SB 28: "An Act relating to continuing the public education of a homeless student and to the purpose of certain laws as they relate to children."

00 SENATE BILL NO. 28 01 "An Act relating to continuing the public education of a homeless student and to the 02 purpose of certain laws as they relate to children." 03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 * Section 1. AS 14.03 is amended by adding a new section to read: 05 Sec. 14.03.096. Continuing the public education of a homeless student. (a) 06 The governing body of a school district shall, to the extent feasible, comply with the 07 requirements for continuing the public education of a homeless student in the student's 08 school of origin and for providing comparable education services during the 09 homelessness under 42 U.S.C. 11431 - 11435 (McKinney-Vento Homeless Education 10 Assistance Improvement Act of 2001). 11 (b) In this section, 12 (1) "homeless student" has the meaning given in 42 U.S.C. 11434a for 13 "homeless child or youth," and the phrase "awaiting foster care placement" in that 14 definition shall be interpreted to include all students who are placed in out-of-home

01 care and in the custody of the Department of Health and Social Services under 02 AS 47.10.080(c) or who are committed to the custody of the Department of Health and 03 Social Services under AS 47.12.120(b)(1) or (3); 04 (2) "school of origin" means the school that the student attended when 05 permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled. 06 * Sec. 2. AS 47.05.060 is amended to read: 07 Sec. 47.05.060. Purpose and policy relating to children. The purpose of this 08 title as it relates to children is to secure for each child the care and guidance, 09 preferably in the child's own home, as well as an adequate education, that will serve 10 the moral, emotional, mental, intellectual, and physical welfare of the child and the 11 best interests of the community; to preserve and strengthen the child's family ties 12 unless efforts to preserve and strengthen the ties are likely to result in physical or 13 emotional damage to the child, removing the child from the custody of the parents 14 only as a last resort when the child's welfare or safety or the protection of the public 15 cannot be adequately safeguarded without removal; and, when the child is removed 16 from the family, to secure for the child adequate custody, education, and care and 17 adequate planning for permanent placement of the child. 18 * Sec. 3. AS 47.05.065 is amended to read: 19 Sec. 47.05.065. Legislative findings related to children. The legislature finds 20 that 21 (1) parents have the following rights and responsibilities relating to the 22 care and control of their child while the child is a minor: 23 (A) the responsibility to provide the child with food, clothing, 24 shelter, education, and medical care; 25 (B) the right and responsibility to protect, nurture, train, and 26 discipline the child, including the right to direct the child's medical care and 27 the right to exercise reasonable corporal discipline; 28 (C) the right to determine where and with whom the child shall 29 live; 30 (D) the right and responsibility to make decisions of legal or 31 financial significance concerning the child;

01 (E) the right to obtain representation for the child in legal 02 actions; and 03 (F) the responsibility to provide special safeguards and care, 04 including appropriate prenatal and postnatal protection for the child; 05 (2) it is the policy of the state to strengthen families and to protect 06 children from child abuse and neglect; the state recognizes that, in some cases, 07 protection of a child may require removal of the child from the child's home; however, 08 (A) except in those cases involving serious risk to a child's 09 health or safety, the Department of Health and Social Services should provide 10 time-limited family support services to the child and the child's family in order 11 to offer parents the opportunity to remedy parental conduct or conditions in the 12 home that placed the child at risk of harm so that a child may return home 13 safely and permanently; and 14 (B) the state also recognizes that when a child is removed from 15 the home, visitation between the child and the child's parents or guardian and 16 family members reduces the trauma for the child and enhances the likelihood 17 that the child will be able to return home; therefore, whenever a child is 18 removed from the parental home, the Department of Health and Social 19 Services should encourage frequent, regular, and reasonable visitation of the 20 child with the child's parent or guardian and family members; 21 (3) it is the policy of the state to recognize that, when a child is a ward 22 of the state, the child is entitled to reasonable safety, adequate care, and adequate 23 treatment and that the Department of Health and Social Services as legal custodian and 24 the child's guardian ad litem as guardian of the child's best interests and their agents 25 and assignees, each should make reasonable efforts to ensure that the child is provided 26 with reasonable safety, adequate care, and adequate treatment for the duration of time 27 that the child is a ward of the state; 28 (4) it is in the best interests of a child who has been removed from the 29 child's own home for the state to apply the following principles in resolving the 30 situation: 31 (A) the child should be placed in a safe, secure, and stable

01 environment; 02 (B) the child should not be moved unnecessarily; 03 (C) a planning process should be followed to lead to permanent 04 placement of the child; 05 (D) every effort should be made to encourage psychological 06 attachment between the adult caregiver and the child; 07 (E) frequent, regular, and reasonable visitation with the parent 08 or guardian and family members should be encouraged; [AND] 09 (F) parents and guardians must actively participate in family 10 support services so as to facilitate the child's being able to remain in the home; 11 when children are removed from the home, the parents and guardians must 12 actively participate in family support services to make return of their children 13 to the home possible; and 14 (G) the child should continue to attend the child's school of 15 origin as provided under AS 14.03.096; 16 (5) numerous studies establish that 17 (A) children undergo a critical attachment process before the 18 time they reach six years of age; 19 (B) a child who has not attached with an adult caregiver during 20 this critical stage will suffer significant emotional damage that frequently leads 21 to chronic psychological problems and antisocial behavior when the child 22 reaches adolescence and adulthood; and 23 (C) it is important to provide for an expedited placement 24 procedure to ensure that all children, especially those under the age of six 25 years, who have been removed from their homes are placed in permanent 26 homes expeditiously.