InDHSS: Employee Newsletter

 

August 2010

 
   

The Alaska Foster Family Protection Act

By Tracy Spartz Campbell
Deputy Director, OCS

On Sept. 9, 2012, The Alaska Foster Family Protection Act will take effect. This bill (SB 82), sponsored by Sen. Bettye Davis, establishes new legal and practice provisions for youth in the custody of the Office of Children’s Services. A companion bill, HB 33, was initiated and sponsored by Rep. Les Gara. Some of the key provisions of this bill include:

  • Provides the option for youth to extend custody until the youth’s 21 birthday;
  • Provides the legal requirement that youth, the court, and the youth’s guardian ad litem will be notified at least 30 days prior to youth’s release from OCS custody;
  • Provides a requirement that reasonable efforts must be made to place siblings together;
  • Requires that OCS must continue to search for a suitable adoptive or permanent legal guardianship for a child under 18 and in custody unless the permanency plan is another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) or release from custody;
  • Requires that the court must make findings regarding compelling reasons for a permanency plan of APPLA;
  • APPLA is now defined in statute;
  • Permanency plan goal options have changed in statute so that emancipation will be included in the goal of APPLA, and a new permanent placement goal has been added to include “permanent placement with a fit and willing relative”; and
  • Outlines provisions for resumption of custody for youth who wish to re-enter foster care.

SB 82 was strongly supported by Facing Foster Care in Alaska (FFCA), an advocacy group made up of foster care youth and foster care alumni, who work to better the lives of children and youth in the Alaska foster care system.

 

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