AN INITIATIVE REQUIRING THE STATE OF ALASKA TO VOTE ON AN ACT PROVIDING CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILY SPECIFIC RIGHTS WHEN CHILDREN ARE IN THE CUSTODY OF STATE CHILDREN SERVICES
Be it enacted by the people of the State of Alaska:
I Add the following sections to the Alaska Code, any policies or codes notwithstanding:
Section 1. AS 47.10 is amended by adding a new section to read:
(1) Right to demand jury trial in certain cases. A party has the right to demand a jury trial for a hearing under this chapter on a petition to terminate parental rights. If a hearing to adjudicate whether a child in need of aid is consolidated with a termination hearing, the right to trial by jury under this section applies only to whether parental rights should be terminated after the court has adjudicated that the child is a child in need of aid.
(2) A trial on the petition to terminate parental rights shall be held within six months after the date on which the petition to terminate parental rights is filed. Any delay shall be given only when a court determines good cause exists.
(3) The legislature shall amend the court rules in keeping with Section 1 (1) and (2).
Section 2. AS 47.10 is further amended by adding a new section to read:
(1) Any and all interviews of children shall be video recorded, and be conducted only by an individual with proven qualifications in the subject matter involved. This does not prohibit viewing of interview by authorized personnel through use of a two way glass. Use of audio recording will be acceptable only in emergency situations. A report citing the need for use of the audio taping, in lieu of video, will be provided to regional director, statewide director, child's GAL, child's parent and their attorney. Reports may be publically distributed upon written request, within a group of such reports, after proper sanitizing. Voice activated audio recordings shall be prohibited.
(2) Fact finding interviews under this section shall be limited to two, inclusive of all social services and/or investigative agencies.. If substantiated evidence is discovered at a later time, one new interview may be conducted under the same circumstances as noted within this section..
(3) Counseling sessions shall not be included as interviews outlined in (1) and (2) of this Section. Counseling sessions shall be conducted by licensed mental health professional, and shall be, at a minimum, audio recorded with all recordings maintained as part of the record. Voice activated recordings shall be prohibited.
Section 3. AS 47.10 is further amended by adding a new section to read:
(1) A report shall be made on any child in the legal or physical custody of the state who is prescribed psychotropic, psychostimulant or other mind, emotional, or behavioral altering drugs. The report will include:
(a) child's name and age.
(b) name and dosage of drug and its use.
(c) name of prescribing physician, and physicians report of need
(d) Report of caseworker, and/or care giver as to need for administration of drug if applicable
(2) The full report shall be provided to:
(a) State wide director of Children services
(b) Parents, or family member who has acted in that capacity
(c) . Intervening Indian Tribe or Indian Custodian
(3) Sanitized version of such reports will be forwarded to the legislative HSS committees quarterly.
Section 4.AS 47.14.100(e) is amended to read:
A child shall [may] not be placed in a foster home or in the care of
an agency or institution providing care for children if a relative, [BY BLOOD
OR MARRIAGE], close family friend or neighbor requests placement of the child
in the [RELATIVE'S] noted individual's home, provided the parent or guardian
is in agreement. However, the department may retain custody of the child and
provide for its placement in the same manner if the department:
(1) Makes the determination, supported by clear and convincing evidence. that placement of the child with the [RELATIVE] named individual will result in physical or mental injury; in making that determination, poverty, including inadequate or crowded housing, on the part of the [BLOOD RELATIVE] named individual, is not considered prima facie evidence that physical or emotional damage to the child will occur. This determination may be appealed to the Superior Court to hear the matter de novo.
(2) Determines that a member of the [RELATIVE'S] named individual household who is 12 years of age or older was the perpetrator in a substantiated report of abuse under 47.17; or
(3) determines that a member of the [RELATIVE'S] named individual's household who is 12 years of age or older is under arrest for, charged with, has been convicted of, or has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of a serious offense; notwithstanding this paragraph the department may place or continue the placement of a child at the [RELATIVE'S] named individual's home if the [RELATIVE'S] named individual demonstrates to the satisfaction of the department that conduct described in this paragraph occurred at least five years before the intended placement and the conduct;
(A) did not involve a victim who was under 18 years of age at the time of the conduct;
(B) was not a crime of domestic violence as defined in AS 18.66.990; and
(C) was not a violent crime under AS 11.41.100-11.41.455 or a law or ordinance or another jurisdiction having similar elements.
Section 5. AS 47.14.100 will be further amended by adding a new section to read:
A child will not be placed in a prospective adoptive home until at least 30 days after a permanency hearing is held, and determination is made that the department will seek termination of parental rights, and the court agrees to such action.
Section 6. Definitions::
V Effective Date. This initiative shall be effective when enacted according to law.