Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

02/26/2018 01:30 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Audio Topic
01:30:29 PM Start
01:31:14 PM Citizen Review Panel Presentation on the Department of Health and Social Services Office of Children's Services
02:03:19 PM SB122
02:19:56 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: DHSS Office of Children's Services TELECONFERENCED
Citizen Review Panel
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Heard & Held
-- Testimony <Invited and Public> --
                SB 122-OCS CITIZEN REVIEW PANEL                                                                             
2:03:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   WILSON  reconvened   the   meeting   and  announced   the                                                               
consideration of SB 122.                                                                                                        
2:03:43 PM                                                                                                                    
RYNNIEVA  MOSS,   Staff,  Senator  John  Coghill,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented SB 122 on behalf  of the sponsor. It is An                                                               
Act repealing the  authority for a child abuse  or neglect review                                                               
panel  in  DHSS and  establishing  the  Child Protection  Citizen                                                               
Review Panel in the office of the ombudsman.                                                                                    
     Section 1:                                                                                                               
     AS 24.55.400.  Establishes the Citizen  Review Panel  in the                                                             
     legislative branch of  state government under the  office of                                                               
     the ombudsman  and instructs the  panel to  emphasize public                                                               
     participation  in the  panel's  work and  to  bring all  the                                                               
     stake holders on the panel.                                                                                                
     The panel will meet at least every  three months and it will                                                               
     establish guidelines for its operation.                                                                                    
     Gives  the panel  the  authority  to investigate  individual                                                               
     cases if it deems necessary.                                                                                               
     AS 24.55.405.  Requires the  panel to  reviews policies  and                                                             
     procedures  of OCS  on an  annual basis  and review  reports                                                               
     submitted annually to  the federal government. The  panel is                                                               
     given  statutory authority  to  recommend and  advocate  for                                                               
     changes to the department's child protection services.                                                                     
     It  requires OCS  to  provide the  CRP  the following  state                                                               
     plans submitted to the federal government annually:                                                                        
          State plan for grants for child abuse or neglect                                                                      
          prevention and treatment programs. (42 U.S.C. 5106a(b))                                                               
          State plan for delivery of child welfare services                                                                     
          prepared jointly by the state and the Secretary of                                                                    
          Health and Human Services. (42 U.S.C. 621  629m)                                                                      
     AS 24.55.410. Mandates  that OCS SHALL consult with  the CRP                                                             
     and assist the  panel in carrying out its  duties, including                                                               
     providing case-specific information to the panel.                                                                          
     AS 24.55.415. Makes  information delivered at a  CRP meeting                                                             
     confidential and the  CRP must follow the Open  Meetings Act                                                               
     giving public  notice and restricting  the CRP  members from                                                               
     meeting privately.                                                                                                         
     AS 24.55.420. Provides for public outreach and public                                                                    
     AS  24.55.425. Provides  for the  CRP to  prepare an  annual                                                             
     report  to be  available to  the  governor, legislature  and                                                               
     public. Requires  OCS to  submit a  written response to  the                                                               
     report within six months of  its release. Requires the panel                                                               
     and  the  department  to  prepare  a  joint  report  to  the                                                               
     governor, legislature and public every three years.                                                                        
     AS  24.55.430. Sets  a  penalty of  up  to  $2,500 for  each                                                             
     violation of confidentiality a person is convicted of.                                                                     
     AS 24.55.435.  Provides  immunity  for  panel  members  from                                                             
     liability in panel actions.                                                                                                
     AS 24.55.440. Definitions.                                                                                               
         Department is the DHSS.                                                                                                
         Panel is the Citizens Review Panel                                                                                     
     Section  2:  Gives  the   CRP  access  to  confidential                                                                  
     documents regarding child protection cases.                                                                                
     Section  3: Repeals  the Alaska  Statutes that  put the                                                                  
     CRP under the jurisdiction of DHSS.                                                                                        
     Section 4:  Requires DHSS  to do  a two-year  review of                                                                  
     existing  processes for  reviewing  and overseeing  the                                                                    
     work of  OCS and outline  a plan to  reduce duplication                                                                    
     and improved coordination  amongst agencies involved in                                                                    
     child protection.  The report will be  delivered to the                                                                    
     senate secretary, house chief clerk, the governor and                                                                      
     the general public.                                                                                                        
          Section 5: Gives the office of the ombudsman                                                                        
     regulatory authority.                                                                                                      
      Section 6: Transition language that allows existing                                                                     
       panel members to serve out their term on the panel                                                                       
     even though it has been moved from the department.                                                                         
     The bill does not have an effective date.                                                                                  
2:07:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MOSS said this bill is  not pointing fingers at anyone saying                                                               
they  are  not  doing  their  job.  It  is  saying  that  CRP  is                                                               
underutilized and misunderstood and  needs to be utilized better.                                                               
In 2005,  when Senator Coghill  carried House  Bill 53, it  was a                                                               
direct result  of working with  the Murkowski  administration and                                                               
CRP to take an objective look at  OCS to see what was working and                                                               
what was not working.  It is because of CRP they  been able to do                                                               
some reforms with OCS and the child protection system.                                                                          
SENATOR  GIESSEL  asked  if  the panel  falls  under  Boards  and                                                               
Commission and if the members are governor appointed.                                                                           
MS. MOSS answered no and yes.                                                                                                   
SENATOR GIESSEL said the membership  of boards and commissions is                                                               
generally  well defined  to provide  diversity. She  suggested it                                                               
might lend more credibility and  force if the membership had more                                                               
MS. MOSS said  that is a good  point. She added that  she was not                                                               
sure whether the governor appoints panel members.                                                                               
2:10:35 PM                                                                                                                    
KATE BURKHART,  State Ombudsman, Alaska Office  of the Ombudsman,                                                               
commented on  SB 122. She  said she  has spoken to  Dr. Vadapalli                                                               
and the  leadership at OCS to  see how this would  work. Prior to                                                               
her  appointment  as ombudsman,  she  was  executive director  of                                                               
three  autonomous, co-located  state  planning  councils. She  is                                                               
familiar with  how co-location can work  without jeopardizing the                                                               
autonomy of the  organizations. She has plenty of  comments on SB
122.  At  the  start  of   the  conversation,  understanding  the                                                               
benefits and pitfalls of co-location is important.                                                                              
MS.  BURKHART said  co-location requires  alignment of  missions,                                                               
which is  set by the  legislature in  this case. The  missions of                                                               
the Ombudsman's Office and CRP are  in many ways aligned, but not                                                               
always.  It  requires  a  commitment  of  the  membership  and  a                                                               
commitment to shared values. It  requires rigorous management and                                                               
adequate resources. SB 122 hopefully  will include clear guidance                                                               
on how  the Ombudsman's Office can  provide management assistance                                                               
and not just be a fiscal  agent. She sees this perhaps managed as                                                               
a separate RDU  in the budget so there is  a clear accountability                                                               
on the use  of funds with no comingling of  funds. That speaks to                                                               
the  accountability and  "so what"  questions that  Dr. Vadapalli                                                               
talked about.  It does  require staff  and management.  While the                                                               
Ombudsman's Office  does not have  staff to dedicate, there  is a                                                               
way to  manage in partnership  with CRP,  such as with  the state                                                               
council on behavioral health.                                                                                                   
She said  she does not  know that  the Ombudsman's Office  is the                                                               
only place to house the CRP, but  it is one place. If SB 122 were                                                               
to pass, her  office could promulgate regulation  within a fiscal                                                               
year. The Ombudsman's Office operates  with regulations and would                                                               
want to do that with the CRP also.                                                                                              
2:15:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  asked if  OCS  does  not  complete the  task  of                                                               
writing regulations,  which it has  not done since  2015, whether                                                               
her  office  would  have  the ability  to  rapidly  complete  the                                                               
regulatory writing process.                                                                                                     
MS. BURKHART  said it would take  a full fiscal year.  Her office                                                               
has multiple people with legal  backgrounds and experience with a                                                               
recent comprehensive regulatory overwrite of their office.                                                                      
CHAIR  WILSON  asked  which  areas   of  DHSS  have  received  an                                                               
increased number of complaints.                                                                                                 
MS.  BURKHART said  within DHSS,  the most  complaints have  been                                                               
received about  OCS and  the Division  of Public  Assistance. She                                                               
did not  have the report with  her, but thought there  were about                                                               
200 some complaints for each of the divisions.                                                                                  
CHAIR WILSON said  he could see people saying that  her office is                                                               
trying   to  influence   CRP  through   investigations  on   that                                                               
MS.  BURKHART said  the  ombudsman  has rigorous  confidentiality                                                               
standards and  any complaints about  OCS remain  confidential. If                                                               
SB 122  were to  pass and a  CRP staff member  is in  the office,                                                               
that  person would  not  have access  to  that information.  That                                                               
person would have the same  access to aggregate data available in                                                               
reports.  She  has  talked  with   Information  Services  at  the                                                               
Legislative Affairs  Agency about separate hosting,  so CRP staff                                                               
would  not  have access  to  their  servers and  case  management                                                               
system.  She is  used to  the idea  of a  strong wall  to prevent                                                               
conflict. They would create infrastructure  and processes to make                                                               
sure CRP staff person was not privy to that information.                                                                        
2:19:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON  said the  committee looked  forward to  getting the                                                               
fiscal note. He held SB 122 in committee.                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 122 Version J.pdf SHSS 2/26/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 Sponsor Statement.pdf SHSS 2/26/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 Sectional Analysis.pdf SHSS 2/26/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
SB 122 - CItizens Review Panel Power Point.pptx SHSS 2/26/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 122
senate hss presentation_02262018.ppt SHSS 2/26/2018 1:30:00 PM