Judge Releases Grand Jury Recommendations on Request for Investigation of Office of Childrens Services
January 23, 2017
(SitNews) Anchorage, Alaska - In September of 2016, the Alaska Department of Law received a request to convene a grand jury to conduct an investigation of the Office of Children’s Services in the Department of Health and Social Services (OCS) to determine if OCS was complying with its statutory duties. The request was made pursuant to article I, section 8 of the Alaska Constitution, which allows a grand jury to “investigate and make recommendations concerning the public welfare or safety.” Just as normal grand jury proceedings are confidential, investigatory grand jury proceedings are also confidential under Alaska Criminal Rule 6(l). A judge must determine whether to unseal the recommendations and make them public.
On September 7, 2016, Rep. Wilson (R-North Pole) requested that a Grand Jury conduct an investigation into how the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and the Alaska Office of Children Services (OCS) are complying with statutory duties.
“I have received hundreds of calls from those touched by OCS in some way and wanting to tell their story,” Wilson said on January 12, 2017. “It is obvious by the lack of action from the Attorney General’s office that they do not want to listen to any of the facts that have been submitted.”
On January 18, 2017, the Presiding Judge of the Third Judicial District unsealed the recommendations of the grand jury relating to the request to investigate OCS. The documents unsealed by Presiding Judge Morse show that the Department of Law presented the request to the grand jury on December 22, 2016. The grand jury issued two separate recommendations signed by the grand jury foreman.
In the first recommendation, the grand jury “determined that the Alaska Ombudsman, pursuant to Alaska Statute 24.55.010 - .340, is statutorily authorized to address the concerns.”
In the second recommendation, the grand jury “determined that the Alaska Citizen Review Panel, pursuant to Alaska Statute 47.14.205 et. seq., is statutorily required to address the concerns.”
Based upon the recommendations of the grand jury, the Alaska Department of Law has forwarded the necessary information to the Ombudsman and the Citizen Review Panel.
On the Web:
Read the Judge’s order - PDF(88KB)
Read the Grand jury’s recommendations - PDF(190KB)
WILSON CALLS FOR PUBLIC TESTIMONY REGARDING ALASKA OFFICE OF CHILDREN’S SERVICES - Representative Tammie Wilson announced on Thursday the availability of statewide public testimony opportunities for Alaskans not satisfied with the current state of the Office of Children’s Services. - More...
SitNews - January 16, 2017
Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
Source of News:
Alaska Department of Law
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