Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services v. Michelle PAnnotate this Case
The superior court dismissed a Child in Need of Aid (CINA) petition because it believed it no longer had jurisdiction over the case after the disposition order granting the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) custody of the child had expired. Before dismissing the CINA petition, the superior court entered removal findings based only on a motion filed by OCS. The Alaska Supreme Court concluded this was error because the removal order was not supported by sufficient evidence and did not comply with the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The Court determined jurisdiction over a CINA case was distinct from the grant of custody or supervision to OCS in a disposition order and that it derives from the child’s status as a child in need of aid. The Court reversed the superior court’s order dismissing the petition and remanded for further proceedings.