New Rules Will Give Alaska Foster Youths a Voice in Court

Michelle Theriault Boots - Anchorage Daily News

A new set of Alaska court rules will give youths in foster care more opportunities to have a lawyer represent what they want to happen with their cases — and their lives.

Mateo Jaime could have used a lawyer back when he was 17 and in foster care. He says he was sent to a locked psychiatric hospital in Anchorage for no reason other than the Office of Children’s Services couldn’t find another placement for him.

“I never got any input into why I was there, or how I could leave,” said Jaime, now a 19-year-old college student. “I was supposed to stay for two weeks. I stayed two months.”