House approves bill for parents' rights at child hearings

Posted: Wednesday, April 05, 2000

JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill to make sure parents understand one of their rights at Child in Need of Aid hearings was approved by the state House on Wednesday.

Child in Need of Aid hearings are are required within 48 hours after children are seized by state social workers because of suspected abuse or neglect. A judge determines whether there is enough initial evidence to determine that a child needs continued assistance and therefore should remain in state custody.

Rep. Jim Whitaker, R-Fairbanks, said the hearings are emotionally charged. He said parents may be confused about their rights and may not have had an opportunity to see the allegations made against them.

House Bill 392, approved 39-0, requires judges to inform parents or guardians that they can ask for a delay or continuance of the hearing.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

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