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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Violet C. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services (3/1/2019) sp-7339

Violet C. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services (3/1/2019) sp-7339

         Notice:  This opinion is subject to correction before publication in the PACIFIC  REPORTER.  

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          303 K Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878, email  

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                    THE  SUPREME  COURT  OF  THE  STATE  OF  ALASKA  



VIOLET  C.,                                                   )  

                                                              )   Supreme Court Nos. S-17038/17066  

                                                                                                  

                                                                                          

                             Appellant,                       )   (Consolidated)  

                                                              )  

          v.                                                  )   Superior  Court  No.  3PA-15-00169  

                                                              )  

STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT  

                                   

                                                                                     

                                                              )   O P I N I O N  

OF HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES,  

                                       

                                                              )  

OFFICE OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES,                                                                    

                                                              )   No. 7339 - March 1, 2019  

                                                              )  

                             Appellee.                        )  

                                                              )  

                                                                                                

                                                              )   Superior Court No. 3PA-15-00170  

JACK C.,                                                      )  

           

                                                              )  

                             Appellant,                       )  

                                                              )  

          v.                                                  )  

                                                              )  

STATE OF ALASKA, DEPARTMENT                                   )  

                                   

OF HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES,                                  )  

       

                                       

OFFICE OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES,                                )  

                                          

                                                              )  

                             Appellee.                        )  

                                                              )  



                                                                                                  

                                               perior Court of the State of Alaska, Third  

                   Appeal from the Su 

                                                                                  

                   Judicial District, Palmer, Kari Kristiansen, Judge.  



                                                                                            

                   Appearances:  Megan R. Webb, Assistant Public Defender,  

                                                                                                     

                   and  Quinlan  Steiner,  Public  Defender,  Anchorage,   for  

                                                               

                   Appellant Violet C.; Carolyn Perkins, Salt Lake City, Utah,  

                                                                                             

                   for Appellant Jack C.; Mary Ann Lundquist, Senior Assistant  


----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

                       Attorney General, Fairbanks,                       andJahnaLindemuth,                    Attorney  

                       General, Juneau, for Appellee.       



                       Before:    Bolger, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maasen,                                              

                       and Carney, Justices.     



                       WINFREE, Justice.   



I.          INTRODUCTION  



                       The  superior  court  terminated  a  mother's  and  father's  parental  rights,  

                                                                                                                                           



finding their two children were in need of aid based on abandonment, incarceration, risk  

                                                                                                                                                



of domestic violence, and substance abuse. The court also determined that the Office of  

                                                                                                                                                   



Children's Services (OCS) had satisfied its duty to make reasonable efforts to reunify the  

                                                                                                                                                 



parents and children. The mother and father separately appealed the court's reasonable- 

                                                                                                                                   



efforts determinations, andthemother also appealed the court's findings that the children  

                                                                                                                                         



were in need of aid based on abandonment and domestic violence.  We consolidated the  

                                                                                                                                                 



appeals  for  consideration  and  decision.                                Seeing  no  reversible  error,  we  affirm  the  

                                                                                                                                                



superior court's decision to terminate the mother's and father's parental rights.  

                                                                                                                                          



II.         FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS  

                                      



                       Violet C. and Jack C. are the separated biological parents of Maggie and  

                                                                                                                                                

Doug, eight-year-old twins.1   Jack was in a different state for the entirety of the case and  

                                                                                                                                                



incarcerated for its majority.  

                                                    



            A.         Initial Reports And Removal  

                                                             



                       In  early  August  2015  OCS  received  a  report  alleging  that  Violet  was  

                                                                                                                                               



addicted to substances and abusing alcohol.   An OCS caseworker visited the home,  

                                                                                                                                           



found no safety threats, and left without taking action.  The caseworker returned a few  

                                                                                                                                                



weeks  later  after  receiving  renewed  reports  of  harm.                                            During  this  visit  Violet's  

                                                                                                                                       



            1          We  use  pseudonyms  to  protect  the  family  members'  privacy.  



                                                                        -2-                                                                       7339  


----------------------- Page 3-----------------------

                                                                                                                                

grandmother relayed concerns about Violet leaving the home and returning under the  



                                                                                                                  

influence; the grandmother reported that Violet bullied her by beating on the door and  



                                                                                                          

yelling, and that Violet had once kicked a hole in the door.  Violet's grandmother also  



                                                                                                                           

reported that Violet once "grabbed [Maggie] by the arm and yanked her up and hauled  



                                      

her out" of a bedroom.  



                                                                                                                              

                    The OCS caseworker observed that Violet had sores on her face and legs,  



                                                                                                                           

that she presented with jerky movements, and that she continually paced and turned  



                                                                                                                            

during their conversation.  Violet refused to allow OCS to assess the children or create  



                                                                                                                             

a protective action plan, but she agreed to participate in urinalysis and hair follicle tests,  



                                                    

which later yielded positive drug results.  



                                                                                                                             

                    OCS  assumed  custody  of  the  twins  in  late  August  and  filed  for  their  



                                                                        

adjudication as children in need of aid shortly thereafter.  



                                                                                           

          B.        OCS's Case Plan And Early Reunification Efforts  



                                                                                                                       

                    In  September  Violet  notified  OCS  that  she  has  hearing  and  mobility  



                                                                                                                                  

impairments; due to her disabilities, she requested transportation funding, patience in  



                                                                                                                                

communication, and prioritization of in-person and email contact.  OCS arranged for  



                                                                                                                              

transportation services to visitation, parenting classes, treatment, and drug testing. OCS  



                                                                                                                          

initially provided Violet taxi vouchers through mid-October.  Before approving further  



                                                                                                                         

taxi vouchers, it required documentation of her disabilities, which Violet did not provide  



                                                                                              

until the following March.  In the interim OCS arranged for third-party transportation  



                                                                                                       

services beginning in December.  Violet did not fully utilize these services; testimony  



                                                                                                                              

detailed  multiple  occasions  when  she  was  unavailable  for  transportation  she  had  



                                 

previously arranged.  



                                                                                                                         

                    OCS's November 2015 case plan required Violet to submit to random  



                                                                                                         

urinalysis tests, obtainasubstanceabuseassessment, followtreatmentrecommendations,  



                                                                                                                                 

and participate in parenting classes and mental health services.  The case plan made no  



                                                                -3-                                                         7339
  


----------------------- Page 4-----------------------

                                                                                                                              

mention of Violet's disabilities or accommodation requests, instead noting that she was  



                                                                                   

"physically able" and "possesse[d] adequate energy."  



                                                                                                                    

                    Violet  inconsistently  participated  in  supervised  visitation.                               Visitation  



                                                                                                                   

temporarily ceased in January 2016 due to her "excessive absences."  She maintained  



                                                                                                                             

telephonic contact with the twins, and OCS asked their foster parent to identify each  



                                                                                                 

voice and ensure they were not on the phone at the same time.  



                                                                                                                             

                    WhenOCSformulatedJack's caseplan, hehad recentlybeen released from  



                                                                                                                         

incarceration in Florida and relocated to Texas.   He expressed an interest in having  



                                                                                                                           

custody of the children.  OCS's case plan required Jack to complete a substance abuse  



                                                                                                                                 

assessment  and  obtain  treatment,  participate  in  parenting  classes,  and  obtain  a  



                                                                                                                 

psychological assessment. OCS worked with local providers to arrange the assessments.  



                                                                                                                             

                    Jack never notified OCS that he had trouble accessing services, and he later  



                                                                                                                  

acknowledged that he "did not participate in these services."   An OCS caseworker  



                                                                                                                               

testified that she was unable to begin the process for placement with Jack under the  



                                                                                                                        

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) because he had only recently  



                                                                                                                                     

been released from jail, moved to a new home, and needed to first engage in services.  



                                                                                                                 

                    After losing contact with Jack, OCS became aware at the adjudication  



                                                                                    

hearing of his reincarceration.  OCS often had trouble contacting Jack, unsuccessfully  



                                                                                                                               

attempting to contact himat the telephone number he provided, through his attorney, and  



                         

through the jail itself.  



                                                                                                                              

                    In April 2016 the superior court issued its adjudication order, finding that  



                                                                                                                              

Maggie and Doug were children  in  need of aid based on Jack's abandonment and  



                                                                                                                      

incarceration and Violet's substance abuse.  The court found that OCS had provided  



                                                                                                                           

reasonable efforts to Jack but that OCS had not made reasonable efforts to provide Violet  



                                                                                                                            

remedial services and allow the children to return to her care from September 2015  



                                                                                                                 

through February 2016.   The court stated that OCS "viewed [Violet's] documented  



                                                               -4-                                                         7339
  


----------------------- Page 5-----------------------

                                                                                                                   

disabilities with skepticism, required outside verification of her disabilities, formulated  



                                                                                                                     

a case plan not tailored to her needs, failed to accommodate [her] request for important  



                                                                                                                        

information to be conveyed in writing, and cut off transportation and service referral  



                                                              

funding in response to less-than-perfect performance."  



                                                                                                                          

                    But the court also found that OCS had provided Violet reasonable efforts  



                                                                                                                           

since March 2016, "after transportation assistance resumed and [OCS] made better  



                                                                                                                              

efforts to communicate" with her. The court found that around February 2016 OCS was  



                                                                                                                            

able  to  obtain  a  transportation  grant  allowing  Violet  to  attend  visitation,  a  drug  



                                                                                                                        

assessment, mental health appointments, and other services. The court therefore ordered  



                                                                            

the children placed in OCS's temporary custody.  



                                                                    

          C.        Post-Adjudication Conduct; Trial  



                                                                                                                             

                    A new OCS caseworker was assigned to the case in October 2016.  This  



                                                                                                                              

caseworker  met with Violet in person, ensured that Violet could read her lips, and  



                                                                                                   

communicated through text messages.  By that point Violet had been discharged from  



                                                                                    

treatment programs several times for noncompliance.  



                                                                                                                     

                    As of January 2017 Violet was involved with Sam.  Sam has a history of  



                                                                                                                 

both substance abuse and domestic violence, including a conviction for third-degree  



                                                                                                                         

assault against an ex-girlfriend. He has twice violated his probation for failing to engage  



                                                                                                                                     

in a domestic violence intervention program and failing to report to his probation officer.  



                                                                                                                           

Violet became pregnant with Sam's child in mid-2017.  Although OCS referred her to  



                                                                                                                         

a sober housing center, she refused to enter because Sam's domestic violence history  



                                                                                                                               

prevented him joining her.  They instead lived in Violet's often non-drivable van.  



                                                                                                                          

                    The termination trial took place over three days in February and March  



                                                                                                                             

2018. Although Violet regularly participated in drug tests for a few months prior to trial,  



                                                                                                                    

yielding negative results except for one dilute sample, she earlier had failed to participate  



                                                                                                                            

in urinalysis tests between April and September 2017.  She completed a parenting class  



                                                               -5-                                                         7339
  


----------------------- Page 6-----------------------

                                                                                                                           

in April 2017 as required by her case plan, but she still needed to complete the plan's  



                                                                                                                      

other aspects, including to secure appropriate housing, be consistent in her urinalysis  



                                                                                                                               

tests,  complete  an  inpatient  substance  abuse  and  after-care  treatment  program,  and  



                                                                       

demonstrate sustained sobriety for at least six months.  



                                                                                                                              

                    Between the adjudication order and termination trial, Jack again had been  



                                                                                                                               

released on supervised parole.  But by the time of the termination trial his parole had  



                                                                                                                         

been revoked for drinking, failing to report, traveling outside of an approved county,  



                                                                                                                       

failing to perform community work service, failing to pay fines, and failing to complete  



                                                                                                                           

a treatment program.  Jack believed, but provided no evidentiary support, that he would  



                                                                                          

be released from prison shortly after the termination trial.  



                                                                                                                      

                    Jack had completed anger management, drug rehabilitation, and parenting  



                                                                                                                                

classes through the Texas Department of Corrections.  Jack acknowledged that at the  



                                                                                                                                      

time of the termination trial he was not having regular telephonic contact with the twins.  



                                                                                                                

The foster parent testified to the twins' difficulty identifying their father and said they  



                                                                      

refer to him by first name rather than "dad."  



                                                                                                                           

                    In March 2018 the court issued its order terminating Violet's and Jack's  



                                                                                                                 

parental rights, finding the twins to be children in need of aid under AS 47.10.011(1)  



                                                                                                                     

(abandonment), (8) (risk of exposure to domestic violence by Sam), and (10) (substance  



                                                                                                           

abuse)   based   on   Violet's   conduct,   and   under   subsections   (1)   (abandonment),  



                                                                                                                    

(2)  (incarceration), (8) (risk of exposure to domestic violence), and (10) (substance  



                                     

abuse) based on Jack's conduct.  



                                                                                                                               

                    The court stated that Violet "failed to complete a suitable case plan" and  



                                                                                                                

that she "inconsistently visits" the twins.  The court noted she had "not demonstrated  



                                                                                                                            

sustained stability and sobriety and ha[d] used substances within the past year.  [Her]  



                                                                                                                            

ability to parent has been substantially impaired by the addictive or habitual use of drugs,  



                                                                    

resulting in a substantial risk of harm to the children."  



                                                                -6-                                                         7339
  


----------------------- Page 7-----------------------

                                                                       The   court   entered  findings   regarding   OCS's   efforts   to   provide   Violet  



transportation services, written instructions, in-person meetings, referral funding for                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



 access to services, a peer navigator, and frequent communication.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The court found                                              



 specifically that "[w]hen taxi cab vouchers were made available to her, [Violet] chose                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



not to use them."                                                                          The court found that Violet "often had a working vehicle and friends                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



would drive her to appointments."                                                                                                                                                        The court found that Violet had not remedied the                                                                                                                                                                                                             



 conduct placing the children at substantial risk of harm and that termination of her                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



parental rights was in the twins' best interests.                                                                                                                                                                                                      



                                                                       The court found that Jack had not remedied the conduct that put the twins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          



 at risk, pointing to Jack's lack of relationship or contact with his children.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The court   



 found that he also had "not demonstrated sustained stability and sobriety" and had "made                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             



minimal efforts to communicate and support the children." The court acknowledged that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                



both   parents   "sincerely  love"   the   children   but   found   that   termination   was   in   the  



 children's best interests.                                                     



                                                                      Violet and Jack both appeal. Violet contends that the court erred by finding                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               



the twins                                               were   children in need                                                                                                    of aid                               under   AS 47.10.011(1)                                                                                                             (abandonment)   and  



 (8)  (domestic violence) and determining OCS                                                                                                                                                                                               made reasonable efforts to reuniteher with                                                                                                                                                          



her children.                                                        Jack contends that the court erred by determining OCS made reasonable                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    



 efforts to reunite him with his children.                                                                                                                                                                        



III.                                STANDARD OF REVIEW                                                                               



                                                                      Violet's appeal of fewer than all of the court's relevant child in need of aid                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



 findings raises the issue of mootness. "Because it is a matter of judicial policy, mootness                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

presents a question of law" to which we apply our independent judgment.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2  



                                   2                                  Jennifer L. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              



Servs., 357 P.3d 110, 113 (Alaska 2015) (quoting  Peter A. v. State, Dep't of Health &
  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (continued...)
  



                                                                                                                                                                                                                             -7-                                                                                                                                                                                                              7339
  


----------------------- Page 8-----------------------

                           " 'Whether OCS made reasonable efforts to reunify the family is a mixed                                                               



question of law and fact.'                           For mixed questions, 'we review factual questions under the                                                        



                                                                                                                                                                          3  

clearly erroneous standard and legal questions using our independent judgment.' "                                                                                              



                                                                                                                                                                    

"Findings of fact are clearly erroneous if a review of the entire record in the light most  



                                                                                                                                                                       

favorable to the party prevailing below leaves us 'with a definite and firm conviction that  



                                                        4  

                                                             

a mistake has been made.' " 



IV.	         DISCUSSION  



                                                                                                                                                                   

             A.	           Because Violet Does Not Contest The Superior Court's Finding That  

                                                                                                                                                                      

                           The Twins Were In Need Of Aid Based On Substance Abuse, We  

                                                                                                                             

                           Decline To Consider The Court's Alternative Findings.  



                                                                                                                                                                

                           1.	          Violet does not challenge the superior court's  finding under  

                                                

                                        AS 47.10.011(10).  



                                                                                                                                                                    

                           To terminate a parent's rights and responsibilities, the superior court must  



                                                                                                                                                         

find by clear and convincing evidence that the children havebeen subjected to conditions  



                                                                                                                                                                         

that would qualify them as children in need of aid under one of the subsections of  



                                5  

                                                                                                                                    

AS         47.10.011.                     Violet           challenges                the       court's           findings             under           subsections  



                                                                                                                                                                          

(1) (abandonment) and (8) (domestic violence).  But because only one child in need of  



                                                                                                                                                                       

aid finding is necessary based on our case law - and Violet does not challenge the  



             2             (...continued)  



                                                                                                                                               

Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs., 146 P.3d 991, 993-94 (Alaska 2006)).  



             3  

                                                                                                                                                                               

                          Kylie L. v. State, Dep't of Health &Soc. Servs., Office of Children's Servs.,  

                                                                                                                                                                 

407 P.3d 442, 448 (Alaska 2017) (quoting Joy B. v. State, Dep't of Health &Soc. Servs.,  

Office of Children's Servs.                           , 382 P.3d 1154, 1162 (Alaska 2016)).                                           



             4            Barbara P. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's  

                                                                                                                                                        

Servs., 234 P.3d 1245, 1253 (Alaska 2010) (quoting Brynna B. v. State, Dep't of Health  

                                                                                                                                                                

& Soc. Servs., 88 P.3d 527, 529 (Alaska 2004)).  

                                                                                  



             5             AS 47.10.088(a)(1); CINA Rule 18(c)(1)(A).  

                                                                                              



                                                                                    -8-	                                                                           7339
  


----------------------- Page 9-----------------------

court's finding under subsection (10) (parental substance abuse) -we need not consider                                                                                   

Violet's challenges to the other findings.                                              6  



                                                                                                                                                                                       

                             2.	           Violet's challenges to the superior court's alternative child in  

                                                                                                   

                                           need of aid findings are moot.  



                                                                                                                                                                          

                             Violetnonethelessasks us to vacatethesuperior court's alternativefindings  



                                                                                                                                                 7  

                                                                                                                                                                                     

under subsections (1) and (8).  Although her challenges are moot,                                                                                    she urges that we  



                                                                                                                                                                                  

address those findings because they "could be used as evidence against her" and "she  



                                                                                                                                                                                             

would be precluded from challenging" them in a subsequent child in need of aid case.  



                                                                                                                                                             

Without  citing  relevant  authority,  Violet  suggests  that  the  collateral  consequences  



                                                                                                                                                                                    

doctrine applies.  But inability to obtain review of her claims on appeal means that she  



                                                                                                                                                                               8 

                                                                                                                                                                                  We  

will not be precluded from challenging the court's findings in a subsequent case. 



               6             See Rick P. v. State, OCS                               , 109 P.3d 950, 956 (Alaska 2005) (noting it is                                                    



unnecessary to consider other findings if record supports one ground for finding children                                                                                 

to be in need of aid).              



               7             See Peter A. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc. Servs., Office of Children's  

                                                                                                                                                                    

Servs., 146 P.3d 991, 994 (Alaska 2006) (" 'A claim is moot if it has lost its character as  

                                                                                                                                                                                       

a present, live controversy.' If the party bringing the action would not be entitled to any  

                                                                                                                                                                                    

relief if it prevails, there is no 'case or controversy' for us to decide." first quoting  

                                                                                                                                                                          

Klevan v. Yukon-Koyukuk Sch. Dist., 853 P.2d 518, 523 (Alaska 1993); and then citing  

                                                                                                                                                                               

 Ulmer v. Alaska Rest. & Beverage Ass'n, 33 P.3d 773, 776 (Alaska 2001))).  

                                                                                                                                                                      



               8             See James G. v. Veronica G., No. S-11762, 2006 WL 204782, at *7-8  

                                                                                                                                                                                 

(Alaska Jan. 25, 2006) (noting general rule that case mooted pending appeal cannot be  

                                                                                                                                                                                      

given preclusive effect, meaning collateral estoppel cannot be applied to child in need  

                                                                                                                 

of aid finding if appellant cannot obtain appellate reviewof that finding; this rule protects  

                                                                                                                                                                           

the appellant's right to "obtain meaningful review on any issue that affects his rights"  

                                                                                                                                                                            

                             HARLES   ALAN   WRIGHT   & A                                  RTHUR   R. M               ILLER, F          EDERAL   PRACTICE AND  

citing 18A C 

              

PROCEDURE   4433 (2d ed. 2002)));                                              but see Taryn M. v. State, Dep't of Health & Soc.                            

                                             

Servs., Office of Children's Servs.                                      , No. S-16326, 2017 WL 3122387, at *1 n.1 (Alaska                                                

July   19,   2017)   (reviewing   moot   adjudication   finding,   without   explanation,   under  

collateral consequences doctrine).                   

                                                                                                                                                              (continued...)  



                                                                                           -9-	                                                                                 7339
  


----------------------- Page 10-----------------------

therefore decline to apply the collateral consequences doctrine in this context.                                                



                        3.	          Conclusion  



                        Because Violet does not contest the superior court's child in need of aid  

                                                                                                                                                        



finding under AS 47.10.011(10), and because we hold her challenges to the court's  

                                                                                                                                                 



alternative  findings  moot,  we  affirm  the  court's  determination  that  the  twins  were  

                                                                                                                                                    



children in need of aid.  

                                    



            B.	         The Superior Court Did Not Err By Determining That OCS Made  

                                                                                                                                                   

                        Reasonable Reunification Efforts.  

                                                                            



                        Violet and Jack separately challenge the court's determination that OCS  

                                                                                                                                             



made reasonable reunification efforts.  Before terminating parental rights, the superior  

                                                                                                                                               



court must find by clear and convincing evidence that OCS has complied with the AS  

                                                                                                                                        

47.10.086 provisions governing reasonable efforts.9  That statute requires OCS to "make  

                                                                                                                                                   



timely, reasonable efforts to provide family support services to the child and to the  

                                                                                                                                                        



parents . . . that are designed to . . . enable the safe return of the child to the family  

                                                                                                                                                  

home."10           OCS's efforts must be "reasonable but need not be perfect."11                                                        "A parent's  

                                                                                                                                               



demonstrated unwillingness toparticipatein treatment may beconsidered in determining  

                                                                                                                                         



            8	          (...continued)  



                                                                                                                                                        

                        We also note - without considering its application to this case - the  

                                                                                                                                                      

Restatement rule that even in cases where litigants fail to appeal, collateral estoppel does  

                                                                                                                                                                

not  apply  when  multiple  grounds  are  each  sufficient  to  support  a  judgment.  

RESTATEMENT  (SECOND)  OF  JUDGMENTS   27 cmt. i (1982) ("If a judgment of a court of                                                                     

first   instance   is   based   on   determinations   of   two   issues,   either  of   which   standing  

independently would be sufficient to support the result, the judgment is not conclusive                                                    

with respect to either issue standing alone.").                    



            9           AS 47.10.088(a)(3); CINA Rule 18(c)(2)(A).  

                                                                                                             



            10          AS 47.10.086(a).  

                                



            11          Audrey H. v. State, Office of Children's Servs., 188 P.3d 668, 678 (Alaska  

                                                                                                                                                

2008) (citing Jeff A.C., Jr. v. State, 117 P.3d 697, 706 (Alaska 2005)).  

                                                                                                                   



                                                                           -10-	                                                                    7339
  


----------------------- Page 11-----------------------

the reasonableness of state efforts."                      12  



                                                                                                                                          

                      Thesuperior court found that OCSfailedtoprovide reasonableefforts from  



                                                                                                                                          

September 2015 through February 2016 but that OCS had made reasonable efforts after  



                                                                                                                                             

that time. Violet contends that although "some failings had been cured by the time of the  



                                                                                                                           

termination trial, not all were, resulting in a lack of reasonable efforts toward [her],  



                                                                                                                                     

contrary to the court's findings."  Violet specifically points to OCS's failure to provide  



                                                                                                                                                

consistent transportation services.  She argues that transportation issues - including a  



                                                                                                                                            

lack of reliable transportation because she lived in a non-drivable van and owned a car  



                                                                                                                                    

in need of repairs - made it "difficult to participate in programs, such as the random  



                                                                                                                                             

[urinalysis  tests]."               She  argues  that  if  OCS  had  offered  "consistent  assistance  in  



                                                                                                                                 

transportation for services, her engagement level likely would have been more consistent  



                                                                                                                             

and she might have been able to remedy her conduct in a timely fashion."  



                                                                                                                               

                      But  we  are  not  persuaded  that  OCS's  failure  to  provide  consistent  



                                                                                                                                    

transportation was the reason Violet could not comply with her case plan.  The superior  



                                                                                                                                            

court found - and Violet acknowledges - that Violet failed to tell OCS about her  



                                                                                                                          

transportation difficulties. Ultimately, although OCS's efforts to provide transportation  



                                                                                   13  

                                                                 

may not have been perfect, they were reasonable. 



                      Inadditiontohergeneralargumentcontesting thecourt's reasonable-efforts  

                                                                                                                    



finding, Violet contests two specific fact findings: (1) that when "taxi cab vouchers were  

                                                                                                                                          



made available to her, [she] chose not to use them"; and (2) that she "often had a  

                                                                                                                                               



working vehicle and friends would drive her to appointments."  

                                                                                 



           12         Id.  (citing  E.A. v. State, Div. of Family & Youth Servs.                                 , 46 P.3d 986, 991  



(Alaska 2002)).   



           13         Id . (citing Jeff A.C., 117 P.3d at 706).  

                                                                             



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----------------------- Page 12-----------------------

                                In support of the first finding, the court cited a page of Violet's behavioral                                                                          



health records reporting that her "track record of keeping [appointments] even with                                                                                                                   



approved cab vouchers is not good - she no-showed for the last two sessions when cab                                                                                                                      

vouchers were authorized."                                          Reviewing the record in the light most favorable to OCS,                                                                                  14  



we are not persuaded that the court clearly erred by inferring that Violet "chose" not to  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             



use the vouchers when they were available but unused.  

                                                                                                                   



                                The court supported the second contested fact finding - that Violet "often  

                                                                                                                                                                                                   



had  a  working  vehicle  and  friends  would  drive  her  to  appointments"  - by  citing  

                                                                                                                                                                                                   



termination trial testimony in which a friend recalled taking Violet to visitation.  The  

                                                                                                                                                                                                       



friend stated that "if [Violet] needed to go someplace, then yes, I drove her."  Violet  

                                                                                                                                                                                                 



concedes in her brief that the court did not err by finding she had a working vehicle and  

                                                                                                                                                                                                         



friends who could transport her:  "To a limited extent, then, the trial court was correct  

                                                                                                                                                             



that Violet was able, at times, to use other sources for help."  We therefore see no clear  

                                                                                                                                                                                                      



error in the court's finding on this point.  

                                                                                    



                                Overall the superior court found that OCS provided numerous services to  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             



the family including transportation, written instructions, in-person meetings, referral  

                                                                                                                                                                                               



funding for case management services, a peer navigator, referrals to parenting classes  

                                                                                                                                                                                                 



and substance abuse assessments, weekly supervised visits, and referrals for housing at  

                                                                                                                                                                                                              



a local shelter and residential treatment center.  In light of these findings, we hold that  

                                                                                                                                                             



the superior court did not err by determining that OCS made reasonable efforts to reunite  

                                                                                                                                                                                                 



Violet with her children.  

                                       



                                Nor did the superior court err by determining that OCS made reasonable  

                                                                                                                                                                                        



efforts  to  reunite Jack with his  children.                                                              He argues  that OCS failed  to coordinate  

                                                                                                                                                                                       



                14              See Barbara P. v. State, Dep't of Health &Soc. Servs., Office of Children's                                                                             



Servs., 234 P.3d 1245, 1253 (Alaska 2010) (stating that we review fact findings in light                                                                                                               

most favorable to party prevailing below).                                           



                                                                                                    -12-                                                                                              7339
  


----------------------- Page 13-----------------------

telephonic visitation with his children or start an ICPC process.                                                                                                            



                                     The "practical circumstances" of Jack's incarceration made it difficult for                                                                                                                 

                                                                                              15   Testimony detailed that OCS could not initiate an  

OCS to provide extensive services.                                                                                                                                                                                                



ICPC placement during the short time when Jack was not incarcerated because he had  

                                                                                                                                                             



only recently been released from jail, moved to a new home, and needed to first engage  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     



in services; his later reincarceration would have rendered ICPC progress ineffectual.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                     



                                    OCS repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempted to contact Jack through the  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                



telephone number he provided, through his attorney, and through the Texas Department  

                                                                                                                                                                                                         



of Corrections where he was incarcerated.  OCS secured some services for Jack within  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



his community when he was not incarcerated. And OCS attempted to arrange telephonic  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             



visitation between Jackandhis children and providehimwith casemanagement services.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



The court's determination that OCS provided reasonable efforts to reunite Jack with his  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



children was therefore not erroneous.  

                                                                        



V.                CONCLUSION  



                                    For the foregoing reasons, we AFFIRM the superior court's termination of  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   



Violet's and Jack's parental rights.  

                                                                             



                  15                See A.A. v. State, Dep't of Family & Youth Servs.                                                                                           , 982 P.2d 256, 261                          



(Alaska 1999) (holding in ICWA context, where OCS bears higher burden of making                                                                                                                                     

"active efforts" to promote reunification, that "the practical circumstances surrounding                                                                                                                

a parent's incarceration . . . may have a direct bearing on what active remedial efforts are                                                                                                                                     

possible").  



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