House panel approves Jones’ foster children bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to help ensure the best care and placement for foster children.

“I have seen some of the awful situations many young children endure, and I have also seen the strength that children possess to make it through hard times,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “As a foster grandparent, I know the positive impact of keeping siblings together. A bond between siblings is one of the most cherished parts of a family.”

Senate Bill 483 would put a greater emphasis on sibling placement and visitation with siblings. If siblings could not be placed together, then a priority of sibling visitations and ongoing interaction would be arranged to ensure a sibling bond.

The bill would require frequent visitations between non-custodial, biological parents and their children unless the court determines that the parenting time would be harmful to the child.

“As long as there is no harm to a foster child seeing their biological parent, they should be able to spend time together and preserve their family bond,” Jones said.

Jones said that the University of Michigan Law School Legislation Clinic brought this issue to his attention.

“I have been working with them, the Children’s Law Section Council and the state Department of Health and Human Services to make sure that we are helping our foster children,” Jones said. “I thank the committee for moving this legislation and look forward to the House approving it.”

SB 483 now heads to the full House of Representatives for consideration.