Senate approves Jones’ foster children bills

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

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

“During my time in law enforcement, I saw some of the awful situations many young children endure in Michigan,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “However, as a foster grandparent, I have also seen the strength that children possess to make it through hard times.”

Senate Bills 482 and 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.

“I have seen the positive impact of placing siblings together,” Jones said. “It is important to keep family units together as much as possible, and a bond between siblings is one of the most cherished parts of a family.”

SB 485 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 the measures to his attention.

“I have been working with them, the Children’s Law Section Council and the state Department of Human Services to make sure that we are helping our foster children,” Jones said.

SBs 482, 483 and 485 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.