6.10.80 Children in Need of Protection.
(a) Definition of Child in Need of Protection. The term “child in need of protection” means a child:
(1) Who has no parent, guardian, or custodian available, willing, and/or capable to care for the child;
(2) Who has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant physical injury as the result of abuse or neglect;
(3) Who has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant emotional damage as the result of abuse or neglect;
(4) Who has been sexually abused or sexually exploited;
(5) Who has not been provided adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or care and control by the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian, which is necessary for the child’s health, safety, or welfare, and the deprivation is not due to the lack of financial resources available to the parent, guardian, or custodian;
(6) Who has been placed at an unreasonable risk with respect to the child’s health, safety, or welfare by failure of the parent, guardian, or custodian to intervene to eliminate the risk when that person knew or should have known of the risk;
(7) Who is born addicted or exposed to alcohol, a controlled substance, or another other drug harmful to the physical or mental welfare of the child;
(8) Who has witnessed domestic violence and the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian failed to eliminate the risk of the child witnessing that domestic violence when that person knew or should have known of the risk; or
(9) Who has been beyond the reasonable control of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian, and acted in ways that placed the child’s health, safety, and welfare at risk.
(b) Child Protection Team.
(1) The Child Protection Team is hereby established and shall consist of representatives from Children Services, Tribal Enforcement Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Justice Administration, and other agencies that Children Services may designate as necessary to fulfill the purpose of the Child Protection Team. The Manager of Children Services shall chair the Child Protection Team. The Child Protection Team shall have the authority to make decisions based on a decision of the majority of persons attending a meeting for which there has been notice.
(2) The Chair of the Child Protection Team shall have the authority to develop protocols and policies for the Child Protection Team, designate or delegate duties to team members, and make emergency decisions necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter.
(3) The Child Protection Team shall meet periodically to advise and consult:
(i) On matters brought before it by members of the team, other Tribal Government employees, or representatives of other entities and organizations who provide services to children; and
(ii) With social workers from other jurisdictions who are managing cases of member children or who are otherwise concerned members of the Tribe or community.
(4) The Child Protection Team shall:
(i) Advise and consult in matters related to children in need of protection, such as:
(A) Whether a child is in danger of harm;
(B) Whether a Child in Need of Protection Petition should be filed in Tribal Court;
(C) Whether a child should be removed from the child’s home either temporarily or on a longer term basis;
(D) Where a child should be placed, if the child cannot be placed with a parent, with a preference for recommending the child be placed with a family member;
(E) Whether the Tribe should request a transfer of jurisdiction over a child dependency court proceeding from another jurisdiction to Tribal Court; and
(F) Recommending actions to personnel of other Tribal Government departments and divisions to promote the care of children.
(ii) Identify available community resources, programs, and services.
(iii) Promote cooperation, communication, and consistency between Tribal Government departments and divisions and other agencies, entities, and organizations.
(iv) Provide a forum for debating what actions will best promote the well-being of Indian children.
(v) Assist in the development and implementation of policies and plans to promote the long-term welfare of children and their families.
(vi) Conduct interviews and direct the investigation of alleged abuse cases.
(vii) Discuss and identify matters requiring referral to law enforcement with criminal jurisdiction over the matter.
(5) Extended family is particularly important to children in need of protection. A preference shall be given to placing a child with a family member, should the parent not be willing or able to care for the child. Extended family members may also submit information, in writing, to the Child Protection Team regarding their concerns about the welfare of a child.
(c) Procedure for Petition to Find a Child in Need of Protection.
(1) Proceedings to find a child is in need of protection may be instituted in the Tribal Court by filing a petition with the Court Clerk. The Tribe, Tribal Government departments, parents, guardians, custodians, or family members of the child may file the petition. The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island shall be joined as a party to all Child in Need of Protection proceedings.
(2) Upon receipt of the petition, the Court Clerk shall issue a summons to the child, if the child is over thirteen (13) years old, and to the child’s parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s). The summons shall require attendance before the Court at the stated time. A copy of the petition shall be attached to the summons. Service shall be made by a Tribal Enforcement Officer, a child protection worker, or any other Court-approved person eighteen (18) years or older.
(3) The Tribal Court shall utilize the Rules of Civil Procedure, Chapter 2.20 ATC, for fulfillment of this chapter, provided such rules do not conflict with any provision in this chapter.
(d) Temporary Custody of Child Alleged to Be in Need of Protection.
(1) Immediately upon receiving the petition, the Tribal Court may order the child be taken into temporary custody if the Tribal Court finds that probable cause exists to believe the child is in need of protection and the conditions in which the child is found present imminent danger to the child’s health, safety, or welfare. The Tribal Court order may include:
(i) Authorization for a Tribal Enforcement Officer or child protection worker to enter specified premises to remove the child;
(ii) A direction to place the child in temporary custody pending a hearing; and
(iii) The length of time of the temporary custody placement.
(2) In the absence of a Court order, a child in need of protection may be only taken into custody if a Tribal Enforcement Officer or child protection worker finds probable cause that:
(i) Failure to remove the child would place the child in danger of imminent and serious harm; or
(ii) The child is in need of adult supervision and has no appropriate adult supervision.
(3) The Tribal Enforcement Officer or child protection worker taking a child into custody under the provisions of this subsection shall immediately contact Children Services, who shall specify an appropriate placement for the child. The officer or worker shall take the child to the specified placement.
(4) A child should be placed within reasonable proximity to the child’s home, taking into account any special needs of the child. The child shall be placed in the least restrictive setting which closely approximates a family, and in which the child’s special needs, if any, may be met.
(5) As soon as practical after taking a child into custody, the Tribal Enforcement Officer or child protection worker taking the child shall notify the child’s parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s) that the child has been taken into custody, the reasons for taking the child into custody, and the name and telephone number of the representative of Children Services managing the case. Efforts to notify the parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s) of the child shall include contacts at the home, place of employment, or other locations where the person is known to frequent with regularity. If notification cannot be provided to the parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s), the notice shall be given to a member of the extended family of the child.
(6) A child must be released from temporary custody within seventy-two (72) hours after a child has been taken into temporary custody, excluding weekends and Tribal Government holidays, unless the Court approves continued custody. Tribal Enforcement or Children Services must file a Request for Emergency Temporary Custody with the Tribal Court if Tribal Enforcement or Children Services wishes to extend temporary custody past seventy-two (72) hours.
(e) Predetermination Report Prior to Tribal Court Hearing.
(1) Upon the filing of a petition or upon a child being taken into temporary custody, Children Services, or another qualified person appointed by the Court, shall conduct an investigation and prepare a written predetermination report recommending a child be found or not be found to be in need of protection. In preparing the report, the person shall interview the child’s parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s), all social services, health, and education personnel who have had prior professional contacts with the child or the child’s parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s), and any other person Children Services finds relevant to determining whether a child is in need of protection. Children Services may provide further policy and direction on predetermination report requirements and procedures.
(2) The predetermination report shall be presented to the Tribal Court at least fifteen (15) days prior to any Tribal Court hearing on the matter.
(f) Tribal Court Hearings.
(1) Tribal Court hearings shall be set according the Rules of Civil Procedure under Chapter 2.20 ATC, unless emergency circumstances exist or a party presents evidence demonstrating that a shorter timeline is necessary for the best interests of the child.
(2) Hearings held under this chapter shall be closed. Persons, other than the parties, shall only be admitted into hearings if the Tribal Court finds such persons have a legitimate interest in the case.
(3) If the Court determines that it is in the best interests of the child and does not violate the rights of a party, and if necessary and no other method is available to obtain the statements of the child, the Court may allow a child to testify through any method the Court finds appropriate. A statement of a child under the age of thirteen (13) describing any act or attempted act of sexual contact or physical abuse with or imposed upon the child by another is admissible evidence in a proceeding under this section when the Court finds that the time, content, and circumstances of the statement provide sufficient indicia of reliability. A statement may not be admitted under this paragraph unless the proponent of the statement makes known to the adverse party their intention to offer the statement and particulars of the statement sufficiently in advance of the proceedings to provide the adverse party with a fair opportunity to address the statement.
(g) Child in Need of Protection Order, Child Protection Plan.
(1) If the Tribal Court finds that a child is in need of protection under this chapter, the Court shall enter an order in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure, Chapter 2.20 ATC, which shall constitute the Child in Need of Protection Order. The order shall include such facts as are necessary to establish that the child is in need of protection.
(2) As a part of the Child in Need of Protection Order, the Court shall order a Child Protection Plan be entered for the child’s future protection and well-being. The Court shall receive a proposed Child Protection Plan from the Children Services worker assigned to the case. A Child Protection Plan may not extend beyond the date on which the child becomes eighteen (18) years old, unless the child enters into a voluntary placement plan or the Court finds the child, even after turning eighteen (18) years old, does not possess the sufficient mental or physical ability to care for himself or herself.
(3) The Child Protection Plan may include any of the following, giving due weight to the need to preserve the unity of the family whenever possible:
(i) Permit the child to remain with the child’s parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s), subject to conditions and limitations Children Services may prescribe, including the protective supervision of the child by Children Services or other Tribal Government department or division, and placement is conditioned upon compliance with the Court’s order;
(ii) Order removal of the child from the home of the parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s) and place the child in the Tribe’s custody;
(iii) Order the child and/or the child’s parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s) to participate in counseling or treatment programs;
(iv) Require action necessary for the protection and well-being of the child, including, but not limited to:
(A) Child support and/or restraining or no-contact orders;
(B) Evaluation and treatment, including involuntary residential treatment for substance abuse, mental illness, and/or emotional disturbance;
(C) Drug testing for the parent or child;
(D) Parenting classes;
(E) Mandatory school attendance;
(F) Visitation and communication orders;
(G) Any other services or activities for the benefit of the child and the family;
(H) Provide for any other culturally appropriate remedy which would properly address the issues found to have caused the child to be found in need of protection;
(I) Provide that failure to comply with the Child Protection Plan may result in a contempt of court finding, in accordance with Chapter 2.40 ATC;
(J) Require releases to be signed allowing for the monitoring of compliance with treatment, services, and other ordered activities; or
(K) Require maintainenance of a relationship between the child and the extended family to the extent that resources are reasonably available, unless maintaining that relationship would not benefit the child or would interrupt the child’s reunification with the parents.
(v) Provide the time frame for the duration of the Child Protection Plan.
(h) Review. The status of all children subject to a Child in Need of Protection Order shall be reviewed by the Tribal Court at least every six months. The first review following the Court’s entry of the Child in Need of Protection Order shall be conducted within ninety (90) days of entry. At each review, the Court shall determine the party’s progress with respect to the Child Protection Plan and whether the Court will continue its supervision.
(i) Closure of Case. A case under this chapter shall be closed if:
(1) The Court, after a fact-finding hearing, finds the child is not in need of protection under the criteria of subsection (a) of this section;
(2) The child has reached eighteen (18) years of age, unless the child has voluntarily agreed to continued Tribal Court supervision or the Tribal Court has determined the child does not possess the sufficient mental or physical ability to care for himself or herself;
(3) The Child Protection Plan has been satisfied and the child has been returned to the home of the parent(s), guardian(s), or custodian(s), and the Court finds that no further supervision or monitoring is required;
(4) The child has been placed in a permanent guardianship in a home approved by the Court; or
(5) The child has been adopted into a home approved by the Court.
(j) Concurrent Tribal Court Proceedings. Once a child has been found to be a Child in Need of Protection, no proceedings affecting that child shall be heard by the Court unless the Tribe is made a party to the action and agrees to the filing of the proceeding.
(k) Obligations to Support Children.
(1) The Court may require the parents, or other persons legally obligated, to support a child found to be in need of protection, and to pay toward that child’s support such amounts and at intervals as the Court may direct. The Court may order that a specified amount of the child’s funds be used for the care of the child and/or the child’s needs. The Court, in determining the amount of support to be paid, shall give due regard to the cost of maintaining the child and the financial resources and financial demands of the parent or other responsible party.
(2) Failure on the part of parents, or other person(s) having control over a child, to comply with an order of the Court under this subsection may result in finding of contempt of court or other violations of this code. [Res. 2012-56; 2008 Code § 6.2.7]