Here is the report.
From the press release:
The Department of Justice announced today that it found reasonable cause to believe that the State of Alaska violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide community-based services to children with behavioral health disabilities, relying instead on segregated, institutional settings — specifically, psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric residential treatment facilities. This finding comes at the conclusion of the department’s investigation into whether Alaska subjects children with behavioral health disabilities to unnecessary institutionalization in violation of Title II of the ADA.
“Each year, hundreds of children, including Alaska Native children in significant number, are isolated in institutional settings often far from their communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Most of these children could remain in family homes if provided appropriate community-based services. We look forward to working with Alaska to bring the State into compliance with federal law and prevent the unnecessary institutionalization of children.”
Children who are segregated in psychiatric residential treatment facilities commonly stay there longer than six months, and some of them are sent to states as distant as Texas and Missouri, thousands of miles from their families.
The department’s investigation found that Alaska’s system of care is heavily reliant on institutions and that key community-based services and supports needed to serve children with behavioral health disabilities in family homes, such as home-based family treatment, crisis services and therapeutic treatment home services, are often unavailable. As a result, many children with behavioral health disabilities, including a substantial number of Alaska Native children, are forced to endure unnecessary and unduly long admissions to psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric residential treatment facilities both within Alaska and in states across the country.
With today’s announcement, the department has concluded its third investigation in 2022 involving the unnecessary institutionalization of children with behavioral health disabilities.
The Biden Administration has gone back and formally cleaned up the mess created by the Trump administration’s M-opinion on land into trust in Alaska. Don’t just take my word for it–the introduction of the m-opinion is quite clear about what happened.
And then the Administration started what will hopefully be many more approvals to come regarding land into trust acquisitions in Alaska by approving the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s acquisition. This is only the second application to go through (the first was also in Southeast for the Village of Craig on Prince of Wales Island).
An excellent announcement for a Friday afternoon!
Here is the opinion in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation.
Previous post here.
New M-letter here.
Nice job, (Principal Deputy) Solicitor Anderson.
OCS correctly points out that “inadequate efforts in one period of state involvement do not render the entirety of [its] efforts inadequate, even when that period lasts for a matter of months.”28 And the superior court correctly found that OCS had made active efforts to reunify Clark and his children during the first two years of the case. But OCS’s failure to make adequate efforts in this case encompassed the subsequent two years, fully half of the time that the case was open. And its failure during that two year time period was extreme: OCS did not even attempt to contact Clark for a year and a half, and may have gone even longer without doing so if Clark had not initiated contact himself. OCS’s failure to make active efforts in the second two years of the case was so egregious that the efforts during the earlier period cannot make up for it. Because OCS’s efforts to reunite Clark with his family following his consent to guardianship were minimal at best, we reverse the superior court’s finding that OCS met the active efforts requirement.
Clark J. v. Dep’t of Health & Soc. Servs., Off. of Children’s Servs., No. S-17797, 2021 WL 1232066, at *7 (Alaska Apr. 2, 2021)
Here is today’s order list. The Court granted the consolidated cases of Mnuchin v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and Alaska Native Village Corporation Assn. v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation.
Here are the cert stage briefs.
Here are the lower court materials.