"Government holds parents to a standard when they raise their children and government should be held to similar standards if they take children into their custody."
- Rep. Coghill
(JUNEAU) - Representative John Coghill (R-North Pole) has introduced legislation to protect Alaska's families. House Bill 53 is an omnibus bill compiling pieces of legislation related to family rights. The bill is co-sponsored by two other Fairbanks legislators, Representatives Mike Kelly (R-Fairbanks) and Jay Ramras (R-Fairbanks), as well as, two Anchorage legislators, Representatives Lesil McGuire (R?Anchorage) and Norman Rokeberg (R-Anchorage).
HB 53 would create a duty and standard of care for social workers who are making decisions for children in state custody. It would also make the process transparent by making confidential information currently unavailable accessible to certain people, make court proceedings open to the public, and give parents the right to a jury trial in proceedings to terminate their parental rights. The legislation would also strengthen the rights of grandparents in Alaska, especially if they have been instrumental in the raising of a child or children. This bill would give grandparents, relatives or family friends consideration for placement of a child if parental rights are terminated.
Representative Coghill has long been interested in protecting and preserving families in Alaska. "We often count children among our most vulnerable citizens. This legislation will further protect them by making government more accountable for its actions when children are in state custody. Government holds parents to a standard when they raise their children and government should be held to similar standards if they take children into their custody," said Representative Coghill.
HB 53 has received referrals to the House Judiciary and Finance Committees.