Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Alaska

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Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.05.065(4)-(5)

It is in the best interests of a child who has been removed from the child's own home for the State to apply the following principles in resolving the situation:

  • The child should be placed in a safe, secure, and stable environment.
  • The child should not be moved unnecessarily.
  • A planning process should be followed to lead to permanent placement of the child.
  • Every effort should be made to encourage psychological attachment between the adult caregiver and the child.
  • Frequent, regular, and reasonable visitation with the parent or guardian and family members should be encouraged.
  • Parents and guardians must actively participate in family support services to facilitate the child's being able to remain in the home. When children are removed from the home, the parents and guardians must actively participate in family support services to make return of their children to the home possible.
  • To the extent practicable, the Department of Health and Social Services should enable a child's contact with previous out-of-home caregivers when appropriate and in the best interests of the child.

Numerous studies establish that:

  • Children undergo a critical attachment process before the time they reach 6 years of age.
  • A child who has not attached with an adult caregiver during this critical stage will suffer significant emotional damage that frequently leads to chronic psychological problems and antisocial behavior when the child reaches adolescence and adulthood.
  • It is important to provide an expedited placement procedure to ensure that all children, especially those under age 6, who have been removed from their homes are placed in permanent homes in a timely manner.

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.10.082

In making its dispositional order, the court shall keep the health and safety of the child as the court's paramount concern and consider the following:

  • The best interests of the child
  • The ability of the State to take custody and to care for the child and to protect the child's best interests
  • The potential harm to the child caused by removal of the child from the home and family environment

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