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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Bills to change parental rights standards sent to governor

Wilson X

Gov. Rick Snyder will consider changing the rules that allow courts to permanently remove children from their parents.

The bills are on their way to the governor’s desk. One would prevent the state from automatically asking that a parent’s rights be terminated just because they had their rights terminated to other children.

 “It absolutely is a due process issue," said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, a bill sponsor. "And it’s a protection of the poor.”

Another bill would prevent a judge from using poverty as a reason to terminate parental rights. A court could still terminate parental rights if the parent is financially able to provide for basic needs but refuses to do so. Or if the parent doesn’t look for ways to provide for those needs.

“What’s at stake here is taking children away from parents who are doing everything they can to raise them properly and putting them into foster care. And our foster care system is way overloaded,” said Jones.

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