Current through Chapter 32 of the 2020 Legislative Session
Section 47.10.080 - Judgments and orders(a) An adjudication hearing shall be completed within 120 days after a finding of probable cause is entered unless the court finds good cause to continue the hearing. When determining whether to grant a continuance for good cause, the court shall take into consideration the age of the child and the potential adverse effect that the delay may have on the child. The court, at the conclusion of the hearing, as the circumstances of the case may require, shall find and enter a judgment that the child is or is not a child in need of aid.(b)[Repealed, Sec. 55 ch 59 SLA 1996].(c) If the court finds that the child is a child in need of aid, the court shall (1) order the child committed to the department for placement in an appropriate setting for a period of time not to exceed two years or in any event not to extend past the date the child becomes 19 years of age, except that the department, the child, or the child's guardian ad litem may petition for and the court may grant in a hearing (A) one-year extensions of commitment that do not extend beyond the child's 19th birthday if the extension is in the best interests of the child; and(B) additional one-year extensions of commitment past 19 years of age that do not extend beyond the person's 21st birthday if the continued state custody is in the best interests of the person and the person consents to it;(2) order the child released to a parent, adult family member, or guardian of the child or to another suitable person, and, in appropriate cases, order the parent, adult family member, guardian, or other person to provide medical or other care and treatment; if the court releases the child, it shall direct the department to supervise the care and treatment given to the child, but the court may dispense with the department's supervision if the court finds that the adult to whom the child is released will adequately care for the child without supervision; the department's supervision may not exceed two years or in any event extend past the date the child reaches 19 years of age, except that the department or the child's guardian ad litem may petition for and the court may grant in a hearing (A) one-year extensions of supervision that do not extend beyond the child's 19th birthday if the extensions are in the best interests of the child; and(B) an additional one-year period of supervision past 19 years of age if the continued supervision is in the best interests of the person and the person consents to it; or(3) order, under the grounds specified in (o) of this section or AS 47.10.088, the termination of parental rights and responsibilities of one or both parents and commit the child to the custody of the department; the department shall report quarterly to the court and shall demonstrate in its report that the department is making reasonable efforts to find a permanent placement for the child.(d) An order issued under (c)(3) of this section authorizes the commissioner of health and social services or a designee or the guardian of the person of the child to consent to the adoption of the child.(e) If the court finds that the minor is not a child in need of aid, it shall immediately order the minor released from the department's custody and returned to the minor's parents, guardian, or custodian, and dismiss the case.(f) A child found to be a child in need of aid is a ward of the state while committed to the department or the department has the power to supervise the child's actions. For an order made under (c)(1) of this section, the court shall hold a permanency hearing as required by (l) of this section and at least annually thereafter during the continuation of foster care to determine if continued placement, as it is being provided, is in the best interest of the child. The department, the child, and the child's parents, guardian, and guardian ad litem are entitled, when good cause is shown, to a permanency hearing on application. If the application is granted, the court shall afford these persons and their counsel reasonable advance notice and hold a permanency hearing where these persons and their counsel shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard. The persons entitled to notice under AS 47.10.030(b) and the grandparents entitled to notice under AS 47.10.030(d) are entitled to notice of a permanency hearing under this subsection and are also entitled to be heard at the hearing. The child shall be afforded the opportunity to be present and to be heard at the permanency hearing. After the permanency hearing, the court shall make the written findings that are required under (l) of this section. The court shall review an order made under (c)(2) of this section at least annually to determine if continued supervision, as it is being provided, is in the best interest of the child; this review is not considered to be a permanency hearing and is not governed by the provisions of this subsection that relate to permanency hearings.(g)[Repealed, Sec. 55 ch 59 SLA 1996].(h)[Repealed, Sec. 55 ch 59 SLA 1996].(i) A child or the child's parents, guardian, or guardian ad litem, or attorney, acting on the child's behalf, or the department may appeal a judgment or order, or the stay, modification, setting aside, revocation, or enlargement of a judgment or order issued by the court under this chapter. Absent extraordinary circumstances, a decision on the appeal shall be issued no later than 90 days after the latest of the following: (1) the date oral argument, if any, is heard on the appeal; or(2) 45 days after the last date oral argument could have been timely requested if oral argument was not requested.(j)[Repealed, Sec. 29 ch 63 SLA 1977].(k)[Repealed, Sec. 69 ch 99 SLA 1998].(l) Within 12 months after the date a child enters foster care as calculated under AS 47.10.088(f), the court shall hold a permanency hearing. The hearing and permanent plan developed in the hearing are governed by the following provisions: (1) the persons entitled to be heard under AS 47.10.070 or under (f) of this section are also entitled to be heard at the hearing held under this subsection;(2) when establishing the permanent plan for the child, the court shall make appropriate written findings, including findings related to whether (A) and when the child should be returned to the parent or guardian;(B) the child should be placed for adoption or legal guardianship and whether a petition for termination of parental rights should be filed by the department; and(C) there is a compelling reason that the most appropriate placement for the child is in another planned, permanent living arrangement and the department has recommended the arrangement under AS 47.14.100(p); the findings under this paragraph must include the steps that are necessary to achieve the new arrangement;(3) if the court is unable to make a finding required under (2) of this subsection, the court shall hold another hearing within a reasonable period of time;(4) in addition to the findings required by (2) of this subsection, the court shall also make appropriate written findings related to (A) whether the department has made the reasonable efforts required under AS 47.10.086 to offer appropriate family support services to remedy the parent's or guardian's conduct or conditions in the home that made the child a child in need of aid under this chapter;(B) whether the parent or guardian has made substantial progress to remedy the parent's or guardian's conduct or conditions in the home that made the child a child in need of aid under this chapter;(C) if the permanent plan is for the child to remain in out-of-home care. whether (i) the child's out-of-home placement continues to be appropriate and in the best interests of the child; and(ii) the department is making reasonable efforts to find a permanent placement for the child; and(D) whether the department has made reasonable efforts to finalize the permanent plan for the child;(5) the court shall hold a hearing to review the permanent plan at least annually until successful implementation of the plan; if the plan approved by the court changes after the hearing, the department shall promptly apply to the court for another permanency hearing, and the court shall conduct the hearing within 30 days after application by the department;(6) if the court finds, under (4)(C)(ii) of this subsection, that the department is not making reasonable efforts to find a permanent placement for the child, the court shall order the department to make reasonable efforts to find a permanent placement for the child unless the current placement is in the best interests of the child;(7) in a hearing to review the permanent plan under AS 47.10.111(c) or 47.10.112(c), the court shall make written findings related to whether (A) the person who filed the petition or proxy is entitled to placement preference under AS 47.14.100(e) or 25 U.S.C. 1915(a), whichever is applicable; and(B) if 25 U.S.C. 1915(a) applies, the current placement is in compliance with or whether there is good cause to deviate from the placement preferences.(m)[Repealed, Sec. 74 ch 35 SLA 2003].(n)[Repealed, Sec. 74 ch 35 SLA 2003].(o) For purposes of terminating a parent's parental rights under the standards in (c)(3) of this section, the court may determine that incarceration of the parent is sufficient grounds for determining that a child is a child in need of aid under AS 47.10.011 as a result of parental conduct and that the parental rights of the incarcerated parent should be terminated if the court finds, based on clear and convincing evidence, that (1) the period of incarceration that the parent is scheduled to serve during the child's minority is significant considering the child's age and the child's need for an adult's care and supervision;(2) there is not another parent willing and able to care for the child; and(3) the incarcerated parent has failed to make adequate provisions for care of the child during the period of incarceration that will be during the child's minority.(p) If a child is removed from the parental home, the department shall provide reasonable visitation between the child and the child's parents, guardian, and family. When determining what constitutes reasonable visitation with a family member, the department shall consider the nature and quality of the relationship that existed between the child and the family member before the child was committed to the custody of the department. The court may require the department to file a visitation plan with the court. The department may deny visitation to the parents, guardian, or family members if there is clear and convincing evidence that visits are not in the child's best interests. If the department denies visitation to a parent or family member of a child, the department shall inform the parent or family member of a reason for the denial and of the parent's or adult family member's right to request a review hearing as an interested person. A parent, adult family member, or guardian who is denied visitation may request a review hearing. A non-party adult family member requesting a review hearing under this subsection is not eligible for publicly appointed legal counsel.(q) If the court orders a child committed to the department under (c) of this section and the department places the child in licensed foster care, the department shall(1) provide the foster parent with a copy of(A) appropriate information held by the department regarding the child to the extent required by AS 47.12.310(b)(2)(H);(B) all initial, updated, and revised case service plans for the child, court orders relating to the child, and the child's medical, mental, and education reports prepared by or for the department, including reports compiled before the child was placed with the foster parent; and(C) supplements to the plans, orders, and reports described in (B) of this paragraph;(2) require the foster parent to (A) maintain and update records regarding medical, mental, educational, and behavioral services provided to the child;(B) provide all records described in (A) of this paragraph to the department when the child leaves the foster home placement; and(C) maintain the confidentiality of records regarding a child placed in the foster home except when disclosure of the records is allowed under regulations of the department or when disclosure is reasonably necessary to ensure continuation of care for the child through appropriate medical, mental, educational, and behavioral services.(r) If the court orders a child committed to the department under (c) of this section, the court shall order the child's parent or guardian to provide the department with (1) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all of the child's medical providers;(2) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of mental health providers that have provided services to the child;(3) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of schools, preschools, or day care facilities that the child was attending before the child was committed to the department;(4) a description of special needs of the child, if any; and(5) the names and locations of relatives who may be willing to have the child placed in their home.(s) The department may transfer a child, in the child's best interests, from one placement setting to another, and the child, the child's parents or guardian, the child's foster parents or out-of-home caregiver, the child's guardian ad litem, the child's attorney, and the child's tribe are entitled to advance notice of a nonemergency transfer. A party opposed to the proposed transfer may request a hearing and must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the transfer would be contrary to the best interests of the child for the court to deny the transfer. A foster parent or out-of-home caregiver who requests a nonemergency change in placement of the child shall provide the department with reasonable advance notice of the requested change. When the department transfers a child from one out-of-home placement to another, the department shall search for an appropriate placement with an adult family member or a family friend who meets the foster care licensing requirements established by the department. A supervisor at the department shall certify in writing in the case file whether the department has searched for an appropriate placement with an adult family member or family friend. If the department has not complied with the search requirements under this subsection, the supervisor shall work to ensure that the department completes the search in the shortest time feasible.(t) For a child who is placed in foster care, when the department finds that it is in the best interest of a child and that the foster family will not be placed in undue risk of harm, the department shall require foster parents to provide regular opportunities for visitation with the child by the parents of the child and encourage foster parents to serve as mentors for facilitating family reunification.(u) A hearing conducted under this section is open to the public unless an exception provided in AS 47.10.070(c) applies to make the hearing closed to the public or unless prohibited by federal or state statute or regulation.(v) In addition to the extensions of state custody ordered by a court under (c)(1)(A) or (B) of this section, a court may grant in a hearing a resumption of state custody that does not extend beyond a person's 21st birthday if the person (2) was placed in out-of-home care by the department immediately before being released from state custody and the person was(A) at least 18 years of age and released to the person's own custody; or(B) at least 16 years of age and released to the (i) person's own custody after the disabilities of minority were removed under AS 09.55.590; or(ii) custody of a parent or guardian because the person refused out-of-home care;(3) is in need of out-of-home care(A) to avoid personal harm;(B) because of the person's severe emotional disturbance, mental disability, physical disability, homelessness, or a combination of those conditions;(C) because the person is completing an educational or vocational program; or(D) to otherwise improve the person's successful transition to independent living; and(4) if requested by the department, agrees to reasonable terms for resuming state custody that may include matters relating to the person's education, attainment of a job or life skills, or other terms found by the court to be reasonable and in the person's best interest.(w) The court shall recognize a presumption that maintenance of a sibling relationship, including with a sibling who is related by blood, marriage, or adoption through one parent, is in a child's best interest.(x) In any team-decision meeting the department holds to address the potential or actual transfer of a child from one placement setting to another, the department shall ask the participants for input regarding whether it is in the child's best interest for the child to remain in the child's current school for the remainder of the school term.(y) If the department transfers a child from one placement setting to another and it is reasonable and in the child's best educational interests, the department shall immediately, and in advance of the transfer if possible, coordinate with the school the child is attending to ensure the child is permitted to attend that school through the end of the school term if the child's new placement is in the same municipality and connected by road to the school. If federal funds and school district transportation funds are not available to pay for the cost of transportation for the child, the department shall pay the costs of transporting the child to school. The department shall work with the family or agency where the child is placed to arrange for transportation. The department shall consult with the school district regarding the child's best interests, but the school district may not override the department's decision to allow a child to remain in the current school through the end of the school term.Amended by SLA 2018, ch. 15,sec. 8, eff. 9/15/2018.Amended by SLA 2016SP4, ch. 6,sec. 8, eff. 1/1/2017.Amended by SLA 2016SP4, ch. 7,sec. 6, eff. 10/24/2016.Amended by SLA 2016SP4, ch. 7,sec. 5, eff. 10/24/2016.Amended by SLA 2016SP4, ch. 7,sec. 4, eff. 10/24/2016.Amended by SLA 2016SP4, ch. 7,sec. 3, eff. 10/24/2016.Amended by SLA 2012, ch. 59,sec. 4, eff. 9/9/2012.Amended by SLA 2012, ch. 59,sec. 3, eff. 9/9/2012.Amended by SLA 2012, ch. 59,sec. 2, eff. 9/9/2012. See SLA 2018, ch. 15, sec. 22.