2018 Alaska Statutes
Title 47. Welfare, Social Services, and Institutions
Chapter 17. Child Protection
Sec. 47.17.033. Investigations and interviews.

Universal Citation: AK Stat § 47.17.033 (2018)

(a) In investigating child abuse and neglect reports under this chapter, the department may make necessary inquiries about the criminal records of the parents or of the alleged abusive or neglectful person, including inquiries about the existence of a criminal history record involving a serious offense as defined in AS 12.62.900.

(b) For purposes of obtaining access to information needed to conduct the inquiries required by (a) of this section, the department is a criminal justice agency conducting a criminal justice activity.

(c) An investigation by the department or another investigating agency of child abuse or neglect reported under this chapter shall be conducted by a person trained to conduct a child abuse and neglect investigation and without subjecting a child to duplicative interviews about the abuse or neglect except when new information is obtained that requires further information from the child.

(d) An interview of a child conducted as a result of a report of harm may be audiotaped or videotaped. If an interview of a child concerns a report of sexual abuse of the child by a parent or caretaker of the child, the interview shall be videotaped, unless videotaping the interview is not feasible or will, in the opinion of the investigating agency, result in trauma to the child.

(e) An interview of a child that is audiotaped or videotaped under (d) of this section shall be conducted

(1) by a person trained and competent to conduct the interview;

(2) if available, at a child advocacy center; and

(3) by a person who is a party to a memorandum of understanding with the department to conduct the interview or who is employed by an agency that is authorized to conduct investigations.

(f) An interview of a child may not be videotaped more than one time unless the interviewer or the investigating agency determines that one or more additional interviews are necessary to complete an investigation. If additional interviews are necessary, the additional interviews shall be conducted, to the extent possible, by the same interviewer who conducted the initial interview of the child.

(g) A recorded interview of a child shall be preserved in the manner and for a period provided by law for maintaining evidence and records of a public agency.

(h) A recorded interview of a child is subject to disclosure under the applicable court rules for discovery in a civil or criminal case.

(i) The training required under (c) of this section must address the constitutional and statutory rights of children and families that apply throughout the investigation and department intervention. The training must inform department representatives of the applicable legal duties to protect the rights and safety of a child and the child's family.

(j) During a joint investigation by the department and a law enforcement agency, the department shall coordinate an investigation of child abuse or neglect with the law enforcement agency to ensure that the possibility of a criminal charge is not compromised.

(k) Unless a law enforcement official prohibits or restricts notification under (j) of this section, at the time of initial contact with a person alleged to have committed child abuse or neglect, the department shall notify the person of the specific complaint or allegation made against the person, except that the identity of the complainant may not be revealed.

(l) In this section, “child advocacy center” means a facility operated with a child-focused, community partnership committed to a multidisciplinary team approach that includes representatives from law enforcement, child protection, criminal prosecution, victim advocacy, and the medical and mental health fields who collaborate and assist in investigating allegations of sexual or other abuse and neglect of children.

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