Jones’ foster children bill signed into law

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to help ensure the best care and placement for foster children.

“I am glad to see the governor signed this legislation to help protect the cherished bond between siblings in foster care,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “As a foster grandparent and a former member of law enforcement, I have seen both the good and bad of family life. I’ve seen young children endure terrible situations.

“However, I’ve also seen the strength of children who overcome tough challenges and the positive impact of siblings in persevering — which is what this new law seeks to preserve.”

Senate Bill 483, now Public Act 191 of 2016, puts a greater emphasis on sibling placement and visitation with siblings. If siblings cannot be placed together, then a priority of sibling visitations and ongoing interaction will be arranged to ensure a sibling bond.

The new law requires 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. “I want to thank the University of Michigan Law School Legislation Clinic for bringing this issue to my attention and the Children’s Law Section Council of the State Bar and the state Department of Health and Human Services for their collaboration in helping our foster children.”