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Child Protective Services
Adoption and Guardianship Program
Community Care Licensing
Foster Care for Children & Youth
Residential Care for Children & Youth
Alaska Children's Trust
Child Protective Day Care
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
Independent Living Program
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Program
Family Nutrition Services (WIC) Program

The division strives to accomplish its mission by focusing on four broad goals:

Child Safety

The child welfare system must protect children. All child welfare protective activities and intervention must be toward the goal of protecting the child from harm. In the provision of services the safety of the child is always the first consideration in performing risk assessments, developing case plans, and identifying services for children and families. Safety of the child is paramount in all decisions effecting children.

Permanency for Children

Child welfare services must promote permanence for all children. All children have a right to a permanent and safe home environment. The most desirable plan for a child is to work with the family to remedy the conditions that led to the child's safety concern. The Division has a firm commitment to the concept of permanency planning and will strive to maintain the child in his/her own home whenever possible, and when it is not possible, the division will work steadfastly to promote an alternate permanent home for the child. When appropriate, concurrent planning will be implemented to expedite permanency for the child.

Cultural Continuity for Children and Families

Child welfare services must be culturally competent. Cultural competence is the capacity to relate with persons from diverse cultures in a sensitive, respectful, and productive way. Sensitivity to a child and family's culture is important throughout the child and family's experience with the Division. As the state agency responsible for making decisions on behalf of children and families from different cultural backgrounds, the Division has a firm commitment to cultural competence. The Division's practice is guided by the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, the Multiethnic Placement Act, and the NASW Code of Ethics. Preference is also given to culturally relevant services, where available.

Child and Family Well-being

Child welfare services must be child-focused and family centered. It is always in the child's best interests to remain with his or her own family, if the family can be helped to provide an environment that provides basic care and nurturance, and is safe from abuse and neglect. When children have experienced maltreatment in whatever form or duration, they will require remedial or treatment services. The Division is committed to creating and maintaining strong linkages to the variety of service providers who are partners in remedying the effects of abuse and neglect on a child and changing the conditions in the family that led to the Division's involvement with the family.

Supporting Families

The division provides funds to 28 not-for-profit agencies across the state to provide family support services. There are three types of service program options available: family support services, family preservation services, and time-limited family reunification services. A description of each service category is provided below.

Family Support Services are defined as community-based services to promote the safety and well-being of children and families designed to increase the strength and stability of families (including adoptive, foster and extended families) to increase parents' confidence and competence in their parenting abilities, to afford children a safe, stable and supportive family environment, and otherwise to enhance child development.

Family Preservation Services are services for OCS referred clients that are designed to help children and families (including adoptive, foster and extended families) at risk or in crisis. These services include:

  • intensive preplacement preventive services programs, designed to help children at risk of foster care placement remain safely with their families
  • service programs designed to provide follow-up care to families to whom a child has been returned after a foster care placement or after a child abuse and neglect investigation has been substantiated

Time-Limited Family Reunification Services are defined as services and activities for OCS referred clients that are provided to a child that is removed from the child's home and placed in a foster family home or a child care institution and to the parents or primary caregiver of such a child, in order to facilitate the reunification of the child safely and appropriately within a timely fashion, but only during the 15-month period that begins on the date the child enters foster care.

Examples of services throughout the three types of program options include the following:

  • in-home visits, parent support groups, and other programs designed to improve parenting skills (by reinforcing parents' confidence in their strengths, and helping them to identify where improvement is needed and to obtain assistance in improving those skills) with respect to matters such as child development, family budgeting, coping with stress, health and nutrition
  • structured activities involving parents and children to strengthen the parent-child relationship
  • drop-in centers to afford families opportunities for informal interaction with other families and with community- based staff
  • information and referral services to refer families to other community services, including child care, health care, nutrition programs, education and literacy programs, and mentoring services
  • early developmental screening of children to assess the needs of such children, and assistance to families in securing specific services to meet those needs
  • services to improve parenting skills (by reinforcing parents' confidence in their strengths, and helping them to identify where improvement is needed and to obtain assistance in improving those skills) with respect to matters such as child development, family budgeting, coping with stress, health, and nutrition
  • intensive Home Based Services for High Risk Families (May include both cases where there is a high risk of removal and cases where a separation has occurred and there is a need for preparation for reunification; minimum of eight hours per week; 24 hour availability)
  • non-intensive Home Based Services (minimum of two hours per week or two visits per week) (Home Based Services includes household management, child management, physical care, supervision, communication techniques, problem solving and coping skills, parenting classes or instruction)
  • crisis intervention and mediation services for runaways and their families
  • respite care for OCS referred clients (including birth parents, foster parents, and relative caregivers)
  • individual, group and family counseling
  • inpatient or residential substance abuse services for children placed with their parents
  • mental health treatment services for children and families
  • child Sexual Abuse Intervention and Treatment for victims, victims families and offenders, outreach services to non-abusive parents
  • assistance to address domestic violence
  • services designed to provide temporary child care
  • transportation to or from any of the services and activities above
  • case conferences or case review meetings with OCS
  • supervised visitations when children are physically removed from their parents and the case plan for the family only allows supervised visitation (written observation required)

Child Protective Services

The purpose of Child Protective Services (CPS) is to identify, treat, and reduce child abuse and neglect, as well as to ensure that reasonable efforts are made to protect and maintain children in their own homes.

The OCS staff provide protective services for children by:

  • Assisting families in diagnosing and resolving problems.

  • Investigating reports of harm.

  • Referring families to community resources.

  • Initiating legal intervention if children are unable to remain safely in their own homes.

  • Providing out-of-home placements and permanency planning when necessary

Community Care Licensing

The licensing of community care facilities is a preventive service that reduces predictable risks to the health, safety and well-being of children in out-of-home care. Licensing requirements establish acceptable standards of care, while the licensing and monitoring processes provide support and quality control services to the care providers.

OCS has statutory responsibility for the licensing of:

  • Foster Homes/Foster Group Homes.
  • Child placement agencies.

OCS may enter into an agreement with a local agency to evaluate and inspect community care foster homes.

Residential Care for Children and Youth

Residential care facilities provide treatment services within a therapeutic environment that is staffed 24 hours a day. Residential care facilities may offer short-term emergency shelter as well as more long-term residential treatment. Placement in a residential facility is for a specified period of time, and generally occurs only after less restrictive placement options have been found inappropriate or have been exhausted.

Child Protective Day Care

Child Protective Day Care services provide day care to children of families where the children are at risk of being abused or neglected. The services are designed to lessen that risk by providing child care relief, offering support to both the child and the parents, monitoring for occurring or reoccurring maltreatment, and providing role models for the parents.

Interstate Compact On The Placement Of Children (ICPC)

The Interstate Compact On The Placement of Children (ICPC) is a uniform law in all 50 States that establishes procedures for the interstate placement of children. The ICPC also places specific responsibilities on those involved in placing the children. The three principle goals of the ICPC are to:

  • Protect the children being placed.

  • Ensure that they receive the services they need.

  • Facilitate permanent placements for those children who are in state custody