Protecting Children

Children are Alaska's future and the attorney general believes our role in ensuring children live in a safe and healthy environment is one of our most important.

Crimes against children, including child pornography, are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We work closely with the Office of Children's Services in the Department of Health and Social Services to be sure children in abusive or neglectful situations achieve a permanently safe home.

The Department of Law provides assistance in the efforts to improve Alaska's noncompliance rate with federal guidelines governing sale of illegal tobacco to minors. We assist the tobacco enforcement unit at Public Health with setting up their enforcement checks, and then handle any necessary legal work resulting from illegal sales. Penalties may include loss of a business' license endorsement to sell tobacco and civil fines. Repeat offenders may face criminal penalties.

As a signatory to the Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco companies, Alaska's Attorney General works to be sure the terms of the settlement are enforced.

The Alaska Department of Law also assists the Child Support Services Division at the Department of Revenue in their efforts to be sure properly owed child support is paid.

Child Abuse & Neglect

The Department of Law plays an important role in helping social workers achieve their mission of protecting children by preventing and remedying repeated abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

When children are placed in such peril that the state takes custody of them away from their parents, a complex set of laws comes into play to ensure the child will receive the care, guidance, treatment, and control that will promote the child's welfare. AS 47.10.005.

These laws govern the rights of the parents, rights of tribal entities, rights of foster parents, grandparents, the rights of the child, and the best interest of the child. The laws set deadlines when certain mandated court hearings must occur. They set deadlines on how long parents may try and correct problems that endanger their children, and mandate when the state must move to terminate parental rights in order to free the child for adoption or guardianship. The goal of child-in-need-of-of-aid proceedings is always to get the child into a safe, permanent home in an expeditious manner.

The Department of Law represents the state in these cases. We take pride in our efforts to protect the health and safety of our children.

Important! If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected please call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.478.4444. A child's safety may be dependent upon you.

Child Support

The Commercial and Fair Business section of the Department of Law provides legal advice to and represents the Alaska Child Support Services Division in local and interstate child support actions. These include actions to establish or disestablish paternity, to establish and modify child support orders, to obtain and enforce medical support orders, and to enforce support obligations through civil process, such as by obtaining orders requiring non-custodial parents to apply for their permanent fund dividends and allowing the child support agency to attach retirement and pension benefits and Native corporation dividends for payment of child support.

The Department of Law also prosecutes criminal non-support cases under state law and assists federal authorities in prosecuting federal criminal non-support cases. The Office of Special Prosecutions in the Criminal Division handles these cases, with the assistance of the Commercial, Fair Business & Child Support section.

The Department of Law only becomes involved in a child support matter when the Child Support Services Division refers the case to us. The Child Support Services Division handles most routine child support without our involvement. Therefore, unless you receive paperwork directly from the Department of Law, you should contact the Child Support Services Division to obtain information or assistance relating to your child support case. For information on how they can help you, please visit the Child Support Services Division.

Please understand that the Department of Law cannot represent or provide legal advice to parents or other private individuals in child support matters. If you need assistance in a child support case, you should contact a private attorney. If you do not have a private attorney, the Alaska Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service can help you find one, or call 1-800-770-9999 in Alaska, or (907) 272-0352.

In addition, the Alaska Court System has a Family Law Self-Help Center that can provide basic information on court rules and procedures, as well as forms and instructions for obtaining, modifying, or enforcing a support order through the Alaska courts. You can obtain information about the Self-Help Center by calling the center at (907) 264-0851 or toll-free in Alaska (but outside Anchorage) at (866) 279-0851.

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Preventing Youth Suicide

Suicide's devastating effects know no geographic, economic, or cultural boundaries. For the survivors, the healing process is never complete. That our youth are so susceptible to suicide is particularly tragic.

Alaska has the highest per capita rate of suicide of any state, and male Alaskan Natives ages 15-24 have the highest suicide rate of any demographic group in the country. Also, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Alaskan youth ages 15-24.

These facts are staggering. The attorney general believes that, individually and as a community, we must intensify our efforts to eradicate the epidemic of suicide in Alaska, particularly among our youth, through outreach, education, and intervention.

Following are links to some websites that provide services in preventing suicide. Please become familiar with these resources to educate yourself and others on suicide prevention. Together, we can minimize suicides by pressing for solutions to this devastating epidemic.

If you are concerned that a child is contemplating suicide, bring him or her to the closest emergency room. Also, in Anchorage, North Star Behavioral Health, which only treats children and adolescents, provides free suicide evaluations 24/7.

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Internet Safety for Kids

The Alaska Attorney General joins attorneys generals across the country in promoting Internet safety for kids. The Internet can be helpful for things like homework, but it can also be a scary place. Following a few rules can make it a safer place.

  • Never give out personal information like your name, address, phone number, credit card numbers, or send your picture without asking your parents if it's OK.
  • Don't buy things over the Internet without asking your parents. This can be a way for unscrupulous people to get a hold of your family's credit card number.
  • Never give your password to anyone.
  • Never agree to meet someone in person that you have met over the Internet. That person could be telling you lies, and could be a dangerous person.
  • If you get a message over the Internet that makes you uncomfortable, don't answer. Tell your parents or another adult about it right away.

There are many Internet safety web sites available for kids, their parents, and educators. A few of them the attorney general likes:

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