Sen. Jansens adoption bill approved
LANSING — Legislation designed to help speed up adoptions and guardianships was approved Wednesday by the Michigan Senate, said Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township, a package sponsor.
Senate Bills 891, 892 and 893 would allow the Michigan Children’s Institute superintendent within the Michigan Department of Human Services to authorize a designee to approve adoptions or guardianships for children who are wards of the state.
“There are some children who have a permanent home waiting for them and all they need is this consent from the state,” said Jansen, chair of the Senate Families and Human Services Committee. “My goal is to help put children into permanent homes more quickly. I thank my Senate colleagues for their overwhelming support.”
According to the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency, when parental rights are involuntarily terminated by the court, or voluntarily relinquished after child protective proceedings have been initiated, the child becomes a ward of the state and the MCI superintendent becomes the child’s legal guardian.
The MCI oversees the child’s care, custody and placement, and the superintendent has the authority to make decisions on behalf of the child. The superintendent must give consent before a child can be adopted or have a guardian appointed.
In 2008, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan and DHS Director Ismael Ahmed invited the 13 counties with the largest adoption dockets to participate in a forum to identify barriers to adoption. Delays in receiving the MCI superintendent’s consent was identified as a common obstacle to adoption.
The bipartisan Senate measures garnered broad support and are backed by MCI Superintendent Bill Johnson, DHS, judges, and local adoption and child welfare agencies.
SBs 891, 892 and 893 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2009
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