Bills Could Streamline Adoption Process For Foster Care Children

There could soon be a faster way for foster parents to legally adopt children in their care. The Michigan Department of Human Services is urging lawmakers to approve bills that would give more people authority to sign-off on the adoption process.

By Jennifer Weaver

March 25, 2011 /

Adopting a child is often a joyous occasion for families but such joy is not always obtained quickly or easily.

"Sometimes you don't get to the adoption until children have been in a home for one, two and sometimes three years depending on the legal process they had to go through," Judge Janelle Lawless of the 30th Circuit Court said. <!-- $cms.websiteSection.disableStory -->

Judge Lawless is in her 8th year in the family division and she says when the process drags it's easy for parents to become restless.

"People can get somewhat disillusioned with the legal process and start second guessing their decision to move on with the adoption if it seems to take too long," Lawless said.

The Michigan Department of Human Services wants legislators to approve bills that could allow this time to be cut back by allowing more than one person to sign-off on adoptions.

Currently, only the Michigan Children's Institute Superintendent is authorized to approve the adoption of children in foster care. Streamlining this process would help more than 1,100 children find permanent placement in qualified homes.

Maura Corrigan, Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services said the best place for children is in a stable, permanent home.

"Joining a family should not be delayed because only one person in the entire state can authorize a child's adoption or guardianship," Corrigan said.

Corrigan said these changes could save the state money by eliminating an additional step in the process.


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