Read the full order at the National Indian Law Library website (pdf).
Read the full decision at the National Indian Law Library website.
Read the full decision at the National Indian Law Library website.
Read the full decision at the National Indian Law Library website.
The department’s investigation found that Alaska’s system of care is heavily reliant on institutions and that key community-based services and supports needed to serve children with behavioral health disabilities in family homes, such as home-based family treatment, crisis services and therapeutic treatment home services, are often unavailable. As a result, many children with behavioral health … Read more
And because Native children represent about 55% of all children in state custody, Chen says overturning ICWA would have huge implications for Alaska. At the same time, Native people only make up a little over 20% of the population, so there’s a disparity, she says, and a feeling that the state hasn’t done enough to … Read more
“Who could ever believe that [ICWA] would be taken away?” she said. “That’s one of the last things keeping our community together in the way that it has, so imagining a world where that doesn’t exist is just too, too painful.” Read the full article at the KTOO website.
On Friday, August 5, HB 184, a bill codifying the Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact, automatically became State law without the Governor’s signature. The Alaska Tribal Child Welfare Compact began in 2017, under Governor Bill Walker and HSS Commissioner Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson, who signed the landmark State-Tribal Compact with 18 Tribal Co-Signers, representing 161 federally-recognized Tribes. … Read more
Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) entered into a Support Services Funding Agreement with the State of Alaska’s Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS), Office of Children’s Services (OCS) to conduct diligent relative and Indian Child Welfare Act preference searches. Read the full article at the Alaska … Read more
The Office of Children’s Services and tribal governments are taking the first steps to implement an agreement that transfers control of welfare services for Alaska Native children from the state to a group of 18 tribal governments and organizations. Read the full article at the Peninsula Clarion website.
Alaska Governor Bill Walker used an appearance Thursday at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage to sign a historic compact between the State of Alaska, tribes, and tribal organizations. The compact will allow tribes and tribal organizations to provide child welfare services and programs that previously were delivered by the Alaska Office … Read more
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) has selected the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Child Dependency Court as one of six new courts to join their Implementation Sites Project, which helps to improve outcomes for abused and neglected children and their families. Read the full article at … Read more
The tribes, represented by Alaska Legal Services Corp., had alleged defendants North Star Behavioral Health Center and Christy Lawton, director of the Alaska Office Children’s Services, had improperly warehoused foster children at the [psychicatric hospital] facility for indefinite periods of time. Read the full article at the Alaska Dispatch News website.
Gov. Bill Walker has signed into law bills intended to help foster youths and ease adoption in Alaska. Among other elements, House Bill 200 implements portions of the Indian Child Welfare Act that ease the adoption process for tribal members adopting a child of the same tribe. The bill also allows up to four legal … Read more
Imagine a foster child finally getting a permanent home, but having to leave her friends and teachers behind to make that happen. Upturning one part of a child’s life to create stability in another part happens too often with foster children. We owe it to Alaska children in foster care to make their transition back … Read more
Synopsis provided by Westlaw: Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes filed action against state, seeking declaratory judgment that its tribal court system had subject matter jurisdiction over child support matters and seeking an injunction requiring the state’s child support enforcement agency to recognize tribal courts’ child support orders. The Superior Court, First Judicial … Read more
In a major decision on child support, the Alaska Supreme Court stopped a Parnell administration effort against tribal rights that lingered during Gov. Bill Walker’s reign. The court ruled unanimously Friday in a case going back to the beginning of the decade that tribes have authority over child support. The court directed the state to enforce … Read more
When children are taken out of their homes due to neglect or abuse, they’re under the responsibility and jurisdiction of the State Office of Children’s Services. Now, through an agreement signed Wednesday night at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall between the State of Alaska and Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, … Read more
The [American Bar Association] ABA is urging Congress to follow the recommendations of recent reports by the U.S. Justice Department and the Indian Law and Order Commission that call for giving American Indian and Alaska Native tribes more authority to exercise criminal jurisdiction and apply their own remedies in cases that occur on tribal lands, … Read more
Oct. 1, 2015. Keeping tribal children in their tribal communities is the solution to improving regional child welfare, according to a Tribal-State Child Welfare panel yesterday during the Association of Village Council Presidents 51st Annual Convention at the Bethel Cultural Center. Read the full article at the Alaska Public Media website.
Synopsis provided by Westlaw: The Office of Children’s Services (OCS) sought to terminate parental rights to Indian children. The Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Bethel, Dwayne W. McConnell, J., terminated parental rights. Parents appealed. Holdings provided by Westlaw: The Supreme Court, Maassen, J., held that: (1) even though the trial court erred by entering an … Read more
There were more than a few teary eyes in the governor’s conference room on Thursday, when Gov. Bill Walker announced plans for a significant overhaul to Alaska’s adoption process for Alaska Native children. The move comes after a high-profile Alaska Supreme Court case added potentially impossible-to-clear hurdles to the federal Indian Child Welfare Act’s provisions … Read more
“The state has requested an additional 30-day extension because the administration needs additional time to determine its response to the issues raised in the petition and the amicus brief,” Jacqueline Schaffer, an assistant attorney general with the Alaska Department of Law, told KNBA. Read the March 18 article at the Indianz.com website. Related links: March … Read more
Elise wanted her granddaughter, but after nearly six years in court fighting to assert her rights under federal law, time was not on her side. The Inupiaq elder, who has eight children and 26 grandchildren, had steadfastly refused to give up on a child whom she felt needed—and deserved—to be raised by her own family … Read more
Synopsis from Westlaw: Father filed emergency motion to modify custody after State initiated Child In Need of Aid (CINA) action against mother. Tribal council which had issued original custody order was permitted to intervene. The Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Andrew Guidi, J., awarded father primary physical custody. Council appealed. Holding from Westlaw: The … Read more
Synopsis from Westlaw: The Office of Children’s Services (OCS) petitioned to terminate mother’s parental rights to Indian child. The Superior Court, First Judicial District, Juneau, Louis J. Menendez, J., terminated parental rights. Mother appealed. Holdings from Westlaw: The Supreme Court, Fabe, C.J., held that: (1) counsel’s decision to enter into a stipulation as to psychiatrist’s … Read more
In a split decision, the Alaska Supreme Court has ruled against the village of Tununak, which was appealing a lower court’s decision that allowed an Alaska Native infant to be adopted by non-Native parents rather than giving custody to her extended biological family in the tiny Western Alaska community. The Supreme Court’s ruling this … Read more
On September 12, 2014, the Alaska Supreme Court issued a decision that will effectively bar most Alaska Native families from asserting their rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and in doing so will increase the number of Native children severed from their families and culture. In the Native Village of Tununak II v. … Read more
Synopsis Provided by Westlaw: After Indian child was found to be child in need of aid (CINA) and parents’ parental rights were terminated, Indian tribe sought to enforce Indian Child Welfare Act’s (ICWA) placement preferences, and child’s non-Indian foster parents petitioned for adoption. The Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Frank A. Pfiffner, J., granted … Read more
The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday in support of an Interior tribal court in a child custody and tribal sovereignty case that was contested by Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration. The case, Simmonds v. Parks, started almost six years ago as a custody dispute in the Village of Minto, a town of 200 people about 130 … Read more
Alaska SCT Rules that State Courts Must Give Full Faith and Credit to Tribal Courts in ICWA Cases. Visit the Turtle Talk blog post for information about the Simmonds v. Parks case.
Synopsis provided by Westlaw: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) initiated dependency proceedings concerning father’s three children. The Juvenile Court, Lancaster County, Linda S. Porter, J., entered dispositional order ordering a change of family therapist, declined to return legal custody of the children to father, and made specific ordered related only to father. … Read more
ANCHORAGE, Alaska –The Advisory Committee of the Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence convenes its final public hearing in Anchorage, Alaska, today. The hearing, which commenced June 11, will examine the wide-ranging impact of violence on children in Alaska Native communities and consider programs to effectively support … Read more
Synopsis provided by Westlaw: Department of Health and Social Services, Office of Children’s Services (OCS), took emergency custody of three children and petitioned to terminate mother’s parental rights. The Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Douglas Blankenship, J., denied mother’s motion to join grandmother, and grandmother’s motion to intervene as the children’s Indian custodian. Grandmother … Read more
From the website: “The State of Alaska Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS), Office of Children’s Services (OCS) strongly supports the Indian Child Welfare (ICWA) and continues to build federal ICWA mandates into all levels of OCS Child Welfare. We continue to develop postive collaborative and communicative partnerships with all Native organizations and Alaska … Read more
For the first time in Alaska’s child welfare history, the state is entering into an agreement with a Tribal organization that supports and recognizes the ability of a Tribe to provide services to its own citizens, increasing the likelihood for Tribal foster children to stay in their communities with relatives, culture, and traditions. Read more … Read more
Synopsis provided by Westlaw: “The Department of Health and Social Services filed a petition alleging Indian child was a child in need of aid. The Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Randy M. Olsen, J., adjudicated child as a child in need of aid. Father appealed.” Read the decision at … Read more
Synopsis provided by Westlaw: “The Office of Children’s Services (OCS) filed a petition to terminate mother’s parental rights to child. The Superior Court, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Peter A. Michalski, J., terminated parental rights. Mother appealed. The Supreme Court remanded. On remand the Superior Court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that OCS made active … Read more
Synopsis provided by Westlaw: “In child dependency proceeding involving incarcerated father, the Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks, Michael P. McConahy, J., terminated parental rights. Father appealed.” Read the case at the National Indian Law Library website.
The Office of Head Start (OHS) is holding 2013 Tribal Consultations with leaders of Tribal Governments operating Head Start (including Early Head Start) programs for each of the nine geographic regions where American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start programs are located. Tribal leaders and their designees, including AIAN Head Start directors, are welcome … Read more
Earlier this month, when Edward Parks was convicted in Fairbanks of the kidnapping and brutal assault of his girlfriend, the prosecutor told a Fairbanks reporter it was a victory in the “state’s larger war against domestic violence.” But three months earlier, with Parks sitting in jail awaiting trial for beating Bessie Stearman so badly he … Read more
The Alaska Office of Children’s Services (OCS) was successful in terminating parental rights for the parents of four Indian children. Despite attempts by the parents, and active efforts to prevent the breakup of the family by OCS, evidence supported finding that the children would be endangered and would likely suffer emotional and physical harm if … Read more
A collaboration between the National Indian Child Welfare Assocation the Western and Pacific Implementation Center (WPIC), and the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and other tribes, this project addresses the systemic issues that exist in tribal child welfare between the State of Alaska and Alaska Native Tribes. The four year … Read more
The Guide is intended to answer questions and provide a comprehensive resource of information on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The online version at http://www.narf.org/icwa was created as a complement to the print version of the Guide, which was printed by the Native American Rights Fund in 2007. While the topical sections are identical … Read more