Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

03/21/2017 03:00 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Audio Topic
03:03:54 PM Start
03:04:34 PM Presentation: Alaska Citizen Review Panel
04:16:53 PM HCR2
04:42:17 PM HB151
05:17:16 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation from the Citizen Review Panel & TELECONFERENCED
Response from Office of Children's Services
+= HB 151 DHSS;CINA; FOSTER CARE; CHILD PROTECTION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
*+ HCR 2 RESPOND TO ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                     
                         March 21, 2017                                                                                         
                           3:03 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ivy Spohnholz, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Bryce Edgmon, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                                
Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Matt Claman (alternate)                                                                                          
Representative Dan Saddler (alternate)                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION: ALASKA CITIZEN REVIEW PANEL                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 2                                                                                               
"Urging  Governor  Bill Walker  to  join  with the  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature  to  respond  to the  public  and  behavioral  health                                                               
epidemic  of  adverse  childhood experiences  by  establishing  a                                                               
statewide  policy   and  providing   programs  to   address  this                                                               
epidemic."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 151                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to the duties  of the Department of  Health and                                                               
Social Services; relating to training  and workload standards for                                                               
employees  of  the  Department of  Health  and  Social  Services;                                                               
relating to  foster care  licensing; relating  to placement  of a                                                               
child   in   need   of   aid;  relating   to   the   rights   and                                                               
responsibilities  of foster  parents; relating  to subsidies  for                                                               
adoption or  guardianship of  a child in  need of  aid; requiring                                                               
the  Department   of  Health  and  Social   Services  to  provide                                                               
information to a  child or person released  from the department's                                                               
custody; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HCR 2                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: RESPOND TO ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) TARR                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
01/23/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/23/17       (H)       HSS, STA                                                                                               
03/14/17       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/14/17       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/21/17       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 151                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DHSS;CINA; FOSTER CARE; CHILD PROTECTION                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) GARA                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
03/01/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/01/17       (H)       HSS, FIN                                                                                               
03/16/17       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/16/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/16/17       (H)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
03/21/17       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DIWAKAR VADAPALLI, PhD                                                                                                          
Chair                                                                                                                           
Citizen Review Panel (CRP)                                                                                                      
ISER                                                                                                                            
University of Alaska, Anchorage                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a PowerPoint titled "Alaska                                                                    
Citizen Review Panel."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTY LAWTON, Director                                                                                                        
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Office of Children's Services                                                                                                   
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the presentation                                                               
by the Alaska Citizen Review Panel.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Presented  HCR  2 as  the  sponsor of  the                                                             
resolution.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
LAURA CHARTIER, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Presented HB  151  on behalf  of the  bill                                                             
sponsor, Representative Gara.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered questions during  discussion of HB                                                             
151 as the sponsor of the bill.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA MALCHICK                                                                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 151.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ROSALIE REIN                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 151.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
TAMMI SANDOVAL, Director                                                                                                        
UAA Child Welfare Academy                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 151.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:03:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR IVY SPOHNHOLZ  called the House Health  and Social Services                                                             
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    3:03   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Spohnholz,  Johnston,  Eastman,  and  Kito  were                                                               
present at the call to  order.  Representatives Edgmon, Tarr, and                                                               
Sullivan-Leonard arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^Presentation: Alaska Citizen Review Panel                                                                                    
           Presentation: Alaska Citizen Review Panel                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:04:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced that the  first order of business would                                                               
be a presentation by the Alaska Citizen Review Panel.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:05:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DIWAKAR VADAPALLI, PhD, Chair, Citizen  Review Panel (CRP), ISER,                                                               
University  of  Alaska,  Anchorage,  said that  he  was  also  an                                                               
assistant  professor  of  public  policy at  ISER  (Institute  of                                                               
Social  and  Economic  Research)  at  the  University  of  Alaska                                                               
Anchorage.    He  shared  some  background of  the  CRP  and  its                                                               
interaction with  the House Health  and Social  Services Standing                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ asked  if there was a list of  CRP members in the                                                               
presentation packet.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI said  that  the  members were  listed  on the  CRP                                                               
website  and  that  he  would  forward the  list.    He  directed                                                               
attention to  slide 1, "Presentation  Outline," and said  that he                                                               
would discuss the CRP goals  and recommendations for the previous                                                               
year and the  upcoming year.  He moved on  to slide 2, "History,"                                                               
and offered a  brief history from its  inception by congressional                                                               
mandate in  1996, and its  subsequent establishment in  Alaska in                                                               
May 2002.   He said  that Congress  had mandated the  CRP through                                                               
amendments to  the Federal Child  Abuse Prevention  and Treatment                                                               
Act in 1996.   He reported that the panel  had produced an annual                                                               
report and  held town  hall meetings since  the passage  of House                                                               
Bill 53 in 2005.  He said that  all the members of the panel were                                                               
volunteers  and  worked 1500  -  2000  hours  each year  with  an                                                               
operating budget of $100,000.  He  noted that there was a maximum                                                               
of nine  members on the  panel.  He  shared slide 3,  "Function -                                                               
Mandates," stating  that the  panel was a  statutory body  with a                                                               
very  broad   mandate,  almost  exactly  mirroring   the  federal                                                               
statute.  He emphasized that  the central focus was for policies,                                                               
procedures, and  practices of OCS, slide  4, "Primary Functions."                                                               
He listed  the three  specific functions:   Review  and evaluate,                                                               
outreach,  and  advocate.    He reported  on  slide  5,  "Central                                                               
Purpose," and stated that the central  purpose of CRP was to help                                                               
child  protection services  agencies.   He  reported that  public                                                               
participation and  community engagement  was seen as  a necessary                                                               
reform in  the mid-1990s,  hence the  creation of  the CRPs.   He                                                               
stated  that this  had  made the  OCS  policies, procedures,  and                                                               
practices more responsive to the needs of the citizens.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI  presented slide 6,  "OCS - Mission."   He declared                                                               
that OCS was a complex agency  with a very difficult job, to work                                                               
in  partnership  with families  and  communities  to support  the                                                               
well-being  of Alaska's  children and  youth.   He declared  that                                                               
there was a  synergy between the congressional  intent behind the                                                               
CRPs and the mission of the agency.   He pointed out that OCS was                                                               
a  service  agency  designed  to   serve  families  in  difficult                                                               
circumstances and  not a police  agency.  He introduced  slide 7,                                                               
"OCS -  Significance," and  read from  the Alaska  Ombudsman 2012                                                               
investigative report, which stated:   "it is difficult to imagine                                                               
a more  fear-inspiring authority  than the power  to take  away a                                                               
person's children."   He declared  that OCS was invested  with an                                                               
awesome power and  a huge responsibility, which  was exercised by                                                               
the front-line case  workers and the supervisors.   He added that                                                               
a lot  of good was  done by OCS,  although any mistakes  could be                                                               
very expensive for children and families.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:15:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI shared  slide 8,  "Functions -  What CRP  does not                                                               
do."  He said that it was easier  to list what CRP did not do, as                                                               
it was  "big and  broad."  He  said that CRP  did not  comment on                                                               
proposed  or pending  legislation, and  was set  up as  a systems                                                               
level  review with  no role  in individual  cases, contracts,  or                                                               
situations.   He  said that  CRP had  the statutory  authority to                                                               
review  individual cases,  but that  it should  not intervene  to                                                               
revise decisions.  He added that  CRP did not micromanage OCS and                                                               
could not handle complaints against case workers or supervisors.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SULLIVAN-LEONARD,  referencing an  earlier comment                                                               
with regard  to not micro-managing  the OCS operations,  asked if                                                               
the data for the ratio  of children versus case workers reflected                                                               
a balance.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI  said that the data  was reviewed to the  extent to                                                               
which they had  access to the data.  He  relayed that the statute                                                               
authorized  access to  anything  CRP  deemed necessary,  although                                                               
there were barriers to access all  this data.  He stated that one                                                               
barrier was  the capacity  for CRP to  handle sensitive  data as,                                                               
even  when OCS  wanted to  share this  data, there  was no  clear                                                               
protocol  in place  to  deal  with the  handling  and sharing  of                                                               
sensitive data.   He noted  that there were  statutory guidelines                                                               
for sanctions against members breaching confidentiality.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD asked  if CRP  could comment  on                                                               
any disparity  for the average  ratio of case workers  to clients                                                               
in different regions.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI explained  that average caseload was  a question to                                                               
staff  during the  CRP site  visit reviews,  which averaged  five                                                               
visits every year.  He relayed  that, although OCS had shared the                                                               
case  load  by worker,  CRP  had  not  tracked those  numbers  in                                                               
previous  years.   He stated  that all  cases were  not the  same                                                               
amount of work, so it was necessary to discuss work load.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI continued with slide  8, "Functions - What CRP does                                                               
not do," and stated that  CRP did not conduct program evaluations                                                               
but instead  it assessed the  procedures and practices of  OCS as                                                               
stated in  its own policies.   CRP does not lobby  for or against                                                               
OCS.   He shared slide  9, "CRP  - A Statutory  Institution," and                                                               
stated  that CRP  was an  institution with  a statutory  role and                                                               
responsibility,  and was  a state  organization,  not a  private,                                                               
non-profit, grass roots  organization.  He reported  that CRP was                                                               
a congressionally  mandated, statutory  organization and  that it                                                               
facilitated citizen participation.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:21:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI addressed  slide 10,  "OCS Offices,"  which mapped                                                               
the OCS  offices throughout the state,  and he noted some  of the                                                               
changes to the statistics.  He  reported that CRP tried "to reach                                                               
out to  all five regions every  year."  He spoke  about slide 11,                                                               
"CRP's Annual  Calendar," and  stated that it  was a  typical CRP                                                               
calendar.   He moved on to  slide 12, "Work During  2015 - 2016,"                                                               
which listed  the goals,  the site  visits, the  public meetings,                                                               
and the presentations.   He shared the four CRP  goals, slide 13,                                                               
"Goals 2015 - 2016," which were  included in the work plan, along                                                               
with a description of the background explaining its importance.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI   shared  slide  14,  "Recommendation   1,"  which                                                               
suggested consideration for assigning  CRP a significant role for                                                               
implementation of priority areas  in the OCS-Tribal relationship.                                                               
This  could  lead  to  another   challenge,  as  CRP  was  not  a                                                               
stakeholder.    He  suggested  to  identify  an  appropriate  and                                                               
specific role for CRP to work in partnership with others.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI discussed  the  second  recommendation, slide  15,                                                               
which  stated that  child protection  services needed  additional                                                               
resources,  as  there  were problems  which  everyone  needed  to                                                               
address.   He  explained  that  this recommendation  acknowledged                                                               
that tribal partners could bring assets to the table.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON asked if  the recommendation should instead                                                               
read "Alaska Native not for profit corporations."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI  explained that  the  recommendation  read as  was                                                               
intended,  as  OCS already  had  working  relationship with  non-                                                               
profits, but it needed the  resources, relationships, and funding                                                               
from the  for-profit corporations to tackle  the many challenging                                                               
issues.    He  stated  that every  shareholder  of  a  for-profit                                                               
corporation was also a tribal member.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON offered his  belief that the recommendation                                                               
was  "highly  aspirational," and  asked  if  there had  been  any                                                               
success for constructive dialogue.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI expressed  his agreement that it  was ambitious and                                                               
aspirational.  He relayed that CRP,  as a body, can recommend and                                                               
broker the conversations, but that  the parties had to commit and                                                               
enter in to see if it would work.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:31:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI explained slide 16,  "Recommendation 3," and stated                                                               
that, as CRP  had been an afterthought for many  years, there was                                                               
no oversight  or evaluation of  its work.   He reported  that the                                                               
panel existed for  13 years without any by-laws  or policies, and                                                               
had  been in  violation  of state  sunshine  laws until  January,                                                               
2015.  He declared  that CRP may or may not be  doing its job, or                                                               
OCS may or may not be  responding adequately, which had led to an                                                               
erosion  of the  accountability mechanism  and a  failure of  the                                                               
legislative intent  to help OCS  be more responsive  to community                                                               
needs.   He  said that  the  sequence of  presentations was  more                                                               
meaningful  as it  required enforcement  of some  accountability.                                                               
He  pointed  out  that currently  the  only  federally  monitored                                                               
accountability was  for production of  the annual report  and the                                                               
subsequent  response from  OCS,  although the  quality of  either                                                               
document  was  not  assessed.    He  acknowledged  that,  as  the                                                               
recommendations were not legally  binding, they could only result                                                               
in meaningful action through legislative  oversight.  He reported                                                               
that CRP  had conducted  an evaluation of  its own  structure and                                                               
relationship with  OCS, resulting in many  ideas for improvement.                                                               
He declared  that it was necessary  to have clarity for  the role                                                               
of CRP in order to avoid any conflicts.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked if anything had  been gleaned from                                                               
the aforementioned national CRP  conference which was helpful for                                                               
the process and procedures.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI,  in response,  said  that  many CRPs  did  things                                                               
differently, as some were  private, non-profit, consulting firms,                                                               
and  some were  based  at  a university.    He  allowed that  the                                                               
template  was popular.    He offered  some  examples for  various                                                               
models, but  admitted that it  was unclear which  were successful                                                               
as  there  was  not  any  federal evaluation.    In  response  to                                                               
Representative  Johnston, he  said that  the non-profits  did fit                                                               
into the federal  mandates, although the mandate  did not dictate                                                               
how to organize each CRP.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked if  the Wyoming approach  had been                                                               
effective.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI  said that effectiveness  could only  be determined                                                               
if there were standards to evaluate.   He offered his belief that                                                               
effectiveness was  determined by  the actual  changes that  a CRP                                                               
initiated, which could not be  quickly assessed due to the number                                                               
of factors.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked if  Wyoming felt their  system was                                                               
effective.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI explained that the  relationships seemed to be good                                                               
in Wyoming, although  they raised their own funding  and that CRP                                                               
work was only a small part of the agency.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ suggested  that this was not an  apples to apples                                                               
comparison, as  there was no federally  prescribed evaluation for                                                               
effectiveness process for CRPs.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI said  that CRP  reports do  not assess  the actual                                                               
effectiveness.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:40:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI  returned to  slide  16,  "Recommendation 3:"  and                                                               
explained  that   this  pointed  to   the  need  to   assess  the                                                               
effectiveness  of collaboration  with OCS.   He  introduced slide                                                               
17, "Recommendation 4:"  which was the result of a  CRP survey of                                                               
OCS  front  line  case  workers who,  although  they  held  their                                                               
immediate  supervisors  in  very   high  regard,  felt  that  the                                                               
community at  large did  not understand the  purpose and  work of                                                               
OCS.    The  recommendations  included  a  review  for  a  longer                                                               
training period, as  it takes about two years  for new front-line                                                               
workers  in child  protection  to  learn their  job  well.   They                                                               
suggested  that  structured   training  opportunities  should  be                                                               
available during these  first two years and beyond,  and that OCS                                                               
should  verify whether  those on  the job  training opportunities                                                               
were "helping to the extent they  should."  He shared a result of                                                               
the survey that  improvement was needed in  the feedback channels                                                               
from the  front line to  the leadership.   He stated that  it was                                                               
not evident  that any in-depth  analysis was conducted  to inform                                                               
policy or  practice since  resources were scarce.   He  said that                                                               
CRP would request the data and analyze it.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI shared  slide 18,  "Recommendation 5:"  and stated                                                               
that for the  past four years he had focused  on clarification of                                                               
the purpose of CRP, and that  this had been his biggest challenge                                                               
as  the chair.   He  added  that the  panel was  a mechanism  for                                                               
public  participation and  not  just a  watchdog  group to  raise                                                               
alarms at every  perceived OCS mistake.  He declared  that it was                                                               
the responsibility of  the panel to lead  a constructive dialogue                                                               
among   the  stakeholders,   but  this   required  a   structured                                                               
relationship with OCS.  He  stated that funding would not resolve                                                               
all the challenges.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI pointed  to the  four  goals listed  on slide  19,                                                               
"Goals  for 2016  -  2017," noting  that two  of  the goals  were                                                               
retained from the previous year,  and pointing out that the panel                                                               
may not be able to accomplish these goals as planned.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI  shared slide 20,  "Grand Jury  Investigation," and                                                               
stated that Representative  Tammie Wilson had called  for a grand                                                               
jury investigation  of OCS.   The grand  jury had  concluded that                                                               
CRP was  required by statute  to conduct  a review.   He reported                                                               
that CRP  had received all the  material from the grand  jury and                                                               
was also  compiling the  information from  all the  recent public                                                               
hearings held  by Representative Wilson.   He declared  that this                                                               
review would be  a major challenge for CRP, adding  that the plan                                                               
for how to conduct the review would be available on June 30.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:48:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI discussed  slide 21,  "Anticipated Changes  in CRP                                                               
operation,"  and explained  that  CRP needed  more volunteers,  a                                                               
better   recruitment    and   retention   strategy,    and   more                                                               
partnerships.   The  panel needed  to gain  visibility and  trust                                                               
among  the   general  population  and   it  needed  to   be  held                                                               
accountable for its  work.  He declared that it  was necessary to                                                               
remove the misperception  that CRP was a watchdog  agency, and it                                                               
needed reorientation as a mechanism  for public participation and                                                               
community  engagement in  child protection.   He  added that  CRP                                                               
needed support from the legislature.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON asked  if there were term  limits for the                                                               
panel members.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI replied  that there  were  no term  limits and  no                                                               
restriction  to the  number of  members.   He  opined that  there                                                               
should be 15 to 25 members,  distributed across the state, with 3                                                               
to 5 members in each OCS region.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON asked  if  there would  be an  executive                                                               
panel if there were such a large membership.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI replied, "I would expect that, yes."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  how  many panel  members had  been                                                               
previous clients of OCS.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI  replied that no  one had been  as far as  he knew,                                                               
but  that would  not be  a  disqualification.   He cautioned  any                                                               
prospective member that  it was difficult to not  have an opinion                                                               
on OCS.   He declared  that the panel  was not a  decision making                                                               
body, but  was there  to facilitate  informed conversations.   He                                                               
cautioned that strong opinions not derail the conversations.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked  if there  was consideration  for a                                                               
change of the name to Citizen Participation Panel.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR.  VADAPALLI replied  that  was an  excellent  point, and  that                                                               
there  were benefits  for changing  the name  of the  panel.   He                                                               
offered background to  the decision for the naming  of the panel.                                                               
He suggested that a more  contextual name which allowed people to                                                               
relate would be a good thing.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KITO asked how Alaska  compared to the function of                                                               
its CRP for the federal requirements in other states.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI said  there was not an evaluation  or comparison of                                                               
CRPs across states.   He said that he had  created a basic matrix                                                               
of  the  function of  CRPs  and  which  states were  meeting  the                                                               
various functions  for a "very rough  perception based analysis."                                                               
He said that  various conversations with those  serving on panels                                                               
across  the  country  revealed that,  structurally  speaking,  no                                                               
other  CRPs  had  the  same   reach  as  with  the  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature.   He maintained that there  was still a lot  of room                                                               
for improvement.  He stated  that citizen participation in policy                                                               
formulation and practice was a very good idea.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  reminded that  there  was  not a  standard  for                                                               
performance of  CRPs, which created  a challenge to  compare with                                                               
other CRPs.   She opined that anecdotally Alaska  was doing quite                                                               
well.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DR. VADAPALLI shared slide 22,  and announced that the Alaska CRP                                                               
was hosting the next national conference in Anchorage.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:59:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTY LAWTON,  Director, Central  Office, Office  of Children's                                                               
Services,  Department of  Health and  Social Services,  said that                                                               
she concurred with  much that Dr. Vadapalli had  shared, and that                                                               
there  was a  lot of  opportunity for  further improvement.   She                                                               
offered her belief that a lot  of the challenges stemmed from the                                                               
vagaries of  the Child  Abuse Prevention  and Treatment  Act, and                                                               
that there was  not much guidance given to the  states.  She said                                                               
there had been fluctuating levels  of interest from the voluntary                                                               
panel.  She  expressed her agreement that it was  long overdue to                                                               
put  some  regulations  in  place   to  offer  some  clarity  and                                                               
structure.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked who was responsible  for providing                                                               
regulations for CRP.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAWTON  said that  the statute  specifically stated  that the                                                               
Department  of  Health  and  Social   Services  had  the  primary                                                               
responsibility to create the regulations.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  asked  if more  in-depth  policies  and                                                               
procedures for CRP would resolve some of the disconnect.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.   LAWTON  replied   that  recently   more  things   regarding                                                               
composition  and  structure had  been  put  in writing,  although                                                               
guidance for the  budgeting and a clearer framework  for role and                                                               
interface with department was also necessary.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON asked  how to get there  given the unique                                                               
relationship interface.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAWTON expressed her agreement  that was a quagmire which was                                                               
indeed a  challenge.  She allowed  that there was a  question for                                                               
whether the oversight of CRP should  reside in OCS, and that more                                                               
separation might relieve some of the role confusion.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON asked  about discussions  for having  an                                                               
independent review of CRP.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LAWTON  replied  that this  could  be  potentially  helpful,                                                               
although  it  would  be   difficult  to  determine  effectiveness                                                               
without a foundation of regulations and policies.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked where  the CRP should  be located,                                                               
suggesting that it possibly be in the legislative branch.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAWTON  replied that  there was a  potential for  conflict of                                                               
interest when  the agency being  reviewed was  also administering                                                               
the funding and  contract, although that had been  managed in the                                                               
past.  She  suggested the Office of the Ombudsman,  or Boards and                                                               
Commissions, as possible locations for CRP.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:06:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ reiterated  that CRP was not a  watchdog, but was                                                               
looking  to  review,  evaluate,   conduct  public  outreach,  and                                                               
advocate.  She  expressed her concern that moving  CRP to another                                                               
location  could  exacerbate  the  problem.    She  applauded  the                                                               
current  leadership  of  OCS  and  CRP  for  working  around  the                                                               
potential conflict.   She asked about the 10  oversight groups to                                                               
which OCS was responsible, and how  efficient was it to have this                                                               
many  different  groups.    She   asked  if  there  was  existing                                                               
coordination among them.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAWTON acknowledged that, although  she was not sure how many                                                               
groups there  were, there was  a lot  of oversight at  all levels                                                               
which was not usually coordinated among the groups.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ asked about the  public participation and how OCS                                                               
could engage with an expansion of this.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LAWTON  said that  CRP  offered  an opportunity  for  public                                                               
access which  did not  currently exist.   She stated  a challenge                                                               
for  how to  ask things  of the  panel because  of its  voluntary                                                               
nature  and  what was  within  reason.    She declared  that  the                                                               
development  of  a  strategic  plan for  the  transfer  of  child                                                               
welfare would offer lots of opportunities for suggestions.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ asked  about the  time frame  for the  strategic                                                               
planning process.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.   LAWTON  explained   that   the  strategic   plan  for   the                                                               
transformation of  child welfare outcomes  in Alaska was  a five-                                                               
year  plan which  had stemmed  from a  national report  regarding                                                               
violence on  women and children.   She  said that one  chapter of                                                               
this  report  had   been  dedicated  to  Alaska,   and  that  one                                                               
recommendation  had been  for  Alaska  to form  a  task force  to                                                               
review   issues  around   child  welfare,   especially  regarding                                                               
compliance with the  Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).   She noted                                                               
that a group  of tribal leaders was convened  with objectives for                                                               
six strategic  priorities.   She said  there was  exploration for                                                               
contracting  tribal  welfare services  with  tribes,  as well  as                                                               
enriching and  growing culturally appropriate and  locally driven                                                               
services for family case plans.   She stated that this work would                                                               
be through 2020.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  asked  if the  strategic  planning  process  to                                                               
transform  child   welfare  was   focused  primarily   on  tribal                                                               
relationships, and not on an overall performance of the system.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAWTON  explained that most  of the work,  although targeting                                                               
the   work  with   Alaska  Native   families  in   Alaska  Native                                                               
communities,  would benefit  all children  in the  state and  the                                                               
improvements would be across the board.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
         HCR 2-RESPOND TO ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:16:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION  NO. 2,  Urging  Governor  Bill                                                               
Walker to  join with the  Alaska State Legislature to  respond to                                                               
the public  and behavioral health  epidemic of  adverse childhood                                                               
experiences  by establishing  a  statewide  policy and  providing                                                               
programs to address this epidemic.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:17:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GERAN TARR,  Alaska State Legislature, paraphrased                                                               
from the sponsor statement, which read:                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     In 1998, more than 17,000 middle-class Americans were                                                                      
     administered a 10-question study to evaluate childhood                                                                     
     traumatic experiences concerning abuse, neglect, and                                                                       
     household dysfunction. The results of this study were                                                                      
     used to formulate an adverse childhood experiences or                                                                      
     "ACEs" score ranging from 0-10. The term "ACEs"                                                                            
     thereafter became synonymous with traumatic                                                                                
     experiences that occur during childhood and have a                                                                         
     lasting, negative effect on a child's developing brain                                                                     
     and body.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     There have been two key findings as a result of ACEs                                                                       
     studies conducted in Alaska: childhood trauma is far                                                                       
     more common than previously realized; and the impact                                                                       
     of this trauma affects individuals over a lifetime,                                                                        
     and societies over multiple generations. Sixty-seven                                                                       
     percent of Alaskan children have an ACEs score, and                                                                        
     Alaska has some of the highest ACEs rates among the                                                                        
     five other states surveyed (Washington, Louisiana,                                                                         
     Tennessee, Arkansas, and New Mexico).                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     In Alaska, we are seeing that ACEs is synonymous with                                                                      
     asthma, depression, teen pregnancy, suicide, drug                                                                          
     abuse, employment difficulties, and intimate partner                                                                       
     violence. Health measures are linked to ACEs, and                                                                          
     these community challenges are also fiscal challenges                                                                      
     for our state. According to Dr. Hirschfield of the                                                                         
     University of Alaska and Alaska's Southcentral                                                                             
     Foundation, reducing Alaska's ACEs score by fifty                                                                          
     percent could save the state $90 million annually.                                                                         
     That means $90 million more dollars that could be                                                                          
     spent on preventative measures that add to our                                                                             
     children's wellbeing.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Alaska's state slogan "North to the Future" was                                                                            
     adopted to signify that our state is the land of                                                                           
     promise and that Alaskans are always advancing for the                                                                     
     benefit of the people and land that sustains us.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     HCR 2 urges the Governor to establish policies and                                                                         
     programs that address the public and behavioral health                                                                     
     epidemics associated with ACEs so that we can uphold                                                                       
     the promise to our children that they may grow up in                                                                       
     safe households with the best opportunities before                                                                         
     them in order to become upstanding Alaskan citizens.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR lauded  the Advisory  Board on  Alcoholism &                                                               
Drug  Abuse  and  the  Alaska  Mental  Health  Board  for  public                                                               
outreach  with  research.    She stated  that  prevention  was  a                                                               
necessary tool to  mitigate the cost to  families and communities                                                               
of these bad outcomes in adulthood.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:24:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SULLIVAN-LEONARD  asked how asthma  was determined                                                               
as part  of the ACEs  (adverse childhood experiences)  effect but                                                               
not diabetes or other medical conditions.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR acknowledged  that  other health  conditions                                                               
could be  included on  the list.   She reported  on the  cycle of                                                               
violence, with  an increased likelihood  of violence  and abusive                                                               
behavior by  someone who grew  up in a  home with violence.   She                                                               
declared that  the physiological impact on  these physical health                                                               
conditions brought attention and created  a paradigm shift from a                                                               
concern only  with the social  problems.  She explained  that the                                                               
bodily response to  prolonged stress could be  manifested in many                                                               
ways,  including   the  physiological  impact  on   the  internal                                                               
systems.   She offered  an example of  obesity and  diabetes from                                                               
this stress.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ added that research  indicated that both diabetes                                                               
and heart disease rates go  up considerably for those people with                                                               
4 or more ACEs.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  said  that  it was  difficult  to  separate                                                               
between   causation  and   correlation  in   public  health   and                                                               
environmental research  as there were often  multiple influences.                                                               
She  said  that  hundreds  of  millions  of  dollars  were  spent                                                               
annually, especially  in Medicaid.   She offered her  belief that                                                               
this was an  opportunity to review the need  for more investments                                                               
into prevention  for unwanted outcomes  in adulthood.   She spoke                                                               
about the costs associated with  ACEs, offering an example of the                                                               
costs of smoking.  She declared  that it was necessary to develop                                                               
the policies that  get us to savings from the  outcomes, and that                                                               
an  intent  of the  proposed  resolution  was to  realize  dollar                                                               
savings  and  have healthier  communities.    She explained  that                                                               
trauma informed  health care and  trauma informed  curriculum for                                                               
education  were   opportunities  for  prevention  and   to  raise                                                               
awareness.  She  offered her belief that  increased awareness and                                                               
understanding  for the  impact  of ACEs  would  allow for  better                                                               
engagement and cooperation within  the communities.  She directed                                                               
attention   to  the   critical   nature  for   early  stages   of                                                               
development.   She relayed that  a constant stressor at  an early                                                               
age created  connections in  the brain  familiar with  the stress                                                               
response, and this negatively affected development.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR concluded  by pointing  to the  relationship                                                               
between  child abuse  prevention  and  sexual assault  awareness.                                                               
She pointed  out that the  rates of  sexual abuse in  Alaska were                                                               
six  times  the   national  average,  and  that   the  rates  for                                                               
incarcerated family members were also  higher.  She reminded that                                                               
many  of the  issues in  adults could  be traced  back to  sexual                                                               
assault as a child.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:40:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  shared a  personal  experience  of one  of  her                                                               
foster children,  reporting that  she had an  ACEs score  of nine                                                               
before the  age of nine.   She  directed attention to  the health                                                               
alert [Included  in members' packets]  which was  "startling then                                                               
as how  it relates to actual  health outcomes."  She  stated that                                                               
chronic,  costly,  challenging,  expensive health  problems  were                                                               
tied to these early childhood experiences.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ said that HCR 2 would be held over.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
        HB 151-DHSS;CINA; FOSTER CARE; CHILD PROTECTION                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:42:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO.  151, "An  Act relating to  the duties  of the                                                               
Department of  Health and Social  Services; relating  to training                                                               
and workload standards for employees  of the Department of Health                                                               
and Social Services; relating to  foster care licensing; relating                                                               
to placement  of a child in  need of aid; relating  to the rights                                                               
and  responsibilities of  foster parents;  relating to  subsidies                                                               
for  adoption  or  guardianship  of  a  child  in  need  of  aid;                                                               
requiring  the  Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services  to                                                               
provide  information  to a  child  or  person released  from  the                                                               
department's custody; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
[In front of the committee was  Version R, which had not yet been                                                               
adopted as the working draft.]                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:43:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LAURA  CHARTIER, Staff,  Representative  Les  Gara, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,   directed  attention   to  the   Sectional  Summary                                                               
[Included  in  members'  packets]   for  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute, Version  R, and she paraphrased  these changes, which                                                               
read:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section 1 provides that the  short title of the bill is                                                                    
     the Children Deserve a Loving Home Act.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Section  2  provides that  an  adoption  subsidy for  a                                                                    
     hard-to-place child  may be paid until  the child turns                                                                    
     21;  under current  law,  the  subsidies are  available                                                                    
     until the child turns 18.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section  3  amends   legislative  findings  related  to                                                                    
     children  to  add  a finding  that  the  Department  of                                                                    
     Health  and  Social  Services (the  department)  should                                                                    
     enable  a  child's  contact with  previous  out-of-home                                                                    
     caregivers  if  it is  in  the  best interests  of  the                                                                    
     child.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4 amends requirements  relating to the transfer                                                                    
     of a child  from one placement to another  to require a                                                                    
     supervisor  at the  department  to  certify in  writing                                                                    
     whether the  department has conducted  a search  for an                                                                    
     appropriate placement  with an  adult family  member or                                                                    
     family friend.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Section 5 provides  that a foster parent  has the right                                                                    
     and  responsibility to  use  a  reasonable and  prudent                                                                    
     parent  standard  to  make decisions  relating  to  the                                                                    
     child in  care, and requires the  department to provide                                                                    
     foster   parents   with   training  relating   to   the                                                                    
     reasonable and prudent parent standard.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Section 6 requires the department  to engage a child in                                                                    
     an  out-of-home placement  who is  14 years  of age  or                                                                    
     older in  the development or  revisions of a  case plan                                                                    
     or permanency plan  for the child and  allows the child                                                                    
     to  select  up to  two  adults  to participate  in  the                                                                    
     development of the plan.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section 7 amends  confidentiality provisions to require                                                                    
     a  state or  municipal agency  or employee  to disclose                                                                    
     appropriate confidential  information regarding  a case                                                                    
     to the  sibling of a  child who  is the subject  of the                                                                    
     case if  it is in  the best  interests of the  child to                                                                    
     maintain contact with the sibling.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section  8 requires  a  supervisor  at the  department,                                                                    
     when  the  department  takes  emergency  custody  of  a                                                                    
     child,  to certify  in writing  whether the  department                                                                    
     has  conducted a  search for  an appropriate  placement                                                                    
     with an adult family member or family friend.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 9 requires  the department to pay  the costs of                                                                    
     caring for  a foster  child with  a physical  or mental                                                                    
     disability,  and  for  respite care,  until  the  child                                                                    
     turns  21;   under  current   law,  the   payments  are                                                                    
     available until the child turns 18.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Section  10 requires  the department  to search  for an                                                                    
     appropriate placement  with an  adult family  member or                                                                    
     friend  when the  child is  removed  from the  parent's                                                                    
     home.  The section  also requires  a supervisor  at the                                                                    
     department   to   certify   in  writing   whether   the                                                                    
     department has conducted the search.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Section  11 amends  AS 14.14.1  OO(i)  to provide  that                                                                    
     when a  child can remain  safely at home with  an adult                                                                    
     family  member or  guardian who  lives with  the child,                                                                    
     the child  may not be  placed with an  out-of-home care                                                                    
     provider.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 12  requires the department to  provide contact                                                                    
     information to siblings who  are in separate placements                                                                    
     if  it is  in the  best  interests of  the children  to                                                                    
     maintain contact.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section  13   requires  the  department   to  implement                                                                    
     workload   standards  and   a   training  program   for                                                                    
     department  employees and  to provide  a report  to the                                                                    
     legislature  if  the department  is  not  able to  meet                                                                    
     certain standards.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section  14   adds  a  new  subsection   requiring  the                                                                    
     department  to   assist  an  adult  family   member  in                                                                    
     obtaining   a  foster   care  license,   including  any                                                                    
     necessary  variances, if  placing  the  child with  the                                                                    
     adult family  member is  in the  best interests  of the                                                                    
     child.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 15  requires the department,  for a  person who                                                                    
     is 16 years of age or  older, to provide the person, or                                                                    
     assist the  person with  obtaining, the  person's birth                                                                    
     certificate,  social  security card,  health  insurance                                                                    
     information,  medical  records,   driver's  license  or                                                                    
     identification  card,  and  certificate  of  degree  of                                                                    
     Indian or Alaska Native blood,  if applicable, when the                                                                    
     person  is released  from state  custody under  AS 4  7                                                                    
     .10.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Section  16  requires  the department,  to  the  extent                                                                    
     feasible,  to  approve  or  deny  a  foster  care  home                                                                    
     license, including  a request for a  variance, not more                                                                    
     than  45 days  after the  date the  department receives                                                                    
     the application for a foster care home license.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 17 provides  that sections 2 and 9  of the Act,                                                                    
     which   relate    to   payments   for    foster   care,                                                                    
     guardianship, and  adoption, apply  to a person  who is                                                                    
     eligible for a  payment on or after  the effective date                                                                    
     of  sections  2  and  9, including  a  person  who  was                                                                    
     ineligible  for  a  payment solely  because  the  child                                                                    
     turned 18.  All other  sections of the  Act apply  to a                                                                    
     child in  the custody or  under the supervision  of the                                                                    
     department under AS  4 7 .10 on or  after the effective                                                                    
     dates of sections 3 - 8 and 10 - 16 of the Act.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Section 18  allows the department to  adopt regulations                                                                    
     necessary  to implement  the changes  made by  the Act.                                                                    
     The  regulations   may  not   take  effect   until  the                                                                    
     effective date  of the section  of the  Act implemented                                                                    
     by the regulation.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section  19  requires  the   department  to  (1)  adopt                                                                    
     training  regulations necessary  to meet  the standards                                                                    
     in  AS 47.14.112(a)(3)(A)  (sec.  13 of  the Act),  not                                                                    
     later than  one year after  the effective date  of sec.                                                                    
     13 of  the Act,  (2) hire the  staff necessary  to meet                                                                    
     the workload standards in  AS 47.12.112(a)(l), (2), and                                                                    
     (3)(B) (sec. 13  of the Act), not later  than two years                                                                    
     after the  effective date  of sec. 13  of the  Act, and                                                                    
     (3) implement the changes made  by the remainder of the                                                                    
     Act  not later  than  three years  after the  effective                                                                    
     date of secs. 1 - 12 and 14 - 16 of the Act.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section  20  provides that  sec.  18  of the  Act  take                                                                    
     effect immediately.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:49:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KITO asked  about the  limitations on  placements                                                               
and  penalties and  what were  the consequences  of limiting  the                                                               
number of placements and not meeting that level.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LES GARA,  Alaska State  Legislature, said  there                                                               
was  not any  limitation  on placements  or  penalties for  those                                                               
limitations in the proposed bill.   He opined that the discussion                                                               
for limits was  with trying to meet the federal  standard of case                                                               
load  limits for  new case  workers, as  there was  a 50  percent                                                               
turnover rate  by new case  workers in the  first year.   He said                                                               
that  there  was a  75  percent  federal  match for  meeting  the                                                               
federal standard  of no more  than six  cases in the  first three                                                               
months, and  no more than twelve  cases in the first  six months,                                                               
in order  to learn the job  and train.  He  reiterated that there                                                               
were no penalties  for the number of placements,  even though "we                                                               
don't like a lot of placements."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KITO asked  to clarify that the  limitation was on                                                               
the number of cases per caseworker.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  expressed his agreement, and  explained that                                                               
a major  part of  the proposed  bill was to  limit the  number of                                                               
cases for a  new caseworker, in order to decrease  the 50 percent                                                               
caseworker turnover in  the first year.  He shared  that each new                                                               
worker training cost about $50,000.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  pointed out that  the CRP did  not track                                                               
the  cases  per  case  worker  as  different  cases  resulted  in                                                               
different time demands, and asked  if this should instead reflect                                                               
the time element instead of the number of cases.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA  explained   that   the   only  case   load                                                               
limitations  were   for  new  case   workers,  as   the  training                                                               
necessitated a smaller  case load.  He reiterated  that there was                                                               
a 75  percent federal match if  this was implemented.   After the                                                               
six-month  period, the  case  load limit  was  determined by  the                                                               
department in order to allow  for each case to achieve permanency                                                               
in a loving  home.  He said  that the standard was  for good work                                                               
to "get  youth out  of the  system as quickly  as possible."   He                                                               
shared that  OCS wanted to  achieve a  case load limit  of twelve                                                               
families per case  worker, although this would  differ per region                                                               
as some  areas were more  accessible.   He pointed out  that case                                                               
workers in the Matanuska-Susitna office  had 43 cases each at one                                                               
point.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:54:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ  removed her earlier  objection to  the committee                                                               
substitute, Version  R [objection  carried from House  Health and                                                               
Social Services  Standing Committee  meeting on March  16, 2017].                                                               
There  being   no  further  objection,  the   proposed  committee                                                               
substitute (CS) for HB 151,  labeled 30-LS0451\R, Glover, 3/7/17,                                                               
was before the committee as the working document.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:56:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA MALCHICK stated  that she was in support of  HB 151.  She                                                               
reported that she had served for  25 years as a guardian ad litum                                                               
in Anchorage  and other urban  and rural communities.   She noted                                                               
that she was  on the board of directors of  Facing Foster Care in                                                               
Alaska and was also a part  time, temporary employee of the court                                                               
system, working  on a multi-disciplinary training  curriculum for                                                               
the   judges,   lawyers,   tribal  representatives,   and   child                                                               
advocates.   She stated that she  was speaking on her  own behalf                                                               
and that  she had submitted a  letter of support.   She said that                                                               
she would  focus on three  topics.   She addressed Section  13 of                                                               
the proposed bill regarding the  extra training and the case load                                                               
standards for  new OCS  employees.  She  offered her  belief that                                                               
hiring,  training,  and  retention  of good  case  workers  would                                                               
alleviate the  necessity for  other areas  of the  proposed bill.                                                               
She   stated   that  the   lower-case   load   would  allow   for                                                               
establishment  of the  necessary relationships  and the  adequate                                                               
assessment  of  the  situations,  as  well  as  the  time  to  do                                                               
relative, family,  and friend  searches for  appropriate adoptive                                                               
homes.   She declared that the  huge turnover at OCS  was bad for                                                               
families, and  it was  her firm  belief that  children, families,                                                               
and the  system as a  whole would benefit if  OCS was able  to do                                                               
its job better.  She moved  on to discussion of the relationships                                                               
with siblings, which  were often the most important,  as when the                                                               
parents were not available for  physical and emotional needs, the                                                               
children become  care givers  for each other.   She  relayed that                                                               
current  law  required  that  siblings   be  placed  together  if                                                               
possible, and,  although OCS  policy required  that communication                                                               
should be arranged  between separated siblings, this  was "one of                                                               
those things that falls by the  wayside when the case workers are                                                               
overworked," and it was not happening.   She pointed out that the                                                               
proposed  bill required  OCS to  provide contact  information for                                                               
siblings,   and   it   encouraged  that   care   givers   provide                                                               
opportunities  for siblings  to see  each other.   She  suggested                                                               
that  the  proposed  bill  could be  even  stronger  and  include                                                               
legislative  language  recognizing   the  importance  of  sibling                                                               
relationships.  She suggested that  there should be provisions in                                                               
the adoption  decree if  siblings are separated  for there  to be                                                               
ongoing contact, if it was in  the best interest of the children.                                                               
She  added  that confidentiality  should  allow  for the  contact                                                               
information to be  shared in order to  maintain the relationship.                                                               
She spoke  about the  guardianship and  adoption subsidies.   She                                                               
reported that  current law allowed  for subsidies until  18 years                                                               
of age, although it was proposed for  an increase to age 21.  She                                                               
offered  her  observations  that,   as  many  youth  often  don't                                                               
graduate from high school until after  18 years of age, the court                                                               
case  stays open  even  though  the subsidies  end,  and that  an                                                               
increase of the  age, to at least the completion  of high school,                                                               
would allow for more adoptions and guardianships.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
5:07:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROSALIE REIN said that she had  been a licensed front line social                                                               
worker with  OCS for seven  years, although she was  not speaking                                                               
on  behalf  of  OCS.    She highlighted  two  components  of  the                                                               
proposed bill:   improving relationships between  workers and the                                                               
families, and training  and caseload.  She stated  that case load                                                               
was  directly  tied to  the  worker  being  in contact  with  the                                                               
children  and families  on  a  regular basis.    She shared  that                                                               
parents  and  foster  parents  had   to  have  communication  and                                                               
concerns addressed by  the case workers, yet, suffice  it to say,                                                               
there were  not enough hours in  the day for the  case workers to                                                               
keep up good communication with  the invested parties, as well as                                                               
do high level  social work, which included  diligent searches for                                                               
extended relatives or  tribal members who could  provide the best                                                               
home  for the  children who  could not  return to  their parents.                                                               
She declared  that it was  important for caseworkers  to maintain                                                               
relationships between  family members,  the resource  family, the                                                               
biological parents,  and the child  in care, which would  lead to                                                               
an integrated  sense of self for  the child, with the  best long-                                                               
term  outcomes, but  that they  needed  time and  training to  do                                                               
this.   She relayed that  actual social work was  about educating                                                               
the parties for  the importance of providing each  child with the                                                               
network  of  support.   Child  welfare  research  suggested  that                                                               
caseworkers  with social  work  education, appropriate  training,                                                               
specialized  competencies,  and  greater experience  were  better                                                               
able to facilitate  permanency.  She stated that  proposed HB 151                                                               
could ensure  that case  workers have  the necessary  training to                                                               
develop the skill set specific  to child protection and to foster                                                               
resiliency.    She  stated  that the  proposed  bill  would  help                                                               
address the steep learning curve issues for new workers.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
5:11:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAMMI SANDOVAL, Director, UAA Child  Welfare Academy, stated that                                                               
she was in  support of the proposed bill.   She reported that she                                                               
had  worked in  child welfare  work for  33 years,  and that  the                                                               
Child  Welfare  Academy provided  the  training  to all  the  OCS                                                               
frontline workers,  supervisors, and  other staff.   She declared                                                               
that Section  13 of  the proposed bill  would help  the situation                                                               
for  retention, meet  federal outcomes,  and offer  best practice                                                               
for families and children.   She pointed to earlier testimony for                                                               
the necessary time  for staff to learn, and stated  that the only                                                               
way  to make  a  difference for  the way  we  treat children  and                                                               
families  was with  more  training.   She  declared  that it  was                                                               
necessary to  change "what we  give to our front-line  staff" and                                                               
that the proposed bill was "the right thing to do."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR  asked that  some  of  these individuals  be                                                               
available for  later testimony.   She stated that she  wanted the                                                               
opportunity for testimony from the  Office of Public Advocacy and                                                               
to  share  the  case  worker  side of  things,  as  well  as  the                                                               
representation for families.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ said that the bill would be held over.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:17:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Health and Social Services Standing Committee meeting was                                                                       
adjourned at 5:17 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCR002 Sponsor Statement 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR002 Supporting Document- Article ABADA.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR 2
HCR002 Supporting Document- Article ABADA-AMHB.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR 2
HCR002 Supporting Document- Article CDC Injury Prevention & Control Division of Violence Prevention.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR 2
HCR002 Supporting Document- Article Felitti.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR 2
HCR002 Supporting Document- Article Yosef.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR 2
HCR002 Supporting Document-Support Letters A 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR 2
HCR002 Supporting Document-Support Letters B 2.22.17.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HCR 2
House HSS Presentation_03202017 from CRP.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
Citizen Review Panel
2016 Annual Report.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
Citizen Review Panel
2016 OCS Response.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
Citizen Review Panel
2017 National CRP Conference Agenda_For public release_03092017.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
Citizen Review Panel
Grand Jury Recommendations.pdf HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
Citizen Review Panel
HB 151 Explanation of Changes ver R 3.15.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-CSM 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-CST 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Draft Proposed Blank CS ver R 3.7.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-FCBR 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-FLSW 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Fiscal Note DHSS-SAG 03.10.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Sectional Analysis ver R 3.15.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document - Casey Family Programs Letter 3.15.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 1. OCS Office by Office Caseloads 3.1.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 2. High Caseloads How Do They Impact Health and Human Services 3.1.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 3. Children Waiting to be Adopted 2014.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 4. Applying the Science of Child Development in Child Welfare Systems (Excerpt).pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 5. NJ DCF Workforce Report (Excerpt).pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 6. Why the Workforce Matters.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 7. Creating a Permanence Driven Organization - Anu (Excerpt).pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 8. DHSS Memo OOH Growth.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 9. DHSS Memo NJ Standard and Workforce.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 10. Relevant Statistics.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document 11. Supporting Article.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 Supporting Document-Letters of Support 3.15.2017.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/23/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151
HB 151 vers. U Sponsor Statement 3.1.17.pdf HHSS 3/16/2017 3:00:00 PM
HHSS 3/21/2017 3:00:00 PM
HB 151