The Alaska Citizen Review Panel (CRP) is committed to reviewing and evaluating the
practices and procedures of the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) and in making
recommendations relative to its findings to ensure the safety and the well‐being of the
children of Alaska.
The CRP will achieve this commitment by examining the policies and procedures of the
Office of Children’s Services, and collecting feedback from collaborating agencies;
examining, where appropriate, specific cases; evaluating the extent to which the agency
is carrying out its child protection responsibilities; and preparing and making available to
the public an annual report.
MANDATE FOR THE GROUP
The Citizens' Review Panel (CRP) is federally mandated through the Child Abuse
Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA); Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003.
The CRP is also mandated through Alaska Statute Sec. 47.14.205.
“By allowing the Panels to have complete access to child protection cases, by requiring
Panels to publicize their findings, and by requiring states to respond to criticisms and
recommendations of the Panels, the Committee intends to subject states to public
criticism and political repercussion if they fail to protect children.” (United States Congress, House Report 104‐081, 1995, p.1)
Here are the two recommendations made suggesting what the Office Of Children's Service should do;
Recommendation 1: That OCS take aggressive action to reduce staff turn‐over.
The Panel has suggested that funding be allocated so that OCS may offer decent housing[Maybe it's me, but I read Free Housing. Just another perk for the industry.]
as a recruiting and retention tool in rural communities where housing is a challenge.
Recommendation 2: That OCS establish deadlines that require non‐emergency
petitions to be filed allowing for supervision of the family by the continuum of legal
parties without necessitating the removal of the child.
Currently, when OCS has safety concerns about a child which are too great to screen out
but require some intervention on the part of the agency, the family is referred to the “in
home” designation. A social worker is required to work with the parents on the safety
issues, make referrals for services, and visit the home to check on the child. The parents’
participation with OCS is voluntary. OCS does not have legal or physical custody and no
other legal parties are involved.
We are recommending that in these instances, OCS file non‐emergency petitions which
give OCS legal custody but allow the child to remain at home with the parents who
retain physical custody. This allows for court oversight, the parents are able to have an
attorney appointed to represent them, the Tribe (in an ICWA case) is a party, and a
guardian ad litem is appointed for the children. The result is more support and
involvement of the parents while protecting the legal rights of the parents, the children,
and if applicable, the Tribe.
[The way I read it: far too much money is slipping through ocs's hands. Getting legal custody is the only way ocs is not working for nothing. No matter what they say... once the courts are involved, they start making money. Once in the system, more and more kids will end up in foster care where bonuses kick in.]
Who is on the Citizen Review Panel you ask?
Membership and Staff Support
Required membership The Panel shall be composed of volunteer members who are
broadly representative of the state, including members who have expertise in the
prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.
Susan Heuer, Chair, Anchorage
Dana W. Hallett, Haines
Pat Hefley, Juneau
Kristin Hull, Wasilla
Steve McComb, Palmer
Stella Schuchardt, Fairbanks
Diwakar Vadapalli, Anchorage
Every one of them make their living from the "children" related business.
There are no gas station attendants, store clerks, homemakers, dog mushers or any other non-child related "citizens" on this panel. I hate to call this a "good ol' boys club", but I guess I would have to.
The complete CRP Report can be read, printed or downloaded from the box on the right of this page or from the web at http://www.hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Publications/pdf/2012_CRP.pdf . Read it for your self.
*The posts made in this blog are of our opinion only* Without Prejudice UCC 1-207