Friday, January 25, 2008

House, Senate split on termination of parental rights

Faster termination of parental rights is seen as a way to get children out of foster care and adopted more quickly.

The proposal in House Bill 750 and Senate Bill 394 is for terminations to be appealed directly from juvenile and domestic relations district courts to the Virginia Court of Appeals. Parents now have a right to a de novo appeal in circuit court.

HB 750 went down Monday in House Courts of Justice on an 11-10 vote. The stated concerns were that the proposal seemed to be a piecemeal move toward a family court and the start of a slippery slope toward the abolition of de novo appeals.

There were no such concerns in civil subcommittee of Senate Courts of Justice yesterday. SB 394 passed on a 7-0 vote with little discussion and is now before the full committee.

The bills are part of the “For Keeps” foster care initiative led by First Lady Anne Holton, a former juvenile and domestic relations district judge in Richmond.

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