Legislator: Aiding vulnerable children is a goal of the pro-life movement
State Rep. John Damoose and the Michigan House of Representatives today approved a bipartisan plan to serve children better by bringing much-needed changes to the state’s foster care and adoption systems.
“Foster care and adoption are intended to provide all children safe, loving homes,” Damoose said. “These reforms will help place kids with caretakers they know and trust, train lawyers to work sensitively with abuse victims, and make it easier for adopting parents to spend time with their new children. Regular reevaluation of our foster and adoption systems will enable additional improvements going forward.”
Damoose, who co-chairs the legislative Pro-Life Caucus, said the plan helps advance the overall pro-life mission.
“Aiding children is near and dear to the heart of the pro-life movement,” he said. “Many mothers who rightly chose life in a difficult situation give birth to kids who are put in foster care or adopted. As we work to defend life at all ages, we seek to protect the most vulnerable. This plan will offer love and hope to struggling young people.”
The plan, recommended by the House’s 2021 bipartisan Adoption and Foster Care Task Force, would:
- Partner with organizations to connect foster youth to qualified family members and friends who are able and willing to care for them.
- Further expand kinship care options by allowing a non-parent adult to meet the definition of “relative” for the purposes of youth placement. This will lessen the trauma associated with removal, provide better outcomes for children, and help alleviate the foster parent shortage.
- Coordinate trauma-informed training for attorneys involved in child welfare proceedings to ensure they understand the complexities involved with representing children who have been abused or neglected.
- Better requirements to ensure that as the state safely reduces the number of young people in the child welfare system, those savings are reinvested to improve the system.
- Conduct an annual comprehensive needs assessment to better understand where service gaps exist and ensure residential treatment options meet the needs of youth who require clinical intervention.
- Establish a business tax credit for Michigan job providers that opt to provide paid leave while parents care for and bond with their newly adopted children.
- Increase access to high-quality residential treatment programs in Michigan by updating state zoning laws to reflect new federal standards.
- Address the intersection between housing instability and child welfare by urging Congress to increase flexibility for federal Title IV-E foster care funds to help children remain safely in their homes and prevent foster care placements.
Contained in House Bills 5801, 5974-5981, 6070, and 6073-6075, the bipartisan plan now advances to the Senate for consideration.
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