The Legal Aid Society is asking lawmakers to pass three essential bills to reform the family regulation system to better protect families and children from harm: The Preserving Family Bonds, Adoption Subsidy, and State Central Register Reform.
Research shows that children benefit from strong, healthy family bonds, including continued contact with their birth families after they have been adopted. Yet, under current law, once a court has terminated parental rights, it cannot direct children to have contact with or visit their parents and siblings, even when the court finds that continued contact would be in the best interest of the child. The Preserving Family Bonds Act would allow judges to order continued contact if it is truly in the best interest of the children, in a manner that is safe and appropriate.
Subsidies are provided to those who adopt special needs and hard-to-place children out of foster care. This bill would ensure that when an adoptive relationship becomes disrupted, this subsidy follows the child, rather than the adoptive parent. Presently, the adoption subsidy is inappropriately linked to the parent rather than the child. This bill would provide substantial support to vulnerable youth while also providing significant financial savings.
This bill would require that any report to the State Central Register (SCR) alleging child abuse or maltreatment must include the caller’s name and contact information. By adding this requirement, the proposed bill would significantly reduce the number of intentionally false or harassing calls to the SCR, shielding families, especially families of color, from traumatic and unwarranted investigations by social services officials. . The bill will also improve the accuracy, efficiency, and integrity of the SCR system and free up valuable resources to protect children who are actually victims of abuse or neglect.
Tell your state legislator to pass these three critical pieces of legislation.
Last Updated: 7 February 2023
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