Rights in CINA Cases
Rights in CINA Cases
Can I go to court in the CINA case?
Yes. The court can decide, however, that you shouldn’t come to some or all of the hearings because they will be harmful to you. You may be able to participate in the hearings by phone if you can’t come in person because you are far away from the courtroom or because you are in school.
Can I have an attorney represent me in the CINA case?
Yes. In a CINA case, the court can appoint an attorney for you. You have a right to testify, present evidence, and call witnesses in court. Your attorney will explain your rights and choices at the time of a hearing and in the future.
- The court will also appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent your best You can read more about the job of a GAL below in this section.
The court may also appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
Who gets to participate in the termination trial?
At the trial, OCS will be represented by a caseworker responsible for the child, and by an attorney called an assistant attorney general or AAG. The AAG presents evidence and calls the OCS witnesses at trial.
Others who have a right to participate in the trial include:
- both parents; they have a right to participate in the trial, testify, present evidence and question all the witnesses; they can have an attorney to help them participate; and the court can appoint an attorney if they cannot afford one;
- the child who is the subject of a petition to terminate parental rights;
- the guardian ad litem (GAL);
- the child’s attorney if one has been appointed;
- an Indian child’s tribe, if the tribe has intervened in the case;
- a child’s grandparents and foster
Is there a jury?
No. In Alaska, a judge hears the evidence and makes decisions in a child protection case.
I see trials on the news; will the termination trial be on TV?
No. CINA proceedings are open to the public, but no one is allowed to share information that could identify a minor who is the subject of the case. The judge can also order parts or all of the trial to be closed to the public if it would harm a child, affect a child’s testimony, expose information that is confidential, interfere with a criminal investigation, or jeopardize the safety of a victim of domestic violence.