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Bill Strengthens Foster Parents' Role in Child Protection Cases

Senate approval could send proposal to Gov. Holcomb this week

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Foster parents would gain more say in children's future under a bill passed unanimously by the House.

The bill gives foster parents a voice in court proceedings to terminate a biological parent's rights. It gives them the power to blast a case out of limbo if there's been no court action for two years. And if a child goes into foster care for a second time, it gives the parents who had him the first time priority. The bill lets foster parents testify at hearings on terminating biological parents' rights, and allows them to force a hearing if a case has been inactive for two years.

Hartford City Republican Kevin Mahan says foster parents are "a godsend" as the state works to get kids out of dangerous situations. And Yorktown Democrat Melanie Wright applauds a provision formally declaring that the child's best interests are the top consideration in parental rights cases.

The bill also discourages judges from terminating parents' rights if bad living conditions are purely the result of poverty.

The Senate must decide whether to accept some House changes to the bill.

(Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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