Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

04/01/2010 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Heard & Held
         HB 126-FOSTER CARE/CINA/EDUCATION OF HOMELESS                                                                      
4:52:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL NO.  126,  "An  Act  relating to  continuing  the                                                               
secondary  public education  of a  homeless student;  relating to                                                               
the purpose of certain laws  as they relate to children; relating                                                               
to tuition  waivers, loans,  and medical  assistance for  a child                                                               
placed  in out-of-home  care  by the  state;  relating to  foster                                                               
care; relating  to children  in need of  aid; relating  to foster                                                               
care transition  to independent living; and  relating to juvenile                                                               
programs and institutions."   [In front of the  committee was the                                                               
proposed  Committee  Substitute  (CS) for  HB  126,  26-LS0309\C,                                                               
Mischel, 4/9/09, adopted as the working draft on 4/14/09.]                                                                      
CO-CHAIR KELLER pointed  out that there were  proposed changes to                                                               
the  bill.   He  asked to  refrain  from having  a  side by  side                                                               
4:53:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER moved to adopt  the proposed Committee Substitute                                                               
(CS) for  HB 126,  26-LS0309\O, Mischel,  3/30/10 as  the working                                                               
document.   [There being no  objection, Version O was  adopted as                                                               
the working draft.]                                                                                                             
4:53:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LES  GARA,  Alaska State  Legislature,  explained                                                               
that Version O  was a pared down version of  the foster care bill                                                               
presented earlier.   He noted that  there were two sections.   He                                                               
referred to  page 1,  lines 11-13, and  relayed that  foster care                                                               
could now be extended to 21 years  of age.  He reported that this                                                               
had resulted in higher academic  achievement and outcomes for the                                                               
youth.   He pointed to page  2, line 3, and  explained that youth                                                               
could  now  re-enter foster  care.    He explained  the  re-entry                                                               
parameters to include:   "in the best interest of  the child" and                                                               
that Office of Children's Services  (OCS) could ask the court for                                                               
conditions to reentry.  He explained  that Sections 2 and 3 would                                                               
be amended  or removed.  He  referred to a proposed  amendment to                                                               
re-write the reentry provision so  that OCS had the discretion to                                                               
present the court with reasonable conditions for reentry.                                                                       
4:58:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to  adopt Amendment 1, 26-LS0309\O.3,                                                               
Mischel, 4/1/10, which read:                                                                                                    
     Page 2, line 12:                                                                                                           
          Delete "and"                                                                                                      
          Insert "in this sub-subparagraph, "parent" means                                                                  
     a biological or adoptive parent or a legal guardian of                                                                 
     the person;"                                                                                                           
     Page 2, lines 14 - 17:                                                                                                     
          Delete ", homelessness, or economic hardship, or                                                                  
     to  enhance  the  person's   ability  to  continue  the                                                                
     person's  education or  training  or otherwise  improve                                                                
     the  person's  successful   transition  to  independent                                                                
          Insert "or homelessness or for any other reason                                                                   
      identified by the court that is in the person's best                                                                  
     interest; and                                                                                                          
               (iv)  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;"                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR KELLER objected for discussion.                                                                                        
4:59:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  KELLER referred  to proposed  Amendment 1,  lines 6-11,                                                               
and  he  asked  the  reason   for  the  deletion  of  the  phrase                                                               
describing the  successful transition to independent  living.  He                                                               
opined that this narrowed the focus.                                                                                            
5:00:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE LESMANN, Program Coordinator,  Office of Children's Services                                                               
(OCS), Department  of Health and  Social Services, said  that OCS                                                               
tried to make the requirements  more specific to the steps toward                                                               
successful, independent living.                                                                                                 
5:01:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON asked if the amendment was what OCS needed.                                                                     
MR.  LESMANN replied  that ultimately  the court  would make  the                                                               
decision whether the youth could extend or reenter foster care.                                                                 
5:02:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER  said that he  was just trying to  understand the                                                               
5:02:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON asked that any  questions be brought forward now.                                                               
He asked  Representative Gara if  Amendment 1 addressed  both his                                                               
and OCS concerns.                                                                                                               
5:03:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  clarified that  there was not  a controversy                                                               
between himself  and OCS.   He stated that Amendment  1 attempted                                                               
to  allow re-entry  where  it was  in the  best  interest of  the                                                               
child.   He  explained  that the  definition  of "best  interest"                                                               
included homelessness, economic hardship,  and enhancement of the                                                               
child's ability to  succeed.  He pointed to line  12 of Amendment                                                               
1,  which allowed  OCS discretion  to request  conditions on  the                                                               
reentry plan.                                                                                                                   
5:05:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR HERRON asked to clarify  that this was language that was                                                               
not found anywhere else in the statutes.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GARA agreed, and  explained that currently reentry                                                               
was not allowable.                                                                                                              
CO-CHAIR HERRON asked  if there was currently  an opportunity for                                                               
a dialogue with the courts, if OCS requested it.                                                                                
5:06:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  pointed  to  Amendment 1,  line  15,  which                                                               
stated that the court would decide  what was in the best interest                                                               
of the child.                                                                                                                   
5:07:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  T. WILSON  asked about  a plan  for transitioning                                                               
the kids  out of foster  care.  She  asked for an  explanation to                                                               
the  fiscal  note of  $508,000  for  transitioning out  of  state                                                               
custody.   She asked for  an explanation  of the fiscal  note for                                                               
$93,600  for special  needs  costs  which included  extraordinary                                                               
clothing, family vacations, and biological family visitations.                                                                  
5:08:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA opined that if  the policy issues were made                                                               
on existing data,  it would be easier to  quantify dollar amounts                                                               
in the fiscal notes.  She  expressed a need to compare the fiscal                                                               
notes with the reasons why the costs were rising.                                                                               
5:10:43 PM                                                                                                                    
[HB 126 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CS HB 282 support letter - Tom Laing 03.30.2010.doc HHSS 4/1/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 282
CS HB 282 support letter - Center for Natural Medicine 03.23.2010.pdf HHSS 4/1/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 282
CS HB 282 - 26-LS1208.W - for intro into (H) HSS.pdf HHSS 4/1/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 282
SCR 13 support letter - K. Turkington 03.15.2010.pdf HHSS 4/1/2010 3:00:00 PM
DCCED fiscal note for CS HB 282 - 26-LS1208.W.pdf HHSS 4/1/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 282