard of care for victims of sexual assault in Alaska.            
Homer founded the first sexual assault response team and had the               
first sexual assault response team training in the state.  The team            
starting evaluating both pediatric and adult clients in 1994.  She             
has provided training in sexual assault response teams to                      
approximately 11 communities in the state.  She explained her                  
motivation for testifying is to express her support of the process             
and her desire that it be implemented the right way.  She noted                
that Alaska has the advantage in that all the other states have                
already started this process, so Alaska can determine what's worked            
well in other states.  By and large, the majority of the states                
have formed teams that operate locally.                                        
                                                                               
MS. JAMES noted that in terms of the multidisciplinary teams, in               
order to even call it a multidisciplinary team, certain things are             
required and no one agency can own these teams; they are                       
independent and the people who make up the teams are all equal.                
She said real change in a community happens on a local level and               
has to come from within the community.  The other part is a peer               
review process because agencies have to look at themselves and it's            
not a punitive process as much as it's the opportunity to improve              
services to victims.  She said it has little to do with the medical            
examiner's office because the autopsy is only one of many pieces of            
information gathered.                                                          
                                                                               
MS. JAMES set up a hypothetical situation of a nine-year-old child             
who fell from a window, the body is sent to Anchorage, the medical             
examiner does an autopsy and the report indicates a blunt force                
penetrating trauma to the head as the cause of death.  That report             
just basically relates the mechanism of the injury of death.  The              
real work of the team then is to look at the agency and the people             
that have surrounded that child before death.  If the team begins              
with emergency medical service (EMS) responders, they may relate               
that upon arriving at the house, the younger brother was crying,               
"You killed him, you killed him" and no one else in the household              
would talk except the father.  The child's teacher reveals the                 
child wasn't himself for the last three weeks - his clothes were               
dirty, his grades were going down, he disrupted the class, and                 
didn't want to talk to anyone about what was going on.  A visit to             
the hospital could reveal the mother had been treated for domestic             
violence on several occasions, did not want to file a report and               
reported that her children were not at risk.  The next door                    
neighbor could convey there seemed to be a lot of parties with                 
alcohol and a lot of people in and out of the house at all hours,              
kids were out late and had no supervision, he's heard yelling and              
was afraid of the father because he had an explosive temper.  A                
check with DFYS staff could indicate the child was supposed to be              
in the custody of the grandmother, but the case worker had been out            
for the past month, and conversations with an aunt and uncle reveal            
the grandmother has been in the hospital in Anchorage and the                  
father would not allow the child to stay with them.                            
                                                                               
MS. JAMES stressed this is an example of the community process                 
involved and the information offered by the medical examiner's                 
office is a very small piece of the entire picture.  She said, "If             
you take death away from a community, then how a community changes             
in response to death, it just isn't going to happen.  The community            
has to own that death and all of the people that were involved with            
that child need to have a little piece of that responsibility.  And            
then agencies start talking to one another and things really start             
changing on the community level which is where real, real important            
change takes place.  We learn to protect our living children by the            
lessons that we learn from our dead children."                                 
                                                                               
MS. JAMES asked the committee to formulate this process in Alaska              
on a community level and to make agencies within the community                 
accountable for their actions.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 0293                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON expressed his appreciation to Ms. James for               
her testimony.  He said the medical examiner and others in the                 
Administration argue the models that work in the Lower 48 don't                
apply to Alaska because there's only three certified forensic                  
physicians in the state and because Alaska has such a dispersed                
population causing difficulty in travel and communication it needs             
to be centralized in the medical examiner's office.  He asked Ms.              
James to comment on that argument.                                             
                                                                               
MS. JAMES said that's no longer a very valid argument in this age              
of telecommunications.  She has a computer program which allows her            
to send x-rays, pictures and other information in a matter of                  
seconds when she needs a second opinion.  While it is true there               
isn't any pathologist on a local team, the medical examiner has                
already determined the cause of death and the team needs to                    
determine the community's responsibility to the death.                         
                                                                               
Number 0359                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER observed that a lot of "how they do it                   
Outside" is generated by the governmental structures and many of               
the requirements,  functions and jurisdictions are formed within               
counties not the state.  In King County in Washington State for                
example, the entire process of investigation, prosecution, defense,            
adjudication, et cetera, is a county system.  The good news is that            
Alaska doesn't have that structure - we have one system - the court            
system, the prosecutor system, judicial system and the medical                 
examiner system.  He assumed that teams would have to go to areas              
where basic departments represented don't exist and a team in                  
Fairbanks would probably have different components than a team in              
Anchorage, so there would not only be local knowledge, but                     
consistency through this process as opposed to the other.                      
                                                                               
Number 0425                                                                    
                                                                               
DR. PROPST pointed out there is a problem with Ms. James' concept              
of forensic pathology; it's not just doing an autopsy and making a             
list of things that are broken.  In the example of the child                   
falling from the window, the medical examiner's office would be                
very interested in knowing if he jumped, was he pushed, or did he              
fall and the medical examiner's office starts gathering evidence               
from the first notification the kid came out the window in order to            
make a determination.  Local police agencies are also very                     
interested in trying to get the answers and have access to the                 
DFYS, local investigators and those types of individuals.  The                 
medical examiner is charged not only with determining the cause of             
death, but also the manner of death whether it be an accident,                 
suicide or homicide which is sometimes the hardest part.                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON inquired what happened in the Fairbanks                   
situation where it wasn't until a DFYS worker "blew the whistle"               
that someone started investigating the child's death as a homicide.            
                                                                               
DR. PROPST said that death was investigated by his office as a                 
homicide from the start.  It was never not investigated as a                   
homicide by his office, as is every death until proven it's not a              
homicide.                                                                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked if Dr. Propst found evidence that led               
him to think it was a homicide.                                                
                                                                               
DR. PROPST replied, "The evidence in that case was soft; the                   
evidence in that case was very subtle.  We have findings very                  
consistent with what turned out to be the facts.  Could they have              
been consistent with other scenarios?  Yes."                                   
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated a concern he has with Amendment 3 is               
that it leaves the starting of the process and the investigation               
with the medical examiner's office, not the other team players who             
may be very suspicious of the cause of death.                                  
                                                                               
Number 0535                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. WEBB asked that he be allowed to briefly respond to the                    
Fairbanks case.  As Dr. Propst said, his office began investigating            
that death as a potential homicide from the outset.  Frankly, the              
breakdown in that case was at the local level - at the local                   
hospital where local physicians failed to identify the potential               
suspicious cause of death of that child; the local police agency               
that failed to identify the suspicious nature of that child's                  
death.                                                                         
                                                                               
Number 0558                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. GUANELI responding to Representative Dyson's comment, said,                
"What the statute in either amendment says as to the state child               
fatality review team is  - and this gets back to Representative                
Brice's argument or question about is 48 hours realistic or                    
unrealistic - what it says is unless the child's death is currently            
being investigated by a law enforcement agency, the team will get              
together within 48 hours.  So I think this anticipates that the                
initial responders - the people immediately on the scene will be a             
local law enforcement agency investigation and the state child                 
fatality review team is not required to get together until that                
investigation may be complete and all the information that the                 
medical examiner needs is available to the medical examiner because            
of a local investigation.  So I think this anticipates - (indisc.)             
does not in fact require the medical examiner and the state team to            
jump on it immediately.  They can wait until all the information is            
collected at the local level and I think that that recognizes that             
there is a local response needed and I don't think that anything in            
Amendment 3 precludes the kind of local cooperation that Nurse                 
James is suggesting.  I think that's important."                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked Dr. Propst what he anticipated doing to             
encourage and facilitate the forming of local teams as appropriate             
throughout the state.                                                          
                                                                               
DR. PROPST said he would send out a mailer-type of inquiry to                  
solicit people who might be interested in serving on such a team,              
reviewing the names that are returned and selecting people in                  
specific areas.                                                                
                                                                               
Number 0644                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said his particular interest is that the team             
be formal, getting together and developing protocols that will                 
define their duties and how to go about it, agreeing to meet on                
some basis and deciding the criteria for what causes them to come              
together when there's a child fatality.  In his mind, it's                     
important the team be institutionalized in a sense, in the event               
that Dr. Propst with his enthusiasm, isn't around.                             
                                                                               
DR. PROPST commented that was interesting - what does the team do              
when there's no death to review.  He pointed out that Nurse James              
called from Homer and he knows for a fact there has not been a                 
child death in Homer at least in the past year.                                
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON replied, "The only thing I would say that they            
do is do whatever's necessary to keep themselves informed and                  
trained to do their work.  I particularly am not interested in any             
groups having meetings just to have meetings, but so that team like            
any ad hoc group that's there for a specific purpose is very ready             
to grab their kit bag and go to work whenever needed."                         
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE announced that Dr. Durfee was standing by to                    
testify.                                                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON informed Dr. Durfee of the individuals in                 
attendance and the topic of discussion was the child fatality                  
review team and whether it should be under the district attorney's             
office or under the medical examiner's office.  He asked Dr. Durfee            
to testify.                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 0719                                                                    
                                                                               
DR. MICHAEL DURFEE, Chairman, Child Death Review Team for the                  
United States, said about 42 states have state teams and local                 
teams and the rest of the states have local teams only.  Some                  
places like Ohio have the majority of the population under local               
teams, and has yet to build a state teams.  The teams at the state             
level (indisc.) function to serve the local level.  He explained               
there are three parts to a team.  One is membership, including at              
the minimum a coroner, law enforcement, prosecuting attorney, and              
child protective services; the second component is that the team               
functions as a systematic peer review; and the third component is              
(indisc.).   The debate as he understood was whether the district              
attorney should be in charge or the coroner should be in charge.               
In charge means responsible, not authority.  Note:  The rest of Dr.            
Durfee's testimony is indiscernible.                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON noted that Alaska has a sparse population                 
spread over hundreds of thousands of square miles without roads.               
                                                                               
DR. DURFEE agreed that Alaska is different.  The Yukon Territory               
had come to him with the same question and structurally  is                    
designing a program with an official team whose job it is to                   
provide services more available in urban areas, but there are the              
local teams doing the primary case management because they are the             
people who know about substance abuse, previous domestic violence,             
et cetera.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 1074                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked what Dr. Durfee viewed as the main                  
impediment of designating the chief medical examiner as the lead               
person as opposed to the district attorney.                                    
                                                                               
DR. DURFEE said he doesn't think it matters who the lead person is             
as long as that person sees themself as being responsible for the              
team rather than having the authority.  He added a leader gets                 
people excited about doing their job, gets the necessary resources             
for people to do their job; it's the person the community gathers              
around.                                                                        
                                                                               
Number 1157                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if Dr. Durfee's child fatality review               
teams were housed in the municipal government or state government.             
                                                                               
DR. DURFEE said the local teams are at the county level and the                
state team is at the state level with all members being government             
employees of various professions.                                              
                                                                               
Number 1299                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON noted he was slightly expanding Chairman                  
Bunde's suggestion and would momentarily have an amendment to                  
Amendment 3 stating "shall facilitate the selection of local teams"            
in addition to a couple of other minor wording changes.  He                    
explained he would move an amendment to Amendment 3 and the second             
part of his amendment would withdraw Amendment 2.                              
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE pointed out that Amendment 2 could be withdrawn at              
this time.  Hearing no objection, Amendment 2 was withdrawn.                   
                                                                               
Number 1387                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to amend Amendment 3 as follows:            
Line 3 delete "may appoint", insert "shall facilitate the formation            
of"; line 6, delete "appointed", insert "formed"; and on line 12,              
delete "appointed to" and insert "on".                                         
                                                                               
Number 1435                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE J. ALLEN KEMPLEN referenced line 3 of Amendment 3,              
and suggested deleting "and" and inserting "or" to clarify that                
three different teams - local, regional, and district child                    
fatality review teams - were not being mandated.                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON accepted that as a friendly amendment.                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if the committee members understood the                   
amendment to Amendment 3.  He asked if there was objection to                  
Amendment 3 as amended.  Hearing no objection, Amendment 3 as                  
amended was adopted.  He reiterated that Amendment 2 had been                  
withdrawn.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 1482                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 4.                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE objected for discussion and asked Representative                
Dyson to speak to Amendment 4.                                                 
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON noted the amendment was largely housekeeping              
and he would prefer that Ms. Wibker address the amendment.                     
                                                                               
Number 1555                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER said on page 29, line 29, Amendment 4 inserts "sexual               
abuse," following "abandonment," and inserts "chronic" following               
"torture,".  Additionally, on page 50, line 3, following "foster               
home." insert "The department may extend a provisional foster home             
license issued under this subsection for an additional period of up            
to 90 days in order to obtain the information from the national                
criminal background check required under AS 47.35.017(b)(6).".  She            
explained the current language in the proposed committee substitute            
states the department can issue an emergency license for 90 days               
but the Department of Public Safety has advised it often takes 180             
days to get a fingerprint background check back from the FBI.                  
Amendment 4 allows an additional 90 day period.                                
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON observed in this day of technology, it                    
shouldn't take that long to get information back.                              
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER pointed out that criminal investigation                  
access of the FBI's files is a priority and this type of background            
check for individuals in these types of positions is not high on               
the priority list.                                                             
                                                                               
Number 1681                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said this could be critical in that he                    
perceives the DFYS, desperately short of foster parents, has placed            
children in homes without much investigation and children have come            
to harm.  He inquired what the remedy might be.                                
                                                                               
Number 1717                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER responded that technology is increasing all              
the time.  He explained the state is using a state-of-the-art                  
system now for latent fingerprint examination and identification               
and that same technology and ability to run these kinds of checks              
is in the process at the federal level.                                        
                                                                               
Number 1761                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there were further questions on                        
Amendment 4.                                                                   
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said inasmuch as Representative Dyson had                 
brought up the issue of children being placed in dangerous foster              
homes, he questioned the logic of extending this period of time of             
uncertainty relating to foster parents.                                        
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE pointed out in some cases the FBI isn't getting the             
results of the background reports back to the state within 90 days             
and there's no way of knowing what the criminal background is until            
the report is received.                                                        
                                                                               
Number 1838                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE removed his objection to Amendment 4.                           
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was further objection to Amendment 4.            
Hearing none, Amendment 4 was adopted.                                         
                                                                               
Number 1921                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 5.                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE objected for discussion purposes.                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN requested an explanation of Amendment 5.                  
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE referred the committee to the language on page 14,              
line 19, which discusses the protection of a child before as well              
as after birth and said there are legal problems with that                     
verbiage.                                                                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON explained Amendment 5 changes the Findings                
section and puts the child's rights in context with family and                 
parental rights and responsibilities.                                          
                                                                               
Number 2046                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE made a motion to amend 5 on line 16, to delete                  
"before as well as".  Paragraph (F) would then read "the                       
responsibility to provide special safeguards and care, including               
appropriate protection after birth."                                           
                                                                               
Number 2074                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested it would read just as clear if the              
entire phrase "before as well as after birth" was deleted.                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE accepted that as a friendly amendment.                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON objected to the amendment to Amendment 5.  He             
explained the amendment was drafted to include "before as well as              
after birth" because of concerns with fetal alcohol syndrome,                  
neurological defects and the damage to children from parental                  
irresponsibility during pregnancy.                                             
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE said he understood and if the verbiage specifically             
addressed alcohol, he would certainly support it.  However,                    
according to Legislative Legal Services, the state cannot adopt a              
policy to enforce the DFYS to protect the life of an unborn child.             
He added AS 11.41.140 defines a person and this definition is not              
consistent with an unborn child.  The Division of Family and Youth             
Services has no authority over unborn children.                                
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER confirmed that.                                                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said likewise the DFYS doesn't have a                     
responsibility ....                                                            
                                                                               
TAPE 98-43, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0004                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON continued .... in essence, this is intent                 
language.                                                                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE didn't disagree and said he was willing to define               
"including appropriate protection" as requiring the mother to be               
sober.                                                                         
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE suggested "drug free" should be included.                 
                                                                               
After considerable discussion on the implications of that language,            
CHAIRMAN BUNDE stated he would prefer to leave it as "appropriate              
protection" and allow prosecutors the ability to follow up if it's             
not adequate.                                                                  
                                                                               
Number 0120                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE noted he had proposed an amendment to Amendment 5               
and inquired if there was objection.                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON objected.  He said for individuals concerned              
because the amendment is speaking to the welfare of the preborn                
child, the whole paragraph addresses the rights and                            
responsibilities of parents.                                                   
                                                                               
Number 0184                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE proposed the amendment to Amendment 5 on page 1,                
lines 15-16 of Amendment 5 read as follows: "the responsibility to             
provide special safeguards and care, including appropriate                     
protection of the child."                                                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON maintained his objection.                                 
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked for a roll call vote.  Representatives Brice,             
Kemplen, Porter, Green and Bunde voted in favor of the amendment to            
Amendment 5.  Representative Dyson voted against it.  Therefore,               
the amendment to Amendment 5 passed on a vote of 5-1.                          
                                                                               
Number 0463                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was further discussion on Amendment 5            
as amended.                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE pointed out the list of parental rights and               
responsibilities in Amendment 5, specifies everything except loving            
the child or nurturing the child.                                              
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE commented that safe and happy home covers much of               
that.                                                                          
                                                                               
Number 0643                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN noted he generally associates the word                  
"train" with the training of animals rather than human beings and              
proposed to amend Amendment 5 deleting "train" and inserting                   
"nurture" on line 7.                                                           
                                                                               
Number 0654                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON advised Representative Kemplen those same                 
phrases were used on page 2, line 5.                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN amended his amendment to Amendment 5 to                 
delete "train" and insert "nurture" on page 1, line 7 and page 2,              
line 5.                                                                        
                                                                               
Number 0682                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN offered a friendly amendment to retain the                
word "train" and insert "nurture".                                             
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN accepted the friendly amendment.                        
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was any objection to Amendment 5 as              
amended.  He explained page 1, line 7 and page 2, line 5 of                    
Amendment 5 would read "(B) the right and responsibility to                    
protect, nurture, train, and discipline the child;".                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked for an explanation as to the intent of             
the phrase "right and responsibility to obtain legal representation            
for, and make decisions of legal or financial significance                     
concerning, the child" on page 2, lines 6-7.                                   
                                                                               
MS. TORKELSON said, "We have a list of six on the top and we're                
matching them because this is only intent language.  We are also               
making sure that the following in Section 42 matched in statute.               
Right now Section 42 lists everything (A) through (C) and (E) and              
(F) and now it matches also at insert (D) into statute."                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON suggested this issue be addressed in the                  
Judiciary Committee.                                                           
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was any objection to Amendment 5 as              
amended.  Hearing none, Amendment 5 as amended was adopted.                    
                                                                               
Number 0889                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE made a motion to adopt Amendment 6.                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE objected for discussion.  He asked Representative               
Brice to address his amendment.                                                
                                                                               
Number 0897                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE explained Amendment 6 amends language on                  
page 15, lines 10-11, whereby the department will make reasonable              
efforts to arrange for visitation when a child has been removed                
from the home unless a mental health practitioner, professionally              
experienced with treating children determines the visitation would             
be harmful to the child.                                                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was objection to Amendment 6.                    
Hearing none, Amendment 6 was adopted.                                         
                                                                               
Number 1011                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 7.                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE objected for discussion purposes.  He asked                     
Representative Dyson to explain Amendment 7.                                   
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said Amendment 7 was requested by individuals             
involved with domestic violence.  He said, "It's a rebuttable                  
presumption that there's problems when there's domestic violence."             
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if Ms. Wibker would define "rebuttable              
presumption."                                                                  
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER said, "It's sort of like prima facie where you have a               
presumption and then the other side must undercut the presumption."            
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER interjected, "It stands unless it's                      
challenged."                                                                   
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE requested Jayne Andreen to come forward and speak to            
Amendment 7.                                                                   
                                                                               
Number 1092                                                                    
                                                                               
JAYNE ANDREEN, Executive Director, Council on Domestic Violence &              
Sexual Assault, Department of Public Safety, said the concept of               
rebuttable presumption in proceedings involving domestic violence              
comes from the model code from the National Council of Juvenile and            
Family Court Judges.  Much of Alaska's law is based on the model               
code and this piece is important to complete Alaska's law.                     
Basically, it says there is a presumption that if a parent is an               
offender of domestic violence, it is not in the best interest of               
the child to be placed in the custody of or have visitation with               
that parent.  It changes the current law by taking the onus of the             
burden of proof in the proceedings from the nonoffending parent and            
the child to the offending parent.  It can be overcome, but it's up            
to the batterer to prove to the court that it is in fact in the                
best interest of the child for the batterer to have custody or have            
visitation.  She believes this presents a more appropriate approach            
in placing the responsibility where it needs to be.                            
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said based on information he has received,                
batterers are getting quite sophisticated by provoking the female              
into hitting them and then calling 911 which results in the female             
being arrested.  He asked, "Are we dealing with the primary                    
aggressor here?"                                                               
                                                                               
MS. ANDREEN responded, "Representative Brice, in a very, I think,              
long, around the way kind of direction, ultimately yes, what we're             
dealing with is the principal, physical aggressor and it's up to               
law enforcement to determine at the time of the arrest who that is.            
One of the points I think that's important for people to understand            
in looking at this is the whole cycle -- domestic violence is not              
a single, isolated incident; it's an ongoing cycle that goes on and            
on about increasing levels of power and control.  Even when the                
couple separates, there is as a rule, additional power and control             
that goes on.  The children, I have found and I hear repeatedly, is            
one of the last things that there is to have this power and control            
fight cycle happening and batterers will often use custody,                    
visitation and child support as the ways to maintain that power and            
control over the victim.  So this takes that burden of proof off of            
the victim and places it on the offender and says, 'Okay, this is              
not healthy for the child - you tell us why you think it will be               
okay.'  And if they can make that case, then the court can find for            
them to have to contact."                                                      
                                                                               
Number 1271                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was further discussion on                        
Amendment 7.                                                                   
                                                                               
Number 1289                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said the language, as drafted on lines 16-18              
of Amendment 7 re-enforces his concern about the woman being                   
provoked to hit the male and is arrested under the mandatory arrest            
statute.                                                                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE pointed out the rebuttable presumption gives the                
woman the option to prove she was not the aggressor.                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE conceded that his issue was perhaps with the              
mandatory arrest statute.                                                      
                                                                               
Number 1352                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. ANDREEN commented that Representative Brice was raising a valid            
and important point that should be a part of the discussion on this            
issue.  She explained, "What happened here in Alaska two years ago             
when the mandatory arrest law was implemented is what has happened             
in many other jurisdictions and that's that the arrest rate of                 
victims increased significantly - way above and beyond what it                 
should have been.  So, what we have is the potential for a victim -            
a true victim of domestic violence - to have the label of                      
perpetrator.  But one of the things we found is that a lot of that             
was dealt with - not all of it - but a lot of it was dealt with as             
the cases were screened through the prosecutor's offices and now               
that more training has gone on with law enforcement and prosecutors            
throughout the state, those numbers are coming down in many areas.             
This is an ongoing process that we have to deal with through                   
training and protocol development."                                            
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was further discussion or objection              
to Amendment 7.  Hearing none, Amendment 7 was adopted.                        
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON pointed out that Amendment 8 proposed by                  
Chairman Bunde had already been dealt with.  He added his Amendment            
10 deletes Section 11.51.115 pertaining to criminal nonsupport in              
the first degree and Amendment 9 proposed by Representative Brice              
modifies that section.  He has a tentative agreement with the                  
Administration to remove the criminal nonsupport in the first                  
degree from HB 375 and include it in a different bill.  He said                
removal of that section makes this child protection legislation                
more pure and hopefully diminishes the number of individuals                   
opposed to this bill.                                                          
                                                                               
Number 1449                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE withdrew Amendment 9.                                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 10.                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE objected for discussion purposes.  He inquired if it            
was Representative Dyson's intent to also remove criminal                      
nonsupport in the second degree as indicated by Amendment 10.                  
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON indicated it was his intention to remove all              
language pertaining to criminal nonsupport.                                    
                                                                               
Number 1478                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE withdrew his objection.  He asked if there was                  
further objection to Amendment 10.  Hearing none, Amendment 10 was             
adopted.                                                                       
                                                                               
Number 1497                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE commented that a title change would be required with            
the adoption of Amendment 10.                                                  
                                                                               
Number 1505                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE recessed the House Health, Education and Social                 
Services Standing Committee at 5:15 p.m.                                       
                                                                               
Number 1522                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE reconvened the House Health, Education and Social               
Services Standing Committee at 6:23 p.m.  He noted that CSHB 375               
amended was before the committee for consideration and public                  
testimony.  He asked Suzette Graham to come forward to present her             
testimony.                                                                     
                                                                               
Number 1616                                                                    
                                                                               
SUZETTE GRAHAM, Foster parent, testified on behalf of her two                  
foster children who have been living in her home for 2 1/2 years.              
After reading all three versions of HB 375, it took her some time              
to reach a decision as to what the bill actually does for children.            
The original version contained strong language concerning                      
reasonable effort and her interest and involvement with this                   
legislation was because of the children - reasonable effort,                   
reasonable time, time limits put on parents so children don't                  
linger in foster care.  In her opinion, the proposed committee                 
substitute is a watered down version of the original bill; the                 
wording is not as strong as it needs to be.  Reasonable efforts                
must be defined and time limits must be placed on parents, or                  
children will stay in foster care far too long.  For example, she              
is aware of a six-year-old child who is finally getting adopted                
after being in 19 foster care homes.                                           
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM said her children were 10 months old and 3 years old                
when they came to live in her home.  The 10-month-old baby had been            
boiled; the 3-year-old had severe burns and had reverted to what is            
called "state of survival" - she did not speak, she hissed, hid in             
corners, pulled her own hair out, wouldn't let anyone near her -               
severely emotionally, as well as physically abused.  The father was            
incarcerated two days prior to the children being removed from the             
home and because he wasn't in the home at the time of the report of            
harm and the children being removed, he feels he has the right to              
have these children back.  He's been out of prison for the last 18             
months, had four jobs - currently does not have one and is living              
in his car.  However, he visits the children because he's been                 
advised by his lawyer who was paid for by his parents, that he must            
show up for the visits if he wants to come under the "reasonable               
effort" provision.  He would probably win his children back if the             
case went to court today because he's making reasonable efforts.               
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM explained the children have bonded with her.  A                     
psychological evaluation of the five-year-old indicates she is                 
severely emotionally disturbed, has a reactive attachment disorder             
and she has an attention deficit disorder (ADD).  She explained                
that reactive attachment disorder is when a child fails to bond at             
a young age and as the child gets older, becomes the type of child             
who can express their love for someone and place a gun to that                 
person's head and pull the trigger without having a second thought.            
These children are referred to "cardboard children."  This five-               
year-old child has made an attachment to Ms. Graham and if removed             
from that attachment, may never attach again.  That, in itself, has            
been enough to make her fight for these children and that's                    
basically what she's doing.  She's having to fight the father                  
because he shows up for visitation which falls under the definition            
of "reasonable effort" and if these laws had been in place before,             
there would be no question.  She stressed that something needs to              
happen - there are so many children who have lingered in the system            
waiting to get out.  She was aware of a case that Ms. Wibker had               
been able to terminate on involving a child who had been 100 foster            
homes.                                                                         
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM urged the committee to take action.  She said, "Please.             
This is why I got involved in the first place.  There's got to be              
reasonable efforts and it has to be defined.  They have to be given            
a case plan and in six months where are you going to be and if                 
you're not, you did not follow the case plan.  As it's written now,            
it's for the parent and if the parent doesn't follow through, the              
child stays in custody for years and years."                                   
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM said she recently learned her older child does not have             
the same father as the youngest child, so visits with the older                
child have slowed down but the baby is still visiting.  The father             
is now manipulating the children on the visits which has resulted              
in new emotional problems with the children.  She is unable to                 
terminate the visits under current law and if it went to court                 
today, she would probably lose the case under "reasonable efforts."            
                                                                               
Number 1882                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said it certainly wasn't his intention to                 
water down this legislation.  He thought it was being tightened up             
by mandating a permanency hearing within 12 months of starting                 
foster care instead of the current 18 months.                                  
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM replied, "That does, however, if you do not put                     
reasonable efforts in there - if you don't put the time restraint              
on the parent, then you will take that to court and you'll say                 
'Okay, federal law says that we need to comply with this, right?'              
but if you've not defined reasonable effort, the judge will say,               
"Okay, right.  The child's been in there 12 months but this parent             
is making reasonable effort so because of reasonable effort, I                 
can't terminate.'"                                                             
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE said he thought that issue had been addressed with              
the committee substitute.  He asked Ms. Wibker to come forward to              
explain.                                                                       
                                                                               
Number 1934                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER directed the committee's attention to page 15 and said,             
"Legally the department has a duty to make reasonable efforts to               
prevent removal and to make reasonable efforts to return a child               
home.  And what we're doing is changing that in certain cases there            
would no longer be a requirement that the department make                      
reasonable efforts.  I think what Ms. Graham is reacting to is                 
throughout here it talks about parents making reasonable efforts.              
I'm looking at the top of page 16, lines 2-6, 'parents and                     
guardians should make reasonable efforts to actively participate'              
and I think what she's saying is you don't want parents to be able             
to come in say 'I made efforts.  I'm still an alcoholic, but I                 
tried four times, so give me my kids back.'"                                   
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked what the remedy would be.                           
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER said that parents in order to have custody of their                 
children, have to provide a minimal level of care.  If the parent              
doesn't, the state can then take legal custody or remove the child.            
However, under federal law the child is not supposed to be returned            
without the court making a finding that the child's health and                 
safety is the paramount concern.  So, parents have to do more than             
reasonable efforts; they have to provide a minimal, acceptable                 
level of care.                                                                 
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked what section Ms. Wibker was referring to.                 
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER directed the committee's attention to page 16, lines 2-             
6, and suggested the language should indicate that parents and                 
guardians "should" participate in family support services so as to             
facilitate the child's being able to remain in the home.  She                  
pointed out that line 5 states that parents and guardians should               
actively participate in family support services to make return of              
their children to the home possible.  The language should not imply            
that a parent only needs to try - that trying and failing are                  
acceptable.                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE suggested deleting "make reasonable efforts to" on              
page 16, line 2-3, so it would read "parents and guardians should              
actively participate in family support service ...."                           
                                                                               
Number 2053                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. TORKELSON said "should actively participate in family services"            
implies that when she becomes a parent, she will be required to                
attend family support services in order to keep her children in the            
home.                                                                          
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER said the statement should be modified to indicate                   
parents are asked to comply with these provisions only when                    
children are in the legal custody of the state or have been removed            
from the home.                                                                 
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GREEN suggested moving the language in subsection               
(7) on page 16 to (5)(F) on page 15.                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON agreed with Representative Green's suggestion,            
and suggested changing the language to indicate that parents and               
guardians "must" actively participate in family support services.              
                                                                               
MS. TORKELSON said, "Under reasonable efforts - Section 42 - page              
28, right now we're talking about the Findings which don't really              
hold much - they are followed with the definition further defining             
what reasonable efforts constitutes and (B) the court makes a                  
finding that a hearing conducted under 47.10.080(l) that a parent              
or guardian has not sufficiently remedied the conduct or the                   
conditions in the home despite reasonable efforts - oh, that's by              
the department."                                                               
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER interjected "That's as it should be."   She explained               
the department has the duty to make reasonable efforts with regard             
to the family.  Reasonable efforts are the family support services             
to remedy the problem.  The family should participate - they may or            
may not participate - but they have to reach some minimal level of             
care so the child would be safe in the home before the child can be            
returned.                                                                      
                                                                               
Number 2255                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE stated while this speaks to the department's                    
reasonable effort, he wanted Ms. Graham's concern addressed.                   
                                                                               
MR. WEBB said the original version established an obligation on the            
part of the parents to remedy conditions or behavior that placed               
the child at risk.  He thought that was the issue that Ms. Graham              
was trying to get at - is that responsibility on the part of the               
parent to remedy the conditions or general behavior that placed the            
child at risk or caused the child's removal from the home.                     
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said that was close to the language on page               
29, line 17.                                                                   
                                                                               
MS. TORKELSON explained the language regarding reasonable efforts              
in the previous version and the department's version were merged,              
keeping the federally mandated portions of reasonable efforts in               
the proposed CSHB 375.                                                         
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Ms. Wibker if the term "reasonable efforts" in            
the Findings Section cloud the issue in (7) on page 16.                        
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER said it is her opinion that it does because it suggests             
to a parent they need only "try" to participate.                               
                                                                               
Number 2312                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER made a motion to delete "make reasonable                 
efforts to" and insert "must" on page 16, line 2 and line 5; modify            
(7) on line 16, lines 2-6 to (5)(F) on page 15, line 30 to read:               
                                                                               
               (F)  parents and guardians must actively participate            
     in family support services so as to facilitate the child's                
     being able to remain in the home; when children are removed               
     from the home, the parents and guardians must actively                    
     participate in family support services to make return of                  
     their children to the home possible; and                                  
                                                                               
TAPE 98-43, SIDE B                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was any objection to this amendment.             
Hearing none, this amendment was adopted.                                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Ms. Graham if she had other concerns.                     
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM responded her concern had been she didn't want to see               
children returned home just because the parents had made reasonable            
efforts.  With regard to time restraints on parents, she commented             
that in her instance, the father was supposed to have a job and a              
home at the time of the six month review, he got a job three weeks             
before the review and got housing a week later which was considered            
timely.                                                                        
                                                                               
Number 0043                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON inquired if the 12-month time frame for the               
permanency hearing was satisfactory.                                           
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM responded yes, as long as the parents are on that 12-               
month restraint also.                                                          
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON noted that Kansas had started out with a 12-              
month period for a permanency hearing, but had to back down to 18              
months because they just weren't able to get it accomplished in 12             
months.                                                                        
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was further discussion.                          
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM inquired if the "willing to parent" clause had been                 
deleted in the proposed committee substitute and said the Supreme              
Court had overturned a number of cases because the parent was                  
willing.                                                                       
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER pointed out the language had been "willing or able" and             
the Supreme Court determined that a willingness was enough.                    
However, the language on page 26, line 21, of the proposed                     
committee substitute  states that in the case of an incarcerated               
parent, the other parent must be "willing and able."                           
                                                                               
MS. GRAHAM asked if that was only in the case of an incarcerated               
parent?                                                                        
                                                                               
The response is indiscernible - too many people talking at one                 
time.                                                                          
                                                                               
Number 0145                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was further discussion.  Hearing                 
none, he announced the committee would begin hearing testimony via             
teleconference.                                                                
                                                                               
Number 0200                                                                    
                                                                               
MICHAEL BRANDNER, M.D., testified offnet from Anchorage and it is              
his understanding the state plans to give the DFYS more power, more            
money and more people even though they've demonstrated incompetency            
and bad judgment.  He wasn't sure that giving them more money and              
more workers will be successful unless the legislature considers               
having social workers in the household of every Alaskan an ideal               
situation.  He personally has dealt with two or three patients in              
the last couple years that have had social workers in charge.  One             
was a four- or five-month-old infant who had been burned.  It was              
determined the 19- or 20-year-old mother had too many children, so             
several of the children went to foster parents.  In his opinion,               
the foster parents of this infant patient were much less competent             
than the mother.  He related other incidents of foster parents not             
bringing children in for appointments, surgery, et cetera.  Based              
on his experience, he believes the situation is totally out of                 
hand.                                                                          
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE pointed out this legislation doesn't give the DFYS              
any additional money or people; it changes criminal penalties and              
tightens up definitions.                                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if Dr. Brandner was a mandatory                     
reporter.                                                                      
                                                                               
DR. BRANDNER believed he was required to report an incident if                 
there was some evidence of abuse.  Fortunately, he is usually                  
involved in the care of a patient with either a family physician,              
pediatrician or emergency room doctor and generally a report has               
already been filed by the time he's called in.                                 
                                                                               
Number 0358                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if it worked effectively for him.                   
                                                                               
DR. BRANDNER described the incident of an injured patient which                
initially he didn't suspect as abuse, but upon learning that a                 
sibling had been treated previously, he reported the incident.  The            
child was allowed to go home with the parent even though it had                
been reported.  The child was not returned for a follow up visit               
which he also reported, but nothing was ever done about it.  He                
said it's impossible to get in touch with the case workers when                
many of these incidents occur on weekends and evenings.                        
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Dr. Brandner for his testimony and asked                
Harry Niehaus to present his comments.                                         
                                                                               
Number 0434                                                                    
                                                                               
HARRY NIEHAUS, Representative, Guardians of Family Rights,                     
testified via teleconference from Fairbanks.  He said he's done a              
certain amount of paralegal work with the organization and it's                
been his experience that DFYS workers are not available when they              
are really needed - families are told it's a family problem and                
DFYS can't help.  But on the other hand, when families are                     
correcting and disciplining their children DFYS is right there.  He            
said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I have no                 
problem with that except they don't do a proper investigation -                
they have every broad accusation in the courtroom.  For instance,              
they'll say, 'well, you've had inappropriate behavior' but yet they            
don't define inappropriate behavior.  He discussed reasonable                  
efforts on the part of the department as well as the parents.                  
Parents' rights groups are maintaining the department is not making            
reasonable efforts and is requesting the department to define                  
reasonable efforts.                                                            
                                                                               
Number 0548                                                                    
                                                                               
WALTER GAUTHIER testified via teleconference from Homer.  He said              
he has not been able to find any language in the Child Prevention              
and Treatment Act and the Conference Report on the Personal                    
Responsibility and Work Opportunity and Reconciliation Act that                
requires the state to adopt the language "best interest of the                 
child."  He asked Ms. Wibker to quote the statute or reference                 
which requires the state to adopt that language.                               
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER responded the federal language states there should be a             
change in state law to reflect that health and safety of the child             
shall be the paramount concern.  Prior to that, states used "best              
interest" language; in particular, Alaska has statutory language               
requiring the judge to always consider the best interest of the                
child in any order, including a disposition order, a termination of            
parental rights order or any other legal order made by the court.              
Other states have made a change which Alaska has not yet done, to              
elevate the best interest of the child to either an equal place                
with the parents or above the parental rights.  She reiterated the             
federal law states the health and safety of the child must be the              
paramount concern and she interprets that as meaning the health and            
safety of the child trumps the rights of parents, but the court is             
ordered to consider best interest in the equation.                             
                                                                               
Number 0756                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. GAUTHIER said page 14 of the committee substitute states it is             
the policy of the state to recognize that children have legal                  
rights to a safe and happy childhood, reasonable safety and so                 
forth.  However, page 15 indicates it is the policy of the state               
that while a child is in foster care and a ward of the state, the              
child is entitled to only reasonable safety, adequate care and                 
adequate treatment.  He said in a nutshell, this is the difference             
between the state and a loving family.  Parents are required to                
give children (indisc.), but when the children are taken, the state            
assumes no responsibility except adequate and reasonable.  He said             
this proposed legislation is total insanity.                                   
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Chief Shirley Warner to testify next.                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
Number 0884                                                                    
                                                                               
SHIRLEY WARNER, Chief of Police, Soldotna Police Department                    
testified via teleconference from Kenai.  She has been a police                
officer for 22 years and currently serves as the Chief of Police of            
the Soldotna Police Department.  She is a new chief, however, in               
her tenure she has overseen the investigation of a dozen child                 
abuse, neglect, indecent exposure and child sexual abuse cases; one            
case is too many for the small community of Soldotna.  While                   
serving on the Anchorage Police Department, she witnessed injuries             
which had been inflicted upon children that would make the most                
hardened person cry.  Throughout her career, she has never felt                
that children were afforded the same rights under the constitution             
and laws of this state that were afforded adults.  Finally, with               
Governor Knowles' child protection bill, children will be protected            
and valued as young members of communities.  She expressed her                 
appreciation to all those involved in the writing of this                      
legislation.  She is particularly pleased with the increased                   
clarity in the laws regarding the current abandonment laws.  It is             
a strong message that parents cannot disregard parental duties;                
that domestic violence and incarceration have a negative long-term             
effect on children and it will be addressed in a proactive manner;             
that children will not be left with those who do not want them;                
that children who do not wish to go home will have be listened to              
and an investigation will ensue to ensure the child is not placed              
in a situation where there may be harm.  She said the proposed laws            
are much more definitive and less likely to be interpreted broadly,            
which makes it much easier for law enforcement and prosecution                 
alike to go before a judge, jury and defense attorney with the                 
child's interest at the forefront.  She supports the fact that                 
emotional harm to children is finally being recognized in this                 
bill.  Mental abuse is every bit as harmful to the future well-                
being of children.  The expansion of the neglect laws will be an               
excellent tool for law enforcement.  Many times she has listened to            
the line officers and investigators express frustration over seeing            
the harm when a child does not have basic needs provided and many              
times it's (indisc.) individual use of drugs and alcohol which are             
both addressed in this legislation.                                            
                                                                               
CHIEF WARNER said she is especially appreciative of the policy                 
statement that children have the right to a safe and happy                     
childhood, reasonable safety, adequate care, adequate freedom,                 
freedom from physical abuse, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and             
substance abuse, special safeguards and care including appropriate             
legal protection before as well as after birth and permanency with             
a safe loving family, all of which ensure that police will not see             
them as victims or eventually on the other side of the law.  She               
supports the tone of this legislation and encourages that it remain            
intact for the children.  She is pleased with the mandate that all             
state agencies work together.  Over the years, she has seen                    
agencies come together for the good of victims, but for this to                
occur at the highest level is very gratifying.                                 
                                                                               
Number 1121                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked if Chief Warner was familiar with the               
multidisciplinary team provision of this legislation and if so, was            
she able to work with it?                                                      
                                                                               
CHIEF WARNER said yes, she could work with it.  She likes the                  
multidisciplinary team approach and is very much in favor of the               
fatality review team.                                                          
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Chief Warner for her comments and asked                 
Diana Buffington to present her comments.                                      
                                                                               
Number 1195                                                                    
                                                                               
DIANA BUFFINGTON, President and State Coordinator for the                      
Children's Rights Council and Chairman, Alaska Task Force on Family            
Law Reform, testified from Kodiak via teleconference.  She said she            
didn't want to disillusion the committee, but just because the                 
child support portion was removed from this legislation, there is              
still a large population not in support of this bill.  This leaves             
very little or no testimony from the people who are affected by                
this - the parents because they're busy at home taking care of                 
their children until DFYS comes in and removes them.  She said this            
bill is too complicated; it attempts to encompass too much.  It                
should have been broken down into several bills which would have               
made it a lot easier and more effective to testify against this                
bill.                                                                          
                                                                               
MS. BUFFINGTON said, "First, I think Ms. Wibker has the audacity to            
say that immunity and indemnity from decisions concerning the child            
fatality and the multidisciplinary teams is for the birds.                     
Immunity is immunity; indemnification is indemnification.  The                 
person who is charged with either a civil complaint or a criminal              
complaint should have the right to face their accusers even if the             
team has a conflict during the committee meeting and has to reveal             
this to a court - either through discovery or in the process of                
going through the court.  It is a true violation of U.S.                       
constitutional rights of protection from unlawful prosecution in               
civil or criminal cases if you take away the indemnification and               
immunity process for people who serve even for the protection of               
the children."                                                                 
                                                                               
MS. BUFFINGTON noted there's already a child fatality team in                  
place; it's called a grand jury.  We don't need another child                  
fatality team.  She said this bill is too complicated and it over-             
compensates.                                                                   
                                                                               
Number 1429                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Marci Schmidt to testify next.                            
                                                                               
Number 1445                                                                    
                                                                               
MARCI SCHMIDT testified via teleconference from Mat-Su.  She                   
expressed her pleasure with the committee for deleting some of the             
noncriminal language; however, she requested a new draft of the                
legislation be made available before the committee took action.                
She agreed with Ms. Buffington that the bill is complicated and                
encompasses too many issues.  In her opinion, passing federal                  
public law 105-89 in its entirety would be the better way to go.               
She expressed frustration with the committee's action of placing               
the legislative intent in the middle of the bill.  It has been her             
experience that judges don't read very far into the law; they have             
a tendency to read the first thing they see and in her opinion, the            
intent language should be moved to the beginning of the bill.  She             
asked,  "Is there anything regarding the fact if a child themselves            
go out and get an attorney, will they be allowed to have that                  
representation?"                                                               
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE guessed that a child who has not reached the age of             
majority would have a difficult time entering into a contract with             
an attorney.                                                                   
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER said that in any child in need of aid action, federal               
law mandates the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent               
the best interest of the child and that same requirement is in                 
state law.  There is the option requiring a court to appoint a                 
separate attorney for the child if the child and the guardian ad               
litem disagree on what's in the best interest of the child.  She               
was not however, aware of a child being able to hire their own                 
attorney.                                                                      
                                                                               
MS. SCHMIDT advised of an instance in Florida where the termination            
of parental rights was prolonged, and a young man hired his own                
attorney so he could sue to have his parents' parental rights                  
terminated so he could be adopted.  The case was upheld.                       
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Ms. Schmidt for her comments and asked                  
Jennifer Taylor to testify at this time.                                       
                                                                               
Number 1630                                                                    
                                                                               
JENNIFER TAYLOR testified via teleconference from Craig.  She said             
it is critical and appropriate that this bill, in particular,                  
address the issue of nonsupport of children as criminal because the            
blatant neglect of children caused by parents who accumulate                   
arrearages representing debts to their children of many months                 
without support reflects the utmost indifference to the children's             
well-being and their survival.  The extreme poverty of Alaska's                
children in some single family households elevates their                       
susceptibility to abuse from stressed out parents.  Poverty is the             
most documented reason for poor performance in school, lack of                 
adequate nutrition and proper growth.  She commented that due to an            
equipment malfunction, she had missed much of the meeting,                     
therefore she questioned the appropriateness of her testimony on               
this issue without knowing  what the committee's previous action               
had been.                                                                      
                                                                               
Number 1722                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE advised Ms. Taylor the criminal child support issue             
had been removed from HB 375 and will be addressed in another bill.            
                                                                               
MS. TAYLOR reiterated her previous statement that it's critical                
this issue be addressed as soon as possible.                                   
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Blair McCune to present his comments.                     
                                                                               
Number 1756                                                                    
                                                                               
BLAIR MCCUNE, Deputy Director, Public Defender Agency, Department              
of Administration, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  He            
referred to the section dealing with child in need of aid on                   
page 17 and said to his way of thinking, the changes made to that              
section made a lot more sense.  He said,"Obviously (indisc.) where             
child protection is an issue and just looking at paragraph (1)                 
before it, it says a parent or guardian has abandoned the child and            
this addresses the situation if you had another parent or family               
member able to take care of the child.  So, I think there's been               
(indisc.) of that phrase and the other parent is absent or                     
committed conduct or created conditions that cause the child to be             
a child in need of aid under this chapter adds a lot and helps the             
bill out quite a bit.  On the second paragraph, there was some                 
language proposed in one of the drafts instead of saying the last              
phrase, 'or has committed conduct or created conditions that cause             
the child to be a child in need of aid' there was 'made                        
satisfactory arrangements for the care of the child' and I think               
that would be better because currently, if you have a single parent            
- say the other parent abandoned or disappeared and is not in the              
child's life - if that parent goes in for a three-day stay in jail             
or something and that parent makes adequate arrangements - they                
leave the child with a grandparent or other relative - they could              
be involved in this case, but I think the made satisfactory                    
arrangements is a better language."                                            
                                                                               
MR. MCCUNE referred to the language in subparagraph (10) on page               
18, "the parent, guardian, or custodian's ability to parent has                
been substantially impaired by the addictive or habitual use of an             
intoxicant;" and asked the committee to consider a situation of a              
very capable parent who starts to use alcohol habitually and the               
ability of that parent drops substantially, but is still adequate.             
He believed this was an issue the committee should give some                   
thought.                                                                       
                                                                               
Number 1976                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Representative Dyson and Ms. Wibker to respond            
to Mr. McCune's concern dealing with adequate arrangements made for            
a child.                                                                       
                                                                               
Number 1999                                                                    
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER responded the language referred to by Mr. McCune had                
been in the original version and Representative Dyson had made an              
amendment.                                                                     
                                                                               
MS. TORKELSON said the reason for the amendment was because it                 
placed the duty of finding the safe and appropriate care on the                
parent who was incarcerated and obviously, if that person was                  
already in jail, they weren't thinking much about their children.              
If the other parent was available, it would default to that parent.            
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE said, "I think the question was if the other person             
had disappeared and a single parent ends up in jail and, for                   
instance a DWI, and has made adequate arrangements and is only                 
going to be incarcerated for three days and makes adequate                     
arrangements, I don't think we want them to put their children in              
danger of being wards of the state."                                           
                                                                               
Number 2078                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER observed that in many misdemeanor                        
incarceration situations, there's plenty of time to make                       
arrangements.                                                                  
                                                                               
MS. TORKELSON said the language in the original bill had been                  
interpreted that the sole responsibility was on the incarcerated               
person and this language attempts to ensure it defaults to the                 
other parent.                                                                  
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE proposed a conceptual amendment, Amendment 11, to               
insert "and the incarcerated parent has not made satisfactory                  
arrangements" following "chapter;" on page 17, line 20.                        
                                                                               
Number 2152                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to adopt Amendment 11.                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was objection to Amendment 11.                   
Hearing none, Amendment 11 was adopted.                                        
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE next called on Currey Cook to present his comments.             
                                                                               
Number 2201                                                                    
                                                                               
CURREY COOK, Attorney, Office of Public Advocacy, Department of                
Administration, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  He               
represents children as guardian ad litem in CINA cases.  He noted              
that exposure to domestic violence is a major problem for children;            
they are the forgotten victims of domestic violence.  He felt very             
strongly that exposure to domestic violence should be included as              
a specific subsection having a jurisdiction in a child in need of              
aid case.  He urged the committee to take that under consideration.            
He expressed his support in general for this legislation because               
not only do children deserve to be safe, but everyday he sees the              
link between abuse and neglect and children's involvement in the               
(indisc.) system, which he believes has been overlooked.  If for no            
other reason besides children's general safety, this can be looked             
at as a crime prevention bill by getting involved in families....              
                                                                               
TAPE 98-44, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0004                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. COOK concluded by reading a poem written by a 16-year-old girl             
who had been in a family where there had been domestic violence and            
substance abuse by her parents.                                                
                                                                               
Number 0203                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER advised Mr. Cook the committee had adopted a             
4-page amendment which basically makes a rebuttable presumption                
that if a child is exposed to domestic violence the court must find            
it is detrimental and not in the best interest of the child.                   
                                                                               
Number 0270                                                                    
                                                                               
SCOTT CALDER testified via teleconference from Fairbanks.  He                  
referred to the rebuttable presumption in Amendment 7 and said in              
looking at the document, he could not locate where it said the                 
court had defined that is the case regarding the domestic violence             
issue, and it appeared to him that it was a tentative proposition.             
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said it is a requirement of the court to                 
determine that domestic violence has occurred, as one would expect,            
before the presumption comes into play, but if the court finds in              
the child custody proceeding, that domestic violence has occurred              
rebuttable presumptions arise that it is detrimental to the child              
and not in the best interest of the child.                                     
                                                                               
MR. CALDER said, "There was some discussion earlier about the team             
process and there was some exclusion or exception category if                  
somebody proves gross negligence and intentional misconduct that               
there might be some type of liability or loophole in the immunity.             
Does anybody know how that would be done?  How would you prove                 
gross neglect and intentional misconduct?"                                     
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE responded he would attempt to explain in layman's               
language in the absence of the assistant district attorney                     
specializing in tort issues.  He explained if a person is driving              
a car down the road taking all due care, the wheel falls off                   
causing the person to have an accident in which someone was hurt,              
that would be negligence.  However, if a person purposely drove a              
poorly maintained car with bad tires and missing lug nuts and had              
been informed of the dangerous condition previously, and the wheel             
falls off causing injury to another person, that would be gross                
negligence.                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. CALDER wondered how that would apply to the activities of a                
state agency.  He added, "I guess I'm more interested in the                   
general sense since so many people do have complaints about gross              
neglect and intentional misconduct, the lack of financial means to             
compete with the state on that issue.  Of course, many people are              
concerned about how that (indisc.) meaningful exception."                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE advised the immunity Mr. Calder was referring to                
from negligence was deleted for employees of DFYS; it only applies             
to members of the child fatality team and they would have to be                
grossly negligent rather than just making a mistake.  The team                 
participants are immune for just normal human errors, but not                  
immune if they make gross errors, causing intentional harm to                  
someone.                                                                       
                                                                               
MR. CALDER said the medical examiner had testified there were nine             
criteria for the involvement of the medical examiner's office, but             
actually there are ten; the tenth one being "the death appears to              
have occurred while the deceased was in the custody of or was being            
taken into the custody of the state or a political subdivision of              
the state or a public officer or agent of the state or a political             
subdivision of the state."  He questioned if that had been                     
overlooked by the committee.                                                   
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE said the committee was well aware that if someone               
dies while in custody, the medical examiner has to be involved.                
                                                                               
MR. CALDER expressed his concern that the proposed legislation                 
seems to be a bit one sided in favor of the agency, and he felt it             
was going in the wrong direction.  He suggested a thorough review              
be done of the agency in which people who have been victimized                 
could participate.                                                             
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE requested Mr. Calder grant recognition that the                 
legislature is trying to do the difficult job of balancing the                 
protection of children and the rights of good parents who are                  
trying to do the very best job of raising their children.  He                  
called on Arthur Hansen to present his comments at this time.                  
                                                                               
Number 1048                                                                    
                                                                               
ARTHUR HANSEN testified from Fairbanks via teleconference.  He                 
pointed out there is clear evidence that child development is                  
critical in the growth of the child at an early age, and yet this              
bill recommends that proceedings or actions be taken at the age of             
six, which in his mind is way too late.  He conveyed that his wife             
had been adopted at the age of four and 46 years later is still                
suffering from the consequences of not being adopted out earlier.              
He had forwarded to the committee a packet of information relating             
to brain development and encouraged committee members to review it.            
He had heard stories on both sides; one of children being removed              
from parents and grandparents and the other where terrible abuse               
and neglect has occurred.                                                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE remarked the committee recently had a presentation              
from experts in early brain development.  He thanked Mr. Hansen for            
his comments and asked Bobbie Niehaus to present her comments.                 
                                                                               
Number 1363                                                                    
                                                                               
BOBBIE NIEHAUS testified from Fairbanks via teleconference.  She               
said she dropped out of school last year because of drugs and                  
alcohol.  She left home, dropped out of school, quit going to                  
church and just had fun.  She was arrested many times and released             
the following day.  Finally her dad stepped in and she was detained            
which gave her time to think and sober up.  The decision to turn               
her life around came while she was in rehab, but without her dad               
she would probably still be in the streets.  She said the state                
didn't step in until it was too late and didn't want the agency to             
have any more power.                                                           
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Ms. Niehaus for her remarks and expressed               
congratulations for getting her life together.  He asked Pam                   
Karalunas to present her testimony.                                            
                                                                               
Number 1503                                                                    
                                                                               
PAM KARALUNAS testified via teleconference from Fairbanks                      
requesting an explanation of Amendment 4.                                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE directed Ms. Karalunas to Version F, and explained              
the amendment inserts "sexual abuse" following "abandonment" on                
page 29, line 29 and inserts "chronic" following "torture".  Line              
29 would read "abandonment, sexual abuse, chronic mental injury, or            
chronic physical injury and torture."                                          
                                                                               
MS. KARALUNAS said she was testifying as a representative of the               
Arctic Alliance, on behalf of the clients, and as a private                    
citizen.  She expressed appreciation on behalf of Arctic Alliance              
for the work done by the legislature on this issue.  Most of the               
Alliance's concerns had been addressed except for a concern she had            
previously expressed.  Secondly, she wished to speak on behalf of              
her clients whose input she had been soliciting since this                     
legislation came about.  She worked with about 600 families over               
the years and 99.9 percent have had some type of involvement with              
the DFYS.  For every horror story she hears about how the system               
has abused the parents, she hears about 50 stories of how children             
are horribly abused in the home and in (indisc.) cases, abused by              
the system.  Her clients have indicated that many of the problems              
stem from the interviews and feel strongly that if the interviews              
were conducted simultaneously as a team with a child's advocate, a             
law enforcement person and the DFYS worker, there would be a                   
broader based picture and less misinterpretation of what the child             
said.  Speaking personally, she gets incensed when she hears that              
Alaska can't afford to protect its children.  As one of the richest            
states in the Union and the only state to give every citizen an                
entitlement for taking up space and breathing the air and Alaska               
can't afford not to protect our children.                                      
                                                                               
Number 1775                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON commented a major portion of this bill deals              
with putting the team approach into law and hopefully it will                  
become a reality.                                                              
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE assured Ms. Karalunas that Amendment 1                    
addresses the multidisciplinary child protection teams and includes            
staff members of a child advocacy center.  He encouraged her to                
keep working with the Resource Center for Parents and Children                 
toward that approach.                                                          
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Ms. Karalunas for her comments and asked                
Johnny Grames to present his comments.                                         
                                                                               
Number 1861                                                                    
                                                                               
JOHNNY GRAMES, Representative, DADS, Alaska, testified from                    
Anchorage via teleconference and said as a father and grandfather              
he is absolutely horrified that fathers are going to be living in              
a totalitarian police state with all these people trying to save               
children from their parents.  He said the Bill of Rights was                   
written to protect citizens from abuse of governmental power.  He              
commented the committee's use of the expression "child and the best            
interest of the children" is abstract and it's difficult to deal               
with that because the committee isn't dealing with real parents and            
children, but rather is trying to put everything in a law which                
isn't going to work.  He doesn't see any compassion for real people            
trying to raise families.                                                      
                                                                               
Number 2027                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE closed public testimony.  He said, "We have before              
us an amended bill that presents a good deal of challenge.  As I               
mentioned earlier, we're trying to protect children who have been              
murdered and raped by their own relatives on one hand and on the               
other hand I believe there are parents who have been unfairly                  
treated by the system.  This bill focuses on trying to deal with               
those people who would injure children, would rape and murder them             
and I guess all I can say is that as a legislator, we are demanding            
that DFYS and CSED have some serious changes in management - there             
is an audit out on DFYS and I think we have seen some press                    
releases lately that indicate that DFYS and the whole Department of            
Health and Social Services is taking the problems that the                     
legislature and the people have brought to them seriously.  The                
legislature will be demanding accountability, I think I'm safe to              
say, and this bill is only a small part of that whole need for                 
accountability.  I understand the concerns of people who feel                  
fearful that government has too much power, but if we have to err,             
we must err on the side of those children that will be raped and               
murdered.  And so, with that in mind I would ask the pleasure of               
the committee."                                                                
                                                                               
Number 2110                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to amend page 18, line 14,                  
following the semi-colon, insert "exposure to domestic violence                
shall be treated as in AS 25.20.060".                                          
                                                                               
MS. WIBKER explained this incorporates it into the child in need of            
aid; it will lay out the procedure for exposure to domestic                    
violence.                                                                      
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there was objection to Amendment 12.                   
                                                                               
NOTE:  Response is indiscernible.                                              
                                                                               
Number 2154                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said there were a couple of issues he would               
like considered in the Judiciary Committee.  First, is the                     
definition of the child advocacy center and secondly, the deletion             
of the sex offender registration provisions due to the single                  
subject clause.  He suggested the sex offender registration                    
provisions for sex crimes against children could be strengthened               
and still meet the single subject rule.  He'd been asked the                   
question if he would rather destroy a family or save a child and               
frankly, he didn't think either one was necessary.  He said these              
issues are not an either/or situation.  House Bill 375 is not a                
loosening of standards, it's not a degradation of standards; it's              
actually a strengthening of standards.  The impact that abuse and              
neglect have on a child's life as well as the impact on society for            
the rest of that child's life is absolutely tremendous and to his              
way of thinking, HB 375 should have a negative fiscal note.  He                
said he would continue to pursue discussions on the abandonment                
issue with Ms. Wibker.  He expressed his appreciation for                      
committee's assistance in getting this legislation moving.                     
                                                                               
Number 2261                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said, "I have enjoyed the relationship -                  
cooperative and abrasive and dynamic with a number of people in the            
Administration and they have dealt with me quite honorably and I'm             
impressed.  I want them to know I appreciate all these people -                
Susan, I think you particularly."                                              
                                                                               
Number 2280                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE DYSON made a motion to move CSHB 375(HES) from                  
committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note.            
Hearing no objection, CSHB 375(HES) moved from the House Health,               
Education and Social Services Standing Committee.                              
                                                                               
ADJOURNMENT                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 2293                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN BUNDE adjourned the House Health, Education and Social                
Services Standing Committee at 8:20 p.m.                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects