HB 303: "An Act relating to court review of child placement decisions of the Department of Health and Social Services; and providing for an effective date."
00HOUSE BILL NO. 303 01 "An Act relating to court review of child placement decisions of the Department 02 of Health and Social Services; and providing for an effective date." 03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 * Section 1. PURPOSE. The purpose of this Act is to make clear that the legislature has 05 given the court the full authority to review issues relating to the placement of children in state 06 custody and that the standard for review is whether the placement is in the best interest of the 07 child. This statute is intended to change the result under State Dept. of Health and Social 08 Services v. A.C., 682 P.2d 1131 (Alaska Ct. App. 1984) by providing that the court may 09 overrule the Department of Health and Social Services' placement decision based solely on 10 the court's determination of the best interest of the child without regard to whether or not the 11 department's placement constitutes an abuse of discretion. 12 * Sec. 2. AS 47.10.080(f) is amended to read: 13 (f) A minor found to be delinquent or a child in need of aid is a ward of the 14 state while committed to the department or the department has the power to supervise
01 the minor's actions. The court shall review an order made under (b) or (c)(1) or (2) 02 of this section annually, and may review the order more frequently to determine if 03 continued placement, probation, or supervision, as it is being provided, is in the best 04 interest of the minor and the public. If annual review under this subsection would 05 arise within 90 days of the hearing required under (l) of this section, the court may 06 postpone review under this subsection until the time set for the hearing. The 07 department, the minor, the minor's parents, guardian, or custodian are entitled, when 08 good cause is shown, to a review on application. If the application is granted, the 09 court shall afford these parties and their counsel reasonable notice in advance of the 10 review and hold a hearing where these parties and their counsel shall be afforded an 11 opportunity to be heard. The minor shall be afforded the opportunity to be present at 12 the review. The court's decision and orders following a review under this 13 subsection shall be based on the court's independent review of the evidence and 14 the court's independent determination of which placement is in the best interests 15 of the minor. The court may not give deference to the department's 16 recommendations. 17 * Sec. 3. AS 47.10.080(l) is amended to read: 18 (l) Within 18 months after the date a child is initially taken into custody by 19 the department under AS 47.10.142(c) or committed to the custody of the department 20 under (b)(3), (c)(1), or (c)(3) of this section, or 47.10.230(c), the court shall hold a 21 hearing to review the placement and services provided and to determine the future 22 status of the minor. The court's decision and orders following a review under this 23 subsection shall be based on the court's independent review of the evidence and 24 the court's independent determination of which placement is in the best interests 25 of the minor. The court may not give deference to the department's 26 recommendations. The court shall make appropriate written findings, including 27 findings related to the following: 28 (1) whether the child should be returned to the parent; 29 (2) whether the child should remain in out-of-home care for a specified 30 period; 31 (3) whether the child should remain in out-of-home care on a
01 permanent or long-term basis because of special needs or circumstances; 02 (4) whether the child should be placed for adoption or legal 03 guardianship. 04 * Sec. 4. This Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c).