Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 211

04/13/2009 01:30 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
01:33:05 PM Start
01:33:19 PM Ocs Child & Family Services Review
02:07:52 PM SB105
02:46:19 PM HB35
03:09:28 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= SB 179 PARENTAL NOTICE OF MINOR'S ABORTION
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ OCS Hearing TELECONFERENCED
+ SB 105 FOSTER CARE/CINA/EDUCATION OF HOMELESS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 105(HSS) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+= HB 35 NOTICE & CONSENT FOR MINOR'S ABORTION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      SENATE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                    
                         April 13, 2009                                                                                         
                           1:33 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bettye Davis, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Joe Paskvan, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Final Report: Alaska Child and Family Services Review                                                                           
     HEARD                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 105                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to continuing  the secondary public education of                                                               
a homeless  student; relating to  the purpose of certain  laws as                                                               
they relate to children; relating  to tuition waivers, loans, and                                                               
medical assistance for a child  placed in out-of-home care by the                                                               
state; relating to  foster care; relating to children  in need of                                                               
aid; relating  to foster care  transition to  independent living;                                                               
and relating to juvenile programs and institutions."                                                                            
     MOVED CSSB 105 (HSS) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 35(FIN)(ct rule fld)(efd fld)                                                                             
"An Act  relating to notice  and consent for a  minor's abortion;                                                               
relating to penalties  for performing an abortion;  relating to a                                                               
judicial bypass  procedure for an abortion;  relating to coercion                                                               
of a  minor to  have an  abortion; and  relating to  reporting of                                                               
abortions performed on minors."                                                                                                 
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 179                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to  notice of a  minor's abortion;  relating to                                                               
judicial bypass  of notice  for a  minor's abortion;  relating to                                                               
coercion of  a minor to  have an abortion; relating  to reporting                                                               
of abortions performed  on minors; and amending  Rule 220, Alaska                                                               
Rules of Appellate Procedure, and  Rule 20, Alaska Probate Rules,                                                               
relating to judicial bypass for an abortion."                                                                                   
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 105                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FOSTER CARE/CINA/EDUCATION OF HOMELESS                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DAVIS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/11/09       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/11/09       (S)       EDC, HSS, FIN                                                                                          
03/25/09       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/25/09       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/25/09       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
04/03/09       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/06/09       (S)       EDC RPT CS  1DP 2NR 1AM   NEW TITLE                                                                    
04/06/09       (S)       DP: DAVIS                                                                                              
04/06/09       (S)       NR: OLSON, STEVENS                                                                                     
04/06/09       (S)       AM: HUGGINS                                                                                            
04/06/09       (S)       EDC AT 8:00 AM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/06/09       (S)       Moved CSSB 105(EDC) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/06/09       (S)       MINUTE(EDC)                                                                                            
04/13/09       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  35                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: NOTICE & CONSENT FOR MINOR'S ABORTION                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) COGHILL                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
01/20/09       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/20/09       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
01/20/09       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/9/09                                                                                
03/09/09       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/09/09       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/09/09       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/11/09       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/11/09       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/11/09       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/13/09       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/13/09       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/13/09       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/16/09       (H)       DP: LYNN, COGHILL, GATTO, DAHLSTROM,                                                                   
                         RAMRAS                                                                                                 
03/16/09       (H)       JUD RPT 5DP 2DNP                                                                                       
03/16/09       (H)       DNP: GRUENBERG, HOLMES                                                                                 
03/16/09       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/16/09       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
03/25/09       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/25/09       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/25/09       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/25/09       (H)       FIN AT 6:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/25/09       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/25/09       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/26/09       (H)       FIN AT 5:00 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/26/09       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/26/09       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/27/09       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/27/09       (H)       Moved CSHB  35(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/27/09       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/30/09       (H)       DP: FOSTER, KELLY, STOLTZE                                                                             
03/30/09       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) 3DP 4NR 4AM                                                                            
03/30/09       (H)       AM: GARA, SALMON, CRAWFORD, FAIRCLOUGH                                                                 
03/30/09       (H)       NR: THOMAS, JOULE, AUSTERMAN, HAWKER                                                                   
04/02/09       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 35(FIN)(CT RULE FLD)(EFD                                                                 
                         FLD)                                                                                                   
04/02/09       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/03/09       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/03/09       (S)       HSS, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
04/13/09       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAMMY SANDOVAL, Director                                                                                                        
Office of Children's Services (OCS)                                                                                             
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the Alaska Child and Family                                                                     
Services Review overview.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TOM OBERMEYER, staff to Senator Davis                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 105 for the sponsor.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MIKE LESMAN, Community Relations Manager                                                                                        
Office of Children's Services (OCS)                                                                                             
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT: Neutral position on SB 105.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
LAURA HEYWOOD                                                                                                                   
CASA Volunteer                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 105.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KARL ECKSTROM, representing himself                                                                                             
Change Point, AK.                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 105.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA METIVIER, Statewide Coordinator                                                                                          
Facing Foster Care in Alaska                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 105.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA SHIRE, Statewide Representative                                                                                         
Facing Foster Care in Alaska                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 105.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 35.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JEAN MISCHEL                                                                                                                    
Legislative Legal Services                                                                                                      
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capital                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK.                                                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 35.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:33:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BETTYE DAVIS  called the Senate Health  and Social Services                                                             
Standing Committee meeting  to order at 1:33 p.m.  Present at the                                                               
call to order were Senators Dyson, Paskvan and Davis.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
^OCS Child & Family Services Review                                                                                             
     Final Report: Alaska Child and Family Services Review                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:33:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DAVIS  announced  the Alaska  Child  and  Family  Services                                                               
Review presentation by the Office of Children's Services (OCS).                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TAMMY SANDOVAL,  Director, Office  of Children's  Services (OCS),                                                               
Department of  Health and Social  Services (DHSS),  presented the                                                               
overview.  She said  the Child  and Family  Services Review  is a                                                               
process  that   the  federal  Administration  for   Children  and                                                               
Families does  in every state. The  first one in Alaska  was done                                                               
in 2002,  and the second was  done in September of  last year. It                                                               
is difficult  to make  direct comparisons  between 2002  and now,                                                               
because the standards changed; but their work is the same.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
They were  asked to do a  statewide assessment and turn  it in to                                                               
the  federal  government,  and  the   good  news  is  that  their                                                               
assessments were almost identical,  which means that their report                                                               
to  her wasn't  big news.  Unfortunately, the  OCS did  not pass.                                                               
Twenty-three  items were  reviewed  regarding  the families  they                                                               
serve, and seven systemic factors  were evaluated. OCS passed one                                                               
systemic  factor -  their data  information system,  called ORCA.                                                               
That  is great,  because  ORCA is  key in  allowing  them to  get                                                               
reports out in order to improve their practices.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
She  explained  that the  federal  government  gives feedback  in                                                               
specific  areas.   Some  of  their  strengths   are:  maintaining                                                               
children in  their own communities, providing  relative placement                                                               
resources  when needed,  insuring that  relationships with  their                                                               
parents  and siblings  are maintained  and  meeting the  national                                                               
standard for  data indicators pertaining to  achieving permanency                                                               
for children in foster care for extended periods of time.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Other areas  they didn't do so  well in are: safety  - protecting                                                               
children  from abuse  or neglect,  maintaining children  in their                                                               
own homes whenever possible and  appropriate, and children having                                                               
permanency and  stability in their living  situation. The federal                                                               
government  feels they  need to  "front end  load" the  system so                                                               
that a family's  outcomes have been successfully  achieved by the                                                               
time they move through the system,  and the OCS has already shown                                                               
improvement. For  instance, the  federal government says  if case                                                               
worker visits are  done regularly, 17 of the  other outcomes that                                                               
need to be met will come along with it. That is a key component.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:37:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON joined the committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DAVIS  asked what  made it  possible for  them to  see such                                                               
prompt improvement.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL replied  that one manager told her  they were really                                                               
focusing on having regular meetings  and were holding supervisors                                                               
accountable.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DAVIS  asked her  what was happening  with the  things that                                                               
aren't  getting done  because more  emphasis is  being placed  on                                                               
that one issue. She was looking for a more rounded approach.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:41:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SANDOVAL  replied that they  would be watching  that closely.                                                               
Other  states have  found putting  emphasis  on one  area of  the                                                               
review caused  them to  lose traction  in another.  However, they                                                               
know that  when home  visits are being  done, families  are being                                                               
helped, and  other outcomes come  along with them.  Anchorage got                                                               
its home visit compliance up to 77 percent in March.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:42:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDOVAL mentioned  that no  state has  passed all  of their                                                               
outcomes  in the  first or  second  reviews; so,  although it  is                                                               
their  goal  to  meet  all   of  these  standards,  Alaska  isn't                                                               
completely worse than the others.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
She  noted that  their employee  vacancy  rate is  down, but  the                                                               
turnover rate is  still a concern that they are  working on. They                                                               
have  been on  a continuum  of systemic  change and  she believes                                                               
when  they enter  into this  performance  improvement plan,  with                                                               
ORCA being  able to provide  such detailed information,  they are                                                               
poised to  be able to  affect the things they  most need to  do -                                                               
safety and permanence.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:45:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDOVAL said  safety needs  to be  effected most  urgently.                                                               
They  have  to  get  out   on  all  their  investigations  timely                                                               
especially when  maltreatment has  already occurred. This  is one                                                               
of their areas of weakness.  An in-home services program needs to                                                               
be built within the  OCS to be able to keep  kids safely in their                                                               
homes. For a long time it  has been the practice of child welfare                                                               
agencies around  the country  to remove  them, thinking  that was                                                               
the best way  to serve children and their families.  But now they                                                               
know that  level of intrusion  is not always necessary,  and they                                                               
have built  a system of  service delivery focused on  taking care                                                               
of kids  once they  have been  removed. So  they need  to realign                                                               
their current  resources to provide  services in the home  in the                                                               
effort to keep families together.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:48:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAVIS asked  if she has information on any  of the grantees                                                               
who provide those services.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL answered  that the federal government  has give them                                                               
a little money. The department has  put out RFPs to provide those                                                               
services for one year, until  the performance improvement plan is                                                               
written and  approved by the  feds, and  then plans on  going for                                                               
another grant.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DAVIS asked if the state is putting any money into that.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL said she wasn't sure.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:49:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDOVAL explained  that there  are  23 items,  each with  a                                                               
specific  measure  like  proximity   of  foster  care  placement,                                                               
placement  with visit  with siblings,  and relationship  of child                                                               
and care with their parents. The  OCS gets measured on each item,                                                               
so it is important to maintain balance.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
She noted  that they also have  a systemic factor related  to the                                                               
case  review   system  that  is   work  with  the   court  system                                                               
specifically. So they are working  actively and successfully with                                                               
the court improvement project that  is also funded by the federal                                                               
government, but is  housed within the court  system. Protocol for                                                               
visitation between children and  their parents has been developed                                                               
and modeled according to the specific family issues.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Another   systemic   factor   needing  improvement   is   quality                                                               
assurance.  Staff and  provider  training  have already  improved                                                               
enough  to  pass, and  OCS  is  working  with other  services  to                                                               
provide  a stronger  array. She  was really  disappointed to  not                                                               
have passed  agency responsiveness to the  community because they                                                               
have worked  on that extremely hard  in the past four  years. The                                                               
specific  measure  has  to  do  with  inviting  stakeholders  and                                                               
community partners in to develop the  federal plan - and they are                                                               
going to do it right this time.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The  last  systemic  factor  has   to  do  with  foster  adoptive                                                               
parenting, licensing,  recruitment and retention, which  they are                                                               
continually  working on.  She thinks  they have  a plan  and will                                                               
approach this  as a systemic  reform rather  than a "to  do" list                                                               
with service  delivery from  the time the  phone rings  until the                                                               
case is closed.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:54:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAVIS  said she appreciated  her information, and  said she                                                               
wanted a document from OCS listing  the areas they are working on                                                               
and what they are  doing to improve them - maybe  by the time the                                                               
session reconvenes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL said their federal PIP  is due May 4th so she should                                                               
be  able to  provide something  to  the legislature  at least  in                                                               
draft form this summer.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DAVIS asked how often this review occurs.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL  didn't know  for sure,  but the  last two  were six                                                               
years  apart, and  they  have  two years  to  make the  necessary                                                               
improvements; the time  starts from when they  submit the process                                                               
improvement  plan, which  she would  forward  to Senator  Davis's                                                               
office.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:57:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DYSON  said  he understands  OCS  has  made  significant                                                               
improvements  on staff  turnover, but  it still  is an  issue. He                                                               
asked why.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL  said exist surveys  have indicated that  one reason                                                               
people leave  has to do  with supervision issues;  so supervisory                                                               
training has  been put in  place to  improve that. They  are also                                                               
working hard  to improve recognition  for the work that  they do.                                                               
Adding staff has helped because they reduce the work load.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON said  one thing  Alaska failed  six years  ago and                                                               
again this  time is meeting  the federal guidelines  of permanent                                                               
placement within  12-18 month  time frame.  He asked  what things                                                               
were beyond her control that were making placement difficult.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:59:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SANDOVAL answered that she  knows there are things beyond her                                                               
control, but  she also knows it  is her responsibility to  try to                                                               
affect  each of  those things.  So,  they are  working much  more                                                               
collaboratively with  the court  system, which she  believes will                                                               
help.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON said  when you take custody of a  child you have to                                                               
appear  before a  magistrate to  confirm  that it  was the  right                                                               
decision, and he asked how long  it takes to get to that hearing.                                                               
And  once they  have decided  to go  for termination  of parental                                                               
rights, how long does it take to get into court.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:01:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDOVAL said  she knows  it takes  too long.  Sometimes the                                                               
reasons for  delay have to  do with the attorney,  sometimes with                                                               
the fact that the OCS worker just vacated.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON said  lawmakers  would like  to  know if  barriers                                                               
exist or if things need to be changed.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN  asked where  Alaska is on  the list  relative to                                                               
other states.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:04:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SANDOVAL replied  that  she  has heard  Alaska  is near  the                                                               
bottom.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN asked if other systems  could be looked at in our                                                               
most deficient areas.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL replied yes; the  federal government has 11 national                                                               
resource  centers  that  provide  free  technical  assistance  to                                                               
states,  and  four  of  them   are  getting  ready  to  help  the                                                               
department  now. The  last PIP  had a  bunch of  successful pilot                                                               
programs, "and now  the goal is to standardize  the good practice                                                               
and let go of the bad."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:06:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN asked what the  potential consequences of failing                                                               
to  make the  corrections in  two years  are, and  what different                                                               
things Alaska would face relative to other states.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL  responded there will be  a penalty of a  minimum of                                                               
almost $269,000  for FY/2008, which  would amount to  paying back                                                               
the federal funding for running the state's foster care program.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN  remarked if they  spent that much more  money to                                                               
make  this work,  they would  be  revenue neutral  as opposed  to                                                               
being revenue deficient for failing.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. SANDOVAL thanked him for making that point.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:07:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DAVIS  said thanks  for  the  report and  recognized  that                                                               
Senator Ellis had joined the meeting.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
         SB 105-FOSTER CARE/CINA/EDUCATION OF HOMELESS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DAVIS  announced consideration  of SB  105 [Version  E CSSB                                                               
105(EDC) was before the committee].                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:07:52 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  OBERMEYER,  staff  to  Senator Davis,  sponsor  of  SB  105,                                                               
presented the  sponsor statement and  overview of changes  in the                                                               
proposed  committee  substitute   (CS)  labeled  26-LS0556\C.  He                                                               
explained   that   the   word   "commission"   was   changed   to                                                               
"institution" on  page 3 in  order to recognize that  schools and                                                               
institutions should be  making the decision as to  what is needed                                                               
for   the  student   rather  than   the   Alaska  Commission   on                                                               
Postsecondary Education.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The other  main change is that  the stipend was reduced  on pages                                                               
11-12 not  to exceed nine  months with different  age parameters.                                                               
The person has  to be 18 or  older, has to be  participating in a                                                               
services program  and has contact  with a social  worker involved                                                               
in the  program. The stipend  must be  what is necessary  to meet                                                               
the individual's living expenses  as determined by the department                                                               
and it  shall not exceed the  daily rate provided for  a licensed                                                               
foster parent for the first six  months of eligibility; and if it                                                               
goes beyond  that, it's  not to  exceed more  than one  half that                                                               
amount for  an additional  three months.  It also  indicates that                                                               
the  department shall  pay the  stipend until  the date  that the                                                               
individual reaches 21  years of age or has  left out-of-home care                                                               
for six months. He did not have a new fiscal note.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:12:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE LESMAN,  Community Relations  Manager, Office  of Children's                                                               
Services (OCS), Department of Health  and Social Services (DHSS),                                                               
said SB 105  has good language, but the department  has a neutral                                                               
position. He  agreed with Ms.  Sandoval's explanation.  The front                                                               
end  work  is  the  most  urgent  and  OCS  intends  to  initiate                                                               
investigations, assess  safety and risk to  children, and prevent                                                               
removing them  from their homes if  at all possible in  the hopes                                                               
that  this will  reduce  the  problems on  the  back  end of  the                                                               
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  about  the  Child In  Need  Of Aid  (CHINA)                                                               
provisions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. LESMAN responded  that those statutes have been  cleaned up a                                                               
great deal, like replacing the  words "foster care" with "out-of-                                                               
home care".  Another is that this  bill would allow the  State of                                                               
Alaska to maintain custody up to  age 21 whereas currently with a                                                               
couple of court  orders they can only maintain custody  up to age                                                               
20.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:17:18 PM                                                                                                                    
LAURA   HEYWOOD,   CASA   Volunteer  (court   appointed   special                                                               
advocate),  explained that  they are  appointed by  the court  to                                                               
advocate for children  who are in state custody  for CHINA cases.                                                               
They work with lots of  professionals, but one difference is that                                                               
they have  very small case  loads (one or  two cases at  a time).                                                               
They are not  professionals, but are trained by  the program that                                                               
is administered by  the Office of Public  Advocacy and supervised                                                               
by their  guardian ad  litem. Ms.  Heywood said  she is  also the                                                               
vice  president of  Friends of  Alaska  CASA, which  is the  non-                                                               
profit that  raises money  to support the  CASA program.  They do                                                               
things like  meet kids' needs  that aren't covered  elsewhere and                                                               
support volunteers.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HEYWOOD said  SB 105  promotes education  to a  higher level                                                               
than before  and has learned  during her work just  how important                                                               
that is.  Education is the  only thing  that can't be  taken away                                                               
from some of those children.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:19:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THOMAS joined the meeting.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. HEYWOOD said that in the  five years she has worked with CASA                                                               
she has  advocated for six  children. These children spent  a lot                                                               
of time  in residential treatment  because of the  issues related                                                               
to foster care.  When those kids age out of  care, they return to                                                               
their communities  where they  may have no  family so  they don't                                                               
have any connections  to help them. She wanted to  make a special                                                               
pitch for this bill to help them with this transition.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:21:28 PM                                                                                                                    
KARL ECKSTROM, representing himself,  Change Point, AK, supported                                                               
SB 105.  He said the Change  Point has The Downtown  Soup Kitchen                                                               
that serves  about 500 homeless  people a day and  the population                                                               
of kids they serve who are in foster care is increasing.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:22:34 PM                                                                                                                    
AMANDA  METIVIER, Statewide  Coordinator, Facing  Foster Care  in                                                               
Alaska, supported SB  105. She said she is also  an alumni of the                                                               
Alaska's foster  care system  and is  currently a  foster parent.                                                               
She said  the 38  percent of  the young people  who "age  out" of                                                               
foster   care  end   up  homeless;   about   30  percent   become                                                               
incarcerated at  some point  and they  have a  high rate  of teen                                                               
pregnancy. They  also have a  high rate of utilization  of public                                                               
assistance.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
She  said  currently  the  state   provides  10  tuition  waivers                                                               
annually for  young people who  age out. Statewide 28  youths are                                                               
attending  college  on  those  waivers  and  10  more  youth  are                                                               
attending college without assistance from the tuition waiver.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Anecdotally she  said she  came into foster  care as  a teenager,                                                               
and  by the  time she  came  into state  custody she  was so  far                                                               
behind in  school that she dropped  out and had to  deal with the                                                               
stress and  trauma of  not only  what happened  in her  home, but                                                               
with having been removed from her  home and being placed in a new                                                               
family. She was  lucky enough to have a social  worker who helped                                                               
her get  a waiver and  encouraged her to continue  her education.                                                               
At the time  the state was offering five tuition  waivers a year.                                                               
Without that  waiver she would  not have finished  her education,                                                               
and she  graduated last year  with a Bachelor's Degree  in social                                                               
work. A lot of people who age out  have no help. So if they don't                                                               
get into  a program  right away,  they don't  wait around  to try                                                               
again because  they have  to make  a living. They  end up  on the                                                               
street.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:25:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA SHIRE,  Statewide Representative,  Facing Foster  Care in                                                               
Alaska, said  she is currently  in foster care. She  supported SB                                                               
105.  During her  six years  in  custody she  has attended  seven                                                               
different schools,  four were in  her first year of  foster care.                                                               
Throughout  the year  she switched  between  those first  schools                                                               
several times  - as well as  being home schooled. She  was in and                                                               
out  of treatment  that  year  as well.  She  had trouble  making                                                               
friends and had no lasting relationships.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
She said according to the  U.S. Department of Education, students                                                               
fall behind  4-6 months  in their  education with  each placement                                                               
change.  She finally  graduated late.  She is  now a  social work                                                               
major  at UAA  because  of the  tuition waiver.  If  she had  not                                                               
gotten it, she would probably not have continued her education.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:27:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA said the provisions  in this legislation will                                                               
make a huge  difference in the lives of foster  youth. The aim of                                                               
the bill  is to  come up  with feasible things  that will  make a                                                               
difference in  the lives of youth.  The things that he  feels are                                                               
most important in this bill are:                                                                                                
   · Keeping youth in the same school - federal law says                                                                        
     homeless youth should be able to  stay in the same school as                                                               
     they  move  around. It  has  previously  covered only  youth                                                               
     awaiting   foster  care.   This  expands   that  protection.                                                               
     Obviously it's only  in the same district;  if it's feasible                                                               
     they do it.                                                                                                                
   · Having provisions aimed at fixing the statistic that                                                                       
     roughly 38  percent of youth  coming out of foster  care end                                                               
     up  homeless.  So  this  extends  the  assistance  that  was                                                               
     previously  available  to  only  that small  number  to  all                                                               
     foster   youth.  It   includes  tuition   waivers  and   ETV                                                               
     (employment  training  vouchers).  These  are  not  terribly                                                               
     expensive provisions.                                                                                                      
   · Trying to solve the homeless problem. There is now one                                                                     
     month of full rental help and  a couple of other months with                                                               
     half of  that. This extends it  for up to six  months rental                                                               
     help and then three months at half level.                                                                                  
   · Allowing foster youth to stay in foster care and on                                                                        
     Medicaid  until age  21. Not  all youth  are ready  to leave                                                               
     foster care at 18.                                                                                                         
   · Having an advisory provision. This bill provides for a                                                                     
     monthly face-to-face visit.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He said that these are fairly inexpensive fixes.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:35:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  where Alaska  stacks up  compared to  other                                                               
states and how would that would change if this passes.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA said he couldn't answer that question.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON asked if keeping foster  kids in the same school is                                                               
currently financed through the school budget.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA answered yes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON observed  that they  seem  to be  moving toward  a                                                               
model that requires  the schools to fix a lot  of the problems of                                                               
non-functional families, and he wondered  if it doesn't make more                                                               
sense for the foster care system to do that.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  replied that  all of  the provisions  in the                                                               
bill say "subject to funding from the state".                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DAVIS said  this bill  prefers  the money  go directly  to                                                               
them, not through OCS, because that delays things.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON said he agrees that  it would be best for the money                                                               
to   go  to   the   foster  parents   who   would  then   provide                                                               
transportation.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:38:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  responded  that   you  can't  force  foster                                                               
parents to  be prefect; so  if the parent  isn't going to  try to                                                               
keep a kid in the same school, you have to work through OCS.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON disagreed with that scenario.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THOMAS  asked what the  reason was for  changing "out-of-                                                               
home care" to "foster care".                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA answered  that "foster care" is  when a child                                                               
is  with an  unrelated foster  parent and  "out-of-home care"  is                                                               
when a  child is with a  relative. Together they are  supposed to                                                               
encompass all kids who are in foster care.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:40:20 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN moved to adopt  the proposed committee substitute                                                               
for SB 105,  labeled 26-LS0556\C, as the  working document. There                                                               
being no objection, version C was before the committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON asked what the department's position is.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. LESMAN  responded that the  department's position  is neutral                                                               
for the reasons stated previously.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  asked if anything  could be  done to make  it more                                                               
palatable.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. LESMAN said the biggest challenge  in the bill has to do with                                                               
the monetary  living stipend. Existing  language leaves a  lot to                                                               
be worked out.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:43:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PASKVAN moved  to report  CS for  SB 105  from committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal  note(s).                                                               
There being no objection, CSSB 105(HSS) moved from committee.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
At ease from 2:44 p.m. to 2:46 p.m.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
          HB  35-NOTICE & CONSENT FOR MINOR'S ABORTION                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:46:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAVIS announced  consideration of HB 35.  [CSHB 35(FIN) (CT                                                               
RULE FLD)(EFD FLD) was before the committee.]                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL,  sponsor of HB  35, said it deals  with a                                                               
supreme court  ruling that  came down two  years ago  saying that                                                               
parental consent  and notification  had failed.  He looked  for a                                                               
balance between the  constitutional right of a  young minor child                                                               
under freedom of choice and the right of parents to guide them.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:48:02 PM                                                                                                                    
The  state has  agreed that  parents have  the responsibility  to                                                               
guide immature youngsters'  choices and even veto  them. His bill                                                               
says the minor must obtain consent  of the parents and have a 48-                                                               
hour notice if the parents  were fit and loving. Parental consent                                                               
is  not   required  if  the   youngsters  are   married,  legally                                                               
emancipated, self-subsisting  and employed,  or in  the military.                                                               
If they chose not to include  the parents, they could go to court                                                               
and demonstrate  their own  maturity and get  consent to  have an                                                               
abortion.  If  the court  doesn't  act,  that would  be  de-facto                                                               
consent.   Everywhere  "consent"   is  used,   "notification"  is                                                               
inserted.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:51:14 PM                                                                                                                    
For sexual or physical abuse of  the child, parents would have to                                                               
be  notified; if  not the  parents,  the bill  requires an  adult                                                               
sibling, a grandparent, a police  officer or officer of the court                                                               
that has  knowledge of the sexual  abuse. The reason is  that you                                                               
don't want a youngster being  further intimidated to sign a sworn                                                               
statement without somebody protecting them.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DAVIS stated  that the  Senate committee  substitute (SCS)                                                               
had not been adopted and clarified  that the sponsor asked her to                                                               
roll the  notification provision  from the  Senate bill  into his                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL added  that it became clear  that the only                                                               
way to get  this bill through this legislative session  was to go                                                               
with parental notification rather than consent.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:53:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAVIS  asked if  the Senate sponsor  agreed with  using his                                                               
language.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  answered yes. The  SCS is the  same basic                                                               
outline of HB 35 without the consent language.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  said he  wanted to understand  more about  the SCS                                                               
before adopting it.  He asked if they are  talking about parental                                                               
notification,  why doesn't  the  title say  "An  Act Relating  to                                                               
Notice for a Minor's Abortion."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:56:58 PM                                                                                                                    
JEAN  MISCHEL, Legislative  Legal  Services,  explained that  the                                                               
House title  was retained because  it still  adequately described                                                               
the bill.  The Senate bill  has a  shortened title and  the other                                                               
difference is the  existence of the court rules  and an effective                                                               
date  that  failed  on  the  House side.  The  Senate  bill  also                                                               
retained  the medical  emergency exception  that was  in the  "A"                                                               
version of the House bill that didn't pass House Finance.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS said  he was troubled by the title  having the word                                                               
"consent" in it.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MISCHEL  explained that "consent"  is in the  current version                                                               
only to  the extent that it  is being repealed from  existing law                                                               
in this SCS and that there is not title problem.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS remarked, "Well, it is for me."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DAVIS said  it appears  that the  court language  has been                                                               
removed from the CS.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. MISCHEL agreed that the court  rules were not in the proposed                                                               
CS, version E.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:00:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAVIS said she still intends to hear SB 179.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL said  he  would be  willing  to accept  a                                                               
title amendment to the SCS.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:05:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN moved to adopt  SCS CSHB 35, labeled 26-LS0192\E,                                                               
as the working document.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON   objected,  saying  he  preferred   the  original                                                               
version.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote was  taken: Senators  Thomas, Paskvan,  Davis,                                                               
Ellis voted  yea; Senator  Dyson voted  nay. Therefore,  SCS CSHB                                                               
35, version E, was adopted.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DAVIS held HB 35 in committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:09:28 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Davis adjourned the meeting at 3:09 p.m.                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects