HB 197: "An Act relating to intensive family preservation services and intensive family reunification services; and providing for an effective date."
00 HOUSE BILL NO. 197 01 "An Act relating to intensive family preservation services and intensive family 02 reunification services; and providing for an effective date." 03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 * Section 1. AS 47.10.080(l) is amended to read: 05 (l) Within 12 months after the date a child enters foster care as calculated 06 under AS 47.10.088(f), the court shall hold a permanency hearing. The hearing and 07 permanent plan developed in the hearing are governed by the following provisions: 08 (1) the persons entitled to be heard under AS 47.10.070 or under (f) of 09 this section are also entitled to be heard at the hearing held under this subsection; 10 (2) when establishing the permanent plan for the child, the court shall 11 make appropriate written findings, including findings related to whether 12 (A) and when the child should be returned to the parent or 13 guardian; 14 (B) the child should be placed for adoption or legal
01 guardianship and whether a petition for termination of parental rights should be 02 filed by the department; and 03 (C) the child should be placed in another planned, permanent 04 living arrangement and what steps are necessary to achieve the new 05 arrangement; 06 (3) if the court is unable to make a finding required under (2) of this 07 subsection, the court shall hold another hearing within a reasonable period of time; 08 (4) in addition to the findings required by (2) of this subsection, the 09 court shall also make appropriate written findings related to 10 (A) whether the department has made the reasonable efforts 11 required under AS 47.10.086 to offer appropriate family support services, 12 intensive family preservation services, and intensive family reunification 13 services to remedy the parent's or guardian's conduct or conditions in the home 14 that made the child a child in need of aid under this chapter; 15 (B) whether the parent or guardian has made substantial 16 progress to remedy the parent's or guardian's conduct or conditions in the home 17 that made the child a child in need of aid under this chapter; and 18 (C) if the permanent plan is for the child to remain in out-of- 19 home care [OUT-OF-HOME-CARE], whether the child's out-of-home 20 placement continues to be appropriate and in the best interests of the child; 21 (5) the court shall hold a hearing to review the permanent plan at least 22 annually until successful implementation of the plan; if the plan approved by the court 23 changes after the hearing, the department shall promptly apply to the court for another 24 permanency hearing, and the court shall conduct the hearing within 30 days after 25 application by the department. 26 * Sec. 2. AS 47.10.086(a) is amended to read: 27 (a) Except as provided in (b) and (c) of this section, the department shall make 28 timely, reasonable efforts to provide family support services to the child and to the 29 parents or guardian of the child that are designed to prevent out-of-home placement of 30 the child or to enable the safe return of the child to the family home, when appropriate, 31 if the child is in an out-of-home placement. Within appropriations available for the
01 purpose, the department shall also offer intensive family preservation services, or 02 intensive family reunification services, or both, when those services are available 03 and, if the child is in the home, the child's safety in the home can be maintained 04 during the time the services are provided. The department's duty to make 05 reasonable efforts under this subsection to provide family support services includes 06 the duty to 07 (1) identify family support services that will assist the parent or 08 guardian in remedying the conduct or conditions in the home that made the child a 09 child in need of aid; 10 (2) actively offer the parent or guardian, and refer the parent or 11 guardian to, the family support services identified under (1) of this subsection; the 12 department shall refer the parent or guardian to community-based family support 13 services whenever community-based services are available and desired by the parent 14 or guardian; and 15 (3) document the department's actions that are taken under [(1) AND 16 (2) OF] this subsection, including whether intensive family preservation services 17 or intensive family reunification services, or both, were appropriate, offered, 18 used, or available. 19 * Sec. 3. AS 47.10.086(b) is amended to read: 20 (b) If the court makes a finding at a hearing conducted under AS 47.10.080(l) 21 that a parent or guardian has not sufficiently remedied the parent's or guardian's 22 conduct or the conditions in the home despite reasonable efforts made by the 23 department in accordance with this section, the court may conclude that continuation 24 of reasonable efforts of the type described in (a) of this section are not in the best 25 interests of the child. The department shall then make reasonable efforts to place the 26 child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete 27 whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child. If the 28 court concludes that continuation of reasonable efforts of the type described in 29 (a) of this section are not in the best interests of the child and intensive family 30 preservation services or intensive family reunification services were not provided 31 in the case, the court shall enumerate in the record the reasons the services were
01 not provided. 02 * Sec. 4. AS 47.10.086(c) is amended to read: 03 (c) The court may determine that reasonable efforts of the type described in 04 (a) of this section are not required if the court has found by a preponderance of the 05 evidence that 06 (1) the parent or guardian has subjected the child to circumstances that 07 pose a substantial risk to the child's health or safety; these circumstances include 08 abandonment, sexual abuse, torture, chronic mental injury, or chronic physical harm; 09 (2) the parent or guardian has 10 (A) committed homicide under AS 11.41.100 - 11.41.130 of a 11 parent of the child or of a child; 12 (B) aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited under 13 AS 11.16 or AS 11.31 to commit a homicide described in (A) of this 14 paragraph; 15 (C) committed an assault that is a felony under AS 11.41.200 - 16 11.41.220 and results in serious physical injury to a child; or 17 (D) committed the conduct described in (A) - (C) of this 18 paragraph that violated a law or ordinance of another jurisdiction having 19 elements similar to an offense described in (A) - (C) of this paragraph; 20 (3) the parent or guardian has, during the 12 months preceding the 21 permanency hearing, failed to comply with a court order to participate in family 22 support services; 23 (4) the department has conducted a reasonably diligent search over a 24 time period of at least three months for an unidentified or absent parent and has failed 25 to identify and locate the parent; 26 (5) the parent or guardian is the sole caregiver of the child and the 27 parent or guardian has a mental illness or mental deficiency of such nature and 28 duration that, according to the statement of a psychologist or physician, the parent or 29 guardian will be incapable of caring for the child without placing the child at 30 substantial risk of physical or mental injury even if the department were to provide 31 family support services to the parent or guardian for 12 months;
01 (6) the parent or guardian has previously been convicted of a crime 02 involving a child in this state or in another jurisdiction and, after the conviction, the 03 child was returned to the custody of the parent or guardian and later removed because 04 of an additional substantiated report of physical or sexual abuse by the parent or 05 guardian; 06 (7) a child has suffered substantial physical harm as the result of 07 abusive or neglectful conduct by the parent or guardian or by a person known by the 08 parent or guardian and the parent or guardian knew or reasonably should have known 09 that the person was abusing the child; 10 (8) the parental rights of the parent have been terminated with respect 11 to another child because of child abuse or neglect, the parent has not remedied the 12 conditions or conduct that led to the termination of parental rights, and the parent has 13 demonstrated an inability to protect the child from substantial harm or the risk of 14 substantial harm; 15 (9) the child has been removed from the child's home on at least two 16 previous occasions, family support services, including intensive family preservation 17 services or intensive family reunification services, or both, were offered or 18 provided to the parent or guardian at those times, and the parent or guardian has 19 demonstrated an inability to protect the child from substantial harm or the risk of 20 substantial harm; or 21 (10) the parent or guardian is incarcerated and is unavailable to care 22 for the child during a significant period of the child's minority, considering the child's 23 age and need for care by an adult. 24 * Sec. 5. AS 47.10.088(e) is amended to read: 25 (e) If one or more of the conditions listed in (d) of this section are present, the 26 department shall petition for termination of the parental rights to a child unless the 27 department 28 (1) has documented a compelling reason for determining that filing the 29 petition would not be in the best interests of the child; a compelling reason under this 30 paragraph may include care by a relative for the child; or 31 (2) is required to make reasonable efforts under AS 47.10.086 and the
01 department has not provided to the parent, consistent with the time period in the 02 department's case plan, the family support services, including intensive family 03 preservation services, intensive family reunification services, or both, that the 04 department has determined are necessary for the safe return of the child to the home. 05 * Sec. 6. AS 47.10.142(b) is amended to read: 06 (b) The department shall offer available counseling services and either 07 intensive family preservation services or intensive family reunification services, 08 or both, to the person having legal custody of a minor described in AS 47.10.141 and 09 to the members of the minor's household if it determines that counseling services, 10 intensive family preservation services, or intensive family reunification services 11 would be appropriate in the situation. If, after assessing the situation, offering 12 available [COUNSELING] services to the legal custodian and the minor's household, 13 and furnishing appropriate social services to the minor, the department considers it 14 necessary, the department may take emergency custody of the minor. 15 * Sec. 7. AS 47.10 is amended by adding new sections to read: 16 Article 3A. Intensive Family Preservation Services 17 and Intensive Family Reunification Services. 18 Sec. 47.10.500. Statewide program. Subject to AS 47.10.510 and 47.10.520, 19 the department shall, within appropriations available for the purpose, provide intensive 20 family preservation services and intensive family reunification services on a statewide 21 basis. The department may provide the services directly or through contracts with 22 private nonprofit providers. 23 Sec. 47.10.510. Effectiveness required. (a) The department shall develop 24 measurable standards that must be met by a provider before a contract may be 25 awarded to the provider under AS 47.10.500. 26 (b) The department may not renew a contract awarded to a provider under 27 AS 47.10.500 unless the provider can demonstrate that provision of the applicable 28 services prevented or terminated out-of-home placement in at least 70 percent of the 29 cases served by the provider and that out-of-home placement was avoided for a period 30 of at least six months after termination of the applicable services. 31 (c) The department may not continue direct provision of intensive family
01 preservation services or intensive family reunification services unless the department 02 can demonstrate that provision of the services prevented or terminated out-of-home 03 placement in at least 70 percent of the cases served and that out-of-home placement 04 was avoided for a period of at least six months after termination of the services. 05 Sec. 47.10.520. Eligibility for services. (a) The department may provide 06 intensive family preservation services to a child, the child's family, and other 07 appropriate nonfamily members only if 08 (1) there are no other available means that will prevent out-of-home 09 placement of the child or make it possible to immediately return the child to the child's 10 home; and 11 (2) the child has been placed in out-of-home care or is at actual, 12 imminent risk of out-of-home placement due to 13 (A) child abuse or neglect; 14 (B) a serious threat of substantial harm to the child's health, 15 safety, or welfare; or 16 (C) family conflict. 17 (b) The department may provide intensive family reunification services to a 18 child, the child's family, and other appropriate nonfamily members only if 19 (1) the conditions of (a)(1) and (2) of this section are met; and 20 (2) the department determines that the family is not expected to reunify 21 within six months, absent the intensive family reunification services. 22 (c) The department need not provide intensive family preservation services or 23 intensive family reunification services to an otherwise eligible family if 24 (1) services are not available in the community in which the family 25 resides; 26 (2) services cannot be provided because the program is filled to 27 capacity; 28 (3) the family refuses the services; 29 (4) the child's case plan does not include reunification of the child and 30 family; or 31 (5) the safety of a child, a family member, or a person providing the
01 services would be unduly threatened. 02 Sec. 47.10.530. Assessment tool. The department shall, by regulation, 03 establish an assessment tool that the department shall use to screen families for their 04 eligibility for services under AS 47.10.520(a) or (b), or both. 05 Sec. 47.10.540. Training of employees. (a) The department shall provide at 06 least 40 hours of initial training to employees of the department who will be making 07 eligibility determinations under AS 47.10.520 or who will be providing intensive 08 family preservation services or intensive family reunification services. 09 (b) In addition to the training required under (a) of this section, the department 10 shall provide annual training. 11 (c) Training provided under this section shall include material from a 12 recognized expert on intensive family preservation services, intensive family 13 reunification services, or both. 14 Sec. 47.10.550. Solicitation of funding sources. The department shall solicit 15 federal and private resources that may be available to fund intensive family 16 preservation services and intensive family reunification services. 17 * Sec. 8. AS 47.10.990 is amended by adding new paragraphs to read: 18 (28) "intensive family preservation services" means services provided 19 to a family with a child who is in an out-of-home placement or is at imminent risk of 20 out-of-home placement that 21 (A) are designed to address problems creating the need for out- 22 of-home placement by assisting the family to improve parental and household 23 management competence and by solving practical problems that contribute to 24 family stress so as to improve parental performance and enhance functioning 25 of the family unit; and 26 (B) have the following characteristics: 27 (i) are persistently offered but provided at the family's 28 option; 29 (ii) are provided in the family's home; 30 (iii) are available 24 hours a day and seven days a 31 week;
01 (iv) are provided within 24 hours of initial contact for 02 assistance; 03 (v) are provided for a maximum of 40 days by a single 04 case worker whose caseload is not more than two families at any one 05 time; and 06 (vi) may, in appropriate instances and subject to 07 available appropriations, include monetary assistance for special needs 08 of the family, such as to obtain food, shelter, or clothing or to purchase 09 other goods or services that will enhance the effectiveness of other 10 services offered to help preserve the family; 11 (29) "intensive family reunification services" means activities designed 12 to provide time-limited foster care services to prevent or remedy conduct or conditions 13 in the home that made the child a child in need of aid when 14 (A) the child cannot safely remain in the home; 15 (B) the child needs temporary foster care while services are 16 provided to reunite the family; and 17 (C) the family is not expected to reunify within six months 18 without the services, as determined by the department. 19 * Sec. 9. AS 47.17.030(d) is amended to read: 20 (d) Before the department or a local government health or social services 21 agency may seek the termination of parental rights under AS 47.10, it shall offer 22 protective social services and pursue all other reasonable means of protecting the 23 child. The department or agency shall also consider the eligibility of the child 24 and family for intensive family preservation services or intensive family 25 reunification services, or both, under AS 47.10.500 - 47.10.550. 26 * Sec. 10. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 27 read: 28 STUDY. (a) The Department of Health and Social Services shall conduct a study in 29 at least one region of the state in order to 30 (1) develop a valid and reliable process for accurately identifying clients who 31 are eligible for intensive family preservation services;
01 (2) collect data on which to base projections of service needs, budget requests, 02 and long-range planning related to intensive family preservation services; 03 (3) develop regional and statewide projections of needs for intensive family 04 preservation services; 05 (4) develop a cost estimate for implementation and expansion of intensive 06 family preservation services on a statewide basis; 07 (5) develop a long-range plan and time frame for ultimately making intensive 08 family preservation services available to all eligible families; and 09 (6) collect data regarding the number of children in foster care, group care, 10 institutional care, and other out-of-home care due to medical needs, mental health needs, 11 developmental disabilities, and juvenile offenses and to assess the feasibility of expanding 12 intensive family preservation services eligibility to include all of these children. 13 (b) By November 30, 2004, the Department of Health and Social Services shall 14 submit a report to the governor describing the study required under this section and including 15 the department's conclusions and recommendations that are based on the study. The 16 department shall notify the legislature that the report is available. 17 (c) In this section, "intensive family preservation services" has the meaning given in 18 AS 47.10.990. 19 * Sec. 11. This Act takes effect July 1, 2003.