Alabama lawmakers seek to streamline adoption process in next session
MONTGOMERY, Alabama (AS TO) – Alabama lawmakers say streamlining the state’s adoption process will be a top priority for this legislative session.
This comes after Alabama’s abortion ban went into effect last June following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Representative Ginny Shaver says it takes an average of two years for a child in foster care to find a forever home, with much of that time spent in court trying to end parental rights.
“It’s a long time in a kid’s life waiting for permanency,” Shaver (R-Leesburg) said.
Shaver chairs the House Children & Senior Advocacy Committee and plans to sponsor a bill to make it easier and faster to pass.
“We want to do more to provide alternatives and advertise those alternatives and make things easier and better for women and girls who end up with unplanned pregnancies,” Shaver said.
Shaver says the details of the bill are still being discussed. Meanwhile, those in the Alabama Department of Human Resources, which oversees the state’s foster care and adoption system, say some areas of the process could be improved.
Deputy Commissioner for Children and Family Services Karen Smith said one improvement was in responding to probate courts’ requirement that adoptive parents must release information about unknown fathers before the birth. ‘adoption.
“We have already terminated parental rights over our adoptive children for their unknown or known fathers, but now on the probate side adoptive parents have to pay to post again for unknown fathers. So that’s an area we’re interested in,” Smith said.
Smith says another part that adds to adoption deadlines is that potential fathers be notified. A third area, she says, prohibits 18-year-olds from consenting to adoption.
“Again, we haven’t seen the final version, but we’re told this new bill will take care of all three of those issues,” Smith said.
Shaver says she expects the bill to be introduced early in the session.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources currently oversees approximately 5,700 foster children, 225 of whom are awaiting adoption.
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