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Adoption, foster care bill package passes MI House

Woman holds smiling child up in the air
Thiago Cerqueira
The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bipartisan package of bills that seeks to improve the state's foster care and adoption systems.

Legislation to address issues within Michigan’s adoption and foster care system passed the state House of Representatives Tuesday.

The bill package includes changes like providing tax incentives to employers who give their workers paid adoption leave.

State Rep. Rodney Wakeman (R-Frankenmuth) said some pieces of the legislation had possibly been over two years in the making.

“The package now expands kinship care options, those that would take on the care of the individuals who might be family members or people close enough … by allowing a non-parent adult to meet the definition of the word family for purposes of youth placement,” Wakeman said.

Wakeman said his bill would help facilitate that by asking for people who qualify as kinship families to be considered a first selection for child placement.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia) said her bill would require lawyer-guardians ad litem (LGALs) to receive trauma-informed training.

“No one is in foster care because things have gone well. So, making sure that these LGALS know how to interact with these children, what they need most, just really how to connect with them in the midst of some really traumatic events is really, really important,” Pohutsky said.

The bill package passed the House with wide support and now heads to the Senate.

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