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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Lara S. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services (06/05/2009) sp-6377

Lara S. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services (06/05/2009) sp-6377

     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

LARA S., )
) Supreme Court No. S- 13209
Appellant, )
) Superior Court Nos.
v. ) 3AN-05- 00068/00069/00182 CN
)
STATE OF ALASKA, ) O P I N I O N
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & )
SOCIAL SERVICES, OFFICE OF ) No. 6377 June 5, 2009
CHILDRENS SERVICES, )
)
Appellee. )
)

          Appeal  from the Superior Court of the  State
          of    Alaska,   Third   Judicial    District,
          Anchorage, Jack W. Smith, Judge.

          Appearances:   Jill  Wittenbrader,  Assistant
          Public  Defender, and Quinlan Steiner, Public
          Defender, Anchorage, for Appellant.  Laura C.
          Bottger,    Assistant    Attorney    General,
          Anchorage,  and  Talis J.  Colberg,  Attorney
          General, Juneau, for Appellee.  Dianne Olsen,
          Law   Office   of  Dianne  Olsen,  Anchorage,
          Guardian Ad Litem.

          Before:    Fabe,  Chief  Justice,   Eastaugh,
          Carpeneti, Winfree, and Christen, Justices.

          FABE, Chief Justice.

I.   INTRODUCTION
          After struggling with her drug problem, failing in  two
inpatient treatment programs, and experiencing difficulty working
on  her Office of Childrens Services case plan, a mother of three
boys voluntarily relinquished her parental rights.  But when  the
trial   court  vacated  its  order  placing  the  children   with
relatives,  the mother requested a review hearing to rescind  the
termination of her parental rights.  The mother initially  argued
that  the  placement change entitled her to a  hearing,  but  she
eventually  pointed to recent steps taken to secure  a  full-time
job  and  to attend one or two narcotics or alcoholics  anonymous
meetings a week.  The trial court denied the mothers motion for a
review  hearing, reasoning that she was not entitled to a hearing
because  her  affidavit failed to establish the  three  statutory
requirements:  (1)  that it was in the childrens  best  interests
that  her  parental  rights  be  reinstated,  (2)  that  she  had
successfully addressed her substance abuse problem, and (3)  that
she  was  capable of caring for her children.  Because the  trial
court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the mother
failed to make a sufficient showing of good cause to entitle  her
to a hearing under AS 47.10.089(h), we affirm.
II.  FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
     A.   Facts
          Lara is the mother of three boys, Earl, Herb, and Roan.1
Earl,  born  in  1999,  did  not have  a  relationship  with  his
biological  father,  Don,  until child  in  need  of  aid  (CINA)
proceedings were initiated in 2005.  Ron is the biological father
of both Herb, born in 2003, and Roan, born in 2005.
          In  January 2005 the Office of Childrens Services (OCS)
received a report that Lara was abusing substances while she  was
pregnant  with Roan and caring for Earl and Herb.   After  having
tested  positive for cocaine, Lara admitted to using cocaine  and
agreed  to  follow a care and safety plan to ensure her childrens
safety  and  to prevent their removal from her home.   Under  the
plan, Lara agreed to receive a substance abuse assessment, follow
through with treatment recommendations, undergo random urinalysis
testing  twice a week, attend all doctor appointments, and  apply
for financial assistance.
          Lara tested positive for cocaine again in late February
2005 after she had failed to make two appointments for urinalysis
tests  earlier  that month.  According to OCS, it  made  repeated
attempts through telephone calls and home visits to contact  Lara
to  discuss her positive urinalysis test and her care and  safety
plan.   On  March 21, 2005, a social worker visited the  home  of
Lara  and  Ron,  who both appeared to be under the  influence  of
drugs.   Lara admitted to using cocaine and OxyContin.  That  day
OCS took emergency custody of Earl and Herb and immediately filed
an emergency petition for adjudication of the children as in need
of  aid and for temporary placement.  A case plan was established
for Lara, requiring (1) substance abuse assessment/treatment, (2)
[urinalysis] testing, (3) mental health evaluation and treatment,
and  (4)  parenting  classes.  The plan also provided  that  Lara
would have visitation with her children.
          Lara  completed a substance abuse assessment  with  the
Salvation  Armys  Clitheroe  Center  on  March  29,  2005.    The
assessment  recommended that Lara participate in ninety  days  of
inpatient   treatment  with  the  Clitheroe  Centers  Reflections
program  while  she  waited for an opening at  another  treatment
facility, Dena A Coy.  Lara tested positive for cocaine on  April
          1 and was admitted to detox at the Clitheroe Center.  Lara
entered Reflections residential treatment program on April 18 but
left after four days.  The discharge recommendation was that Lara
complete  a ninety-day inpatient treatment program.  On April  27
Lara was assessed by Dena A Coy and she entered into an intensive
outpatient  treatment program.  During the month  of  April  Lara
took  three  urinalysis tests, two of which  were  positive,  and
failed  to  make  seven other appointments for urinalysis  tests.
Lara failed to take any urinalysis tests in May.
          Laras  third son, Roan, was premature when he was  born
on  June  19,  2005.  After Roan tested positive for cocaine  and
opiates,  Lara  acknowledged  using cocaine  and  OxyContin  just
before  Roan  was  born.   Roan  was  administered  morphine  and
phenobarbital  to  manage his withdrawal symptoms  and  to  avoid
seizures.   OCS took emergency custody of Roan on June 20 and the
next day filed an emergency petition for adjudication of Roan  as
in  need of aid and for temporary placement.  After spending  six
weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit, Roan was discharged to a
medical foster home in early August.  Although Lara was permitted
to  spend  unlimited time with Roan while he was in the hospital,
her visits were infrequent and short.  But Lara attended most  of
her OCS-supervised visits after Roan was placed in a foster home.
          Dena  A  Coy reported on June 28, 2005, that  Lara  had
failed to comply with her treatment program but that she had  re-
engaged  in  the previous week.  Lara had two negative urinalysis
tests  on  June  22  and July 18 but again  tested  positive  for
cocaine on July 28.  Lara failed to take any urinalysis tests  in
August,  and  on August 17 OCS received a report  that  Lara  was
using  crystal meth.  Lara took one urinalysis test in September,
which  was  positive  for opiates.  Lara missed  67  of  her  102
appointments  for urinalysis tests between late April  and  early
September.   Due to lack of attendance and compliance,  Lara  was
discharged  from  Dena  A  Coys  outpatient  program   in   early
September.
          Lara  took  two urinalysis tests in October  and  twice
tested  positive  for opiates.  Lara failed to make  any  of  her
appointments for urinalysis tests from November to mid-December.
          Lara  completed  an assessment with Cook  Inlet  Tribal
Councils First Step program in late November 2005.  Lara did  not
sign  a  release  for OCS to receive information  concerning  her
participation in the program and it is undisputed  that  she  was
not  truthful  during the assessment, maintaining  that  she  was
compliant with her urinalysis testing and that she had not abused
substances since June 19, 2005, the day she gave birth  to  Roan.
Perhaps  because  of Laras lack of candor during the  assessment,
Cook  Inlet Tribal Councils recommendation differed from the  two
earlier  recommendations for ninety days of  inpatient  treatment
and  only  advised  that she participate in intensive  outpatient
treatment.
          Guardian ad litem Shirley Perry expressed concern  over
Laras  lack of progress during the first year of treatment  under
her case plan in a February 17, 2006 disposition report:
               It  is  extremely concerning that [Lara]
          has  not effectively engaged in treatment  in
          the  year  since  the first case  plan.   She
          waited  four  months  to get  an  assessment,
          entered   and  left  Clither[oe]   treatment,
          entered  Dena [A] Coy out-patient, refused  a
          bed  for inpatient treatment (where she could
          have had her son placed with her), and missed
          half  of  the  sessions  over  the  next  six
          months.   She has continued to test  positive
          for cocaine and opiates about once per month.
          Now  she has completed another assessment  at
          [Cook Inlet Tribal Council] for treatment but
          lied  to  the  assessors  and  has  not  been
          forthcoming with the providers about her true
          compliance.  [Lara] has never complied  in  a
          consistent  manner with [urinalysis]  testing
          or treatment.
          
Perry also noted that Lara has a history of depression and mental
health issues, which have not been addressed.  With regard to the
parenting  component  of  Laras case plan,  Perry  reported  that
although Lara had attended some parenting classes at Dena A  Coy,
she  had missed a significant number of sessions.  Lara had  also
participated in Cook Inlet Tribal Councils parenting classes.
          All   of  Laras  three  children  have  struggled  with
developmental problems.  Earl, the oldest, was transferred to  an
acute  care  facility in Georgia when his father,  Don,  reported
that   his  behavior  was  unmanageable.   Upon  his  return   to
Anchorage,  Earl  was  placed  in a therapeutic  foster  home  to
provide  him  with  a  higher  level  of  care  to  address   his
significant  psychological  needs  relating  to  his   aggressive
behavior, incidents of isolating himself, and diagnosis of  post-
traumatic stress disorder.  Laras second son, Herb, has displayed
anger  outbursts and aggressive behaviors, and it was recommended
that  he  enroll  in day care to help him socialize.   Roan,  the
youngest,  suffered drug withdrawal symptoms  when  he  was  born
premature, and he has some physical motor delays.
     B.   Proceedings
          A day after OCS took emergency custody of Earl and Herb
on   March   21,  2005,  it  filed  an  emergency  petition   for
adjudication of the children as in need of aid and for  temporary
placement.   Following a hearing on March 30, the superior  court
found that there was probable cause to believe that Earl and Herb
were children in need of aid.  OCS took emergency custody of Roan
on  June  20 and filed an emergency petition for adjudication  of
Roan  as  in need of aid and for temporary placement on June  21.
In  mid-July the parties stipulated that Roan was a child in need
of aid and the superior court adopted the stipulation.
          The CINA cases for all three children were consolidated
in  August  2006.   In  October the parties stipulated  that  the
children  were in need of aid and the superior court adopted  the
stipulation.
          In March 2006 OCS reported that as a result of a recent
permanency planning conference, it had changed its goal  for  all
of  the  children  from  reunification to adoption  and  that  it
intended  to file a petition for termination of parental  rights.
In  April the superior court found that the children continued to
be  in  need of aid and noted that [t]he permanent plan for these
children  is adoption.  In July OCS filed a petition to terminate
the parental rights of Lara, Don, and Ron.2
          Lara  requested a placement review hearing in  December
2006,  seeking placement of her children in the home of Herb  and
Roans paternal aunt, Tessa, and Tessas boyfriend, Jim.  The State
opposed  this  placement for a number of reasons, including  Jims
problem  with alcohol and criminal history. Following a placement
hearing  on  April  18 and 19, 2007, the superior  court  granted
Laras request to place the children together in the home of Tessa
and  Jim  as  expeditiously as possible  following  a  transition
process  determined  to be appropriate for  each  child,  and  it
ordered OCS to work with the childrens current foster parents  to
facilitate  the transition and to establish a plan  to  implement
the  ultimate  placement.  The superior court also ordered  as  a
condition of the placement that Jim undergo alcohol treatment and
that Tessa and Jim complete a parenting class program.  The State
moved  for  reconsideration, pointing to the  0.29  result  of  a
portable  alcohol  breath test administered  to  Jim  during  the
placement  hearing.  The superior court found that the result  of
Jims breath test would not have affected its order given that  it
required  Jim  to complete alcohol treatment before the  children
were  placed in the home he shared with Tessa.  The court  denied
the States motion for reconsideration in May 2007.
          The  next month, June 2007, Lara filed a relinquishment
of  her parental rights.  In her relinquishment, Lara referred to
the   plan  to  place  her  children  with  Tessa  and  Jim   and
acknowledged  that [t]he department must receive a positive  home
study and the children must be in [Tessa and Jims] adoptive  home
for 6 months before the department can consent to adoption of  my
children  by  [Tessa and Jim].  Her relinquishment also  asserted
that  [i]f [Tessa and Jim] become unable to care for my  children
for  any  reason, I retain the privilege to be notified that  the
placement  is  no longer available.  Finally, her  relinquishment
requested  that  [i]f the placement [with Tessa and  Jim]  is  no
longer available, the department will send me a letter by regular
and  certified mail to tell me that the placement  is  no  longer
available.  The superior court incorporated these provisions into
its order terminating Laras parental rights.
          Unfortunately, the placement of the children with Tessa
and  Jim  failed.  According to the childrens guardian ad  litem,
Jim  was in denial about his substance abuse problem and had  not
addressed  it.   Thus,  in April 2008, about  a  year  after  the
superior courts order placing the children with Tessa and Jim was
entered, the court granted OCSs motion to vacate the order.
          As  provided  in her relinquishment, Lara was  informed
that the childrens placement with Tessa and Jim had failed.  Lara
then requested a review hearing to vacate the termination of  her
parental rights.  She argued that in light of the change  in  the
proposed  permanent placement for the children it  is  no  longer
equitable that the termination judgment be enforced by the  court
and  claimed that her decision to relinquish her rights was  made
          with the expectation that the children would ultimately be placed
with the relatives as anticipated by the courts order.  Lara also
claimed  that she is presently capable of parenting her  children
and  requested  that  the termination of her parental  rights  be
vacated.  In this filing, Lara did not provide any explanation of
the  basis for her contention that she was capable of caring  for
her children.  In an affidavit filed with her reply to the States
opposition  to  her request for a review hearing,  Lara  for  the
first time set out the basis for her claim of rehabilitation  and
ability to parent her children:
               1.    I have been attend[ing] NA and  AA
          meetings  for a little over three months.   I
          usually attend meetings at the Alano Club.  I
          usually attend one or two times per week.
          
               2.    I  am  employed at a  Holiday  gas
          station  on  Tudor.  Ive been  working  there
          over 2 weeks.  This is a full time job.
          
               3.    Prior to that job I was a  barista
          at  the  Dimond  mall.  I worked  there  from
          February to May of this year.
          
               4.    Prior  to  this job I was  working
          temporary jobs, for example a seasonal job at
          Sears.
          
               5.    I  have  become a more responsible
          person  since  June 2007.  I  am  getting  my
          bills  paid  off.  I have lived in  the  same
          apartment for eight months.
          
               6.   Ive been taking care of some health
          issues on a more regular basis.  I have  been
          trying  to  get regular medical coverage.   I
          should be gett[ing] medical coverage with  my
          job shortly.
          
               7.    I  feel  I  have better  emotional
          regulation  than  I did in  [the]  past.   My
          meetings  are helping me with this issue.   I
          have more of a support system and have people
          I can call on for sober support.
          
               8.   I am requesting a hearing so that I
          can   testify   to   the  above   facts   and
          demonstrate my current ability to care for my
          children.
          
          The  superior  court denied Laras motion for  a  review
hearing in an order that did not include any factual findings  or
legal  conclusions.  Lara appealed, arguing  that  a  remand  was
necessary  for  the  superior court  to  make  specific  findings
supporting  its denial and that she had demonstrated  good  cause
for  a  review hearing.  Apparently agreeing with Lara  that  the
superior courts lack of findings presented a problem, OCS and the
guardian  ad litem filed a joint motion asking us to  remand  the
case  to  the  superior  court  to  issue  written  findings  and
conclusions on which its denial order was based.  We granted this
motion, and on remand the superior court entered factual findings
and  legal conclusions to support its order denying Laras  motion
for a review hearing.
          The superior court discussed Laras history of substance
abuse,  her lack of compliance with her case plan, the  childrens
placements  and particular needs, and the CINA proceedings.   The
superior court concluded that even if it accepted Laras affidavit
as  completely factual, it would not provide good  cause  for  an
evidentiary  hearing, reasoning that Laras  affidavit  failed  to
establish  that Lara had treated her substance abuse  problem  or
that good cause existed to review the termination of her parental
rights  despite  her  recent  short  term  positive  steps.   The
superior  court further noted that Lara had failed to submit  any
evidence showing that her substance abuse had ceased and that she
had  provided  no evidence by even a preponderance  that  she  is
currently capable of caring for the moral, emotional, mental, and
physical welfare of her children.  Addressing the childrens  best
interests,  the  superior court determined that  they  require  a
finalization  of these proceedings and would be  best  served  by
placement  together.   The  superior  court  concluded  that  any
further  delay in finalizing the placement of the children  in  a
permanent home would be detrimental to their best interests.
          Before  us  in this appeal is the question whether  the
superior  court  abused its discretion in determining  that  Lara
failed  to  show  that  there was good cause  to  hold  a  review
hearing.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
          We  review  a  trial courts decision to deny  a  review
hearing for failure to show good cause under AS 47.10.089(h)  for
abuse  of discretion.3  A trial court abuses its discretion  only
if  its  decision arises from an improper motive or is arbitrary,
capricious, or manifestly unreasonable.4
IV.  DISCUSSION
          Alaska     Statute    47.10.089    governs    voluntary
relinquishment of parental rights and addresses reinstatement  of
voluntarily relinquished parental rights in subsection (h).  This
subsection provides in full:
          After  a  termination order  is  entered  and
          before  the  entry  of an adoption  or  legal
          guardianship decree, a person who voluntarily
          relinquished parental rights to a child under
          this  section  may request a review  hearing,
          upon  a showing of good cause, to vacate  the
          termination  order  and  reinstate   parental
          rights relating to that child.  A court shall
          vacate  a  termination order  if  the  person
          shows, by clear and convincing evidence, that
          reinstatement of parental rights  is  in  the
          best  interest  of  the child  and  that  the
          person   is  rehabilitated  and  capable   of
          providing  the  care and guidance  that  will
          serve  the  moral,  emotional,  mental,   and
          physical welfare of the child.
          
Because  a good cause showing necessarily relates to the  grounds
for  vacating a termination order and reinstating parental rights
under  AS 47.10.089, in order to obtain a review hearing a person
must  make  a prima facie showing that: (1) it is in  the  childs
best interest that the persons parental rights be reinstated, (2)
the  person  is rehabilitated, and (3) the person is  capable  of
caring  for  the  childs moral, emotional, mental,  and  physical
welfare.
          Laras  opening memorandum supporting her request for  a
review  hearing provided only a scant showing on these  statutory
requirements.   Lara simply claimed in a conclusory  manner  that
she  is presently capable of parenting her children, and she  did
not  explain  the basis for her contention.  Lara instead  rested
her  request for a review hearing primarily on her argument  that
it  was  no  longer  equitable that the termination  judgment  be
enforced  by  the  court because her decision to  relinquish  her
rights  was  made  with the expectation that the  children  would
ultimately be placed with [Tessa and Jim] as anticipated  by  the
courts   order,   which   had  been  vacated.    Yet   in   Laras
relinquishment of her parental rights, she acknowledged that  the
plan to place her children with Tessa and Jim might fall through:
          The  department  has  decided  to  place   my
          children for adoption with [Tessa and Jim] in
          accordance  with  the permanency  plan.   The
          department must receive a positive home study
          and the children must be in the adoptive home
          for   6  months  before  the  department  can
          consent to adoption of my children by  [Tessa
          and  Jim].  If [Tessa and Jim] become  unable
          to  care  for my children for any  reason,  I
          retain the privilege to be notified that  the
          placement  is  no longer available.   If  the
          placement   is   no  longer  available,   the
          department  will send me a letter by  regular
          and  certified  mail  to  tell  me  that  the
          placement is no longer available.
From  this  we  can  infer  that  Lara  fully  contemplated   the
possibility that the placement of her children with Tessa and Jim
might fail.  Yet Lara did not condition the relinquishment of her
parental rights on her children being placed with them.
          It  was  not  until Lara filed a reply  to  the  States
opposition to her request for a review hearing that she attempted
to  offer any evidence addressing the statutory requirements  for
showing  good cause.  Lara stated in an affidavit filed with  the
reply  that  she  had  been  attending  narcotics  or  alcoholics
anonymous  meetings one or two times a week for just  over  three
months; that she had been working full-time for about two  weeks,
starting  just  a  few days before she filed her  request  for  a
review  hearing;  that  she believed that  she  had  become  more
responsible and had better emotional regulation; and that she was
addressing some of her health issues.  Laras affidavit  indicated
commendable  but  limited progress toward rehabilitation  and  it
barely scratched the surface of what was needed to show that Lara
was  rehabilitated  and  capable  of  caring  for  her  childrens
welfare.  As the guardian ad litem noted, [w]hat Lara did NOT say
is telling: She did not claim she was no longer using substances;
she  did  not claim she had participated in any kind of substance
abuse  treatment, whether residential or outpatient; she did  not
claim  she had a lengthy history of negative urinalysis  results.
And Lara never addressed the best interests of her children.   As
the  trial court concluded, even if Laras affidavit were accepted
as  completely factual, it would not provide good  cause  for  an
evidentiary hearing.
          Even  before AS 47.10.089 was enacted in 2005,5 we  had
addressed  whether  parents  could  attempt  to  reinstate  their
parental  rights before their children had been adopted and  what
showing  would  be required to establish good  cause  to  hold  a
review  hearing.6  In Rita T. v. State, a mother  whose  parental
rights  had  been involuntarily terminated sought  a  hearing  to
review the termination.7  We held that parents are entitled to  a
review  of  the  order terminating their parental rights  upon  a
showing  of  good cause for the hearing.8  We further  determined
that [g]ood cause could be established if the parents showed that
it  would be in the best interests of the child to resume  living
with them because they have sufficiently rehabilitated themselves
so that they can provide proper guidance and care for the child.9
We ruled in Rita T. that the mother had made a sufficient showing
of  good cause by declaring in her application for a hearing that
as  a result of a fourteen-month rehabilitation program she ha[d]
overcome the problems that led to the termination of her parental
rights  and  that  professional counselors,  social  workers  and
others  would  be able to establish that she is  now  capable  of
providing a warm and loving home for her daughter.10
          In  Alden H. v. State, Office of Childrens Services,  a
father who voluntarily relinquished his parental rights sought  a
hearing to review his relinquishment.11  Although we declined  to
answer  the question whether parents who voluntarily relinquished
their  parental rights could seek a review hearing upon a showing
of good cause under Rita T., we held that the trial court did not
abuse  its discretion in finding that the father failed  to  show
good cause and in denying the review hearing.12  We reasoned that
the   evidence   offered  by  the  father  to   demonstrate   his
rehabilitation  was  weak  because although  the  father  offered
evidence indicating that he had completed one aspect of his  case
plan, his evidence for satisfying the three other aspects of  his
plan  was flimsy.13  We explained that the only evidence  in  the
record  of  the  fathers  efforts to satisfy  these  three  other
aspects  of  his case plan  attending twelve-step meetings  on  a
regular  basis,  completing a parenting class, and  obtaining  an
anger   management  assessment  and  the  resulting   recommended
treatment   was  a  letter  from  an  associate  director  of  an
outpatient  clinic.14  We determined that the  letter  was  scant
evidence  of  the  fathers rehabilitation because  it  failed  to
address  the  scope of the programs that the father attended  and
whether  the  father continued to seek treatment upon  completing
the  programs.15   Moreover, we determined that the  trial  court
          reasonably discounted the credibility of the letter.16  We further
reasoned that the trial courts finding that the father lacked the
parenting  abilities to address his childrens special  needs  was
well  supported  by  the record, which included  reports  of  the
childrens   therapists   and  that  there   was   no   reasonable
psychological  probability  that  the  father  could   meet   his
childrens needs.17
          This  case is much closer to Alden H. than Rita T.   In
concluding that the father failed to show good cause for a review
hearing in Alden H., we reviewed each aspect of the fathers  case
plan  and  the  progress  that  he  had  made  on  each  of   its
requirements.18  Here, Laras case plan required: (1) a  substance
abuse  assessment  and compliance with the recommended  treatment
that Lara complete a 90-day residential program,19 (2) urinalysis
testing,  (3) a mental health evaluation and treatment,  and  (4)
parenting  classes.   The  single piece  of  evidence  that  Lara
presented   in   support  of  having  completed  any   of   these
requirements was her mention that she was attending  one  or  two
narcotics or alcoholics anonymous meetings a week.  She  did  not
state  that  she  had participated in or completed  the  required
inpatient  treatment program nor did she indicate  that  she  had
successfully  complied with urinalysis testing.  We can  contrast
Laras assertion with Rita T., where we found that the mother  had
shown  good cause having declared in her application for a review
hearing  that  as  a  result  of a fourteen-month  rehabilitation
program  she  ha[d]  overcome  the  problems  that  led  to   the
termination  of her parental rights.20  Similarly,  though  Laras
affidavit  also mentioned that she had been taking care  of  some
health  issues  on  a more regular basis and that  she  had  been
trying  to  get regular medical coverage, which she  expected  to
receive  through her job shortly, she did not state that she  had
addressed her mental health issues.  (Emphasis added.)
          Lara argues that the trial court failed to consider the
record as a whole and that it limited [its] consideration of good
cause to Laras affidavit in deciding that her substance abuse had
not  been  rehabilitated.  But the trial court provided  detailed
factual  findings  concerning  Laras  sporadic  participation  in
substance abuse treatment in the past, and it concluded that  her
attendance  at  narcotics and alcoholics anonymous  meetings  for
just over three months did not come close to establishing she has
addressed her substance abuse issues.  It was reasonable for  the
trial  court to consider Laras progress in treating her substance
abuse problem within the context of her prior drug abuse and  her
history  of failure in residential drug-treatment programs.   The
trial  court  recognized  that Lara had  missed  67  of  her  102
appointments  for urinalysis tests between late April  and  early
September  2005,  that  she had repeatedly  tested  positive  for
cocaine  and opiates, and that she had failed to complete several
rehabilitation  programs for her substance abuse.   In  light  of
these  findings, the trial court did not abuse its discretion  in
concluding  that  Lara  had  failed to  establish  that  she  had
overcome  her  substance abuse problem despite her  recent  short
term positive steps.
          Lara  also  asserts on appeal that the record  contains
          evidence that reuniting her with her children would serve their
best interests.  But she utterly failed to address this point  in
her  request  for a review hearing in the trial court.   And  the
trial   courts   determination  that  her  children   require   a
finalization  of these proceedings and would be  best  served  by
placement  together  and that further delay in  finalizing  their
placement in a permanent home would be detrimental to their  best
interests  is  well supported by the record.  There was  evidence
provided  during the CINA proceedings by the guardian  ad  litem,
OCS  social  workers, and the childrens foster parents  detailing
the  many years that the children have been in foster care, Earls
difficulty  in transitioning to a new home, Earls  desire  to  be
permanently  placed with his brothers, and Herb and Roans  foster
parents  interest in adopting all three children.   We  therefore
agree that it was in the childrens best interests to finalize the
CINA proceedings.21

V.   CONCLUSION
          Because the superior court did not abuse its discretion
in  denying  Laras  motion for a review  hearing  to  vacate  her
voluntary  relinquishment of her parental rights, we  AFFIRM  the
superior courts order.
_______________________________
     1     We adopt the pseudonyms used by the parties to protect
the family members privacy.

     2     Both Don and Ron relinquished their parental rights in
June  2007.  The termination of their parental rights is  not  at
issue in this case.

     3     See Alden H. v. State, Office of Childrens Servs., 108
P.3d  224,  228 (Alaska 2005) (A finding that a party  failed  to
show  good  cause that a [Rita T. v. State, 623 P.2d 344  (Alaska
1981)]   hearing  should  be  held  is  reviewed  for  abuse   of
discretion.);  C.L.  v. P.C.S., 17 P.3d 769,  772  (Alaska  2001)
(reviewing  the superior courts finding of good cause to  deviate
from  the  placement preferences of the Indian Child Welfare  Act
for abuse of discretion).

     4     Monzingo v. Alaska Air Group, Inc., 112 P.3d 655,  659
(Alaska 2005).

     5     Ch.  64,   17, 67, SLA 2005.  The statute took  effect
immediately on June 30, 2005.  Id.

     6    Alden H., 108 P.3d 224; Rita T., 623 P.2d 344.

     7    623 P.2d at 345-46.

     8    Id. at 347.

     9    Id.

     10    Id.

     11    108 P.3d at 226.

     12    Id. at 231.

     13    Id. at 232-33.

     14    Id.

     15    Id. at 233.

     16    Id.

     17    Id. at 232.

     18    Id. at 232-33.

     19     Although  Cook Inlet Tribal Council recommended  only
intensive  outpatient treatment, in contrast  to  the  two  prior
recommendations  that Lara complete ninety  days  of  residential
treatment, it is undisputed that Lara was not truthful about  her
prior drug use during Cook Inlet Tribal Councils assessment.

     20    623 P.2d 344, 347 (Alaska 1981).

     21     Lara  further  asserts that providing  a  hearing  is
[a]rguably  .  .  . the minimal due process that the  legislature
intended when drafting AS 47.10.089(h) and that it would not have
been burdensome for the trial court to afford her a hearing.  But
in   adopting  AS  47.10.089(h),  the  legislature  unambiguously
conveyed its intention that a review hearing be held only upon  a
showing of good cause.  Lara did not make that showing.

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