Synopsis provided by Westlaw: Office of Children’s Services (OCS) petitioned to terminate mother’s parental rights with regard to one Indian and two non-Indian children. Following a bench trial, the Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Patrick J. McKay, J., terminated mother’s parental rights with regard to the three children, and she appealed.Holdings provided by Westlaw: The Supreme Court, Maassen, J., held that:
(1) any error in allowing the OCS’s tardy amendment of its petition to terminate mother’s parental rights with regard to one Indian and two non Indian children to include allegations of mother’s mental illness, was harmless;
(2) the OCS made reasonable efforts to reunify mother with two of her non-Indian children;
(3) the OCS made active, but unsuccessful, efforts to provide remedial services and rehabilitative programs designed to prevent the breakup of the Indian family;
(4) the Superior Court’s decision to allow the testimony of the OCS’s expert on substance abuse and mental health did not constitute an abuse of discretion; and
(5) the OCS’s Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA)-qualified expert’s testimony
was sufficiently grounded in the facts and issues of the case to be admissible.
Read the full decision at the National Indian Law Library website.