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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. G.C. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services (4/11/2003) sp-5678

G.C. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services (4/11/2003) sp-5678

     Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction  before
     publication  in  the  Pacific  Reporter.   Readers  are
     requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk
     of  the  Appellate  Courts, 303  K  Street,  Anchorage,
     Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878,
     e-mail corrections@appellate.courts.state.ak.us.


            THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA


G.C.,                                                  )
                              )    Supreme Court No. S-10519
             Appellant,                 )
                              )    Superior Court No.
     v.                       )    3PA-97-35 CP
                              )
STATE OF ALASKA,                             )    O P I N I O N
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH &        )
SOCIAL SERVICES, DIVISION OF       )     [No.  5678 -  April  11,
                                   2003]
FAMILY & YOUTH SERVICES,      )
                              )
             Appellee.                  )
_______________________________    )


          Appeal  from the Superior Court of the  State
          of  Alaska, Third Judicial District,  Palmer,
          Beverly W. Cutler, Judge.

          Appearances:   J. Randall Luffberry,  Palmer,
          for  Appellant.   Lance B. Nelson,  Assistant
          Attorney  General, Anchorage,  and  Bruce  M.
          Botelho,   Attorney  General,   Juneau,   for
          Appellee.  Erica Kracker, Kracker Law Office,
          Palmer, for Guardian ad Litem.

          Before:    Fabe,  Chief  Justice,   Matthews,
          Eastaugh, Bryner, and Carpeneti, Justices.

          CARPENETI, Justice.




I.   INTRODUCTION

          The  superior  court terminated Gary Carsons1  parental

rights.  Gary challenges the courts factual findings as erroneous

and  unable  to  support its termination  decision.   Because  we

believe  the  evidence supports the superior  courts  finding  of

          abandonment, its decision that reasonable efforts were made to

reunify  Gary  and  his  son  Daniel,  and  its  conclusion  that

termination  would be in Daniels best interests,  we  affirm  the

superior courts decision.

II.  FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

     A.   Facts

          Cousins Gary Carson and Jana Bishop grew up in a  small

town in Colorado.  As a teenager, Gary would occasionally babysit

Jana  and  her  siblings.   One  night  at  age  thirteen,  while

babysitting, Gary smoked marijuana, consumed alcohol, and watched

pornographic movies.  Gary convinced Jana, then age four, to take

off her clothes and the two experimented with sex, meaning he put

his penis inside of her and then stopped when she screamed.  Jana

told  her mother, Claire King, what had happened, at which  point

Claire informed Garys mother, Faye Simmons.  Faye confronted Gary

and  then took him to the police station until she could have him

admitted  to  the  state  hospital for treatment.   Approximately

three  years later, Gary returned to his mothers home  and  lived

there  on  and off for the next few years.  During this time,  he

was  heavily involved in drug use and criminal behavior  and  was

arrested several times.

          In  the  summer  of 1990, Claire left  several  of  her

children, including Jana, with Faye while she went to work  on  a

Valdez  clean-up boat.  At that time, Jana was fourteen and  Gary

was  twenty-three.   According to Gary,  Jana  started  to  write

letters to him, expressing a desire to have sex with him  and  to

have  his  child.   Faye  expressed  concerns  about  the  living

situation  to Claire, who said they would discuss it  during  the

holidays  when  she came to Colorado to visit.  In the  meantime,

Faye  had  Gary move out of her house and into another house  she

owned on the same property.

          In  January  1991,  after her mother  had  returned  to

Alaska,  Jana  began sneaking out of Fayes house and  going  next

door  to Garys house.  According to Gary, on two occasions,  Jana

came  to  his house, got into bed with him, and initiated  sexual

intercourse.  On the first occasion, Gary claimed that he did not

know what had happened until he woke up the following morning and

found  them  in  bed  together, naked.   The  second  time,  Gary

maintained  that he was drunk and stoned when Jana got  into  bed

with  him,  and thinking it was his girlfriend, he had  sex  with

her.   Faye  found out what was going on and told Gary  he  would

have  to  move off the property.  At some point after Gary  moved

out,  Faye learned that Jana was pregnant.  Jana then moved  back

in with her mother.  Daniel was born on October 18, 1991.

          Following  Daniels birth, Faye and Gary got  occasional

reports  about  Daniel from Claire and Jana, who  preferred  that

Gary not take an active role in Daniels life.  Gary told Jana  to

call  him  if she needed help, but privately doubted if he  would

ever  hear  from her again.  The Alaska Division  of  Family  and

Youth  Services  (DFYS) became involved with  Jana  and  her  two

children,  Daniel and Stacy,2 in 1995.  Faye was  aware  of  some

intervention,  but claims she did not know that  it  was  serious

until Jana called her in October 2000 and informed Faye that DFYS

was  seeking to terminate Janas parental rights.  At that  point,

Daniel  was  in a preadoptive placement with the Peterson  family

and Gary was incarcerated in Colorado.

          Faye  then decided to inform DFYS that Gary was Daniels

father.   Upon learning Garys identity, DFYS requested  that  the

Mesa  County  (Colorado) Department of Human Services  perform  a

home  study of Fayes house pursuant to the Interstate Compact  on

the  Placement of Children (ICPC).3  The study was  completed  on

May  22, 2001; placement was denied on June 1, 2001.  Through his

attorney,  Gary  requested a reconsideration  of  the  denial  of

placement, which was also denied.  In the meantime, DFYS filed  a

petition to terminate his and Janas parental rights.  During this

time, the Petersons changed their minds about adoption and Daniel

was  placed with a former foster parent named Ted Hughes, who was

considering  adoption  pending the  outcome  of  the  termination

          proceedings.

     B.   Proceedings

          Jana  voluntarily relinquished her parental  rights  to

Daniel  on  August 15, 2001.  Trial to terminate  Garys  parental

rights was held before Superior Court Judge Beverly W. Cutler  in

Palmer.  Trial began on September 27, 2001, and was held  on  six

separate  days  during  the  months  of  September,  October  and

November.   Gary  testified in a videotaped deposition  from  the

work release community corrections building in which he currently

resides.  He was present by phone for the duration of the  trial.

Trial  was  concluded on November 15, 2001.  Judge Cutler  issued

oral  findings from the bench at the close of trial, followed  by

written findings on January 25, 2002.

          In its written findings, the trial court found by clear

and  convincing evidence that Daniel was a child in need  of  aid

pursuant  to three separate (and independent) parts  of  the  law

defining children in need of aid, that Gary had not remedied  the

conduct  or conditions that placed Daniel at substantial risk  of

harm,  that  DFYS  had  demonstrated by a  preponderance  of  the

evidence  that it had made reasonable efforts to provide remedial

services   and   rehabilitative  programs  to  Gary,   and   that

termination  of  Garys parental rights would be in  Daniels  best

interests.    Accordingly,  the  trial  court  terminated   Garys

parental rights and authorized DFYS to place Daniel for adoption.

          Gary appeals, claiming that the courts factual findings

were  erroneous and that they were not sufficient to support  the

courts termination decision.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

          We  apply the clearly erroneous standard when reviewing

the  factual  findings supporting the termination  of  a  parents

right  to  raise his or her children.4  We will find clear  error

only when a review of the entire record leaves us with a definite

and  firm conviction that the superior court has made a mistake.5

Whether the trial courts findings satisfy the requirements of the

          child in need of aid statutes and rules is a question of law

which we review de novo.6

IV.  DISCUSSION

     A.   The  Trial Court Did Not Err in Finding that Sufficient
          Grounds Supporting the Termination of Garys Parental Rights
          Existed.
          
          A.   Pursuant to AS 47.10.088, prior to terminating a parents

right to raise his or her child, the court must find by clear and

convincing evidence (1) that the child meets one of the bases for

being  a  child in need of aid under AS 47.10.011 and (2)  either

that  the  parent has not remedied the conditions underlying  the

original  harm  or that returning the child to the  parent  would

place the child at substantial risk of physical or mental injury.7

          Judge  Cutler  found  by clear and convincing  evidence

that Daniel was a child in need of aid under three subsections of

AS  47.10.011:  (1), (2), and (9).8 In addition, the  court  made

findings that would support termination on the basis that  Daniel

was  conceived  as  a  result of child sexual  assault  under  AS

25.23.180(c)(3).9   Because  we conclude  that  there  was  ample

support  for  the courts finding that Gary abandoned  Daniel,  we

affirm   the  superior  courts  determination  that  there   were

sufficient grounds for termination of Garys parental rights under

AS  47.10.011(1).  In doing so, we decline to review  the  courts

findings  under  AS  47.10.011(2) or (9) or  AS  25.23.180(c)(3),

since   one statutory basis is sufficient for finding a child  to

be in need of aid in a termination proceeding.

          Alaska  Statute  47.10.011(1) requires that  the  court

find  that  the parent has abandoned his or her child within  the

meaning of AS 47.10.013.  Subsection .013(a) provides in relevant

part that:

          the court may find abandonment of a child  if
          a  parent  or guardian has shown a  conscious
          disregard of parental responsibilities toward
          the  child  by failing to provide  reasonable
          support, maintain regular contact, or provide
          normal  supervision, considering  the  childs
          age and need for care by an adult.
          
The  statute also provides specific examples of conduct that will

be considered abandonment.10

          We   have   interpreted  the  abandonment  statute   as

encompassing  a  two-prong test: (1) whether the parents  conduct

evidenced  a  disregard for his or her parental obligations,  and

(2)  whether that disregard led to the destruction of the parent-

child relationship.11  Additionally, it is clear that abandonment

is  not determined by the parents subjective intent or . . .  the

parents wishful thoughts and hopes for the child. 12  Rather,  we

apply  an  objective test to the actions of the parent, inquiring

as  to  whether  his  or  her  behavior  demonstrates  a  willful

disregard of his or her parental responsibility.13

          Judge  Cutler made specific written findings  on  Garys

abandonment of Daniel, determining that:

          Clearly  [Mr. Carson] has abandoned [Daniel].
          [Mr. Carson] knew all along that he had a son
          as  a  result of a sexual relation  with  the
          fourteen-year-old mother.  He has never  paid
          support   for  the  child,  partly   out   of
          convenience to himself and partly because  he
          was never asked for support.  He has not ever
          seen  the child.  He indicated he took a back
          seat because he thought that action would  be
          best for everyone.
          
In  addition, in her oral findings, Judge Cutler began by stating

that

          it  seems abundantly clear  way beyond  clear
          and  convincing   that [Mr. Carson]  did,  in
          fact, abandon [Daniel] for the first half  of
          his life. . . .  No question that he knew  he
          had  a  son  born  to him and  that  he  just
          abandoned  him,  flat  out.  .  .   .    [N]o
          definition  of abandonment would not  include
          that kind of conduct, and even if he may have
          had  good personal reasons and it might  have
          even  been better for [Daniel] . .  .  to  be
          abandoned by his father, in light of  all  of
          the things we have heard about the young life
          of  both [Jana] and [Mr. Carson], but he  was
          clearly abandoned by him.
          
In  response to a question whether she was finding that Gary  had

willfully  abandoned  Daniel,  Judge  Cutler  responded:  Its  my

finding,  by clear and convincing proof, that for the first  many

years  of  [Daniel]s  life  that he was  willfully  abandoned  by

[Gary].   [Gary] may have had his own reasons.  Nonetheless,  the

court  concluded,  it  was  clearly  willful  abandonment  in  my

opinion, . . . based on the totality of what was presented  about

the circumstances.

          Gary  argues that he did not consciously disregard  his

parental responsibilities.  He maintains that he wanted to act as

a  father to Daniel, but that he was not provided the opportunity

to  do  so  by the mother, who rejected his offers of assistance.

He  claims that his failure to pursue fatherhood was due  to  his

sensitivity  to the wishes of the mother and her family  and  his

fears  that to become more assertive would have cut him  and  his

mother  off from any contact or information.  According to  Gary,

his immediate interest in Daniel once Gary learned he was in DFYS

custody demonstrates that it was Jana who barred him from being a

father, not his own lack of initiative.

          Garys contention that he did not willfully abandon  his

son  or  cause  the destruction of the child-parent  relationship

lacks merit.  As in In re H.C.,14 in which we found the failure of

a  father to maintain any contact with his daughter for over  one

year  to  demonstrate his willful abandonment,15 Garys  objective

conduct  belies  his  assertions. Daniel and  Gary  have  had  no

contact  during Daniels ten-year life, and Daniel only found  out

that  Gary  was  his biological father in 2001.  Gary  has  never

actively  attempted to provide financial or emotional support  to

Daniel, has never tried to see him, to gain custody of him, or to

develop  any  type  of a relationship with him.   Whatever  Garys

reasons  for not attempting to act as a parent to Daniel for  the

first  ten  years  of his life, his decision  was  conscious  and

calculated,  and  he  sets  forth no  basis  on  which  we  could

determine  that  the  superior court erred in  finding  that  his

conduct amounts to willful abandonment.

     B.   The Trial Court Did Not Err in Determining that DFYS Had
          Made Reasonable Efforts To Reunify Gary and Daniel.
          
          A.   In a termination proceeding, the superior court must also

          find by preponderance of the evidence that the department has

complied   with   the  provisions  of  AS  47.10.086   concerning

reasonable  efforts.16  In relevant part, section  .086  requires

DFYS to make timely, reasonable efforts to provide family support

services to the parent and child that are designed to prevent out-

of-home  placement of the child or to enable the safe  return  of

the  child to the family home, when appropriate, if the child  is

in  an  out-of-home placement.17  Specifically, the duty to  make

reasonable  efforts  requires that DFYS identify  family  support

services  to  remedy  the  causes of CINA jurisdiction,  actively

offer  these  services to the parent, and  refer  the  parent  to

community-based  family support services whenever  available  and

desired by the parent.18  Additionally, [i]n making determinations

and   reasonable   efforts  under  this  section,   the   primary

consideration is the childs best interests.19

          In  considering  this factor, Judge Cutler  found  that

under  the  circumstances,  the department  had  made  reasonable

efforts to provide remedial and rehabilitative services to  Gary.

While  recognizing in her oral findings that DFYS was  admittedly

disappointed  upon learning that Gary was the  father,  and  that

[t]hey could have made more efforts if their heart was in it more

strongly, Judge Cutler found that clearly they did make an effort

here,   and  I  think  it  was  definitely  reasonable   in   the

circumstances.

          We   have   held   that   [a]   parents   incarceration

significantly  affects the scope of the active efforts  that  the

State  must make.20  Especially in situations such as this, where

the  parent is incarcerated in another state, the trial court may

consider factors such as the difficulty of providing services  to

inmates  generally,  the  specific resources  available  for  the

incarcerated  parent  in  question, and the  expected  length  of

incarceration.21  Additionally, where a parent is in  prison,  we

have  held that the Department of Corrections, rather than  DFYS,

may  fulfill this obligation by enrolling the parent  in  classes

          and treatment programs.22

          Gary  admits  that DFYS was limited in the services  it

could  provide to him due to his incarceration and concedes  that

efforts  of  any  state  agency,  including  the  Department   of

Corrections   (DOC),  will  suffice  to  meet  DFYSs  obligation.

Nonetheless,  he  contends  that  DFYSs  contact  with  his  jail

counselor  was not sufficient to meet its requirements under  the

statute.   At  the very least, Gary maintains, DFYS  should  have

been required to contact Colorado or Mesa County child protection

authorities to ascertain what community-based programs they  were

aware  of,  something DFYS declined to do until  well  after  the

trial  had begun.  In response, the state explains that Gary  was

offered all of the classes and treatment available to inmates  in

Colorado and that therefore, DFYSs efforts were reasonable.

          Given the amount of time available23 and the fact  that

Gary was incarcerated in another state throughout the period that

services could be offered to him, DFYS was limited in how much it

could  do  for  him.   DFYS  social worker  Jean  Marie  Hakenson

testified as to her efforts upon learning that Gary might be  the

father,  explaining that she immediately prepared  a  case  plan,

requesting  parenting and anger management classes and  substance

abuse assessment and treatment.  She also contacted Cindy Fugate,

Garys case manager at Sterling Correctional Facility, to find out

what  classes were available to Gary while in prison.   Gary  had

already  taken a number of these classes, which were then  listed

in  Ms.  Hakensons  permanency report.   Furthermore,  when  Gary

informed Ms. Hakenson that he might be moving to a halfway house,

she  told  him  to notify her when he was actually there  so  she

could  arrange for services for him there.  Ms. Hakenson admitted

that  after speaking with Ms. Fugate at DOC, she did not  contact

any  neighborhood  mental  health facilities  or  community-based

programs  to  see if any additional services were  available  for

Gary.  However, she testified that it was her belief that when  a

person  is  in  prison, DFYS is only required to  determine  what

          services are available in the prison, and not in the community at

large.

          The  trial  court  found that DFYS had made  reasonable

efforts  by  contacting DOC in Colorado and requesting  that  any

available  classes or services be provided to  Gary.   Given  the

range  of  relevant  DOC  offerings,  including  substance  abuse

counseling,  anger  management, relapse prevention,  life  skills

seminars, and strategies for self-improvement and change, we  see

no  reason  why  DFYS  should  have been  required  to  seek  out

additional  community-based services in this  situation.  As  the

state  points out, given that Gary was in jail, and there was  no

home  to  which Daniel could be returned, the departments efforts

were  clearly reasonable under the circumstances.  We  find  that

the  evidence supports the courts finding that reasonable efforts

were   made  by  DFYS  and  we  therefore  affirm  Judge  Cutlers

determination  that  the requirements of AS 47.10.086  have  been

met.

     C.   The Trial Court Did Not Err in Finding that Termination of
          Garys Parental Rights Would Be in Daniels Best Interests.
          
          A.   The final requirement for termination of parental rights is

that the court consider the best interests of the child.24

          In its written findings, the court stated:

          Given the age of the child and length of time
          that  he has been in custody (over 4  years),
          there is a critical risk of long term harm to
          the   child   if   there  is  not   immediate
          permanency.  The court finds that the  childs
          counselor,  Ms. [Houston], is a disinterested
          witness  in  that she has no  perceived  bias
          except  for a need to look out for  the  best
          interests  of  the child.  Her testimony  was
          persuasive in the need for [Daniel] to have a
          loving, nurturing, and stable environment  as
          soon as possible.
          
In her testimony, Lori Houston attested to the extreme importance

to  Daniel of having a stable, permanent home and of not  getting

his  hopes up and then being disappointed again.  She also voiced

her  concerns  about the familys history and about what  type  of

treatment that a family with that level of dysfunction  has  gone

through in order to repair and obtain a level of functioning that

is going to be appropriate for [Daniel].

          In   addition  to  this  testimony,  the  trial   court

considered  the  statements of Gary himself.   Specifically,  the

trial  court expressed difficulty giving much credence  to  Garys

plans for himself in the future:

          I  do  think, while he states that he expects

          to  be  a  different person now than  he  was

          during  the  first  eight  or  10  years   of

          [Daniels] life, that in some ways I find  his

          statements  not as credible as I would  those

          of a person who had been more stable in their

          life,  because it does appear to me  that  he

          may   while he can verbalize the idea of  who

          he  is and what he thinks his abilities  are,

          that  often  the idea a person has  in  their

          mind of who they are and what their abilities

          are,  the idea is often not the same as their

          ability to actually be that person or  follow

          through[  ]  . . . Im saying as the  judge  I

          dont completely disbelieve him, but I do have

          great concern that his own idea of who he  is

          and  what  his  abilities are to  be  a  good

          parent   to  [Daniel]  and  his  ability   to

          actually follow through might be separated by

          a lot of  there might be a lot of differences

          between what will actually happen and what he

          hoped would happen.

          Gary maintains that Judge Cutlers decision that it  was

in  Daniels  best  interests  for Garys  parental  rights  to  be

terminated was clearly erroneous, given that under Garys proposed

plan  of  placing  Daniel with his grandmother  Faye,  permanency

could  have  been achieved immediately.  Gary argues,  With  this

plan, [Daniel] could have reunited with his father when, if ever,

the  state  deemed it safe and appropriate.  Also, if  the  trial

courts  fears  about  [Garys] likelihood to reoffend  came  true,

[Faye]  could  provide continuity, permanency, and protection  of

[Daniel]  until  he  was grown.  Because Daniel  was  not  in  an

adoptive  placement at the time of trial, Gary  argues  that  the

court  should  have  preferred placement  with  Faye  to  Daniels

current situation.25

          Judge Cutler specifically found that while Daniels best

interests would be served by permanency, they would not be met by

a placement with his paternal grandmother:

          It appears that [Gary] and his mother [Faye],

          whos   the  grandmother  that  Mr.  Luffberry

          argues  really  would be a  perfect  adoptive

          placement,  also have a pretty  dysfunctional

          relationship thats codependent in  bad  ways,

          and   that  really  [Faye]  was  not   highly

          successful in raising [Gary] to be a  normal,

          ordinary,  functioning  adult  male,  and  we

          should  be concerned about [Daniel] following

          a bad pattern as opposed to a good pattern if

          he  were  somehow to get into placement  with

          them.

          Considering the length of time Daniel has been in state

custody,  that he has never met or been given the opportunity  to

develop  a  relationship with his father, that  his  grandmothers

home  was  rejected as a possible placement for him in  the  ICPC

home  study, that Garys future is uncertain, that Gary has a long

history  of  criminal  behavior and sexual misconduct,  and  that

Daniel  is currently in a placement which may result in adoption,

we do not believe Judge Cutler erred in finding that Daniels best

interests  would not be served by placement with Faye and  denial

of the states petition to terminate Garys parental rights.  Given

the  ample  support in the record for the courts  best  interests

finding, we therefore affirm the trial courts determination  that

          termination of Garys parental rights would be in Daniels best

interests.

V.   CONCLUSION

          Because  none of the factual findings underlying  Judge
Cutlers decision was clearly erroneous and because these findings
provide  sufficient  support for each of the requirements  of  AS
47.10.088,  we AFFIRM the superior courts decision  to  terminate
Garys parental rights.
_______________________________
     1     Pseudonyms  have  been  used for  all  family  members
throughout this opinion.

     2     Jana  had a second child, Stacy, in 1994 with Colorado
resident  Darren  Hunt.   Stacy is currently  with  her  maternal
grandmother pending placement with her father.

     3    AS 47.70.010.

     4     S.H.  v. State, Dept of Health & Soc. Servs., Div.  of
Family & Youth Servs., 42 P.3d 1119, 1122 (Alaska 2002); J.H.  v.
State,  Dept  of  Health & Soc. Servs., 30 P.3d  79,  85  (Alaska
2001).

     5    S.H., 42 P.3d at 1122.

     6     Id.  at  1123; M.W. v. State, Dept of  Health  &  Soc.
Servs., 20 P.3d 1141, 1143 (Alaska 2001).

     7    AS 47.10.088(a)(1).

     8     AS  47.10.011 provides in relevant part that the court
may find a child to be in need of aid if it finds that:

               (1)  a  parent or guardian has abandoned
          the  child as described in AS 47.10.013,  and
          the  other  parent is absent or has committed
          conduct or created conditions that cause  the
          child to be a child in need of aid under this
          chapter;
               (2) a parent, guardian, or custodian  is
          incarcerated, the other parent is  absent  or
          has  committed conduct or created  conditions
          that cause the child to be a child in need of
          aid  under this chapter, and the incarcerated
          parent has not made adequate arrangements for
          the child;
               . . . .
               (9) conduct by or conditions created  by
          the   parent,  guardian,  or  custodian  have
          subjected the child or another child  in  the
          same household to neglect[.]
          
     9    AS 25.23.180(c)(3) provides in relevant part:

               The relationship of parent and child may
          be  terminated  by a court  order  issued  in
          connection  with  a  proceeding  under   this
          chapter or a proceeding under AS 47.10 on the
          grounds  .  . . that the parent committed  an
          act  constituting  sexual assault  or  sexual
          abuse of a minor under the laws of this state
          or a comparable offense under the laws of the
          state where the act occurred that resulted in
          conception  of the child and that termination
          of  the  parental  rights of  the  biological
          parent is in the best interest of the child.
          
     10     See  AS 47.10.013(a)(1)-(8) (listing factors such  as
failure  to  support, communicate with, or visit the  child,  and
failure to participate in a reunification plan).

     11    E.J.S. v. State, Dept of Health & Soc. Servs., 754 P.2d
749, 751 (Alaska 1988).

     12    Id. (quoting D.M. v. State, 515 P.2d 1234, 1237 (Alaska
1973)).

     13     Id.   See  also Nada A. v. State, 660 P.2d  436,  439
(Alaska  1983)  (indicating that while involuntary  incarceration
might  not  suffice  to establish abandonment,  an  eight-  month
voluntary  absence  prior to incarceration  would)  legislatively
overruled on other grounds,  1, ch. 99, SLA 1998.

     14    956 P.2d 477 (Alaska 1998).

     15     Id.  at  482.   See  also E.J.S.,  754  P.2d  at  751
(affirming  finding  of abandonment based on fathers  failure  to
make  reasonable  efforts  to locate  and  communicate  with  his
daughter  for five years); In re B.J., 530 P.2d 747, 750  (Alaska
1975) (holding that fathers failure to acquire suitable home  for
his children, pay even nominal child support, visit or correspond
with his children, or make efforts to secure permanent employment
were  sufficient  to  demonstrate  conscious  disregard  of   his
parental obligations).

     16    AS 47.10.088(a)(2).

     17    AS 47.10.086(a).

     18    Id.

     19    AS 47.10.086(f).

     20    A.A. v. State, Dept of Family & Youth Servs., 982 P.2d
256, 261 (Alaska 1999).

     21    Id.

     22     T.F. v. State, Dept of Health & Soc. Servs., Div.  of
Family & Youth Servs., 26 P.3d 1089, 1096 (Alaska 2001).

     23     As  discussed in Part C of this opinion,  Daniel  had
already been in foster care for a significant period of time  and
had  seen  at least one preadoptive placement fall through  as  a
result  of  these proceedings.  Because allowing  for  additional
time  for DFYS to provide Gary with reunification services  would
not  have  been  in Daniels best interests, DFYS  faced  a  short
window during which to provide Gary with such services.

     24    AS 47.10.088(c).

     25      Gary  also  argues  that  AS  47.14.100(e)  requires
placement with Faye because she is a blood relative.  However, as
Gary  concedes,  he  did not raise this argument  at  trial,  and
therefore we deem it to have been waived.  See Brandon v.  Corrs.
Corp.  of  Am.,  28 P.3d 269, 280 (Alaska 2001) (repeating  well-
established rule that this court will not treat issue  on  appeal
that was not raised at trial).