SB 188: "An Act relating to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, and requiring that, as part of the investigation of the reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, all official interviews with children who are alleged to have been abused or neglected be videotaped."
00SENATE BILL NO. 188 01 "An Act relating to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, and requiring 02 that, as part of the investigation of the reports of suspected child abuse or 03 neglect, all official interviews with children who are alleged to have been abused 04 or neglected be videotaped." 05 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 06 * Section 1. AS 47.17.010 is amended to read: 07 Sec. 47.17.010. PURPOSE AND INTENT. (a) In order to protect children 08 whose health and well-being may be adversely affected through the infliction, by other 09 than accidental means, of harm through physical injury or neglect, mental injury, 10 sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment, the legislature requires the reporting 11 of these cases by practitioners of the healing arts and others to the department. It is 12 not the intent of the legislature that persons required to report suspected child abuse 13 or neglect under this chapter investigate the suspected child abuse or neglect before 14 they make the required report to the department. Reports of suspected child abuse
01 or neglect must be made when there is a reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or 02 neglect in order to make state investigative and social services available in a wider 03 range of cases at an earlier point in time. 04 (b) It is the intent of the legislature [, TO MAKE SURE] that investigations 05 regarding reports of suspected child abuse and neglect 06 (1) be [ARE] conducted by trained investigators; 07 (2) [, AND TO] avoid subjecting a child to multiple interviews about 08 the abuse or neglect; and 09 (3) ensure that all interviews with the child concerning the alleged 10 abuse or neglect that are made as part of the investigation of a report of harm 11 are recorded on videotape. 12 (c) It is the further intent of the legislature that, as a result of requiring the 13 making of these reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, protective services will 14 be made available in an effort to 15 (1) prevent further harm to the child; 16 (2) safeguard and enhance the general well-being of children in this 17 state; and 18 (3) preserve family life unless that effort is likely to result in physical 19 or emotional damage to the child. 20 * Sec. 2. AS 47.17.025(a) is amended to read: 21 (a) A law enforcement agency shall immediately notify the department of the 22 receipt of a report of harm to a child from abuse. Upon receipt from any source of 23 a report of harm to a child from abuse, the department shall notify the Department of 24 Law and investigate the report. However, the department may not proceed in an 25 investigation of a report of harm to a child from abuse if the department, in 26 interviewing the child concerning the alleged abuse, is unable to videotape or fails 27 to videotape each interview with the child. Within [AND, WITHIN] 72 hours of 28 the receipt of the report of harm to a child from abuse, the department [,] shall 29 provide a written report of its investigation of the harm to a child from abuse to the 30 Department of Law for review. 31 * Sec. 3. AS 47.17.027(a) is amended to read:
01 (a) If the department or a law enforcement agency provides written 02 certification to the child's school officials that (1) there is reasonable cause to suspect 03 that the child has been abused or neglected by a person responsible for the child's 04 welfare or as a result of conditions created by a person responsible for the child's 05 welfare; (2) an interview at school is a necessary part of an investigation to determine 06 whether the child has been abused or neglected; and (3) the interview at school is in 07 the best interests of the child, school officials shall permit the child to be interviewed 08 at school by the department or a law enforcement agency before notification of, or 09 receiving permission from, the child's parent, guardian, or custodian. A school official 10 shall be present during an interview at the school unless the child objects or the 11 department or law enforcement agency determines that the presence of the school 12 official will interfere with the investigation. The interview shall be videotaped as 13 required by AS 47.17.035. Immediately after conducting an interview authorized 14 under this section, and after informing the child of the intention to notify the child's 15 parent, guardian, or custodian, the department or agency shall make every reasonable 16 effort to notify the child's parent, guardian, or custodian that the interview occurred 17 unless it appears to the department or agency that notifying the child's parent, 18 guardian, or custodian would endanger the child. 19 * Sec. 4. AS 47.17 is amended by adding a new section to read: 20 Sec. 47.17.035. VIDEOTAPING OF INTERVIEWS. An officer, employee, 21 or agent of the department, a local government health or social services agency, a law 22 enforcement agency, or another state or local government agency or unit who receives 23 a report of harm to a child from abuse or neglect may not investigate the report of 24 harm by interviewing the child concerning the alleged abuse or neglect unless the 25 initial interview and each subsequent interview are videotaped.