Senate panel approves Jansen’s legislation to strengthen Michigan’s child protection laws
LANSING — Members of the Senate Family and Human Services Committee listened to testimony Wednesday from numerous supporters of Senate legislation to help improve agency communication and accountability in child-protection cases, said Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township.
Senate Bill 1418, sponsored by Jansen, will require the Michigan Department of Human Services to collaborate with local Friend of the Court offices on cases where a child is the subject of a protective services investigation and custody or parenting time case is also pending.
“I’m pleased to see that the Michigan Department of Human Services has already started incorporating some of the items proposed in these Senate bills,” Jansen said. “I pledge to continue working with the department on ways to make positive improvements in the way child-protection cases are handled.”
Other legislation in the four-bill package will:
- Require the department to develop an investigation checklist for statewide use in child abuse and neglect investigations;
- Add Friend of the Court employees to the list of mandatory reporters for child abuse and neglect; and
- Require Friend of the Court to notify DHS of any procedural developments in custody or parenting time cases.
Earlier this year the Senate Family and Human Services Committee, chaired by Jansen, convened a hearing to examine the department’s response to the October 2007 death of Nicholas Braman. The department testified that more should have been done to protect the 9-year-old. The committee continues to explore policy improvements to ensure vulnerable children are safe.
Oliver Braman, Nicholas’ father, had a documented history of violence. Nicholas’ two older brothers were removed from their father’s custody. Ultimately, Oliver pleaded guilty to second degree child abuse and was facing jail when he took Nicholas’ life.
Jansen’s measure will also permit the department to share information contained in the child abuse and neglect central registry with local Friend of the Court offices.
SBs 1418 through 1421 will now be considered by the full Senate.
Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2008
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