ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 198
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
August 12, 2002
I, Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority
of article III, sections 1 and 24, of the Alaska Constitution,
and in accordance with AS 44.19.145(c) establish the Commission
on Child Protection (Commission) in the Office of the Governor.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The protection of children who have been abused and neglected
is a core responsibility of the State of Alaska. The child protective
services system is complex and requires the constant attention
of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state
government. The child protection system is, by its very nature,
controversial insofar as it involves the state in the most personal
aspects of many Alaskans' lives.
Through the "Smart Start for Alaska's Children" initiative
and other efforts, measurable progress has been made on many fronts-more
reports of harm against children investigated, a rewritten child
protection law, speedier adoptions, and better basic health care
for thousands of children.
In accordance with federal law, the State of Alaska is undergoing
a comprehensive review of its child protection system. The release
of that review is imminent and will identify strengths and weaknesses
in the child protection system.
Every year since 1997, the Legislature has been asked to provide
additional resources to both improve the child protection system,
as well as to provide support to children and families at risk
of entering the system. The Legislature has funded some of these
requests, and the result has been a significant improvement to
the system-more adoptions through the "Balloon Project"
and thousands more children with basic health care through our
Denali KidCare program, for example. Many other requests were
not funded by the Legislature. Just a few examples-extra troopers
for child sexual assault denied, no additional funding to expand
the "Dual Track" program to investigate minor reports
of harm, and rejection of a modest rate increase to help us attract
and retain foster parents. Additional funding and improvements
to the child protection system are needed.
The purpose of this Administrative Order is to recognize the
need to identify and quantify appropriate next steps to further
strengthen the system. The report of the Commission should serve
to educate all Alaskans about the tragedy of child abuse, generate
the commitment of candidates for public office to continue to
improve the child protection system, and lead to budgetary recommendations
for additional resources.
DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION
The duty of the Commission is to prepare and submit a report
to the Governor by
October 1, 2002, that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) A review of recent reports and findings related to the child
protection system including review of at least the following:
Child Protection Review Team Report to Governor Knowles, (December
1997); reports of the legislative auditor; and the findings of
the federal review of child and family services programs under
(2) An assessment of the impact of recent enhancements to the
child protective services systems including at least the following:
the Balloon Project; state/tribal collaborative efforts; the health
passport program; and the training academy.
(3) Recommendations for elements to be included in the Program
Improvement Plan, which is under development in response to the
findings of the review under federal law.
(4) Recommendations for additional improvements to systems and
services that support the child protection system or support families
and children at risk of entering the child protection system,
including mental health and substance abuse treatment services.
(5) Recommendations for the creation of a formal and periodic
process for clients and stakeholders to evaluate child protection
(6) Recommendations for the continuation of formal mechanisms
to improve coordination among state agencies in the child protection
(7) Documentation of child protection case scenarios that highlight
the successes and continuing challenges of the child protection
The Commission will consist of members appointed by the Governor
to serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Commissioner of
the Department of Health and Social Services, or the commissioner's
designee, shall chair the Commission.
Commission members do not receive compensation as a member of
the Commission. Members of the Commission who are not state employees
are entitled to per diem and travel expenses in the same manner
permitted for members of state boards and commissions. Per diem
and travel expenses for members of the Commission who are appointed
as a member of a state agency are the responsibility of that state
This Order takes effect immediately.
Dated at Juneau, Alaska, this 12th day of August 2002.