Dara S. v. Alaska, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's ServicesAnnotate this Case
The issue this case presented for the Alaska Supreme Court centered on the termination of parental rights and reinstatement. This review necessitated revisiting issues arising from Rita T. v. Alaska, 623 P.2d 344 (1981), in which the Court held that a parent whose parental rights have been terminated retained the right, upon a showing of good cause, to request a review hearing, during which the parent may seek to set aside a termination order and have parental rights reinstated. This then leads the Court to review the superior court’s reinstatement order in this case. The Supreme Court held Rita T. remained viable: at a Rita T. hearing, a termination order can be set aside by clear and convincing evidence that the parent has been sufficiently rehabilitated and is capable of providing the care and guidance that will serve the child’s moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare and that parental rights reinstatement is in the child’s best interests. Because the factual findings supporting the parental rights reinstatement in this case were inadequate for review of the necessary best interests finding, the case was remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.