Support the Family Reunification Act HF 749

The MN Second Chance Coaliton support the Family Reunification Act. The Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis is introducing legislation this session that amends Minnesota’s child protection statutes to include a provision allowing children who are wards of the state to reunify with family.

The legislation is proposed on behalf of the 14 year old who has been a ward of the state since she was nine, the 17 year old who re-entered wardship after a failed adoption, and the 6 year old who entered the system at birth but was never adopted. Other states have solved this problem2. It is time for Minnesota to look at the system through the eyes of a child.

1. Bill’s primary purpose is to provide a LIMITED right (not even the right to ASK for reinstatement for sexual or physical abusers) to petition the court for reestablishment of the legal parent-child relationship.

2. It sets up a rigorous process and a establishes a high standard (clear and convincing) to meet.

3. The fundamental and underlying assumption of this bill is that, for some, redemption is indeed possible, that some people can overcome mistakes in their life, get their life back on track, and want and deserve a chance to reestablish a normal parent-child relationship.

4. If the parent can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that he or she has corrected past errors, that he or she is fit to parent, and that the home environment is safe, then reunifying families is in the best interest of the child.

The bill is being heard tomorrow in the House Judiciary (8:15 am in Room 10). Contact the committee members and tell them you support family reunification.  Here is a list of committee members: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/committeemembers.asp?comm=87014

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