CSSB 122(JUD): "An Act repealing the authority for a child abuse or neglect citizen review panel in the Department of Health and Social Services; establishing the Child Protection Citizen Review Panel in the office of the ombudsman; and providing for an effective date."
00 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 122(JUD) 01 "An Act repealing the authority for a child abuse or neglect citizen review panel in the 02 Department of Health and Social Services; establishing the Child Protection Citizen 03 Review Panel in the office of the ombudsman; and providing for an effective date." 04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 * Section 1. AS 24.55 is amended by adding new sections to read: 06 Article 7. Child Protection Citizen Review Panel. 07 Sec. 24.55.400. Child Protection Citizen Review Panel. (a) The Child 08 Protection Citizen Review Panel is established in the office of the ombudsman. The 09 office of the ombudsman shall provide reasonable and necessary professional and 10 technical assistance when requested by the panel. 11 (b) The purpose of the panel is to facilitate public participation in developing 12 and implementing the state's child protection policies and practices. In performing its 13 duties under AS 24.55.405, the panel shall make diverse opportunities for voluntary 14 participation available to the public.
01 (c) The panel shall be composed of volunteer members who are broadly 02 representative of the state, including at least one member from each of the 03 administrative regions established by the division of the department with 04 responsibility over the custody of children. 05 (d) The panel shall meet not less than once every three months. Meetings may 06 take place telephonically. 07 (e) The office of the ombudsman shall adopt regulations establishing 08 guidelines for the operation of the panel, including 09 (1) the qualifications of members; 10 (2) policies for recruitment and appointment of members; 11 (3) tenure of members; and 12 (4) policy for selection of leadership. 13 Sec. 24.55.405. Duties of the panel. (a) Each year, the panel shall examine the 14 policies, procedures, and practices of the department and, where appropriate, evaluate 15 specific cases of child abuse or neglect to determine whether the department is 16 effectively discharging its child protection responsibilities in accordance with the 17 following planning documents submitted to the United States Department of Health 18 and Human Services: 19 (1) the state plan required under 42 U.S.C. 5106a(b); and 20 (2) the state child welfare and family services plans and reports 21 required under 42 U.S.C. 621 - 629m. 22 (b) The panel may recommend and advocate for changes to the department's 23 child protection policies, procedures, and practices and for changes in conditions that 24 may enable the department to improve its child protection policies, procedures, and 25 practices. 26 Sec. 24.55.410. Duties of the department. The department shall 27 (1) consult with the panel periodically, through the director or a 28 designee of the director and other program managers of the division of the department 29 with responsibility over the custody of children, to assist the panel in performing its 30 duties under AS 24.55.405; 31 (2) establish procedures for sharing with the panel administrative and
01 case-specific information that is necessary for the panel to perform its duties under 02 AS 24.55.405(a); 03 (3) coordinate community engagement activities, including outreach 04 efforts related to the preparation of the state child and family services plan required 05 under 45 C.F.R. 1357.15 and annual progress and services reports required under 45 06 C.F.R. 1357.16, with the panel's activities under AS 24.55.420; and 07 (4) assist the panel in coordinating the activities of the panel with the 08 activities of the state task force established under 42 U.S.C. 5106c. 09 Sec. 24.55.415. Confidentiality. (a) A person attending a meeting of the panel, 10 the ombudsman, an employee of the office of the ombudsman, or a member or staff of 11 the panel may not make any disclosure related to information obtained during a review 12 by the panel unless authorized under federal or state law. 13 (b) Meetings of the panel are subject to AS 44.62.310 - 44.62.319 (Open 14 Meetings Act). 15 Sec. 24.55.420. Public outreach. The panel shall conduct public outreach and 16 gather public comment on current department procedures and practices involving 17 children and family services. 18 Sec. 24.55.425. Report. (a) The panel shall prepare and make available to the 19 governor, the legislature, and the public an annual report containing a summary of the 20 activities of the panel conducted under AS 24.55.400 - 24.55.440 and 21 recommendations for the improvement of child protection services in the state. The 22 panel shall deliver the report to the senate secretary and the chief clerk of the house of 23 representatives and notify the legislature that the report is available. 24 (b) Not later than six months after the date on which the report is released 25 under (a) of this section, the department shall submit a written response to the report. 26 The department's response must include a description of whether and how the 27 department will incorporate the recommendations of the panel, where appropriate. 28 (c) At the end of the third year after the effective date of this section, and 29 every three years thereafter, the panel and the division of the department with 30 responsibility over the custody of children shall complete a joint evaluation report and 31 make the report available to the governor, the legislature, and the public. The report
01 must include an assessment of the performance of the staff of the panel, the panel's 02 activities, and the responsiveness of the division, and an evaluation of any associated 03 constraints or opportunities. The panel shall deliver the report to the senate secretary 04 and the chief clerk of the house of representatives and notify the legislature that the 05 report is available. 06 Sec. 24.55.430. Civil penalty for violation of confidentiality. A person who 07 violates confidentiality under AS 24.55.415 is subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,500 08 for each violation and may also be subject to criminal prosecution under 09 AS 11.76.115. 10 Sec. 24.55.435. Immunity. A member of the panel or a person who furnishes 11 services to or advises the panel is not liable for damages or other relief in an action 12 involving the performance or failure to perform a duty or other activity of the panel. 13 Sec. 24.55.440. Definitions. In AS 24.55.400 - 24.55.440, 14 (1) "department" means the Department of Health and Social Services; 15 (2) "panel" means the Child Protection Citizen Review Panel 16 established under AS 24.55.400. 17 * Sec. 2. AS 47.10.093(b) is amended to read: 18 (b) A state or municipal agency or employee shall disclose appropriate 19 confidential information regarding a case to 20 (1) a guardian ad litem appointed by the court; 21 (2) a person or an agency requested by the department or the child's 22 legal custodian to provide consultation or services for a child who is subject to the 23 jurisdiction of the court under AS 47.10.010 as necessary to enable the provision of 24 the consultation or services; 25 (3) an out-of-home care provider as necessary to enable the out-of- 26 home care provider to provide appropriate care to the child, to protect the safety of the 27 child, and to protect the safety and property of family members and visitors of the out- 28 of-home care provider; 29 (4) a school official as necessary to enable the school to provide 30 appropriate counseling and support services to a child who is the subject of the case, to 31 protect the safety of the child, and to protect the safety of school students and staff;
01 (5) a governmental agency as necessary to obtain that agency's 02 assistance for the department in its investigation or to obtain physical custody of a 03 child; 04 (6) a law enforcement agency of this state or another jurisdiction as 05 necessary for the protection of any child or for actions by that agency to protect the 06 public safety; 07 (7) a member of a multidisciplinary child protection team created 08 under AS 47.14.300 as necessary for the performance of the member's duties; 09 (8) the state medical examiner under AS 12.65 as necessary for the 10 performance of the duties of the state medical examiner; 11 (9) a person who has made a report of harm as required by 12 AS 47.17.020 to inform the person that the investigation was completed and of action 13 taken to protect the child who was the subject of the report; 14 (10) the child support services agency established in AS 25.27.010 as 15 necessary to establish and collect child support for a child who is a child in need of aid 16 under this chapter; 17 (11) a parent, guardian, or caregiver of a child or an entity responsible 18 for ensuring the safety of children as necessary to protect the safety of a child; 19 (12) a review panel established under AS 24.55.400 [BY THE 20 DEPARTMENT] for the purpose of reviewing the actions taken by the department in 21 a specific case; 22 (13) the University of Alaska under the Alaska higher education 23 savings program for children established under AS 47.14.400, but only to the extent 24 that the information is necessary to support the program and only if the information 25 released is maintained as a confidential record by the University of Alaska; 26 (14) a child placement agency licensed under AS 47.32 as necessary to 27 provide services for a child who is the subject of the case; [AND] 28 (15) a state or municipal agency of this state or another jurisdiction 29 that is responsible for delinquent minors, as may be necessary for the administration of 30 services, protection, rehabilitation, or supervision of a child or for actions by the 31 agency to protect the public safety; however, a court may review an objection made to
01 a disclosure under this paragraph; the person objecting to the disclosure bears the 02 burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that disclosure is not in the 03 child's best interest; and 04 (16) the office of the ombudsman. 05 * Sec. 3. AS 47.14.205, 47.14.215, 47.14.225, 47.14.235, 47.14.245, 47.14.255, 47.14.265, 06 47.14.275, and 47.14.295 are repealed. 07 * Sec. 4. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 08 read: 09 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES: REPORT REGARDING 10 CHILD PROTECTION OVERSIGHT. The Department of Health and Social Services shall 11 complete a report identifying existing processes for reviewing and overseeing the work of the 12 division of the department with responsibility over the custody of children and outlining a 13 plan to reduce duplication and improve coordination among entities responsible for the 14 identified processes. Not later than two years after the effective date of sec. 1 of this Act, the 15 Department of Health and Social Services shall deliver the report to the senate secretary and 16 the chief clerk of the house of representatives, notify the legislature that the report is 17 available, and make the report available to the governor and the public. 18 * Sec. 5. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 19 read: 20 TRANSITION: REGULATIONS. The office of the ombudsman may adopt 21 regulations necessary to implement the changes made by this Act. The regulations take effect 22 under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act), but not before the effective date of the law 23 implemented by the regulation. 24 * Sec. 6. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 25 read: 26 TRANSITION: MEMBERS OF THE CHILD PROTECTION CITIZEN REVIEW 27 PANEL. A person who is a member of the Citizen Review Panel under former AS 47.14.205, 28 repealed in sec. 3 of this Act, on the effective date of sec. 3 of this Act may continue to serve 29 on the Child Protection Citizen Review Panel under AS 24.55.400, established in sec. 1 of 30 this Act. A person who is an officer of the Citizen Review Panel under former AS 47.14.205, 31 repealed in sec. 3 of this Act, on the effective date of sec. 3 of this Act may serve the
01 remainder of the officer's term on the Child Protection Citizen Review Panel under 02 AS 24.55.400, established in sec. 1 of this Act. 03 * Sec. 7. Section 5 of this Act takes effect immediately under AS 01.10.070(c).