Senate passes Jansen's adoption bill
LANSING—A legislative package designed to help speed up adoptions and guardianships was approved Thursday by the Michigan Senate, said one of the bill sponsors, Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township.
Senate Bills 218, 219 and 220 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.
“Adoption into a loving, stable home can change a child’s life forever,” said Jansen, who authored SB 219. “These bills can help make that happen for children all across the state.”
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 youngster. 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 identifying barriers to adoption. They identified delays in receiving the MCI superintendent’s consent as a common obstacle to adoption.
Corrigan, now DHS director, and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly testified in support of the bills before the Senate Family, Seniors and Human Services Committee meeting in March.
SBs 218, 219 and 220 now head to the Michigan House for further consideration.
Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2011
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