Senate approves Jones’ foster children bills

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to help ensure the best care and placement for foster children was approved on Thursday by the Michigan Senate.

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

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.

Senate Bill 994 would allow for reinstating parental rights if a biological parent has proven that he or she is now fit to care for their child and if that child is still a legal orphan.

SBs 995-997 would place a greater emphasis on sibling placement and visitation with both siblings and parents. If siblings cannot be placed together, then a priority of visitations and ongoing interaction will be emplaced to ensure a sibling bond. SB 997 would allow visitation between non-custodial, biological parents and their children with approval of the court.

“It is important to keep family units together, and a bond between siblings is one of the most cherished parts of a family,” Jones said. “I have seen the positive impact of placing siblings together in my own daughter’s home. Likewise, 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.”

SBs 994-997 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.