New law streamlines legal proceedings for foster care

    Governor Walker on Tuesday signed H-B 200, which recognizes more extended family members of children in the foster care system.

    A new state law streamlines legal proceedings for foster care, in response to a court ruling on the adoption of Alaska Native children.

    Governor Walker on Tuesday signed H-B 200, which recognizes more extended family members of children in the foster care system.

    Two years ago, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in favor of a non-native family that adopted a baby from Tununak after no member of her biological family filed to adopt her. The 3-to-2 ruling held that the baby's well-being trumped federal law designed to keep children with Native communities when possible.

    The Alaska Federation of Natives criticized the ruling, calling the formal adoption process too burdensome.

    The governor also signed H-B 27, changing the procedure for releasing a child from state custody as they age out of the system. It also directs the Office of Children's Service to more actively recruit foster homes.

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